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Florence Johnston
Jeffersons-Florence.jpeg
Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs) is the Jeffersons' sassy maid throughout the series' run.
Personal Information
Gender: Female
Born: 1931 age 89
Character information
Appeared on: The Jeffersons and its short-lived spinoff, Checking In
Episodes appeared in: 207 episodes of The Jeffersons from Seasons 1-11
Character played by: Marla Gibbs
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Florence Johnston 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. Although her job is supposed to take up most of her time, she appears to be flat-out slothful (at least, as far as George sees it), using very little energy or effort to clean the Jeffersons' apartment, which she still manages to do well. She also regularly bickers with George, who's the one person who usually complains about her work.

George, who pays Florence's salary, repeatedly complains about her laziness (and cooking), and he gives her a very small paycheck. Several times he was on the verge of firing her, but Louise, who thinks of her as one of the family, forces him not to. 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. The role of Florence is played by actress Marla Gibbs

Despite being a decent Christian (as Gibbs is in real-life) woman, Florence never kept a long relationship with men. This was the biggest reason she gave to the Jeffersons and the Willises when she attempted to commit suicide in a Season Two episode. However, George incongruously told Florence not to, simply because she would be hurting everyone if she did. Louise would later credit George for convincing Florence not to take her own life, and gave that as a big reason that underneath his gruff, stubborn exterior was a man who was concerned about others.

Another time that Florence had to admire George was when he donated one of his kidneys to a relative, causing her to admire his physical toughness and concern, and she pampered him, along with the Willisses, went across town to a far away bakery (which George used to spend some alone time with Louise and "to get rid of three people I can't stand").

In the Season 5 episode "Florence Meets Mr. Right" (episode #16), Florence thinks she met the Mr. Right she had long been searching for - a man named Buzz Thatcher (Larry McCormick), an extreme fundamentalist Christian she met in church. He was a mailman who attended church 7 days a week and only listened to Christian music. He didn't dance, drink, smoke, swear, and could quote Bible scriptures by memory. Louise becomes suspicious of Buzz's true nature, and tells George "he's not normal" and was shocked when Florence and Buzz decided to get married.

Florence starts to doubt her decision to marry Buzz at their engagement party when he tells her to quit her job and tells her that "a wife's place is in the home" and when he gets angry over their wedding presents - especially when Louise gifts Florence with a white sexy nightgown. Buzz says only a sinner would wear such a thing and accuses Louise of trying to "corrupt" Florence and calls her "a sinful woman." Florence yells at Buzz and defends Louise by saying: "This woman is a saint! Look who she married!" George jumps up from his chair and stands next to Louise. She also tells Buzz he knows all the words of the Bible but doesn't know what those words mean, and Buzz breaks off their engagement and leaves the Jeffersons' home. Florence then admits to everyone that the only thing she was really in love with was the idea of getting married and everyone celebrates with wine and the party goes on.

In an early Season 3 episode, "Louise Gets Her way" (#2), she becomes the Jeffersons' full-time maid,  and then takes Lionel's room after he marries Jenny Willis ( "The Christmas Wedding", #12) and finds a place of his own. George naturally refused her to do so at first, but she managed to help him escape a sham financial deal with a couple of con artists, and George was grateful for that.

In the Season 4 two-part opening story episodes "The Grand Opening:Part One" and "The Grand Opening:Part Two", Florence was kidnapped for ransom by a pair of criminals after they mistook her for Louise. Florence handled the hostage ordeal, and managed to give out a clue to her friends over the phone. Mr. Bentley was the only one to uncover that clue, and she was rescued gradually by the police.

Trivia[]

  • Her favorite drink was Muscatel and Ginger Ale.
  • Florence would continue to star in the show for the remainder of the running period, becoming a fan-favorite character.
  • She is head of the Jefferson's building as a part of the Sisterhood of Household Technicians Building #2
  • Her favorite actor is Billy Dee Williams
  • She and Louise are fast friends, Louise used to be maid just like her. .
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