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Isabel Sanford

Biography

American actress who played out the longsuffering wife Louise Jefferson in All in the Family members and The Jeffersons. While their studies at Emerson University, she joined up with the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She produced her silver screen debut in the 1967 feature Figure Who’s Arriving at Supper. She was wedded to William Edward Richmond until his loss of life in 1960. She made an appearance in THE NEW Prince of Bel-Air with Will Smith.

Quick Facts


Full Name Isabel Sanford
Date Of Birth August 29, 1917
Place Of Birth New York City, NY
Height 5' 3"
Profession TV Actress
Nationality American
Spouse William Edward Richmond
Children Sanford K. Sanford, William Eric Richmond, Pamela Ruff
Parents James Edward, Josephine Sanford
Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, TV Land Favorite Cantankerous Couple Award, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominations Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
Movies Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Soul Soldier, The Great Man's Whiskers, The New Centurions, Hickey & Boggs, Lady Sings the Blues, Love at First Bite, Night Caller, Original Gangstas, Reading Rainbow: Family Matters
TV Shows The Jeffersons, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, The Great American Quiz Show, Honeymoon Hotel
Star Sign Virgo

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Following her death, she was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) in Los Angeles, California.
2Isabel Sanford passed away on July 9, 2004, less than two months away from what would have been her 87th birthday on August 29.
3Best known by the public for her role as Louise Jefferson on the situation comedies All in the Family (1971) and The Jeffersons (1975).
4She was last seen, before her passing, at the TV Land Awards with her The Jeffersons (1975) co-star, Sherman Hemsley, accepting the award for the most eccentric television couple.
5Cousin of Dorothy Butts.
6Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 490-492. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007. Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
7Was over twenty years older than her The Jeffersons (1975) co-star Sherman Hemsley who played her husband on the series.
8The youngest of seven children and the only one to survive infancy.
9Once performed comedy as a teen at the Apollo Theatre's amateur night.
10Had a daughter and two sons by her marriage to William "Sonny" Richmond, a housepainter. She gave up her career to raise her family but moved to Los Angeles with her children after her estranged husband drowned in 1960.
11Joined the American Negro Theatre in Harlem following her graduation from high school. Also was a member of the theatre company The Star Players down the road.
12Cast in the recurring role of Louise Jefferson on All in the Family (1971) by series creator Norman Lear who remembered her from a stage production of "The Amen Corner".
13First African-American woman to receive the Emmy Award for "Best Actress in a Comedy" for her work on The Jeffersons (1975).
14She played the same character (Louise Jefferson) on four different series and one film: All in the Family (1971), The Jeffersons (1975), Roseanne (1988), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) and Mafia! (1998).
15Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on January 15, 2004. She was joined at the ceremony by about 300 excited fans, family members and friends, including All in the Family (1971) and The Jeffersons (1975) creator Norman Lear and Marla Gibbs, who played the Jeffersons' maid Florence.
16Her son Sanford K. Sanford and daughter Pamela Ruff appeared in her profile episode of Intimate Portrait (1993) on the Lifetime cable television network. Has another son named William Eric.


Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Young and the Restless2002TV SeriesSylvia
The Parkers2001TV SeriesEvelyn 'Nana' Smith
Click Three Times2000ShortDorothy
Jackie's Back!1999TV MovieMiss Krumes (Jackie's Play Mama)
Pepper Ann1998TV SeriesBernice
Mafia!1998Mrs. Louise Jefferson (uncredited)
Teen Angel1997TV SeriesLaurie
Sprung1997Sista #1
The Steve Harvey Show1996TV SeriesMother Hightower
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air1995-1996TV SeriesLouise Jefferson
Original Gangstas1996Gracie Bookman
In the House1995TV SeriesNanna
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman1994TV SeriesMargaret Duffy
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper1994TV SeriesJudge
Living Single1993TV SeriesMrs. Ryan
South Beach1993Mama
Dream On1993TV SeriesJudge Isabel Kohner
Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog1989Joanna
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo1988TV SeriesShirley McLoon
Isabel's Honeymoon Hotel1987TV SeriesIsabel Scott
The New Mike Hammer1986TV SeriesHot Mama Vibes
You Are the Jury1986TV SeriesJudge Elizabeth Robbins
Crazy Like a Fox1986TV Series
The Jeffersons1975-1985TV SeriesLouise Jefferson
The Love Boat1980-1983TV SeriesTanya Evans / Tanya, Isaac's Aunt
Steigler and Steigler1981Dottie Butz
Love at First Bite1979Judge R. Thomas
All in the Family1971-1979TV SeriesLouise Jefferson
Supertrain1979TV SeriesReba
Vega$1978TV SeriesMae
The Photographer1974Mrs. Slade
Kojak1974TV SeriesGrace
The New Temperatures Rising Show1973TV SeriesMrs. Noland
Up the Sandbox1972Maria
Pete 'n' Tillie1972Maid (uncredited)
Love, American Style1971-1972TV SeriesMother of the Bride (segment "Love and the Perfect Wedding") / Mrs. Jones (segment "Love and the Baby")
Lady Sings the Blues1972The Madame
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home1972TV SeriesBetsy
Hickey & Boggs1972Nyona's Mother
The New Centurions1972Wilma
Every Little Crook and Nanny1972Prospective Nanny #1 (uncredited)
The Great Man's Whiskers1972TV MovieElla
Stand Up and Be Counted1972Beverly (uncredited)
Mary Tyler Moore1972TV SeriesMrs. Wilson
The Interns1971TV SeriesDr. Hearn
The Bill Cosby Show1970-1971TV SeriesAunt Bertha
The Red, White, and Black1970Isabel Taylor
Daniel Boone1970TV SeriesMaybelle
The Comic1969Woman in Detergent Commercial (as Isabell Sanford)
The Carol Burnett Show1968-1969TV SeriesBeulah, a King Sister / Minerva / Herself / ...
Pendulum1969Effie
Mod Squad1968TV SeriesLillian
Bewitched1968TV SeriesAunt Jenny
The Young Runaways1968Sarah
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1967Tillie (as Isabell Sanford)

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Cybill1996TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Ben Stiller Show1992TV Series performer - 1 episode
All in the Family1974TV Series performer - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Candid Camera2004TV SeriesMrs. Jefferson
The 2nd Annual TV Land Awards2004TV SpecialHerself
The Simpsons2004TV SeriesHerself
Hollywood Squares2001-2003TV SeriesHerself
CBS at 752003TV Special documentaryHerself
TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV2003TV Special documentaryHerself
Intimate Portrait2003TV Series documentaryHerself
Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television2002TV Movie documentaryHerself
Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals 42000TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1998TV SeriesHerself
50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Golden Anniversary1997TV Movie documentaryHerself
Cybill1996TV SeriesHerself
1995 MTV Movie Awards1995TV SpecialHerself
Roseanne1995TV SeriesHerself - Louise Jefferson, TV Mom #3
Vicki!1992-1993TV SeriesHerself
John & Leeza from Hollywood1993TV SeriesHerself
The Ben Stiller Show1992TV SeriesHerself
The Howard Stern Show1992TV SeriesHerself
The 11th Annual Black Achievement Awards1990TV SpecialHerself
The New Hollywood Squares1986-1987TV SeriesHerself - Panelist / Herself / Guest- Herself
The Great American Quiz Show1987TV SpecialHerself
The 1st Annual American Comedy Awards1987TV SpecialHerself
The Late Show1986TV SeriesHerself
Ebony/Jet Showcase1983-1986TV SeriesHerself
Body Language1984-1985TV SeriesHerself
Reading Rainbow1985TV SeriesHerself
The 6th Annual Black Achievement Awards1985TV SpecialHerself
Star Search1984TV SeriesHerself - Introducer
The 36th Primetime Emmy Awards1984TV SpecialHerself - Nominated: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
The 41st Annual Golden Globe Awards1984TV SpecialHerself - Nominee: Best Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy / Musical
This Is Your Life1984TV SeriesHerself
The 4th Annual Black Achievement Awards1983TV SpecialHerself
Circus of the Stars #71982TV Special documentaryHerself - Co-Ringmaster
The 34th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1982TV SpecialHerself - Nominated: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
The Shape of Things1982TV SeriesHerself
The 28th Annual Genii Awards1982TV SpecialHerself
Night of 100 Stars1982TV SpecialHerself
The John Davidson Show1981TV SeriesHerself
The 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1981TV SpecialHerself - Winner: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series & Presenter: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program
The 7th Annual People's Choice Awards1981TV SpecialHerself - Co-Presenter: Favourite New Television Comedy Program
All-Star Family Feud Special1981TV SeriesHerself - Celebrity Contestant
The Hollywood Squares1976-1980TV SeriesHerself
Family Feud1980TV SeriesHerself
Kids Are People, Too1979TV SeriesHerself
The 31st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1979TV SpecialHerself - Nominee: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
America 2-Night1978TV SeriesHerself
CBS: On the Air1978TV Mini-Series documentaryCo-host - part VII
The Mike Douglas Show1978TV SeriesHerself - Actress
CBS Galaxy1977TV SpecialHerself - Guest
Break the Bank1977TV SeriesHerself
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Redd Foxx1976TV SpecialHerself
Donny and Marie1976TV SeriesHerself
Saturday Night Live1976TV SeriesHerself
Match Game 731976TV SeriesHerself - Panelist
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Muhammad Ali1976TV SpecialHerself
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Evel Knievel1975TV SpecialHerself
Tony Orlando and Dawn1975TV SeriesHerself
Match Game PM1975TV SeriesHerself - Panelist
The Carol Burnett Show1968TV SeriesHerself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2005TV SpecialHerself - Memorial Tribute
TV's Greatest Sidekicks2004TV Special
The 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards2004TV SpecialHerself - In Memoriam
The Carol Burnett Show1977TV SeriesHerself
Black History: Lost Stolen, or Strayed1968TV Movie documentaryHerself / Drayton Maid (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2006OFTA TV Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationActors and Actresses
2004TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsFavorite Cantankerous CoupleThe Jeffersons (1975)· Sherman Hemsley
2004Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 15 January 2004. At 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
1981Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1995CableACECableACE AwardsPerformance in a Comedy Special1995 MTV Movie Awards (1995)· Danny Bonaduce
· Franklin Cover
· Frank Gorshin
· Robert Hegyes
· Sherman Hemsley
· Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
· Shirley Jones
· Dave Madden
· Ron Palillo
· Adam West
1985Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or MusicalThe Jeffersons (1975)
1985Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1984Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or MusicalThe Jeffersons (1975)
1984Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1983Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or MusicalThe Jeffersons (1975)
1983Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1982Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1980Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1979Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Jeffersons (1975)
1978Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or MusicalThe Jeffersons (1975)
1977Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or MusicalThe Jeffersons (1975)

TitleSalary
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)$600 /week

#Quote
1I wasn't young, I wasn't pretty and I was a black woman looking for success in a business where those attributes were certainly not in demand in the 1960s.
2On the only child who was born on August 29, after Josephine's other children had passed away, she said: I was the only child born to Josephine Perry that survived. Mama had six other children before me and all had passed very quickly and very young, all succumbing to a combination of illness and disease and the lack of strength to fight off both. As for me, I was both strong and healthy, and, if you believed the rumors, I wasn't too bright.
3Who never wanted any credit or any publicity for her philanthropy and regularly turned down invitations to be publicly recognized for her support, she said: Use the money to do the research, to do the work, to help people, I don't give to be thanked. I give because I want to help.
4I was very comfortable having a steady job on a hit show, and who knew in The Jeffersons (1975) would catch on?
5In 1996, she said: I watched the first episode of that, and I didn't like it. I didn't like the background. I didn't like the way they dressed. I didn't like the way Archie Bunker talked about black people. But I decided to watch the next episode anyway to see if I could determine why they would allow this trash to be on the air, and I found myself falling down laughing.
6If there's anything in life you consider worthwhile achieving -- go for it. I was told many times to forget show business, I had nothing going for me. But I pursued it, anyway. Voila!
7On receiving her Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she said: Here with stars in my eyes - something that I dreamed about when I was 9 years old. There are others that deserve it, but let everybody get their own.


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