Mike Evans (actor)
Mike Evans, circa 1975
|Born||Michael Jonas Evans
November 3, 1949
Salisbury, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||December 14, 2006
Twentynine Palms, California, U.S.
Michael Jonas "Mike" Evans (November 3, 1949 – December 14, 2006) was an American actor and, with Eric Monte, co-creator of the show Good Times. Ralph Carter's character Michael Evans was named after him.
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.
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.
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). The two 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.
- "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.
- "'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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