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'Jeffersons' star Sherman Hemsley, 74, got his start in theater
'Jeffersons' star Sherman Hemsley, 74, got his start in theater

Behind many notable television careers is a theater background, and Sherman Hemsley, who died this week at 74, was no exception. The star of the long-running CBS sitcom "The Jeffersons," Hemsley got his start on the stage, including studying at the Negro Ensemble Co. in New York. Hemsley appeared in a number of New York stage productions with the ensemble, where he studied under Lloyd Richards. The actors performed with the Urban Arts Corps, another New York company, and in various off-Broadway and regional shows. It was while appearing in the Broadway musical "Purlie" that Hemsley was cast by TV producer Norman Lear for "All in the Family." It would be the...

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