Y&R’s Michael Evans (Douglas) Passed Away
Sadly, Michael Evans, who portrayed lovable “Colonel Douglas Austin” on “The Young and the Restless” from 1980 to 1985 and then 1987 to 1995, after an incredible 16 year run, passed away on September 4, 2007, at age 87, for causes related to age. Genoa city lost one of its own.
His long and varied acting career spanned 40 years, from starring on Broadway, in films and on television. Mr. Evans was a veteran of several national touring companies over the years and earned the reputation as a consummate comedic and musical theatre professional.
In Great Britain, he was born John Michael Evans, at “The Ramblers” his family’s place at Sittingbourne, County of Kent. His mother was the former Marie Galbraith, a concert violinist who was born in Dublin, Ireland. His father, A.J. Evans, an R.A.F. decorated Ace, shot down twice in WWI and captured, then escaping both Prisoner of war camps. After the war, he went on to pen the novel “Escapers Club,” the first ever escape novel. He was Captain Cricket on the English Cricket National Team, an over-fifty bracket Wimbledon Champion and loved sports, as well as an author.
Evans worked at The Old Vic, choosing this over an offer from the Royal Shakespeare Repertory. He studied with legendary acting coach Michel St. Denis and eventually moved to the United States to do Broadway in a show called “Ring Around The Moon,” in which he appeared opposite Harry Belafonte. This proved successful for him and both Belafonte and Evans toured across the country extensively afterward.
Evans won a coveted starring role in “Gigi,” opposite Audrey Hepburn, an ingenue at the time, which heightened his career. He was extremely influential with Hepburn and her early stage career and the show catapulted her to stardom.
Evans then continued with a starring role as Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” with the National Company. Evans starred in this role for thousands of performances, travelling across the country and the world. He also toured with the National Company on the legendary “My Fair Lady Train.” He kept a difficult schedule of live performances within this epic musical.
He once again returned to Broadway in “Mary, Mary”. He soon had a fascination with Hollywood and appeared in the film version of “Bye-Bye Birdie” (as Claude Paisley). Many films and countless TV roles followed.
He settled in Hollywood with his family after spending time in Greenwich Village. His appearances began, ranging from celebrated showcases like Kraft Theater and Studio One to more mainstream popular television series like “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Perry Mason.”
Evans was also the narrator of “Oliver Twist And The Artful Dodger,” a two-episode Hanna-Barbera feature, becoming part of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie in 1972.
His voice was cast in Hanna-Barbera’s “Black Beauty,” a special which aired in 1978 as part of CBS’s Famous Classic Tales series. His other TV animation credits include the H-B series “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids” and “Scooby and Scrappy-Doo,” as well as Ruby-Spears Productions’ “Puppy’s New Adventure”.
He joined “Young and The Restless” in 1980 as the always-entertaining Douglas Austin. He was a loyal friend to Victor, Nikki and even Kay Chancellor. In his second stint with the show he met and fell in love with Boobsie. His long-running role in “Y&R” grew from popular response to his early appearances as “The Colonel,” Douglas Austin.
Among the many highlights of Mr. Evans’ career was the Russian tour of “My Fair Lady” that was undertaken at the height of the cold war. Kruschev himself attended, and the tour was seen as a groundbreaking cultural exchange, as well as an artistic triumph, bringing Henry Higgins to Moscow and beyond.
He met his Patricia Wedgwood, his first wife and mother of his children, London at The Players Bar, Chelsea. They were married for 25 years.
Pat Sigris Evans, his second wife, died in 1986. He is survived by sisters Rosemarie and Bridget, as well as by sons Nick Evans, of Beverly Hills, California, and Christopher Evans, of Northern California.
Private services were held on September 14, 2007 at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. Donations may be made in Michael’s name to The Wildlife WayStation in Sylmar, California.
All of us here at Soaps.com express our deepest condolences to his family and friends during such a difficult time.
Photo credit: CBS
Originally written September 26, 2007. Refreshed September 7, 2016.