EL PASO, Texas – Friends and family remembered actor Sherman Hemsley at his funeral Wednesday in Texas by showing video clips of him as George Jefferson, the TV role that was his best known.
About 150 people attended the service at Cielo Vista Church in El Paso. Hemsley, 74, died of lung cancer on July 24, but a fight over his estate delayed his burial.
Mourners couldn’t help but laugh as they watched the clips of Hemsley playing the feisty, bigoted owner of a chain of dry-cleaning businesses on “The Jeffersons.”
“He helped us to laugh, gave us an opportunity to forget the troubles, the stresses of life,” El Paso Police Department chaplain Sam Faraone said during Hemsley’s eulogy.
Hemsley, an Air Force veteran, was buried at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.
“The best way I can describe it is by how we released a dove” at the burial, longtime friend Flora Enchinton Bernal said after the Fort Bliss ceremony. “Just set him free, let him be. Let him explore the universe, be one with the universe.”
She was named as Hemsley’s heir in his will, but the late actor’s half-brother from Philadelphia, Richard Thornton, challenged it. An El Paso judge ruled the will valid earlier this month.
Unhappy Chase leaving ‘Community’
LOS ANGELES – The NBC series “Community” will finish the season without Chevy Chase.
Sony Pictures Television said Wednesday that the actor is leaving the sitcom by mutual agreement with producers.
His immediate departure means he won’t be included in the last episode or two of the show’s 13-episode season, which is still in production.
Chase had a rocky tenure playing a bored and wealthy man who enrolls in community college. The actor publicly expressed unhappiness at working on the sitcom and feuded last year with the show’s creator and former executive producer, Dan Harmon.
The fourth-season premiere of “Community” is Feb. 7, when it makes a delayed return to the 8 p.m. Thursday time slot. The show’s ensemble cast includes Joel McHale and Donald Glover.
Willis gives his ski area to nonprofit
FAIRFIELD, Idaho – “Die Hard” star Bruce Willis is saying goodbye to a small ski area in Idaho he’s owned since the 1990s — by donating it to a nonprofit group.
Willis said he’s happy with the people from Fairfield who formed a nonprofit to take over operations at Soldier Mountain, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday.
The actor said in a news release that he wishes the group “the very best” now that he’s exiting the scene.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the organization that will be responsible for the management of Soldier Mountain Ski Area,” Willis said. “It was exciting to see that the very people who ski at Soldier care so much about its future.”
Boise attorney Will Varin said his group leaped into action in April after learning that Willis was considering donating the mountain and its three lifts that access about 1,400 vertical feet of skiing.
– From news service reports