‘Anne of Green Gables’ actor Jonathan Crombie dies at 48
TORONTO – Actor Jonathan Crombie died Wednesday in New York City after suffering a brain hemorrhage, his sister Carrie Crombie confirmed Saturday.
The Toronto-born actor was best known for playing Gilbert Blythe on the TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables in 1985, in the 1987 TV movie Anne of Avonlea and in 2000’s TV movie Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.
He also reprised the role for an episode of Avonlea in 1992.
Crombie auditioned for the role with no professional acting experience and he used a photo he took at a kiosk in Union Station. Director Kevin Sullivan, in a 1986 CBC interview, recalled Crombie “just had a Gilbert quality about him that no one else had.”
BELOW: A look at Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe over the years.
Actor and Tony-winning writer Bob Martin, who was in the Skippy’s Rangers comedy troupe with Crombie, tweeted Saturday: “Very, very hard to think of the world without my dear friend and collaborator of 30 years. Goodbye, Jonathan.”
In a tweet, actor and comedian Colin Mochrie described Crombie as “a lovely, sweet, funny man.”
Crombie was the lead voice in the animated series The Adventures of Benjamin Bear (he voiced the character in three earlier TV movies) and appeared on such Canadian TV series as Slings & Arrows and Power Play. He also had a guest part in an episode of the ’90s Vancouver-shot series 21 Jump Street.
Crombie was last seen playing an RCMP officer based in Toronto in an episode of The Good Wife that aired in January.
His stage credits include This Could Be Love in Toronto and The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway. He earned a Dora Award nomination for his work in a Canadian Stage Company production of Arcadia and spent four seasons at the Stratford Festival in plays like Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet.
Crombie’s last theatre role was in Benediction, which ended a run at the Denver Theater Center last month.
“It is both deeply painful and ironic that his last job in the theatre was in a play about death, loss and pain, and how do we deal with it and go on?,” said Denver Theater Center artistic director Kent Thompson in a statement.
“He was imaginative and clever and funny and I know everyone in the Benediction company is devastated by this news.”
Crombie is the son of David Crombie, former Toronto mayor and federal cabinet minister.
Toronto mayor John Tory reacted on Twitter.
On behalf of the people of #Toronto, I extend to the entire Crombie family my deepest sympathies on sudden death of actor Jonathan Crombie.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 18, 2015
A celebration of Crombie’s life will be held soon.
Friends and fans also shared their thoughts on social media.
So sad to hear Canadian actor, Jonathan Crombie, aka Gilbert Blythe from “Anne Of Green Gables” has passed. One of my all time fav movies!!! — Victoria Duffield (@VDuffield) April 18, 2015
I don’t know any female Canadian from my generation that *didn’t* have at least a little bit of a crush on Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert.
— alyson court (@acourtroom) April 18, 2015
Jonathan Crombie and Megan Follows had fantastic chemistry together in Anne of Green Gables. He’ll always be Gilbert Blythe. RIP Jonathan.
— Sera (@Sera188) April 18, 2015
Jonathan Crombie gone? That’s just not fair. RIP sweet, talented soul.
— Julian Richings (@JulianRichings) April 18, 2015
“A world without any Gilbert in it! Anne repeated the words drearily. Would it not be a very lonely, forlorn place?” RIP Jonathan Crombie.
— DeeDee Baldwin (@edeainfj) April 18, 2015
So sad to hear about Jonathan Crombie. Just realised how him as Gilbert Blythe must have played a big part in forming my ideal male type.
— Mervi Emilia (@merviemilia) April 18, 2015
Desperately sad to hear of the death of Jonathan Crombie at just 48. He was the perfect Gilbert Blythe in the perfect Anne Of Green Gables.
— Andrea Mullaney (@Pandrea100) April 18, 2015
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