NBC (ended 1991)



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Show Summary

One year after the demise of The Jeffersons, Sherman Hemsley returned to television to star in another hit sitcom as Ernest Frye, the lawyer and scheming deacon of First Community Church of Philadelphia, and who intended to keep it under his thumb. Unfortunately, the new minister, Rev. Reuben Gregory, had other ideas and every week he quietly deflated the strutting deacon. Both, of course, really had the church's best interests at heart. Frye's 30-year-old romantically frustrated daughter, Thelma, developed a massive crush on the new pastor. Other members of the church board included chattering sisters, Amelia and Casietta Hetebrink and Rolly, the board's wise old voice of reason.


    The Jeffersons Actor Sherman Hemsley Dies at 74

    Hemsley also starred in All in the Family, Amen, and Dinosaurs.

  • Tony T. Johnson

    Tony T. Johnson

    Chris (1988 - 1990)

    Jester Hairston

    Jester Hairston

    Rolly Forbes

    Sherman Hemsley

    Sherman Hemsley

    Deacon Ernest Frye

    Anna Maria Horsford

    Anna Maria Horsford

    Thelma Frye

    Roz Ryan

    Roz Ryan

    Amelia Hetebrink

    Clifton Davis

    Clifton Davis

    Rev. Reuben Gregory

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    • Sherman Hemsley follows up his successful run on 'The Jeffersons' with this hit sitcom about the lives of a Philadelphia deacon; his lovelorn daughter; members of the local church community; and the minister they hire.moreless

      This show covers a lot of familiar comic territory as Hemsley's earlier series 'The Jeffersons (1975-85),' that was produced by Norman Lear for CBS. First, the role of Deacon Ernest J. Frye is very similar to George Jefferson, and that is probably what made 'Amen' an immediate favorite of viewers. Many episodes featured situations that allowed Hemsley (and his costar Anna Maria Horsford) the opportunity to do broad physical comedy. For example, who could forget the time Ernie caused the backyard of the church to sink during an important ceremony? Or the time when he took a group of boys camping and was sprayed by a skunk? Then, there was the time daughter Thelma (Horsford's character) was home on leave from the army and filled up the entire kitchen with an ever-expanding, highly active bread dough. You get the idea. The show had many laughs, but it also conveyed a genuine message about the goodness of people and their ability to build a strong community. And at the heart of this community was the blossoming relationship of the deacon's daughter and the very eligible, very handsome minister (Davis' character). In addition to Hemsley's considerable talents, 'Amen' benefits from its solid supporting cast: Clifton Davis in a starring role as the reverend, Dr. Reuben Gregory; Anna Maria Horsford in a starring role as the deacon's daughter, Thelma Frye; Barbara Montgomery and Roz Ryan in supporting roles as sisters Cassietta and Amelia Hetebrink, respectively; and Jester Hairston in a supporting role as Brother Rolly Forbes. Along the way, other actors were added to the cast: notably Rosetta LeNoire as the deacon's aunt Leola who marries Rolly; and a pesky neighbor boy named Chris, played by Tony T. Johnson. Elsa Raven also appears during the third and fourth seasons in a recurring role as the Fryes' Swedish maid Inga; and in the final season, Bumper Robinson is the deacon's street-wise protege, Clarence. 'Amen' never placed in the top ten, but it did very well for NBC on Saturday nights, a night of the week that traditionally had the lowest number of viewers for network television. A total of 110 episodes were produced during five seasons (substantially less than the eleven season total of over 250 episodes for 'The Jeffersons'). But 'Amen' continues to be a significant achievement for Hemsley, and for the costars of 'Amen.' Almost twenty years later, the series continues to pick up new fans in syndication (usually on cable stations that promote family values). It is remembered for its humor and warmth; its special Christmas episodes (one each season); and the musical performances of special guest stars that include Nell Carter and James Brown. - Jarrod McDonaldmoreless
    • This far fetched sitcom about a struggling church in Philadelphia. Some of the plots are far fetched and silly

      Sherman Helmsley is not far from his character as George Jefferson in this sitcom called Amen. His daughter Thelma is too whiny and dimwitted at times and the Hettabrink sisters are too sweet and need a life away from the church and who knows why Rollie is even there. They seem to do a talent show everytime they run out of episode ideas. Reverend Gregory gets goofier and Thelma gets needier as the season go on. Some of the plots are far fetched and silly, but I still watch it every morning before heading off to my reality called work.moreless
    • Can't really say to much without sounding sacreligious . . .

      but that never bothered me in the past! I wasn't that old when this show aired, however, I do remember that it came on Saturday evenings on NBC after 227. I think Amen was a filler show. Not that it wasn't mildly entertaining, thanks to comic vet Sherman Helmsley, and the church ladies, but it did tend to drag on at times. Thelma, Sherman Helsmley's daughter on the show, could probably be rated as one of the top 10 most annoying characters ever on primetime. Her whining, "Daddy", every 5 secs was a real turnoff. This Reverend chasing oversexed immature woman was a precurser to men chasing woman on other shows (like Nikki Parker and the Professor but less pathetic).moreless
    • A Philadelphia church is the setting for this amiable and refreshing show.

      Sherman Hemsley returned to tv after the demise of 'The Jeffersons' with this sitcom, in which he played Ernest Frye, an attorney who is also deacon of his church. And a deacon's work is never done: Frye must constantly deal with a very lively cast of characters and their struggles to get along, not to mention the ups and downs of everyday life in the congregation.

      The cast was solid, particularly Clifton Davis as Rev. Reuben Gregory, Anna Maria Horsford as Frye's daughter Thelma and Jester Hairston as Rolly Forbes.

      Issues ranged from Thelma's quest to settle down, to the battle to preserve the church from gentrification, to helping ordinary parishioners get through their troubles and back on the right track.

      'Amen' was a funny and charming show that I enjoyed throughout its five-year run.moreless
    • Just a great comedy.

      This comedy was one of my favorites as a kid. I use to love the deacon. Even the begaining of the show made me happy. I just loved Thelma. She was so funny. I loved how Thelma would chawse the rev. It was hilarous what she would do to get the rev. plus, the deacon was great. His evil genious was ahead of the time. He would plan everything out to go his way. He would do many stupid things too and have to squirm his way out. Plus thelma would get into some weird siturations. Even the rev would do silly things. Plus, the church ladies always had to put in their two cents.moreless

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