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The Jeffersons (TV Series 1975–1985) Poster

(1975–1985)

Trivia

When the show first started, George constantly referred to Tom as a honky. After a few seasons, Sherman Hemsley asked the writers to stop having George call him that, as he felt that the characters were friends, and that George would not use a racist term on a friend. When the writers refused to stop, Hemsley simply mumbled the the word every time he said it, forcing re-shoots. Eventually the writers stopped using the word. (Hemsley was right.)
CBS never gave this show a proper series finale. The cast, bitter that they never got a chance to say goodbye, reunited years later for a stage play based on the sitcom. Sherman Hemsley said he found out the show was cancelled by reading about it in the newspaper.
Like her character Helen, Roxie Roker was married to a white (Jewish) man (Sy Kravitz) in real-life. During a casting interview, Roker was asked if she'd feel comfortable with her character having a white husband. She responded by showing the producers a photo of her husband. Sy Kravitz and Roxie Roker's son is musician and actor Lenny Kravitz.
The longest running sitcom to feature a predominantly African-American cast.
Several CBS executives tried to get the interracial kiss between Tom and Helen Willis edited out, but Executive Producer Fred Silverman successfully lobbied to keep it in.
When Zara Cully died during the 1977-1978 season, it was decided to write Mother Jefferson off the series by having her die as well.
Isabel Sanford did not want to do a spin-off. She told producers that she was happy with her recurring role on All in the Family (1971). When they told her that they were writing Louise Jefferson off of All in the Family (1971), and moving the character to this show with or without her, she decided to stay in the role.
Ja'net DuBois sang the show's famous opening theme song "Movin' On Up" and its closing credits as well.
Sherman Hemsley is only eleven years older than Mike Evans. Hemsley is also twenty-one years younger than Isabel Sanford.
In terms of number of seasons (eleven) and episodes (two hundred fifty-three), this is the longest airing All in the Family (1971) spin-off. In fact, this show aired more seasons and episodes than All in the Family (1971).
Sherman Hemsley found out about the show's cancellation by reading it in the newspaper. Isabel Sanford found out from a relative that called her, who had read it in a trade publication.
Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford were the only two people to appear on all two hundred fifty-three episodes.
When Mike Evans left the show for a second time, his absence was explained by having Lionel and Jenny separate, and eventually divorce.
Florence was originally intended to be a recurring cast member, but the character became so popular with fans, that the producers made Marla Gibbs a series regular.
Mike Evans left the role of Lionel Jefferson to work as a Writer and Producer on Good Times (1974). When that show ended, he came back to this show again.
Unlike Norman Lear's other sitcoms; topical, political, and edgy content was gradually phased out as the series progressed.
During their eleven seasons, this show was placed into fifteen different time slots.
Zara Cully missed most of the fifth season because she was ill with pneumonia and a collapsed lung. She became ill again with lung cancer, and died during the sixth season.
Tom and Helen Willis were television's first white and black interracial couple.
Damon Evans left the series to return to musical theatre. He admitted in interviews that he did not enjoy working on a sitcom, and sometimes would not show up to work.
Marla Gibbs was given her own spin-off, Checking In (1981), where Florence went to work as an executive at a hotel. As a precaution in case the show failed, Gibbs would be allowed to return to this show. Roseanna Christiansen was hired as Florence's replacement, Carmen. When the spin-off was cancelled after four episodes, Gibbs returned to the show. Roseanna went on to become the Ewing's servant on Dallas (1978) from 1982-1991. On this show, Roseanna's character, Carmen, spoke English with a Spanish accent. Roseanna speaks very clear English.
The picture on the Jeffersons' desk by the telephone changed in every episode. It alternated between shots of Louise, George, Lionel, and Mother Jefferson.
Mike Evans left the show after the first season to work on Good Times (1974), which he co-created. By the time his replacement Damon Evans quit the series, Good Times (1974) had been cancelled, enabling Mike Evans to return to the role of Lionel for the duration of the series.
The Jeffersons returned to television on two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990); season five, episode seventeen, "Will Is From Mars ..."; and the series finale, "I, Done Part 2"; and again in 2001 for a series of Denny's Restaurant commercials.
Isabel Sanford was the first black actress to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a comedy Emmy award.
The building in the opening sequence is located at 185 E. 85th Street in Manhattan.
Roxie Roker is Lenny Kravitz's mother. She would often bring him to the set of this show.
When The Jeffersons were first introduced on All in the Family (1971), the family included George's brother Henry. Henry was never seen, and barely mentioned on this show, as was the case on All in the Family (1971) after he was written off the series.
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George Jefferson was a U.S. Navy veteran who had served in the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The Jeffersons' neighbor, Harry Bently, worked as a Russian translator at the United Nations.
The character "George Jefferson" was ranked number forty-four in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue).
While this show occasionally tackled controversial subjects like its parent show All in the Family (1971), (the Ku Klux Klan start having meetings in the building; or George getting stabbed by that female gang) most of the time, the show featured light hearted fare, and was more of a black I Love Lucy (1951) or The Honeymooners (1955) type show.
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Paul Benedict (Bentley) and Irwin Keyes (Hugo) suffered from acromegaly, a condition in which the anterior pituitary gland produces excess growth hormones, noticeably in the face.
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It was intended for Mike Evans to return full time for the series twelfth season under the premise of Lionel moving back to the apartment following his divorce from Jenny. This was an attempt to try to help revitalize the series, but the plans never came to fruition as a result of the show's unexpected cancellation following its eleventh season.
Zara Cully was forty-six years older than Sherman Hemsley.
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According to Jimmie Walker, Mike Evans was fired from this show when he gave Norman Lear an ultimatum about getting a pay raise or leaving the show at a Tandem Christmas party.
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Louise had an older sister named Maxine, who ran away from home several years earlier after she got pregnant. She eventually moved to France where she worked as a singer.
Though it was rarely mentioned on the show, the name of the building, in which the Jeffersons lived was "Colby East".
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Season four, episode three, "Once a Friend" was the first sitcom episode ever to feature a transgender character.
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Norman Lear co-produced another Marla Gibbs sitcom, 227 (1985), which ran for five years.
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Louise (Isabel Sanford) made one last appearance on All in the Family (1974), in season nine, episode twenty-five, "The Family Next Door", four years after the rest of the cast left and spun-off into this show.
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It was rumored that Sherman Hemsley and Damon Evans were gay. Damon Evans came out after the show wrapped, and Sherman Hemsley never publically came out at all.
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Mother Jefferson's favorite drink was always a Bloody Mary.
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The Jeffersons live on the 12th floor of the Colby East.
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George's primary business rival and archenemy was Cunningham Cleaners.
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Mentioned in the lyrics of the song "TV Party" by Black Flag.
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Louise had an unnamed brother that was mentioned on All in the Family (1971), but was never mentioned on this show.
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Mike Evans and Damon Evans alternated playing Lionel on this show. Damon Evans came out of the closet after the series ended. He also said playing Lionel was a terrible experience, and he wouldn't repeat it.
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Ralph the Doorman can be seen in the opening credits throughout the series. As he was only a semi regular, the name of Ned Wertimer, who played Ralph, was never shown in the opening credits.
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According to his maid, this was one of Elvis Presley's favorite television shows.
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The second-longest-running show created by Norman Lear.
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The series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) was a Jeffersons/Fresh Prince/Diff'rent Strokes (1978) crossover event, which had George Jefferson buying the Banks Mansion from Uncle Phil, after Arnold and Phillip Drummond are seen shopping for it.
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This show is the longest running spin-off of All in the Family (1971), outlasting its parent show, which ran for eight years, and then spun-off into Archie Bunker's Place (1979), whereas this show lasted for ten.
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Mike Evans and Damon Evans were not related.
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Franklin Cover (Tom Willis) was starring as one of the villainous, sociopathic members of The Men's Association in The Stepford Wives (1975) when this show started its first season.
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With the death of Zara Cully, producers decided to replace her by promoting Marla Gibbs to full time status, officially making Florence a regular character to replace Mother Jefferson.
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From 1999 to 2002, reruns of the Jeffersons aired regularly on Nick At Nite. Ironically, Nick At Nite first officially debuted on July 1, 1985, one day before the final episode of this show, "Red Robins" originally aired.
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Mike Evans and Belinda Tolbert were born one day apart from each other; Evans on November 3, 1949 and Tolbert on November 4, 1949. Damon Evans was born later in November of the same year.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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