Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Anne Of Green Gables?

If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, chances are you will feel a swell of nostalgia when you think of "Anne of Green Gables." The 1985 miniseries was an adaptation of the iconic Canadian children's book of the same name by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The story follows a smart, well-read, red-headed orphan who is adopted by an elderly brother and sister who live in a tiny town in the province of Prince Edward Island in Canada. Anne (with an "E," as she would say) quickly transforms both the family and their town with her big imagination and her endearing personality. It's a heartwarming tale that many of us will probably cite as one of our favorite childhood TV shows.

You may be surprised to learn that "Anne of Green Gables" was released over 30 years ago. In the decades that followed the legendary show, the actors have all gone their separate ways — although many of them came back together for the follow-up 1987 series "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" and the 2000 "Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story." Curious to find out what happened to Anne, Gilbert, Marilla, and Diana? Here is what happened to the cast of "Anne of Green Gables."

Megan Follows starred in Heartland and other Canadian projects

Megan Follows played the precocious and lovable Anne in "Anne of Green Gables." She then appeared in shows like "Second Chances," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Fugitive," "The X Files," "CSI," "Lie To Me," "House," and the list goes on. In 2013, she took on another starring role as Catherine de Medici in a show about Mary Queen of Scotts called "Reign." Then from 2009 to 2021, Follows also starred on "Heartland" as Lily Borden (via IMDb).

Follows truly enjoyed the time she spent on "Anne of Green Gables." As the actress told Stuff, "Anne will always have a very dear place in my heart. I feel incredibly fortunate to have played her and I am always touched by how much my portrayal of this strong, iconic, young female character has meant to people." 

However, Follows career has certainly moved on from Anne. Not only did she gain a new following of fans for her performance in "Reign," she also got the chance to direct a few episodes. "I definitely look forward to continuing to develop my skills and my craft as a director and I'm excited for more opportunities to work in that capacity," she added. It seems as though Follows isn't slowing down any time soon!

Colleen Dewhurst died in 1991 after an impressive career

Colleen Dewhurst was a hugely important part of "Anne of Green Gables." As the severe, no-nonsense Marilla Cuthbert, who adopted Anne, it was touching to see her soften and warm to Anne over the course of the show. While Dewhurst became a household name in Canada after playing Marilla, she had plenty of other credits to her name. Sadly, she died in 1991.

Dewhurst's obituary in The New York Times detailed her impressive resume. In addition to her screen credits, Dewhurst had enjoyed an incredible theatrical career prior to "Anne of Green Gables." After getting her start on Broadway in the plays of Eugene O'Neill, Dewhurst went on to act in multiple other Broadway productions. Some of Dewhurst's biggest film and TV credits include "Annie Hall," "The Cowboys," and "Murphy Brown." She even served as the president of Equity, the actors' association, where she made a big impact as an activist. In her later years, Dewhurst lived on a farm in upstate New York. She once wrote, "The farm is my eye in the storm, my sanity, my safety, my knowledge that there is a place that I do exist."

Richard Farnsworth died in 2000 after a cancer diagnosis

Richard Farnsworth played the quiet, excruciatingly shy Matthew Cuthbert in "Anne of Green Gables" who became a father figure for Anne after he and his sister adopted her. Farnsworth was already a well-known actor at the time of the miniseries, having worked as an actor since 1937 with roles in numerous westerns as an actor and stuntman (via IMDb). Farnsworth's big break came in the 1978 film "Comes a Horseman" as a ranch hand; the role earned him his first Oscar nomination. In 1982, he got his first leading role in "The Grey Fox."

After "Anne of Green Gables," Farnsworth continued to work as an actor. His last role in 1999 was playing the lead in David Lynch's "The Straight Story," a role which earned him another Oscar nomination, making him the oldest best actor nominee at the time. Sadly, he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer while filming. As his partner Jewely Van Valin told The Guardian, "He was very ill in that movie, but, phenomenally, he made it through. He didn't want the world to know he was sick." In 2000, the pain from his illness became too much for Farnsworth and he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Patricia Hamilton was best known for her role in Anne of Green Gables but enjoyed a long career

Patricia Hamilton played the gossipy Rachel Lynde in "Anne of Green Gables." She was already a respected Canadian actress at the time, having won multiple awards for her contributions to Toronto theater (via Encyclopedia.com). After "Anne of Green Gables," Hamilton made a few TV appearances over the years, but her main focus appeared to be theater. In fact, she appeared in 11 productions after the show (via About the Artists).

In 2013, Hamilton spoke about her time on "Anne of Green Gables." Apparently, her very first scene was the one where she yells at Anne and she was a little star struck by her co-star. "It was a huge, big, emotional scene for me," she revealed. "I had only met Kevin [the director] in auditions ... so first take, up they come I'm in the middle of screaming and I suddenly realize I am screaming at Colleen Dewhurst."

Hamilton doesn't appear to be working much anymore, as her last theatrical appearance came in 2013 when she appeared in "True West" at Toronto's Soulpepper Theater. Her son, Ben Carlson, has also become a well-known Canadian theater actor.

Schuyler Grant, a relative of Katharine Hepburn, stopped acting and became a yoga teacher

Schuyler Grant played Diana Barry, Anne's best friend, in "Anne of Green Gables." Grant had a slight advantage getting into the entertainment industry, as her great-aunt was the famous Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn

Playing Diana in "Anne of Green Gables" was Grant's first professional role. She went on to appear in a few films and in "Law & Order" and "All My Children." However, she quit acting after reprising her role of Diana in the 2000 miniseries "Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story" (via IMDb).

Since then, Grant has become a famous yoga teacher. She also founded the Kula Yoga Project in New York City and created a yoga brand called Wanderlust. As she writes on her website, "She's very happy to have come full circle: A healthy food cooking, composing, chicken-raising mother to three daughters, all of whom she birthed at home."

Jonathan Crombie from Anne of Green Gables tragically died at 48

"Anne of Green Gables" would not have been complete without Gilbert Blythe, Anne's schoolmate and eventual love interest. Gilbert was played by the young Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie. Crombie had come from an important Canadian family: his father was the former mayor of Toronto. Gilbert was his first role and he was just 17 when he was cast.

After "Anne of Green Gables," Crombie appeared in several TV movies and TV shows, including the famous Canadian comedy "Slings and Arrows." He also starred in the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone" on Broadway, which his sister later described as his "proudest part." Sadly, Crombie died of a brain hemorrhage in 2015 when he was just 48 years old. As his sister told the CBC at the time, "I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions ... he really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it — we all were."

Charmion King continued acting till her death in 2007

Charmion King played Aunt Josephine in "Anne of Green Gables," Diana's strict old great-aunt, who Anne wins over. King was already a well-known Canadian actress at the time. She began her career acting in University plays at the University of Toronto. King then began working in New York theater productions. She then returned to Canada where she continued to work in theater.

While King's best known TV role may have been in "Anne of Green Gables," she also appeared in "The Newsroom," "Twitch City," and "Wind at My Back," while continuing to work on stage.

In 2007, King died at the age of 81. Canadian artistic director Albert Schultz told The Globe and Mail at the time, "She was the grande dame of Canadian Theater," while her family said, "To the very end, Charm stood up for the creative arts in Canada. She was a steadfast believer in the creative spirit of this country, its culture ... her cry was always ... get on with it and be proud."

Jackie Burroughs was a well-known Canadian actress until her death in 2010

You may remember Jackie Burroughs as Hetty King, the schoolteacher who made her first appearance in "Anne of Green Gables" and later became the guardian of Sarah Stanley in "Road to Avonlea." Burroughs had begun her career as a Canadian stage actress, working at the famous Stratford Festival. In addition to her role in "Anne of Green Gables," Burroughs also co-directed and co-wrote the film "A Winter Tan."

Burroughs was married to the well-known Canadian musician Zalman Yanovsky from the band The Lovin' Spoonful in the '60s. In 2010, she died at the age of 71. At the time, Sarah Polley, who was her co-star in "Road to Avonlea," told The Globe and Mail she was "an artist in the most true, pure, brutal sense of the word." It's clear Burroughs made a big impact in her role in the "Anne of Green Gables" universe.

Rosemary Radcliffe continued her acting career after Anne of Green Gables

Rosemary Radcliffe played Diana Barry's mother, Mrs. Barry, in "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel." She was a kind, bumbling woman who tried to make Anne feel at home. Radcliffe began her career in Second City, the Canadian sketch comedy troupe, before taking on multiple roles on stage and screen. Her best-known work includes the film "Married Life," which earned her a Gemini nomination, and an appearance on the Canadian show "Frankie Drake" (via Breakdown Express).

In 2018, Radcliffe appeared on "The Front Porch Show" in her hometown of St. Mary's Ontario, where she discussed her career. "I began to paint because I got fed up with, with — you know, Canada as an actor it kind of chews you up and spits you out, and you're kind of wondering what to do next," she explained. Apparently, Radcliffe "got tired of that," too, and instead, turned to composing. "I've just finished a wonderful anthem for pipe organ," she revealed. Sounds like she's certainly been staying busy and staying creative.

Miranda de Pencier became a well-known Canadian director

You may remember Miranda de Pencier as Josie Pye in "Anne of Green Gables." Josie was the school bully who had a crush on Gilbert and became Anne's nemesis. Since appearing in the show, de Pencier has made a few more TV appearances, but has transitioned from acting into directing and producing.

De Pencier completed the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program in 1998 and went on to found the film and television company Northwood Entertainment. Her producing credits include "Thanks for Sharing," "The Kids Are Alright," "Adam," and "Beginners." In 2018, she made her debut directorial debut with "The Grizzlies," which earned her the Director's Guild of Canada Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film (via CFC).

Funnily enough, de Pencier ended up being one of the executive producers on the new "Anne of Green Gables" series "Anne With An E." In 2019, de Pencier announced that the show was coming to an end on Instagram, writing, "We have loved making this show for Canada and the world — telling important and emotional stories from the heart." It's pretty cool that this actress has been involved in the "Anne of Green Gables" universe for her whole career!

Jayne Eastwood from Anne of Green Gables is still acting in films

Jayne Eastwood played Mrs. Hammond in "Anne of Green Gables." Mrs. Hammond was the woman who took care of Anne before she moved in with the Cuthberts. Eastwood has had a long and impressive career since her appearance on the show, too; you may remember her as Mrs. White in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," or as Norma in "Dawn of the Dead." She's even set to star as the grandmother in an upcoming remake of "Home Alone" (via IMDb).

In an interview for You Are UNLTD, Eastwood spoke about getting older. "I am the laziest old lady you've ever met in your life, and I like my cocktails," she revealed. "I go about everything the wrong way ... I think I have strong genes in my family." 

Eastwood also opened up about her career in the interview. In 2019, she received an ACTRA Award for her 50 year career. As she said, "I don't see myself [as a Canadian icon]." She added, "I just feel like a lucky old broad who gets to do the stuff that she really wants to do, namely acting."

Wendy Lyon has appeared in some well-known projects after Anne of Green Gables

You may remember Wendy Lyon as the pretty, weepy Prissy Andrews. Prissy ends up marrying Mr. Phillips, the Avonlea schoolteacher. She was played by Wendy Lyon, who went on to act in a number of well-known projects, including "Prom Night II," "Sailor Moon," "Murdoch Mysteries," and "Pure." In 2017, Lyon played Sally the secretary in the Oscar-winning film "The Shape of Water." In 2019, she played Carrie Rhodes in the show "Designated Survivor" (via IMDb).

"Prom Night II" has become something of a cult classic and might still be Lyon's most well-known role. As TV Tropes noted, "The film has developed a small cult following after its release on home video, and got a direct-to-video sequel of its own: 'Prom Night III: The Last Kiss.'" In 2020, the film was even featured on the "Horror Queens" podcast and in 2021, SyFyWire revisited the cult classic.

Mag Ruffman appeared in multiple Canadian projects after Anne of Green Gables

Mag Ruffman played Alice Lawson in "Anne of Green Gables," the wide-eyed shop assistant who tried to help Matthew overcome his shyness at the store where he was trying to buy Anne her dream puffed-sleeved dress. Ruffman later confessed at Avcon that she had a bit of a crush on Richard Farnsworth at the time! Ruffman later took on the leading role of Olivia Dale in "Road to Avonlea," and voiced Lilly in the children's show "Timothy Goes to School." In 2017, Ruffman played Diane in the mini-series "Alias Grace" and Linda in the Netflix film "Christmas Inheritance" (via IMDb).

In addition to her acting career, Ruffman started a series of home improvement shows on the W Network, calling herself the "Tool Girl." As she told Zoomer, "I'd always wanted to learn more about that stuff, ever since my camp days when I was 12. ... I had the rather awkward career trajectory of going from an actress on a really popular TV series to a building contractor." As Ruffman explained, she knew that it would be hard to find work after she turned 40, so she turned to lifestyle television.

Marilyn Lightstone is an important part of the Canadian entertainment industry

Marilyn Lightstone played Mirr Stacy on "Anne of Green Gables," the kind, smart school teacher who replaces Mr. Phillips and who becomes a mentor for Anne. Lightstone reprised her role in "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel," and in "Road to Avonlea." She's also appeared in numerous Canadian TV shows and films, including, "Cheers," "Cagney and Lacey," and "Street Legal" (via IMDb).

According to Lightstone's personal website, she's also a well respected stage actress, having played Goneril in "King Lear" in New York, Masha in "The Seagull" at Canada's Stratford Festival," and Leah in "The Dybbuk," which earned Lightstone a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award.

These days, Lightstone is also known for her painting, graphic art, and photography. Plus, she's the host of "Nocturne" on Classical FM in Toronto. She's also written a few books. It sounds like this woman can quite literally do it all!