Sherman Hemsley died this week. He was 74, and famous for his work on "All in the Family," kitchy Old Navy ads, and playing George Jefferson. I barely knew his work,* and chances are, I never watched a single episode of "The Jeffersons" in my childhood. But during the summer between my Junior and Senior years of school, I interned at a Los Angeles talent agency, and one of their clients was Sherman Hemsley. By the time my privilege of working full-time for no pay ended, I somehow ended up with a pile of 8x10 glossies of Mr. Hemsley.
One, in particular, sticks with me all these years later. On it was written "Keep your ass groovin', Sherman Hemsley" in black marker. I took this to college with me, to amuse somebody I no longer know, I'm sure, and inexplicably it ended up as the cover of my school folder.
|This is the headshot his agency would send out (alas, not the signed one).|
Part of the fun was the relative obscurity of Hemsley, but also, that odd, almost-cryptic message written on it.
So, Hemsley is gone now, and we'll probably never see those delightfully awful Old Navy commercials he was in again. But I do hope that all of us can keep our asses groovin', in memory of him.
*Sadly, the only time in my youth I remember seeing him in something was an NBC TV-movie about teenagers wherein I first found Allyssa Milano attractive.