Times readers are dedicated television fans, whether it's viewing habits for first-run new series or favorite reruns.
A number of readers have written or called me asking me about actor Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson on "The Jeffersons," the rags-to-riches sitcom spin-off from "All in the Family."
Hemsley died July 24 of lung cancer at age 74.
But his name remains in headlines after a probate judge in West Texas order ordered DNA testing on a man who claims to be the brother of actor Hemsley.
According to The Associated Press wire service report, Judge Patricia Chew has delayed the El Paso trial on the estate of Hemsley. Nearly three months later, his body still remains in a cooler at an El Paso funeral home while the dispute is settled.
Hemsley's will names his longtime manager Flora Enchinton, of El Paso, as sole beneficiary.
But Richard Thornton, of Philadelphia, sought DNA testing and must provide results by today.
The estate trial has been rescheduled for Oct. 31.
Hemsley was born in Philadelphia but lived in El Paso for the past 20 years.
What's both sad and surprising, despite an active and successful career, court documents indicate Hemsley's entire estate that's being squabbled over is worth just a little more than $50,000.
Norman Lear, the man who created "All in the Family," knew he wanted Hemsley for the role of George Jefferson, the next door neighbor of Archie Bunker, as early as 1971 while "All in the Family" was being launched on CBS. Since Hemsley was performing in a stage production on Broadway, Lear held the role open just for him.
The premise was the George character began working as a janitor, while his wife Louise worked as a housekeeper, and the two saved up enough money to open a dry cleaning business. Eventually, the couple's success led to them opening a chain of several dry cleaners around New York City and enjoying independent wealth and a better way of life.
Actress Isabel Sanford, who was actually several year's Hemsley's senior, was cast as his wife Louise aka "Weezy" from the start, with her character's first appearance on "All in the Family."
Their spin-off series "The Jeffersons" became another of Lear's most successful shows, enjoying a run of 11 seasons through 1985.
Hemsley continued to work religiously throughout his life, joined the cast of NBC's "Amen" in 1986 as Ernest Frye, an unscrupulous church deacon. That series enjoyed a run of five seasons, ending in 1991.
Next, he lent his distinct voice for the ABC live-action puppet series "Dinosaurs," which ran for four seasons, ending in 1994.
Hemsley then did voice-over work and guest spots before signing a lucrative deal with Old Navy to appear in a string of "retro" television and print advertisements that reunited him with Sanford to pay tribute to their "Jeffersons" characters. This led to the TV couple doing the same character reunions for television spots for both The Gap and even Denny's, touting the latter's Grand Slam Breakfast deals.
Sanford died at age 86 in 2004.
While his earlier television work might not have offered hefty and lucrative residuals paid for syndication and rerun rights (which by the 1990s, became the better negotiated standard for today's actors and actresses), his later TV work should have afforded comfort and financial security.
So for the readers who have asked me to report what happened to all of his wealth over the decades, only lawyers can answer that question.