Jonathan Crombie

Last updated
Jonathan Crombie
Crombie in 1986
Born(1966-10-12)October 12, 1966
DiedApril 15, 2015(2015-04-15) (aged 48)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality Canadian
Parent(s) David Crombie and Shirley Crombie

Jonathan Crombie (October 12, 1966 April 15, 2015) was a Canadian actor and voice over artist, best known for playing Gilbert Blythe in CBC Television's 1985 telefilm Anne of Green Gables and its two sequels.


Early life

Crombie was born on October 12, 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Shirley Anne (Bowden) and David Crombie, who was the mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978 and a Canadian federal Cabinet Minister in the 1980s. [1] [2] Crombie attended Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, where he was spotted by casting agent Diane Polley performing in a production of The Wizard of Oz. [3] [4]



Crombie had no previous acting experience and used a photo he took at a kiosk in Union Station when he auditioned for the role of Gilbert Blythe in the 1985 TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables. [5] He reprised the role in the 1987 TV movie Anne of Avonlea , the 2000 TV movie Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and an episode of Road to Avonlea in 1992. His role was so popular that he answered to the nickname "Gil". [5]

Crombie was also a comedian and in 1998 performed on the Canadian TV series Comedy Now! as part of a sketch comedy group. [3] His other television credits included a guest appearance on an episode of the Vancouver filmed TV series 21 Jump Street in 1991, voicing the title character in the animated series The Secret World of Benjamin Bear (2004–2010), along with its 3 prequel films, and appearing in the second season of Slings & Arrows (2005), as playwright Lionel Train. [5] In 2015, he had a guest role on The Good Wife and Haven .

In 2014, Crombie and John Mitchell wrote, produced and directed a documentary titled Waiting for Ishtar about the 1987 film Ishtar . [6] The documentary was financed by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. It premiered in at Cinecycle in Toronto on December 14, 2017. It was dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Crombie. [7]


Crombie appeared on stage in The Dishwashers by Morris Panych (Tarragon Theatre, 2005) and The Oxford Roof Climbers Rebellion by Stephen Massicotte (Tarragon Theatre/Great Canadian Stage Company, 2006). He spent four seasons at Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival appearing in A Comedy Of Errors, Hamlet, As You Like It, Taming Of The Shrew, and as Romeo in Diana Leblanc's Romeo and Juliet. He was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for his role in the Canadian Stage Company's 1997 production of Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia . [5]

Crombie debuted on Broadway in the Canadian musical The Drowsy Chaperone as "Man in Chair", from March to April 2007. [8] [9] He returned to the production beginning August 21, and performed the role during the show's tour through the United States. [10]

In 2013, Crombie performed at Centerstage, Baltimore, in Clybourne Park and Benetha's Place for the Rasin Cycle featured on PBS. [11] His final appearance on stage was playing two roles in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company's 2015 world premiere of Benediction, based on the novel by Kent Haruf. [1] [5]


Crombie's family announced on April 18, 2015 that he had died suddenly three days earlier of a brain hemorrhage in New York City. His organs were donated. [12] News of his death led to "Gilbert Blythe" trending on Twitter as fans shared their condolences. [13]

Personal life

Crombie never married and had no children. At his memorial service in 2015, livetweeted by TVOntario journalist Steve Paikin, his sister Robin said that "Jonathan was also a gay man who didn’t come out until his 40s ... He was a very private person." [14]


1982 Class of 1984 Extra in final auditorium scene
1985 Anne of Green Gables Gilbert Blythe TV movie
1986 The Campbells Kevin SimsEpisode: "The Face of a Stranger"
1986A Judgment in Stone (The Housekeeper)Bobby Coversdale
1986 Bullies Matt Morris
1987 CBS Schoolbreak Special Barney RothEpisode: "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book"
1987 Anne of Avonlea Gilbert BlytheTV movie
1988 Mount Royal Rob Valeur16 episodes
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Rick GarrisonEpisode: "Fogbound"
1989 The Jeweler's Shop Christopher
1989The Teddy Bears' PicnicBenjamin Bear (voice)TV movie
1989 The Hitchhiker KennyEpisode: "Coach"
1991 21 Jump Street Bill HowardEpisode: "The Education of Terry Carver"
1992 Road to Avonlea Gilbert BlytheEpisode: "Old Friends, Old Wounds"
1992Cafe RomeoBennie
1992The Teddy Bears' ChristmasBenjamin Bear (voice)TV movie
1992The Good FightSam CraginTV movie
1993 Matrix CumberlandEpisode: "Conviction of His Courage"
1993 Class of '96 Sam CliveEpisode: "They Shoot Baskets, Don't They"
1997 Comedy Now! [9] VariousEpisode: "Skippy's Rangers - The Show They Never Gave"
1998The Waiting GameMattTV movie
1998 SketchCom VariousTV series
1998The Teddy Bears' ScareBenjamin Bear (voice)TV movie
1999–2000 Power Play Hudson James5 episodes
2000 Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story Gilbert BlytheTV movie
2002 Earth: Final Conflict Dr. FieldEpisode: "Deep Sleep"
2003–2006 The Secret World of Benjamin Bear Benjamin Bear (voice)TV series
2003 Slings & Arrows Episode: "Playing the Swan"
2004 The Jane Show DaveEpisode: "Pilot"
2005Slings & ArrowsLionel Train3 episodes
2006Empty Room (short)
2013 Cottage Country Dan Mushin
2015 The Good Wife Inspector Bill FrazierEpisode: "Hail Mary"
2015 Haven Young DaveEpisode: "Just Passing Through"

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