Jonathan Crombie, a Canadian actor who was known to a generation of fans as Gilbert Blythe in the “Anne of Green Gables” television mini-series, died in New York City on April 15 at the age of 48, according to theCanadian Broadcasting Corporation. The cause was a brain hemorrhage.
Mr. Crombie rose to fame as a teenager when he was cast as the handsome and confident love interest in the 1985 Canadian television adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables,” which aired in the United States the next year.
The role made him a household name in Canada, and he reprised it in two sequels that aired in 1987 and 2000, “Anne of Avonlea” and “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.”
“I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions,” Mr. Crombie’s sister, Carrie Crombie, told the CBC. “He really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it. We all were.”
Mr. Crombie also appeared on numerous television shows and stage productions in both the United States and Canada, making his Broadway debut in 2007 in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
He was also well known in his home country as the son of David Crombie, who served as mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978. After leaving the mayor’s office, his father represented the city in the Canadian Parliament and later held several cabinet positions.
“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, the current mayor of Toronto, wrote in an update posted to Twitter.
Kevin Sullivan, the producer of “Anne of Green Gables,” told the CBC that Mr. Crombie was chosen as Gilbert at the age of 17 after the casting director saw him perform in a school play.
“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door, and there were literally thousands of women who wrote to him over the years who saw him as a perfect mate,” Mr. Sullivan said.