August 29, 1917 – July 9, 2004
“I was told many times to forget show business, I had nothing going for me. But I pursued it, anyway. Voila!”
Isabel Sanford will forever be remembered as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson, from the television show The Jeffersons. Before that, she was a Broadway actress for thirty years, and she made her motion picture debut in the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. After The Jeffersons ended, she did a lot of commercials, mostly with her Jeffersons co-star, Sherman Hemsley. Check out the rest of her career here.
In January of 2004, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In attendance were Marla Gibbs, “Florence” on The Jeffersons, and the show’s creator, Norman Lear. In March, she appeared at the TV Land awards with Sherman Hemsley.
It would be her final public appearance.
She had undergone surgery for an artery in her neck in 2003, and on July 4, 2004, entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
She went to that Deluxe apartment in the sky on July 9, of cardiopulmonary arrest, with her daughter at her side. She was 86 years old and looked fantastic, which totally enforces the fact that black don’t crack, unless you are Miss Jane Pittman.
I had a difficult time tracking down where Isabel lived. According to her death certificate, her address was in Santa Monica, which turned out to be her accountant.
Then I found another address which stated Beverly Hills, but it turned out to be a friend.
Lastly, thanks to my buds EJ Fleming and Richard Kappler, I found her home, over the 405 Freeway in LA. Gated community.
Neighbor is Lisa Marie Presley. I couldn’t get anywhere near the place, but it sure wasn’t because I didn’t try.
Funeral services were private, but there was talk of a public memorial service. She, is buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.
She was the first black woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress, in a comedy series.
She was the only survivor of seven children.
Her husband drowned in 1960.
Her final television appearance was on the show Candid Camera.
Her birth name was Eloise Gwendolyn Sanford.
Some of you in NY might want to check out The Jefferson’s Building.
Think you know a lot about The Jeffersons?
Mucho thanks the Kevin Hassell for putting together this story, and Mike Steen for help obtaining the death certificate. Thanks guys.