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!”
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.
Press PLAY on the video above to watch Gibbs’ entrance, then hit the comments: What was your favorite moment from the throwback comedy special?