Was Sherman Hemsley Gay?
A dispute over the late actor's will seems to be pointing to an unknown male companion and further controversy
August 30 2012 1:01 PM EST
February 05 2015 9:27 PM EST
The body of actor Sherman Hemsley, best known for his roles on The Jefferson's in the 1970s and Amen in the '80s, is still on ice. According to AP a man named Richard Thornton from Philadelphia, who claims to the Hemsley's brother, is disputing the will the actor signed six weeks prior to his death from lung cancer at age 74 on July 24, keeping the body from being buried.
In the will, Hemsley named Flora Enchinton, a "beloved partner," as sole beneficiary of his estate. Get this: Hemsley's estate was only a startling $50,000 after his death!
Enchinton says she had been friends with Hemsley and had even been his manager for more than two decades. During this time she lived with Hemsley and Hemsley's "friend" Kenny Johnston, 76. Enchinton tells AP that Hemsley never mentioned any relatives.
"Some people come out of the woodwork -- they think Sherman, they think money," Enchinton tells AP. "But the fact it that I did not know Sherman when he was in the limelight. I met them when they (Hemsley and Johnston) came running from Los Angeles with not one penny, when there was nothing but struggle."
As The Advocate points out:
"While there was no official confirmation during his lifetime, there was frequent speculation that Hemsley, famed for his portrayal of the bigoted dry cleaning mogul on the hit sitcom The Jeffersons, was a gay man. A 2007 VH1 story that listed three favorite allegedly gay black actors from the past put Hemsley in the top spot."
All these questions start swirling? Why did he "flee" Los Angeles? Could it be that Hemsley was blackmailed? How did he lose so much money? We're suspecting that there's much more to this story, and we hope to hear what anyone out there thinks or might know.