9:00pm PT by Rick Porter
Original 'Jeffersons' Star Marla Gibbs Makes Surprise Cameo in ABC Live Special
One of the original stars of The Jeffersons reprised her role Wednesday in ABC's live re-creation of the classic sitcom.
Marla Gibbs, the last living member of the show's core cast, made an appearance toward the end of Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons. The Jeffersons episode Lear and ABC chose was the series premiere, "A Friend in Need," in which Gibbs' Florence Johnston accepts a job as the maid for George and Louise Jefferson (played Wednesday by Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes).
Gibbs' entrance was a surprise — One Day at a Time star Justina Machado had been billed as Florence in the run-up to the show — and garnered one of the biggest reactions of the night. She stepped back into the role seamlessly. Video of her entrance is below.
The 90-minute special, hosted by legendary producer Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, also featured Jennifer Hudson performing The Jeffersons theme song "Movin' on Up" and a re-staging of a 1973 All in the Family episode that introduced the George Jefferson character, played by Sherman Hemsley originally. The Jeffersons spun off from All in the Family in 1975.
The All in the Family cast included Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper, Ike Barinholtz, Anthony Anderson and Sean Hayes. Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Jackée Harry, Stephen Tobolowsky, Amber Stevens West and Fran Bennett also starred in The Jeffersons; Foxx, Sykes and Jovan Adepo, as George and Louise's son Lionel, pulled double duty and appeared on both.
The "live" part of Live in Front of a Studio Audience was brought home during All in the Family when Foxx tripped over a line: "Everyone sittin' at home just thinks their TV's messed up," he ad-libbed as Harrelson turned away from the camera to stifle a laugh. Watch that moment below.