… Isabel was the queen of The Jeffersons. She recalls a prank that the entire cast played on Ms. Sanford who passed away in 2004. She says the cast was always trying to play tricks on one another:
“We were always doing things to each other and the director would be in on it sometimes. Isabel would fall asleep while we were doing notes or something in rehearsal and the director would say, put his fingers to his lips and say, ‘Shoot. Quiet.’ And then we would all tip out of the rehearsal hall and then call the rehearsal hall. The phone would ring and we would wake her up and everybody would be gone. So we’d do all kinds of things like that.”
At the end of The Jeffersons, it would only be a short time until Ms. Gibbs would be producing and starring in the lead role of Mary Jenkins on the television show 227. Once again, she brought her wit and timing to a role that garnered tons of laughs. But unlike Florence Johnston, who never had a male love interest, Ms. Gibbs says she fought to have a man for Mary Jenkins on 227. That man was played by actor Hal Williams:
“She was a transition from Florence to Mary. People would always say to me, ‘Why don’t they let you have a man? Why can’t Florence have a man?’ So I knew when I did 227 I needed to have a man. So I did and I fought for that and I got it. And because Hal Williams had done the play with me for six months I said, ‘We already have a relationship. We already have a chemistry. So all we have to worry about is making alive, bring the lines to life.’ So they came to me and said, ‘We glad you fought for this because we like it. We like it too.’ So I said, ‘Good.’”
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Healthy Aging center for more articles.