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Jonathan Crombie, Gilbert of ‘Anne of Green Gables’, Dead at 48

The actor died of a brain hemorrhage in New York City

Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie, best known for playing the role of Gilbert Blythe in the “Anne of Green Gables” films, died in New York of a brain hemorrhage on Wednesday. He was 48.

“He was funny, he was sweet, he loved acting, he loved comedy and singing and dancing,” Crombie’s sister Carrie told CBC News. “As a little kid, he just loved Broadway shows and all of that kind of stuff and would sing and dance in the living room.”

Gilbert Blythe was the main love interest of Anne Shirley in the “Anne of Green Gables” novel series. Crombie played the role in all three CBC adaptations of the series, first in 1985, then again in 1987 and 2000.

“I think there will be hundreds of people who will be floored that this has happened,” “Anne of Green Gables” producer Kevin Sullivan said. “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.”

In addition to his role as Blythe, Crombie also provided the voice of the title character in “The Secret World of Benjamin Bear.” The animated series followed the adventures of a teddy bear who, along with other stuffed bears, hide the fact they are alive from the children who own them.

Crombie was also an accomplished stage actor. He appeared and starred in numerous productions, debuting on Broadway in 2007 in the Canadian musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.”