Sherman Hemsley’s Burial Delayed Due to Will Dispute

Fight over actor’s estate keeps him from resting in peace.

Posted: 08/31/2012 09:00 AM EDT
Sherman Hemsley

A legal dispute over the validity of Sherman Hemsley’s will has kept his embalmed body from being laid to rest.


The will, which Hemsley signed six weeks before dying of lung cancer on July 24, is being contested by Richard Thornton, who claims to be the famous TV actor’s brother. Thornton, from Philadelphia, contests that the will might not have been made by Hemsley.


In the document, Hemsley named Flora Enchinton, 56, whom he called a "beloved partner," as sole beneficiary of his estate, which is estimated to be more than $50,000.


According to Enchinton, she had been both Hemsley’s friend and manager for more than 20 years. Over that time she, Hemsley and Hemsley's friend Kenny Johnston, 76, lived together. Enchinton contends Hemsley never mentioned any relatives.


"Some people come out of the woodwork — they think Sherman, they think money," Enchinton said. "But the fact is 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 a result of the case, Hemsley, who became famous playing George Jefferson on the 1970s sitcom The Jeffersons, has not been buried since his death.


No date has been set for the case between Thornton and Enchinton to be heard.


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(Photo: CBS via Getty Images)

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