Franklin Cover was a popular American actor who starred in the sitcom The Jeffersons as Tom Willis, the white neighbor of George and Louise Jefferson. He was part of one of the first interracial marriages to be seen on prime-time television. But how did he die and what was his legacy? Here is everything you need to know about franklin cover cause of death and his life.
Early Life and Career
Franklin Cover was born on November 20, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Britta and Franklin Held Cover. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 1947 and later from Denison University in 1951. He received his MA and MFA in Theater from Case Western Reserve University in 1954 and 1955 respectively
He started his career on the stage, acting in Shakespeare’s plays such as Hamlet and Henry IV, Part 1. He also appeared in several Broadway productions, including Any Wednesday, Wild Honey and Born Yesterday. He made his television debut on Naked City and later appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show
The Jeffersons Fame
Cover’s most famous role was on The Jeffersons, a spin-off of All in the Family, where he played Tom Willis, a white man who was married to a black woman, Helen, played by Roxie Roker. The couple lived in the same high-rise apartment building as the Jeffersons, a successful black family who moved from Queens to Manhattan. Cover often played a comic foil to Sherman Hemsley’s character, George Jefferson, a blustering and opinionated businessman. The show ran from 1975 to 1985 and was one of the longest-running sitcoms in American history
Cover’s role as Tom Willis was groundbreaking at the time, as it portrayed an interracial marriage in a positive and realistic way. Cover and Roker had a good chemistry on screen and off screen, and they became close friends. Cover once said that he learned a lot from Roker about black culture and history
Other Roles and Projects
After The Jeffersons ended, Cover continued to make guest appearances on various television shows, such as Who’s the Boss?, Will & Grace, Living Single, Mad About You and ER. He also appeared in several films, such as The Great Gatsby, The Stepford Wives and Wall Street. He also did voice work for Batman: The Animated Series as General Vreeland
Cover was also involved in charitable causes, such as the Actors Fund of America, which provides assistance to actors and entertainment professionals in need. He served as a board member and a trustee of the fund for many years. He also supported the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, where he spent his last months
Franklin Cover Cause of Death
Cover died of pneumonia on February 5, 2006, at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 77 years old. He had been living there since December 2005 while recovering from a heart condition. He is survived by his wife, Mary Bradford Stone, whom he married in 1965, and their two children, Susan and Bradford.
Cover’s death was mourned by his fans and colleagues, who remembered him as a talented and kind-hearted actor who broke barriers with his role as Tom Willis. His co-star Sherman Hemsley said that he was “a great friend” who “always had a smile on his face”. His publicist Dale Olson said that he was “a wonderful human being” who “made millions laugh”.
Franklin Cover was a beloved actor who made history with his role as Tom Willis on The Jeffersons. He was part of one of the first interracial marriages to be seen on prime-time television, and he portrayed it with humor and dignity. He also had a successful career on stage and screen, appearing in many shows and films. He was also a generous and compassionate person who supported various charitable causes. He died of pneumonia in 2006 at the age of 77. His legacy lives on through his work and his fans.