To a generation of fans, the Canadian-born actor was dreamy boy-next-door Gilbert Blythe. But he was, of course, so much more as well. Here, his Anne of Green Gables costar Megan Follows shares her memories of Crombie, who died on April 15 at the age of 48.
The first time we met was in the Anne of Green Gables production office for a preliminary read-through of the script. I was 17. I think Johnny was 18. I remember thinking he was so sweet and non-threatening in the best way. Because we were all nervous, and he put you at ease. He had a wonderful sense of humor, so we laughed a lot.
I remember we had shot the spelling competition where Anne wins over Gilbert by spelling chrysanthemum correctly. Jonathan decided Gilbert was the worst speller in the world and he could not spell anything. So he’d do this running joke where he would be smiling with a handful of very wilty flowers in his hand and trying to spell what they were. And I’d be laughing hysterically.
The last time I saw him was when he came backstage at a performance I had done in 2013, in a play by Margaret Atwood called The Penelopiad. It was so wonderful to see him. He surprised me by coming, and we went out afterward and talked about what we were doing with our lives. He was, as always, a real sweetheart. I’m going to miss him.