Actor Jonathan Crombie, best known for playing Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables films has passed away. He was 48 years old.
Crombie died of a brain hemorrhage April 15 in New York City, his sister Carrie told the Canadian Broadcasting Company Saturday. Crombie played the sweet-natured love interest of Anne Shirley (Megan Follows) in three television productions, based on author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous novels, that aired between 1985 and 2000 .
“He was funny, he was sweet, he loved acting, he loved comedy and singing and dancing. As a little kid, he just loved Broadway shows and all of that kind of stuff and would sing and dance in the living room,” his sister said.
Crombie never shied away from the fame associated with the role of Gilbert Blythe. “I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions … he really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it—we all were,” his sister said.
Crombie, whose father was former Toronto mayor and Canadian Cabinet minster David Crombie, beat out a number of actors, including 90210 lead Jason Priestley for the part of Gilbert. “We never screen-tested him,” Anne of Green Gables producer Kevin Sullivan told the CBC of Crombie, who was just 17 years old when he was cast for the first film in 1985. “It was a perfect storm … It just all worked perfectly.”
Crombie—whom Sullivan called “generous” and “kind”—went on to perform in the Broadway production of Drowsy Chaperone and would later appear in guest roles in a number of television shows, including an episode of The Good Wife that aired in January. His last film, Waiting for Ishtar, was a documentary that he wrote, produced and directed. According to the film’s website, the production was slated for release in Canada sometime this year. Crombie financed the film with an Indiegogo campaign, which had raised over $17,000 Canadian dollars at the time of its April 25 end date.
Crombie told the CBC that her brother was in good health at the time of his death, and added that a “huge, wonderful celebration of life” will be held in his memory in the weeks to come.