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RIP, Lionel Jefferson

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by tommyp, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. tommyp

    tommyp Member

    Mike Evans

    TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) -- Actor Mike Evans, best known as Lionel Jefferson in the TV sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," has died. He was 57.

    Evans died of throat cancer Dec. 14 at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, said his niece, Chrystal Evans.

    Evans, along with Eric Monte, also created and wrote for "Good Times," one of the first TV sitcoms that featured a primarily black cast.

    Michael Jonas Evans was born Nov. 3, 1949, in Salisbury, N.C. His father, Theodore Evans Sr., was a dentist while his mother, Annie Sue Evans, was a school teacher.

    The family moved to Los Angeles when Evans was a child.

    He studied acting at Los Angeles City College before getting the role of Lionel Jefferson in 1970s situation comedy "All in the Family."

    Evans kept the role of Lionel when "The Jeffersons" launched in 1975. The hit show was a spinoff featuring bigoted Archie Bunker's black neighbors in Queens who "move on up to the East Side" of Manhattan.

    Evans was replaced by Damon Evans (no relation) for four years, then he returned to the series from 1979 to 1981.

    He also acted in the 1976 TV miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" and made guest appearances on the TV series "Love, American Style" and "The Streets of San Francisco." His last role was in a 2000 episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger."

    In recent years he had invested in real estate in Southern California.
  2. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    I never knew The Jeffersons was a spinoff of All in the Family.
  3. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I knew that, but I never knew Evans helped create and write for Good Times. As a young white kid growing up in a heavily white area of Houston, Good Times was my first real cultural exposure to African-Americans. It was a damned good show.
  4. mpcincal

    mpcincal Well-Known Member

    Funny thing: Sherman Hemsley is 68, which makes him just 11 years older than Evans, the guy who played his son. Also, as much as George and Louise seemed about the same age, Isabel Sanford was 20 years older than Hemsley. Some weird ages in TV and movie characters I tell you.

    It seems strange that some don't realize The Jeffersons was a spin-off of All in the Family, but maybe the fact just got lost in the shuffle -- I read on IMDB that there are 15 TV series that trace their lineage back to AITF.

    RIP to Evans, and thanks also for Good Times. I don't know how many realize it, but Lionel Evans was actually the first Jefferson to appear, as he showed up at the Bunkers house quite a bit during the early episodes. One funny ep was when Archie was railing about a black family moving in the neighborhood and he asked Lionel to persuade the family not to move in. Lionel then informed him that it was his own family that was moving in.
  5. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Lionel was a funnier character on AITF than he was in The Jeffersons, IMO.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Lionel never got much to do on The Jeffersons but his appearances on All In The Family were usually great.

    But damn, 57 ... that's scary. RIP
  7. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    Completely agree. He had Meathead to bounce off of, and with their all-things-not-Archie agenda, it was easy.

    As for the All In The Family Tree, I'm happy to start it...

    Archie's Place
    The Jeffersons
    Good Times
    Checking In
    704 Hauser
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Does Good Times count? Good Times was a spin-off of Maude, which was a spin-off of All in the Family.
  9. Chef

    Chef Active Member

    One of Robert Plant's best solo songs.
  10. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    Absolutely, IMO.

    I can't tell you precisely if a character went from one to the other, but still, it was a part of Lear's social commentary comedy circle. Plus, Evans wrote for that and The Jeffersons, so to me, they're kin.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Maude was Edith Bunker's cousin. And Weezie Jefferson was Maude's housekeeper.
  12. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    You never can be sure about the ages of actors, so you can't read too much into the difference between the ages of Sherman Hensley and Mike Evans
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