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Mike Evans

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Clean cut and smoothly handsome as a youth, Mike Evans got on board the Norman Lear TV train in the early 1970s and took a straight ride to sitcom stardom in both a landmark comedy series and its black-oriented spin-off. Born Michael Jonas Evans in Salisbury, North Carolina, on November 3, 1949, his dentist father and school instructor mother moved the family to Los Angeles when Mike was quite young. Graduating from Los Angeles High School, he attended Los Angeles City College before his abrupt TV success. Landing the role of black next-door neighbor Lionel Jefferson in Lear's iconic sitcom All in the Family (1971) was a lucky fluke -- something every fledgling actor should get to experience. In fact, Mike was still attending acting school when he was cast in the 1971 show at age 21. The series altered the course of TV comedy while tackling many then-taboo subjects, including racial prejudice. Due to the quality of the cast and writing, the series managed to thoroughly engage and entertain an audience despite it being fronted by a blue-collar bigot in the form of Archie Bunker (played by the great Carroll O'Connor). As the calm, intelligent, level-headed Lionel, son of hothead George (Sherman Hemsley) and his beleaguered wife Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford), Lionel's liberal-minded stance was more akin to Archie's live-in younger generation. As friend to Archie's daughter Gloria and her husband Mike, Lionel had to somehow tolerate his grouchy neighbor's exasperating politically-incorrect banter, but made up for it with clever, carefully-worded digs at the often-clueless Archie. During the run of the show, Mike also boosted his visibility with the TV-movies Killer by Night (1972), Call Her Mom (1972) and Voyage of the Yes (1973) co-starring Desi Arnaz Jr., not to mention the Disney family comedy feature Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972) starring Kurt Russell. The hit series spun the Jefferson clan into their own "moving on up" sitcom The Jeffersons (1975) four years later. The "moving on up" was from Queens to a "deluxe apartment" in Manhattan, where the burgeoning, financially successful George now held court as head intolerant. Mike's character eventually met and fell for Jenny, the beautiful product of an interracial marriage. This became a major source of combustible comedy material that initially fed the new sitcom. In the meantime Mike and writing partner Eric Monte had also co-created and was writing for another Lear sitcom Good Times (1974), which was a spin-off of Lear's comedy hit Maude (1972), which, in turn, was a spin-off of sitcom daddy All in the Family (1971). The major responsibilities and hardships of writing for "Good Times", which became one of the first TV sitcoms to feature a primarily African-American cast in quite some time, took its toll and Mike began making fewer appearances as Lionel. In fact he left the role completely in the fall of 1975 after only eight months to focus on his writing, and was replaced by actor Damon Evans (no relation to Mike), who inhabited the part for four seasons. Mike eventually reclaimed the part in 1979 after the cancellation of "Good Times". His character of Lionel, however, had dwindled so significantly in importance that he left the show again in 1981, this time for good. The family show ended its long run in 1985 after a decade. Mike took on a low profile after his 1970s successes and was not seen onscreen again. By this time he had delved into Southern California real estate. He died of throat cancer in 2006 at age 57 at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, California.  See full bio on IMDb »

Tampa Bay Bucs Players Go Insane Over Mike Evans' Xmas Gifts

Tampa Bay Bucs
Players Lose Their Minds ... Over Mike Evans' Xmas Gifts

Forget Santa Claus ... Mike Evans is the real Christmas MVP -- at least, that's the case in Tampa Bay, 'cause the WR's gifts to his Bucs teammates caused everyone to lose their minds!!! The NFL… READ MORE >

Odell Beckham Celebrates $95 Million Contract with 'Money' Dance Party

Odell Beckham
'MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!' Dance Party After $95 Mil Contract!

Odell Beckham, you're about to sign the largest contract extension for a WR in the history of the NFL -- what are you gonna do next?? Forget Disneyland, Odell just had a locker room dance party… READ MORE >

- 147 days ago
Johnny Manziel Says He'd Love to Be Tom Brady's Backup

Johnny Manziel
Back Up Tom Brady?! ... Hell Yes!

Johnny Manziel says backing up Tom Brady for the Patriots would be a dream come true for him -- telling TMZ Sports, "I'll go to New England in a heartbeat!"  Manziel was reacting to NFL… READ MORE >

- 315 days ago
Bucs' Mike Evans -- ENDING TRUMP PROTEST ... 'I Was Frustrated'

Bucs' Mike Evans
ENDING TRUMP PROTEST ... 'I Was Frustrated'

Well, that was quick.  Tampa Bay Bucs star Mike Evans says he's officially calling off his Donald Trump protest -- and apologizing to the people he offended.  Evans sat down during the… READ MORE >

- 797 days ago
NFL's Mike Evans -- Honored to Have Manziel at Wedding ... Gave a Killer Speech

NFL's Mike Evans
Honored to Have Manziel at Wedding ... Gave a Killer Speech

Johnny Manziel didn't just attend Mike Evans' wedding this past weekend -- he was a groomsman who gave one of the best speeches of the night ... so says Evans himself!  TMZ Sports spoke with… READ MORE >

- 1069 days ago
NFL's Mike Evans -- Off-Season Dunk Session ... I Got Hops

NFL's Mike Evans
Off-Season Dunk Session ... I Got Hops

If you needed more proof that the Tampa Bay Bucs stud Mike Evans is an athletic freak, TMZ Sports has video of the 6'5" wideout dunking in a pick-up game and we gotta say ... the dude has bounce.… READ MORE >

- 1399 days ago
NFL's Mike Evans -- MANZIEL SHOULD START NEXT YEAR ... Don't Give Up On Him

NFL's Mike Evans

Tampa Bay Bucs superstar Mike Evans has a message for the Cleveland Browns -- stop messing around and give Johnny Manziel the starting QB job already. Evans -- who played with Johnny at Texas… READ MORE >

- 1452 days ago
Cash Money Sports -- Locks Up Huge College Football Stars

Cash Money Sports
Locks Up Huge College Football Stars

Birdman is making up some serious ground on Jay Z -- signing several top NFL prospects to his Cash Money Sports agency, including a projected Top 5 pick ... TMZ Sports has learned. Here's… READ MORE >

- 1470 days ago
NFL Star Mike Evans -- I'M ENGAGED ... Check Out the Massive Rock!

NFL Star Mike Evans
I'M ENGAGED Check Out the Massive Rock!

Sorry ladies, Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans is officially off the market ... 'cause he just got engaged -- and proposed with a pretty solid diamond ring! Evans -- who just finished… READ MORE >

- 1474 days ago
Cops: Mike Evans Was DETAINED After Nightclub Fight

Mike Evans Was Detained After Nightclub Fight

Tampa Bay Buc rookie wide receiver Mike Evans was DETAINED by Miami Beach PD after a nightclub fight in March ... after he was KICKED OUT of the club ... cops tell TMZ Sports. We broke the… READ MORE >

- 1610 days ago
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