Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two more say farewell

To say that death has been busy lately would be a gross understatement. Hollywood has lost two more beloved actors in recent days.

Ginny Tyler began working in radio in her native Seattle in the 30's, then came to Hollywood to join The Mickey Mouse Club, and was promoted to head Mouseketeer in 1963 to host reruns of the original series. Cartoon fans will recognize her voice from her work on Davey & Goliath, Space Ghost, and in Disney's "The Sword & The Stone", among other credits. Ginny left us nearly 2 weeks ago at 86.

When Sherman Hemsley was cast as George Jefferson on All In The Family as a point-counterpoint to Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), he not only became a player on the other side in relation to Archie's bigoted ways, but he also became just as much a cherished television icon. The Jeffersons was spun off from Family in 1975, and lasted 10 seasons. Rights to the series belong to TV One and I'm not sure if TV Land still has a share. Not one to rest on his laurels, Hemsley returned to television on Amen, acting opposite Clifton Davis (ex-That's My Mama), who ironically is now a real-life minister. Amen didn't last as long as The Jeffersons, but Deacon Ernest Frye was every bit as cranky and selfish as ol' George.

In the 90's, Hemsley was reunited with Jeffersons co-star Isabel Sanford for a dramatic guest turn on, of all places, Lois & Clark:The New Adventures of Superman, and did a couple of ads for Old Navy. Hemsley passed away earlier today in his home in El Paso at 74. Cause of death, as of press time, is undetermined.

Following is the open to The Jeffersons, from one of the first episodes.

Rest in peace, Sherman & Ginny.


magicdog said...

I first found out about Ginny Tyler's death on Toonzone! So sorry to hear she's gone.

I didn't know she was a Mouseketeer
although there were a few of them who had varying degrees of success in show biz since (Annette Funnicello & Don Grady being but two). I remember her fondly as the original voice for "Jan" from "Space Ghost" and as "Flirtacia" on "The Adventures of Gulliver" despite her impressive body of voice work. Funny how entertainment between generations work like that.

I wonder why she wasn't approached to be Jan again during the Space Stars era? She was still working in the biz (she was Sue Richards in the "Fantastic 4" revival in '78).

Sherman Hemsley was definitely a TV icon! He once said in an interview that after the Jeffersons, he was rarely called to work without Isabel Sanford ("Amen" being the exception). They worked together so well! I even read that Isabel was 21 years OLDER than Sherman and yet they were supposed to be husband and wife!

Sadly, in these PC times, George Jefferson (nor Archie Bunker for that matter) would never be allowed on TV.

hobbyfan said...

By the time Space Stars came along, I think H-B was looking for a younger actress to play Jan, so Ginny didn't get a call-back. Neither did Tim Matheson (Jace), who'd long since moved on to movies and more adult roles. I think "The New Fantastic Four" was Ginny's last TV gig for a network, I'm not sure, save maybe for the Mouseketeer reunion edition of the Wonderful World of Disney in 1980.

I think if the producers of Amen had found a means to cast Isabel Sanford on that show, the chemistry between her & Sherman Hemsley would've carried the series further than it did. Bear in mind that before George came along, his father (Roscoe Lee Browne) was sparring with Archie. Hemsley was the difference, as he had a charismatic presence.

And I've just seen a headline that reports we've lost another TV star in Chad Everett (Medical Center). I'll have an obit up today or tomorrow.

magicdog said...

Tyler was pushing 40 when she did Jan in 1966, but she still pulled it off. And after listening to a clip from the 1978 Fantastic Four series, she still sounded the same to me.

Tim Matheson I can understand - he was just a teen when he voiced Jace and male voices change fairly quickly once they mature. He outgrew the role, but didn't do too badly!

hobbyfan said...

Remember, too, that Matheson was also the original Jonny Quest, and his last gig for H-B was Young Samson.

What I found interesting in reading Ginny Tyler's bio was that she could also do animal voices. Oh, sure, Don Messick did Blip, and was later succeeded in '81 by Frank Welker, but what if they let Ginny, who did animal voices on radio, do Blip? That would've been a pip.