A new scholarship was launched in Isabel's name at Emerson College. It is called the: Isabel Sanford Los Angeles Scholarship at the Emerson College Los Angeles Center. The scholarship is awarded each semester, preferably to a minority who is a current Emerson student that receives financial assistance, to help fund their semester.
Isabel gave the Commencement Address at the graduation ceremony at Emerson College in 1985, on that day, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree as well.
Isabel was honored by friends and colleagues during a memorial tribute on August 8, 2004 at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood. The event was emceed by her best friend Lilian Leehman, and attended by Marla Gibbs, Norman Lear, and many others in the entertainment world. Her son paid tribute by playing 'My Funny Valentine' in her honor on the saxophone.
Isabel enjoyed reading, writing, and sharing time with her many grand and great-grandchildren.
Isabel played the same character (Weezy) on five different television series: Jane Austen's Mafia 98, All in The Family, The Jeffersons, Roseanne, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Isabel and Sherman continued to work together in many public appearances and commercials, including: Old Navy, Denny's Restaurant, and Nick at Nite.
Isabel earned a total of 5 Golden Globe Award nominations during her run on The Jeffersons, and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 15, 2004. The celebration and presentation of the star drew a crowd of over 300 friends, fans, and family to pay their respects and offer their congratulations. Among the well wishers were her children, grandchildren, Norman Lear, and Marla Gibbs.
Isabel was the first African-American actress to win the Emmy Award for 'Best Actress In A Comedy' in 1981.
Isabel was over 20 years older than her Jeffersons husband, Sheman Hemsley.
Isabel and her television husband Sherman Hemsley turned out to be wildy popular characters on All in The Family, and were spun-off into their own weekly series by Norman Lear in 1975. Isabel enjoyed the stability of a starring weekly role in her own sitcom, The Jeffersons after 30 years in theater.
Isabel had an admirer in television producer Norman Lear, who had seen her on stage, and thought of her for the recurring role of Louise 'Weezy' Mills Jefferson. The role was as Archie Bunker's neighbor, and as George Jefferson's wife, on 1970's hit series All in The Family.
Isabel got her big break while she was appearing in the 1965 stage production of Amen Corner, and was spotted by director Stanley Kramer. He took her under his wing, and cast her as the smart-mouth, opinionated maid Tillie Banks, opposite Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn in the 1967 hit Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
Isabel started out small in Los Angeles, while still working in theater, taking on small roles in television series, such as: The Mod Squad, Bewitched, and The Carol Burnett Show. She was so well received on Burnett's variety show, that she became a recurring role.
Isabel had enough of the theater life by 1960, and decided to pack up the family, get on a bus, and head to Los Angeles to pursue a television and film career.
Isabel's dreams to act became a reality in her late 20s, when she joined the American Negro Theater, making her stage debut in 1946's On Strivers Row.
Isabel settled into the married life, putting her dreams of acting on hold when she wed William 'Sonny' Richardson, and they had three children. He was a seasonal house painter, and Isabel took a job at the New York City Welfare Department as a keypunch operator to make ends meet.
Isabel had to confess to her mother that she was becoming successful as an entertainer, after she won 3rd place in an amateur stand-up contest at the Apollo Theater.
Isabel always wanted to be an actress, against her mother's wishes, so she would sneak out of the house at night to perform in clubs.
Isabel was born the youngest of seven children, and was the only one to survive infancy.
Isabel: My legacy is that I am to be known as 'Wheezy' eternally, and I am just fine with that...what is it that they said? You can call me anything, as long as you don't call me late for dinner!