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'Weezie' Dead At 86

Had Been Hospitalized Since July 4

Jul 12, 2004 6:56 pm US/Eastern
LOS ANGELES (CBS) Actress Isabel Sanford, best known as "Weezie," Louise Jefferson on the television sitcom "The Jeffersons," died of natural causes, her publicist said Monday. She was 86.

Sanford died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized since July 4, said Brad Lemack. Her daughter, Pamela Ruff, was at her side, he said.

Her health had waned after undergoing preventive surgery on a neck artery 10 months ago, Lemack said. He did not give a specific cause of death.

Sanford co-starred with Sherman Hemsley from 1975 to 1985 on CBS' "The Jeffersons," a spin-off of the popular series "All in the Family," in which she also appeared.

In 1981, Sanford became the first black woman to receive an Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on "The Jeffersons."

"The Jeffersons" was a about a black family living in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Sanford made her feature film debut in the 1967 classic, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

Recently, Sanford lent her voice to "The Simpsons" and appeared in commercial campaigns for Denny's restaurants and retailer Old Navy.

Besides her daughter, Sanford is survived by two sons, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
 

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She was great. She really "made" the Jeffersons, by being the perfect foil for Sherman Helmsley. Between her facial expressions and witty sarcasm, it was a barrel of laughs every episode, not to mention all the other great players in the cast.
 
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