This past Friday, a Texas judge said that the longtime friend of deceased actor Sherman Hemsley can proceed with his burial and running his estate. The court’s decision shot down the objections of Hemsley’s half-brother.
Hemsley, who famously played George Jefferson on the TV sitcom The Jeffersons, died of lung cancer on July 24. Since then, his body has been in refrigerated storage at an El Paso funeral home.
Hemsley’s burial was delayed because the will, which he signed six weeks before dying, was being contested by Richard Thornton, who claimed to be Hemsley’s brother. Thornton, from Philadelphia, contested that the document might not have been made by Hemsley.
But Judge Patricia B. Chew decided in favor of Flora Enchinton, who Hemsley named, via his will, as the executor of his estate. Upholding the validity of Hemsley’s will, Chew granted Enchinton “the authority to dispose, I shouldn’t say dispose, to proceed with the remains of Sherman Hemsley in a manner as she wishes.”
Thorton, who a DNA test proved was Hemsley’s half-brother, wanted to bury his brother at a veterans’ cemetery in Philadelphia, where Hemsley grew up.
Following the ruling, Thornton’s attorney, Mark Davis, said he would still prevent the burial from taking place by seeking an immediate stay of Chew’s ruling.
Davis said he and Thorton would eventually seek an appeal.
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(Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
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