Maybe you don’t think I’m good enough for you now, but I will be someday.
— Gilbert Blythe
Jonathan Crombie, better known as Gilbert Blythe, passed away last Wednesday from a brain hemorrhage at the age of forty-eight. The news was devastating, not only for me, but for so many other women . . . and men (my brothers never liked to admit it because it wasn’t cool, but I knew better!), who like me grew up watching the classic miniseries Anne of Green Gables. Honestly, Gilbert Blythe had me at “carrots!” No one could get under Anne Shirley’s skin like Gilbert Blythe. While their tantalizing love story kept me on a rollercoaster of emotions, Gilbert’s unfailing love and patience in his pursuit of Anne Shirley made him, well, quite irresistible.
In a very real sense, the memory of Jonathan Crombie will continue to live on. Unlike most of us, actors have a unique legacy because we can watch their films long after they’re gone. Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley were my role models growing up. During my dating years, I gave guys such a hard time (not on purpose); but deep down inside, I realize now I just wanted someone willing to patiently woo me, as Gil did with Anne.
And thankfully Gilbert’s legacy will continue. My girls and I are in the middle of reading Anne of Green Gables, and I am anxious to finish the book so we can watch the movie together. I can’t wait to watch their reaction as they meet Gilbert Blythe for the first time. I hope they too will admire his patience, kindness, and strength and that they will look for those characteristics when they are old enough to have a man in their life. And most importantly, I hope they learn that it’s okay to be complicated as a woman—and, yes, even a challenge. Why? Because every girl wants to have this conversation someday:
Anne Shirley: You just think that you love me.
Gilbert Blythe: Anne, I’ve loved you as long as I can remember. I need you.
USA TODAY’s writer Jayme Deerwester wrote a tribute to Jonathan Crombie’s life:
Crombie is best remembered for his work as Gilbert. He was never bothered by the fame it brought him and even answered to the name Gil when recognized on the street, [Jonathan Crombie’s sister, Carrie] says.
“I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions,” she told the CBC. “He really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it — we all were,” she said.
The son of former Toronto mayor and Canadian Cabinet minister David Crombie, he beat out fellow Canadian and future 90210 star Jason Priestly for the role. “We never screen-tested him,” Green Gables producer Kevin Sullivan told the CBC. “We met him and he was cast. It was a perfect storm. … It just all worked perfectly.”
“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the Anne of Green Gables films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door,” he said, explaining the actor’s appeal.
“I think there will be hundreds of people who will be floored that this has happened,” he said of Crombie’s sudden passing. “It’s such a devastating tragedy. In reality, Jonathan was as generous, as kind, as sensitive and as ambitious, in some ways, as the character he came to be identified with.”
Keeping in character with his kind, generous alter ego, Crombie’s organs were donated.
Throughout his acting career, Crombie traveled back and forth between New York and Toronto via bus. “That’s how we are going to be bringing him back,” his sister explained to the CBC. “We felt that it was an ode to Jonathan. He would never go on a plane, so we’re going to make the trek from New York to Toronto on a bus with his ashes.”
Read the entire article here: www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/04/18/jonathan-crombie-anne-of-green-gables-death/25994191/