Actor Sherman Hemsley arrives at the LG's Mobile TV Party held at Paramount Studios on June 19, 2007 in Los Angeles, California

Was the late Sherman Hemsley, famously known as TV’s beloved George Jefferson, secretly gay?

It’s a question that has intrigued many fans over the years. The actor, renowned for his role as the self-made man on iconic TV shows like All in the Family and The Jeffersons, passed away in 2012 at the age of 74 from natural causes, leaving behind a legacy of laughter.

And while officially he never disclosed his sexual orientation, there were rumors, some grounded in reality and others purely speculative, circulating about his possible homosexuality.

The proof behind the proverbial pudding? Fans point to the fact that Hemsley never walked down the aisle. Plus, as The Advocate reminds us, he was mentioned in a 2007 VH1 piece on prominent black gay actors from a bygone era.

A GIF from The Jeffersons: George Jefferson and Mr. Bentley embrace.

(And by the way, what about Mister Bentley? Was he gay? Or just exceptionally British? It was always a bit of a puzzle.)

So…was George Jefferson gay?

In the grand scheme of things, it hardly matters whether Sherman Hemsley was gay or not. What truly matters is the laughter he brought to our hearts and the indelible mark he left on television. His role on The Jeffersons contributed to a shift in American attitudes on various social issues. Important topics like discrimination, reverse racism, interracial marriage, and even topics close to the LGBTQ+ community.

We remember watching a rerun of The Jeffersons on Nick At Nite, and one episode in particular surprised us. In an episode from the fourth season titled Just a Friend, George learns about transgender people when an old friend has undergone gender-reassignment surgery, emerging as a stunning woman.

Albeit, this was long before the era of “political correctness,” but credit must be given to the cast, writers, and executive producer Norman Lear for handling the situation with grace and humor.

Take a look at the clip below!

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