Mike Evans played the part of Lionel Jefferson on The Jeffersons from Seasons 1, 5-7, 9-10.
|Birthname||Michael Jonas Evans|
|Born:||November 3, 1949|
|Birthplace:||Salisbury, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Died||December 14, 2006(aged 57)|
|Deathplace:||Twentynine Palms, California, U.S.|
|Actor, Director, comedy writer, producer|
|Character played:||Lionel Jefferson in Seasons 1, 5-7, 9-10|
Michael Jonas "Mike" Evans (November 3, 1949 – December 14, 2006) appeared in seasons 1-5 of "The Jeffersons" as Lionel Jefferson, son of George and Louise Jefferson, the Black next-door neighbors of the Bunker's, and a good friend of Gloria and Mike. A gifted actor, as well as director and producer, Mike, along with Eric Monte, helped to develop the storyline for the CBS series Good Times, which was spun off of the Maude series, which itself was an All In The Family spinoff series. Actor Ralph Carter's character Michael from Good Times was named after him.
Evans was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. His father, Theeodore Evans Sr., was a dentist, and his mother, Annie Sue Evans, a school teacher. He attended Palmer Memorial Institute, a private school for young African-Americans in Sedalia, North Carolina just outside of 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 most famous for creating the recurring role of Lionel Jefferson on All In The Family and was the first (and eventually 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 1983. Actor and opera singer Damon Evans (no relation to Michael) played the role for a few years of The Jeffersons, as Mike Evans was occupied in the production of Good Times. He returned after Good Times ended in 1979.
His last TV role was in 2000, on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
Evans was also a real estate investor and owned properties in California's Inland Empire.
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.
Evans was the father of two daughters, Carlena Harris and Tammy Evans.
Evans died of throat cancer at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, California at the age of 57. The announcement of his death was released a week later.
- Associated Press. "Mike Evans, 57; Lionel in 'Jeffersons' created 'Good Times'.", Los Angeles Times, 2006-12-22, pp. 1. Retrieved on 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 magazine, January 8, 2007.