‘Anne of Green Gables’ actor Jonathan Crombie dies at 48

Jonathan Crombie, pictured in 2009. Gregorio T. Binuya / Everett Collection

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.

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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.”

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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.

Jonathan Crombie as an RCMP officer who appears via video link in a recent episode of ‘The Good Wife.’.

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.

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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.”

Jonathan Crombie, centre, pictured with his ‘Benediction’ castmates earlier this year. Courtesy John Moore

Crombie is the son of David Crombie, former Toronto mayor and federal cabinet minister.

Toronto mayor John Tory reacted on Twitter.

A celebration of Crombie’s life will be held soon.

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Friends and fans also shared their thoughts on social media.

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