Mr. Hemsley died at his home in El Paso, TX. A cause of death was not immediately known. The actor had no wife or children.
In addition to "The Jeffersons," he appeared on television's "Amen" and "All in the Family"; it was in the latter where he first played the role of George Jefferson, neighbor of Archie Bunker.
Mr. Hemsley originated the role of Gitlow in the 1970 musical Purlie and toured with the show for a year. In the summer of 1972 he joined the ensemble of the successful Vinnette Carroll musical Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.
His most recent theatrical credit was the Fats Waller revue Ain't Misbehavin', which played the Josephine Theatre in San Antonio earlier this year.