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Actor Michael Evans


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Actor Michael Evans

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Michael Evans

LOS ANGELES, California -- British-born stage and screen actor Michael Evans, who wooed Audrey Hepburn on Broadway in "Gigi" and was the best friend to a billionaire on the CBS soap opera, "The Young and the Restless," died Tuesday, September 4 at a Woodland Hills assisted-living facility from age-related complications, said his son, Nick Evans. He was 87.

From 1980 to 1995, Evans played Col. Douglas Austin, the best friend and sidekick of arrogant billionaire, Victor Newman, played by Eric Braeden, on CBS's long-running "The Young and the Restless." When Evans returned to the show in 1987 after a break, the Toronto Star said he brought back "great wit and comic relief."

In a statement, his "Young and Restless" co-star, Eric Braeden praised fellow thespian, Evans, "Michael Evans was a total professional from the old English school, a gentleman through and through."

In the late 1950s, Evans was cast as Professor Henry Higgins in the national touring production of "My Fair Lady," a part he played for years, performing in the United States and abroad, including in Russia. Critics noted his sharp resemblance to Rex Harrison, Broadway's original Higgins.

In 1961, The Los Angeles Times called Evans' turn as Higgins "expert and vital." The role remained a career highlight, partly because of the company's 1960 tour of Russia, which brought Western culture to the country at the height of the Cold War, his son said.

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Michael Evans as Professor Henry Higgins

in 'My Fair Lady'

A year later, he went on co-star in the 1951 original Broadway production of "Gigi" as the handsome and debonair Parisian, Gaston, who falls in love with young Gigi, played by Audrey Hepburn. The play, which made Hepburn a star, was based on the same novel by the French author Colette that was later turned into a Hollywood musical starring Leslie Caron.

John Michael Evans was born July 27, 1920, in Sittingbourne, England, to the former Marie Galbraith, a concert violinist, and A.J. Evans, a World War I flier who was a prisoner-of-war escapee and went on to write the 1926 novel, "The Escaping Club."

At 12, Evans saw John Gielgud in the Shakespeare play, "Richard II," and decided that he "wanted to be an actor from then on," he told the Toronto Star in 1992. During World War II, Evans served as a navigator for the Royal Air Force and flew during the blitz of London. Evans graduated in 1943 from Winchester College in England.

Evans went on to study at the Old Vic School in London and made his London stage debut in 1948. In 1950, he came to Broadway to play a secretive secretary in the short-lived comedy, "Ring Round the Moon." That same year, he married Pat Wedgewood; they had two sons and divorced after 25 years.

While making the 1963 film, "Bye Bye Birdie," Evans decided to move West and eventually appeared in more than 40 films and television shows including "Dr. Kildare," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "Hunter" and "I Spy," as well as the film, "Time After Time." He lived in North Hollywood for many years.

In addition to his son, Nick, Evans is survived by another son, Christopher, of Westport, California and two sisters, Rosemarie and Bridget. His second wife, Pat Sigris Evans, died in 1986.

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