If one moment maid The Jeffersons‘ live one-night-only revival, it was Marla Gibbs’ surprise appearance in the role of housekeeper Florence.
Gibbs, 87, was not listed on the cast roster for Live in Front of a Studio Audience, the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted tribute to Norman Lear’s All in the Family and its spinoff The Jeffersons. In fact, One Day at a Time star Justina Machado was supposed to play the part.
But when Wanda Sykes’ Louise opened the door to interview Florence Johnston, a candidate for the family’s domestic help position, Gibbs was standing there. The 88-year-old actress originated the role in 1975 and played Florence for the series’ entire 11-season run.
Jackée Harry, who played Diane in the live episode and co-starred with Gibbs on the sitcom 227, tweeted that the performance was “a dream I never knew I had, coming true!”
A dream I never knew I had, coming true!
Thank you to @ABCNetwork, @SPTV, @jimmykimmel, @TheNormanLear, @kerrywashington, @iamwandasykes, and my long-time partner in crime @MarlaGibbs4Real for being so wonderful.#LiveInFrontOfAStudioAudience #BlessedBlesseeBlessed xox pic.twitter.com/LIcISsxBcG
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) May 23, 2019
Live in Front of a Studio Audience recreated two of the Lear’s classic sitcoms with a star-packed cast (including Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei) in a one-night-only live performance. Highlights of the evening included Foxx’s flubbing of a line — and breaking character — during the All in the Family segment and Jennifer Hudson’s performance of The Jeffersons‘ incredibly catchy theme song.
— ABC (@ABCNetwork) May 23, 2019
Press PLAY on the video above to watch Gibbs’ entrance, then hit the comments: What was your favorite moment from the throwback comedy special?