Mike Evans (actor)

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Mike Evans
Mike Evans (actor) 1975.jpg
Mike Evans, circa 1975
Born Michael Jonas Evans
(1949-11-03)November 3, 1949
Salisbury, North Carolina, U.S.
Died December 14, 2006(2006-12-14) (aged 57)
Twentynine Palms, California, U.S
Occupation Actor
Years active 1971–1985
Spouse(s) Helena Jefferson
(m. 1976; d. 2002)

Michael Jonas "Mike" Evans (November 3, 1949 – December 14, 2006) was an American actor, best known as Lionel Jefferson on both All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and, with Eric Monte, co-creator of the show Good Times. Ralph Carter's character Michael Evans was named after him.

Early life[edit]

Evans was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. His father, Theodore Evans Sr., was a dentist, and his mother, Annie Sue Evans, a teacher. He attended Palmer Memorial Institute, a private school for young black Americans in Sedalia, North Carolina just outside Greensboro. His family later moved to Los Angeles, where he graduated from Los Angeles High School. He studied acting at Los Angeles City College.[1]


Evans is best known for his recurring role as Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and was the first and final actor to play Lionel on the spin-off The Jeffersons. He played Lionel on The Jeffersons for much of its 11-year run, with the majority of his appearances occurring from 1979 to 1981. Actor and opera singer Damon Evans (no relation to Michael) played the role from September 1975 to January 1978 on The Jeffersons, as Mike Evans was busy with the production of Good Times. He returned after Good Times ended in 1979.

As the original Lionel, his absence was noticed at a Sherman Hemsley TV Land special that aired on April 26, 2006. The other living cast members of The Jeffersons were present (with the exception of Paul Benedict), as well as Sally Struthers and the cast of Hemsley's other series Amen and Goode Behavior.

Evans played Lenny in the cast of the 1976-1977 Danny Thomas situation comedy The Practice during its second and final season.

Evans was also a real estate investor and owned properties in California's Inland Empire.[2]

Actress Berlinda Tolbert who played Evans' wife, Jenny, on The Jeffersons is just one day younger and they were also both born in North Carolina.

Personal life and death[edit]

In July 1974, Evans met Helena Jefferson (June 18, 1952 – September 11, 2002). They married on January 10, 1976. On September 11, 2002, Evans lost his wife to breast cancer after she was diagnosed on February 24, 2001. Four years after her death, Evans died of throat cancer at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, California at the age of 57.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1971–75 All in the Family Lionel Jefferson Main cast (33 episodes)
1972 Killer by Night Marley Television film
1972 Call Her Mom Wilson Television film
1972 Now You See Him, Now You Don't Henry Fathington Feature film
1972 Love, American Style Jerome Wilson "Love and the Perfect Wedding" segment
1973 Voyage of the Yes Orlando B. Parker Television film
1974 The House on Skull Mountain Phillippe Wilette Television film
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Paul Hudson Episode: "For Good or Evil"
1975 Far Out Space Nuts Episode: "Galaxy's Greatest Athlete"
1975; 1979–81;
The Jeffersons Lionel Jefferson Main cast (34 episodes)
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Arnold Simms Television miniseries
1976–77 The Practice Lenny Main cast (13 episodes)


  1. ^ "Mike Evans". Biography Resource Center Online. Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. Updated June 1, 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2009. Document Number: K1650005514.
  2. ^ a b "'Jeffersons' Actor Mike Evans Dies". CBS News, 2006. Published December 22, 2006, 9:42 a.m. Retrieved February 1, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

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