Mike Evans, the talented actor who played Lionel Jefferson in Norman Lear's All In The Family passed away four years ago today.
My memory of him on All In The Family is pretty clear, probably because he was really very handsome but also had a great sense of timing, and his role (as all roles for that show) were written so well.
When The Jeffersons debuted as a spin-off of All In The Family, of course Evans joined the cast. What I didn't know, however, was that he co-created Good Times, another CBS sitcom that featured an African American cast.
With the success of Good Times, Evans left The Jeffersons to write full time on his creation. His character on The Jeffersons was replaced but when Good Times was cancelled, Evans returned to his original sitcom. He didn't stay long however. After about two years, he felt the role had been so diminishedd that he left the series.
According to IMDb he returned to acting only once, in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger in 2000. There is some dispute if he really was in that episode, and I haven't seen it so I certainly can't weigh in.
He delved into real estate, and with the market having been as good as it was in those years, I would assume he did well.
He passed away in 2006 at the home of his mother, leaving behind a daughter. Like so many people who were hallmarks in 70's television, I somehow didn't notice when they stopped appearing on my television. I know fame doesn't always last forever. But for a talented write, actor and a darned handsome man, I would have thought he would have worked in the industry for a long time.
Then again, he may have left on his own terms. I certainly hope that is the case, both in regard to his career, and his time on this planet.
Goodbye Mike Evans, you are missed.