Born in Harlem, N.Y., Isabel Sanford spent more than 30 years in theater before deciding to make a go of it in Hollywood. After moving there in 1960, she landed several guest roles on shows like Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Mod Squad, as well as a role in the film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and a semi-regular spot on The Carol Burnett Show.
In 1971, Sanford took the part of Louise "Weezy" Jefferson on All in the Family and later became the first black woman to receive an Emmy on its spin-off, The Jeffersons. She remained in that role until 1985, and continued working on screen and on stage, often with her Jeffersons co-star Sherman Hemsley, including a touring company of "The Real Live Jeffersons" stage show in the mid-1990s. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sanford passed away on July 9, 2004 of natural causes. She was 86.
Louise Jefferson - also known as "Weezy" - is a warm-hearted person. Her personality is completely opposite from that of her husband George, who's quick-tempered and opinionated. She's level-headed where George is pig-headed, establishing a balance in the family home. Louise is a good friend to her neighbor Edith Bunker - even though she's not a big fan of Archie and his closed-minded behavior.
Louise has a deep voice and a deeper soul. At first uncomfortable with her new society status and wealth, kind-hearted Louise grows into quite the humanitarian. A former housekeeper, she never forgets her humble beginnings and constantly serves the less fortunate as a volunteer - the Help Center becomes one of her passions. Though a bleeding heart, she fights for tolerance and battles with George over his obstinacy and ignorance in many heated arguments. She is very close with Helen, though they have their rivalries. Together they get into pickles that Lucy and Ethel might never have escaped. She has a contentious relationship with her intrusive mother-in-law. She tries to be a better mother-in-law herself to Jenny, though she dotes on Lionel.