Henry Jefferson is a fictional character, the brother of George Jefferson on the TV series All In The Family. He lived with George, his sister-in-law Louise, their son Lionel, and Lionel's aunt (presumably Henry's wife, Ruby Jefferson), who was referenced in one episode but never seen. He was thus a neighbor to Archie Bunker. He was played by actor Mel Stewart. Loudmouthed, opinionated Henry was equally bigoted as Archie; he appeared in seasons 1-4.
Henry's first appearanceEdit
Henry's first appearance was in an early episode in which the Jeffersons were to be guests at the Bunker's house. Louise brought Henry, claiming that he was her husband, but finally admits the truth: George did not want to dine at the home of a white family. Before their arrival, however, Archie tried unsuccessfully to get Edith to un-invite the Jeffersons to avoid dining with a black family. Though Archie and Henry were almost always at odds, each seemed to respect the other's hard-headedness. In fact, Archie and Henry teamed up in one episode to prevent a Puerto Rican couple from moving into the neighborhood.
Connection to The JeffersonsEdit
The seemingly curious use of a character that was George Jefferson's brother, rather than the George Jefferson character itself from the program's outset, resulted from the fact that Sherman Hemsley, who was Norman Lear's choice to play George, was performing in the Broadway musical "Purlie" and didn't want to break his commitment to that show. Lear kept the role waiting for him until he was finished appearing in the musical. Henry Jefferson's final appearance on All in the Family was in the 1973 episode in which George Jefferson first appears on television. It is said at this point that Henry is moving to upstate New York to start his own dry-cleaning business. Henry never appeared on the spin-off series The Jeffersons, although he was referred to in the episode "Uncle George and Aunt Louise". By this point, Henry and his wife Ruby were living in Chicago, and their son, Raymond (Gary Coleman) came to visit.
In the AITF episode Henry's Farewell in season four, the good news of Henry opening up his own business, which led him to have to move out of the area introduced George, who vowed he would never set foot in the Bunker house, for the first time, as Sherman Hemsley, who had just finished his run with "Purlie", and whom producer Norman Lear had the part in waiting on ice for him, was finally able to join the cast.