Burying Sherman Hemsley Complicated by Will Dispute

Sherman Hemsley Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

Sherman Hemsley Headshot - P 2012

Sherman Hemsley, best known for his role as George Jefferson, still hasn't been buried more than a month after his death and is being kept in refrigeration as a result of a dispute over his will.

The actor died of lung cancer in July at age 74.

Hemsley signed his will six weeks before passing that named "beloved partner" Flora Enchinton of El Paso as sole beneficiary of his estate, according to The Asociated Press.

Then, Richard Thornton of Philadelphia stood up to contest, purporting to be Hemsley's brother.

Enchinton, who says she had lived with Hemsley for a decade, told an ABC affiliate, "I have never heard of anyone with the name of Richard Thornton in the 20 years I have known Sherman. This is not what Sherman would have wanted."

Biographical info on the actor doesn't indicate he had any siblings. And yet, burying a celebrity might not be as easy as one would think. A court date to resolve the estate dispute hasn't yet been set, and so the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor remains embalmed under uncertain legal status in an El Paso funeral home.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner