Mike Evans (actor)
Mike Evans, circa 1975
|Born||Michael Jonas Evans|
November 3, 1949
Salisbury, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||December 14, 2006 (aged 57)|
Twentynine Palms, California, U.S
(m. 1976; died 2002)
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.
A college student majoring in drama but with no acting experience, Evans caught his big break when All in the Family producer and director John Rich hired him to play Lionel Jefferson, the son of the Bunkers' new black neighbors. Show developer Norman Lear preferred Cleavon Little for the role, but Rich lobbied to cast an actor who would appear less threatening. Evans continued to play the role on the spinoff The Jeffersons, but left after the first season to pursue other aspects of his career. Actor and opera singer Damon Evans (no relation to Michael) then took the role of Lionel, but Mike Evans returned in the role for the sixth through eighth seasons.
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
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. He is survived by his two daughters, Carlena and Tammie, his mother Annie Sue, his brother Thomas, his cousin Harold and his niece Chrystal.
|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|
|1974||The Streets of San Francisco||Paul Hudson||Episode: "For Good or Evil"|
|1975||Far Out Space Nuts||Episode: "Galaxy's Greatest Athlete"|
|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)|
- "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.
- FoundationINTERVIEWS (2011-06-28), John Rich Interview Part 10 of 14 - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG, retrieved 2018-08-10
- Good Times Full Cast and Credits at IMDb
- "'Jeffersons' Actor Mike Evans Dies". CBS News, 2006. Published December 22, 2006, 9:42 a.m. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- Associated Press (2006-12-22). "Mike Evans, 57; Lionel in 'Jeffersons' created 'Good Times'". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- E! Online (22 Dec 2006, 02:56:00 PM PST): "Jeffersons Star Dead", by Joal Ryan
- Buffalo News, December 23, 2006.
- Variety, January 8, 2007.
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