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New Inductees Announced to the Academy TV Hall of Fame

Sherman Hemsley

The performers who brought George Jefferson and Fred and Ethel Mertz to the small screen were among the new inductees announced to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

Actor Sherman Hemsley, who portrayed George Jefferson on “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” and the comic team of Vivian Vance and William Frawley — who played the Mertzes on the groundbreaking sitcom “I Love Lucy” – – will be inducted in a March 1 ceremony at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

They will be joined in the hall by the producing team of Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray; former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner; Spanish- language television host Don Francisco; lighting designer Bill Klages and producer Chuck Lorre.

“The group of inductees for this year’s Hall of Fame has had a remarkable impact in all areas of the television industry, from performers and hosts to producers and executives,” said Mark Itkin, a board member at WME Entertainment and chair of the Hall of Fame selection committee. “It is a tremendous privilege to chair this committee and be able to honor this group with the recognition that they so greatly deserve.”

Bunim and Murray are widely credited with inventing the genre of reality television, developing “The Real World” for MTV, along with shows such as “Starting Over” and “The Simple Life.” After Bunim’s death in 2004, Murray has produced shows including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Bad Girls Club” and “Project Runway.”

Eisner worked at ABC and served as president of Paramount Pictures for eight years before moving to Disney, a company he led for 21 years.

Don Francisco — whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger — hosts “Sabado Gigante,” which is one of the most popular shows in the history of Spanish- language television. He also hosts “Don Francisco Presenta,” a variety show featuring celebrity interviews. In his home country of Chile, he created a telethon that has raised funds for the construction of 11 hospitals for the treatment of disabled children.

Klages has won seven Emmy Awards for his work in television lighting. He has worked on a host of programs featuring stars such as Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Perry Como. He also provided lighting for the 1984 Olympics closing ceremonies and four Republican National Conventions.

Lorre is best known as the co-creator of “Two and a Half Men.” He is also the creative force behind “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly.” He also created the hits “Dharma & Greg,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Cybill.” He was a co-executive producer on “Roseanne.”

Bunim, Vance and Frawley will all be inducted posthumously. Vance died in 1979, while Frawley died in 1966.

Vance, a stage actress who was tapped by Desi Arnaz and writer Jess Oppenheimer in 1951 to play Ethel on “I Love Lucy,” was the first actress to win an Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in 1954. She was nominated three more times before the show ended its run in 1957.

Frawley had a 50-year film career before landing his role as Fred Mertz, which earned him five Emmy nominations. After the show ended, he played Bub O’Casey on “My Three Sons” before retiring for health reasons in 1965.

Hemsley won an Emmy in 1984 for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for his work on “The Jeffersons,” which ran for 11 years and became the longest-running sitcom with a predominantly black cast in television history.

Copyright © 2011 CNS

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