The Will of Sherman Hemsley has been upheld by a Texas Court
Five months after his death, Sherman Hemsley has finally been laid to rest in the Fort Bliss
National Cemetery. Playing George Jefferson on the 1970’s TV sitcom “The Jefferson’s,”
Hemsley rose to fame playing the feisty, bigoted owner of a chain of dry cleaning businesses; but
prior to his acting career, Hemsley served this country in the Air Force.
When Hemsley died of lung cancer in July, at the age of 74, his body was placed in a refrigerated
storage unit in El Paso, Texas, because the terms of his will had been contested by a man named
Thornton, 78, who has recently been verified as Hemsley’s half-brother via DNA testing, wanted
to bury his brother in Philadelphia, which is where Hemsley grew up. Since the two men did not
exchange phone calls, Christmas cards, and did not really acknowledge the other’s existence,
some people speculated that Mr. Thornton was simply interested in Hemsley’s estate, which has
been valued at more than $50,000, but Thornton and his daughter maintained that it was not
about the money. It was about family.
Judge Patricia B. Chew, however, did not see it the same way and issued her ruling upholding the
terms of Hemsley’s will. Under those terms, Hemsley had made his best friend, Flora Enchinton
Bernal, the executor of his estate. And after the court issued its ruling, Ms. Bernal was finally
able to get on with being the executor of the estate by arranging for Hemsley’s burial.
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