The Jeffersons featured several supporting characters. An incomplete list of these characters appears below.
Helen Willis (née Douglas) (portrayed by Roxie Roker, except for her first appearance in All in the Family, when she was portrayed by Kim Hamilton) is Louise's best friend and George's worst nightmare. She has been married to Tom Willis for 34 years. Early in the series, Tom and Helen's marriage became the target of racial jokes and barbs from George, who called them "Oreo"; as the series wore on, however, the relationship with Tom and Helen and George would develop into a close friendship, with Helen and Louise working as volunteers at the local Help Center together.
Thomas "Tom" Willis portrayed by Franklin Cover, except for his first appearance in All in the Family, when he was portrayed by Charles Aidman as Louis Willis) is an author and president of his publishing company, Pelham Publishers. He lives a content life with his wife Helen. Tom is white, and Helen is black. Because of this racial mixing, they are often the butt of George's insults and jokes.
As the series went on (particularly after Lionel and Jenny married), George and Tom eventually became friends (though George still continued to make "fat" jokes about Tom's weight and his being white).
Mother Olivia JeffersonEdit
Portrayed by Zara Cully, Mother Olivia Jefferson is Henry and George's mother. When Cully died early in Season Four, the writers decided to eliminate Mother Jefferson's character rather than replace her with a different actress. No special episode was created centering on her death, but it was briefly referenced in the second episode of the Fifth Season, "Homecoming (pt 1)". "Mother Jefferson" is deceased.
Jenny Willis JeffersonEdit
Jennifer "Jenny" Willis Jefferson (portrayed by Berlinda Tolbert, except for her first appearance in All in the Family, when she was portrayed by Lynne Moody) is the only daughter of Helen and Tom Willis, the younger of their two children. In 1976, Jenny marries Lionel, though they divorced in 1985 after nine years of marriage.
Jessica Jefferson is the daughter of Lionel and Jenny Jefferson and the grandchild of George, Louise, and Tom and Helen Willis. She was played by sisters Erin Hollin and Leslie Hollin (Seasons 6-7) and later by Ebonie Smith (Seasons 10-11).
Allan Willis (Andrew Rubin/Jay Hammer) is the Willis' only son and older brother of Jenny. Andrew Rubin appears as this character in the Season 1 finale episode entitled "Jenny's Low" (aired on April 12, 1975), in which Allan returns from Europe, and is given the "Cold Shoulder" by his sister, Jenny (Berlinda Tolbert).
Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs) is the Jeffersons' sassy, backtalking, wisecracking maid. Her first appearance is actually in the debut episode, when she was interviewed and hired as the housekeeper for the title-bearing characters. Originally a recurring character, Gibbs later became the core of the series, becoming a series regular, having to appear in 207 of the 253 episodes.
Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict) is the Jeffersons' eccentric, British next-door neighbor. Bentley works as a Russian language interpreter at the UN building. Bentley lives alone, but several times brings home a lady friend. Two of Bentley's most-talked-about ladies are Daphne and Patricia.
Ralph the DoormanEdit
Ralph Hart (Ned Wertimer), is the money-crazed doorman of the high-rise Colby East apartment complex. Although he appears to be a hard-working fellow with a decent attitude, he always makes sure his hand is stuffed with a reasonable amount (in his case, a lot) of money tips. He would continue to join the cast for the majority of the show's numerous seasons.
Marcus Garvey Henderson (Ernest Harden, Jr.) is George's employee at Jefferson Cleaners. Marcus appears in the 1977-78 television season (during the fourth season), and apparently, Marcus grew up in a rough neighborhood.
Ernest Harden Jr. also briefly played another character in one episode in the third season.
Leroy Daniels (Vernon Washington) is George's store manager/employee at Jefferson Cleaners. He was born around 1938 in Harlem, NY and is a bit naive. In one Season 5 episode, in a dream George had, he became the owner of Jefferson Cleaners in 1996 when George himself was dead by then, which George though impossible since he felt Leroy was a dingbat with no business skills. Leroy would appear in several other episodes afterward.
Hugo Mojoloweski (Irwin Keyes) is George's occasional bodyguard, and once had feelings for George's daughter-in-law, Jenny. Hugo is big and very burly looking, but he can albo be characterized as sometimes a little dim-witted. His catchphrase was, "Hi, remember me" ?
Jimmy (Garrett Morris) was supposedly a child that George and Louise has sponsored and sent money to for years. However in their first visit with Jimmy, they realize he was an adult con-man. The character Jimmy appeared in five episodes from 1983-1984. Jimmy was a member of the historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha.
Charlie (Danny Wells) owns a bar in the first-floor lobby of the Colby-East apartment complex.