Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie, beloved for his role as Gilbert Blythe in “Anne of Green Gables,” has died.
CBC was the network that discovered Crombie, when he was just 17. It was in search of someone to play Gilbert Blythe, the love interest in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables.” CBC’s 1985 television miniseries, which would later debut on PBS in the United States, is still the most popular film adaption of Montgomery’s classic 1908 book.
The project’s casting director saw Crombie perform a small singing role in a high school staging of “The Wizard of Oz.” She insisted that he audition for the role of Gilbert, the boy who pulls on Anne’s red-haired pigtails and calls her “Carrot.”
Megan Follows, who played Anne, shared her sorrow at the loss of her co-star.
“Truly I just remember at times just laughing so hard that you’d just be crying,” Follows told CBC. “He was so playful and silly and, as I said, really bright, so his humor was always informed with that, which made him even funnier.”
Along with two “Anne of Green Gables” sequels, Crombie went on to appear in a variety of TV shows in Canada and the United States, such as the original “21 Jump Street.” Just this year, he played a police officer in an episode of “The Good Wife” on CBS.
Crombie’s sister told CBC that his proudest moment was his 2007 Broadway debut, in the musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He played the narrator, “Man in Chair,” just before the role was taken over by “Full House” dad Bob Saget.
Along with his acting, Crombie was known for being the son of former Toronto mayor David Crombie. The city’s current mayor extended his condolences to Crombie’s family on Twitter.
He was joined by hordes of “Anne of Green Gables” fans.
I can't even tell you how many times I watched the Anne miniseries growing up. Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie, they were it.— Amy (Scanlon) Boughner (@amyboughner) April 18, 2015
Oh no Gilbert Blythe!!! RIP Jonathan Crombie. (I learned to speak English by watching Anne of Green Gables.)— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) April 19, 2015