With deep sadness, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) mourns the loss of Canadian-Macedonian actor, writer, director, and producer — John Evans. Evans embodied what it means to be a renaissance man: he starred in Shakespearean performances, acted in feature films beside acclaimed performers, produced successful events and shows, lent his voice for television, and wrote numerous plays. John passed away on September 28, 2019, following a ten month fight against cancer.
Evans’ Macedonian heritage (his mother from Bouf, and his father from Armensko, both in Aegean Macedonia), and the deep and complex relationship with the homeland, was an integral part of who he was. He translated his Macedonian identity into his craft, lending his creative talents to help produce events for the Canadian Macedonian community. You can watch a video he worked on with the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society featuring the Canadian Macedonian Place by clicking HERE.
UMD President Metodija A. Koloski expressed his condolences: “John’s pride in his Macedonian heritage and his deep commitment to his work is emblematic of who he was as a person: caring, passionate, and committed. He will be profoundly missed.”
Upon learning of Evans’ passing, fellow Canadian-Macedonian Paul Saunders spoke about his friend, saying, “So very sad to hear about the passing of a dear friend and a truly great man John Evans. John was an amazing Actor, Director, Writer and Producer. But most importantly he was an amazing human being, so soulful in every thing he did, so articulate in every word he spoke. So, very proud of his Macedonian Heritage. I send my deepest condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace. Gone but never forgotten The Great John Evans.”
UMD extends its deepest condolences to John Evans’ family and friends during this time.
Below is John’s obituary and visitation information.
John Franklin Evans | March 10, 1943 – September 28, 2019
Actor | Director | Producer | Playwright | Creator | Father | Friend
John Evans passed away at home in Toronto surrounded by love on September 28, following a diagnosis of cancer ten months ago.
In both his life and work, John brought passion and fire to everything he did.
As an actor Evans sought truth. Preparing for the role of the drifter “Lee” in Sam Sheppard’s play “True West”, he would rise in the middle of the night, don his character’s filthy wardrobe and walk the gritty streets for hours, inhaling the margins, observing the hustle, and finding his way into the spirit of his character. In 1982, John was recognized for that role by his peers with the ACTRA Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Lead. “A great honour”, he would later joke that “was immediately followed by a year of unemployment in the great Canadian tradition of ensuring that our actors, at all times, maintain their humility”.
John played principal roles in numerous film and television productions opposite actors of note including James Woods, Matt Dillon, William H. Macy, Tommy Lee Jones, Gordon Pinsent, Bruce Willis, Cate Blanchett and Billy Bob Thornton. He brought great precision and deep feeling to his craft and was warm and supportive of those he worked with, but he was not known to suffer fools gladly, and if that happened to include the director, so be it.
John’s roots as a Macedonian were central to who he was, and he created and produced numerous events for the community at the Roy Thomson Hall and other venues that re-enforced the profound and sometimes fragile Macedonian Connection to the homeland.
In 1986, John married Lyne Tremblay, an actor, dancer and singer best known for her role as “Cassandra” the Siamese, in “Cats”. John and Lyne’s relationship was filled with artistic collaborations including Lyne’s award-winning CD “Break ‘n Enter”, and celebrated cabaret shows “Gauche”, “The Decadent Berlin Revue” and “Cabaret Deco”.
Their most beautiful production was that of their two daughters, Michelle and Lisa, both of whom are pursuing careers in the creative arts. John had a remarkable relationship with his girls, by turns, father, mentor and best friend and though Evans and Tremblay separated in 2007 they remained very close friends. Lyne, Michelle and Lisa were by his side when he took his final breath – his passing will be deeply felt forever.
An artist to the end, John finished his most recent work, “Standardized Patient”, a satirical psychological thriller that explores an academics fascination with AI as a testing tool for psychiatrists, a week before his passing. “Standardized Patient” is currently in development with The Buchwald Agency in New York City.
John was the eldest son of Mary and Jim Evans and is survived by his beloved daughters, Michelle and Lisa, his younger brother George and George’s wife Nancy, his niece and nephews, Peter, Michael, Katie, his cousin Michael, and Michael’s son William, and his grand-nephews River, Luke and Austin.
John Evans will long be remembered for his passion, vision, kindness and raw commitment to cutting through artifice to find deep meaning. He was an original, a rebel, and a man who was profoundly loved by so many.
Visitation: Turner & Porter – Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON | Sunday, 6 Oct 2019 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Celebration of Life: Turner & Porter – Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON | Sunday, 6 Oct 2019 11:00 AM