All of a sudden, KPD said, “Do you know who Jonathan Crombie is?”

Do I?! I only memorized his name in eighth grade, wrote him a fan letter, and tried for years to find his exact duplicate to marry. (You know, but Jewish.)


“He died.”

Jonathan Crombie was the actor who played Gilbert Blythe in the Canadian TV movies of Anne of Green Gables. He was 48 years old and died of a brain hemorrhage. More information here.

Anne of Green Gables is one of those series that some people, especially quirky girls, attach to. I’ve read the entire series at least three times–I want to say four–starting when I was about 7 or 8 years old and my mother read the first three books aloud to us. I imagine the boxed set was a gift from my Nana, a children’s librarian who knew about these things.

I have since read almost everything LM Montgomery every published, (most books more than once) visited the house she grew up in (which people say is Green Gables, and was used in the Megan Follows/Jonathan Crombie movies, but which clearly isn’t Green Gables because everyone knows Matthew’s bedroom was on the first floor and there isn’t a bedroom on the first floor in the house Montgomery grew up in) and watched the movies a zillion times with anyone who would watch them with me. I’ve also tricked myself more than once into believing a certain boyfriend or other was my Gilbert and done some silly things as a result.

And I married a smart teacher from across town who is also very interested in medical science.

Oh, and I adopted a little girl.

The second of the TV movies, Anne of Avonlea, was a terrible mash-up of at least three of the sequels. As a version of the books, it’s pretty bad. But as a movie, it’s wonderful, and I just want Anne and Gilbert to go on kissing on the bridge for all eternity.

But now Jonathan Crombie has died, tragically young and very suddenly. It’s sad by any measure. But for those of us who came of age living vicariously through Anne and Gilbert’s on-screen romance, it is a romantic tragedy of dramatic proportions. I think I’ll go find a grassy bluff where I can plant a rosebush and water it with my tears.