At Soapdom.com we meet and get to know many wonderful, talented and enthusiastic people in the soap industry. But no one compares to the late Josh Ryan Evans, the diminutive actor who played the living-doll-come-to-life, Timmy, on NBC's Passions.
I first got to know Josh when we visited the set of Passions for an afternoon several years ago. He was so warm, charming, intelligent and talkative! He dished about his career, his favorite memories of being cast on Ally McBeal, and how much fun he was having being Timmy on Passions. I was struck by just how small he was (between 37-38 inches tall, depending on who is measuring), but just as struck by how unaffected by it he was. For him, size didn't matter, except that it made him that much more special as an actor.
On this, our first ever meeting with him, he told us about how much he respected David E. Kelley and how he enjoyed working on Ally McBeal: "That was such an honor," he said. "Peter MacNicol, who worked with me on the film Baby Genusis, introduced me to David Kelley. About a week after I spoke with David Kelley, I got a call from the casting office saying 'may we have your address, David Kelley wrote a part for you.' I was doing taxes at this time, on my computer, thinking oh this (doing taxes) is awful, but then I get a call from David E. Kelley's office and I was like WOAH! Forget about taxes! I am going (to LA). Then, the next summer I proceeded to write a letter to David saying that I wanted to be on the show again. And apparently, he agreed with me 'cos he wrote me into a script within two days, and I was back on Ally!"
He told us about his first acting job: "I got sent to New York first class. I stayed at the Paramount Hotel. People who are familiar with New York and know the Paramount Hotel, it's very, very chic. And for not going more than a two-block radius all your life, that's pretty thrilling!" That was about four years prior. "So much has happened to me since then," he said. "I can't believe it!"
He told us about being nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award in 2000 and how he found out about his nomination: "I got a call from the assistant to the Executive Producer (of Passions) saying please call the Executive Producer. And I freaked! I was like why does she want to talk to me? Did I do something wrong? I called her and she said 'Josh, I want to inform you that you are nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award.' I was like YESSSS! My mother actually found out about it before I did. I was in (the) Hair (room) and she found out about it and transferred (the call) to Hair. The first person I told after that was everybody on set, cos I was working at the time. Then I told my grandmother and my father."
Josh was also opening the Soap Opera Digest Awards show that night. He had some reservations: "I am nervous because I open the show, and just in case I win, I am really nervous about what I am going to say because I haven't really thought about it. And I may ramble, 'cos I ramble when I am very excited, like I am doing right now! I will be gracious, but I don't know. I've never been to (an Awards show) before!"
He made quite an elegant entrance. He showed up in a floor-length black tuxedo jacket. Josh did win the SOD Award that night. He was to win again in 2001. He was also nominated for a Young Artist Award and a Daytime Emmy in 2001. He won the Young Star Award in 2000. He was likewise nominated and won two Soapdom Cybby Awards in 2001.
Josh had a great sense of humor and would arrive at premieres and openings dressed the part. When the Hard Rock Café opened at Universal Studios, Orlando, he showed up dressed as a miniature Elvis, white jeweled jumpsuit, shades and all!
Josh was one of the main reasons I couldn't wait for Passions, the new soap on NBC, to begin airing in the summer of 1999. I just had to see the character of Timmy, the Living Doll. His martimmies, fear of Fluffy, speaking in the third person, and love and loyalty to Tabitha were my favorite things about the character.
On Monday night, August 5, 2002 my husband and I had just settled into bed. We had the news on the televison, KABC in Los Angeles. When Marc Brown said something like, "Young soap actor, Josh Ryan Evans died this evening in San Diego undergoing an evaluation for a heart ailment," my first reaction was "What? That can't be. He just died on the show today. He didn't die in real life." But I was only half right. He had in fact died in real life, the same day his character Timmy died on Passions.
In his mere 20 years, Josh accomplished more than many of us with far more mileage. He starred in feature films beside Peter MacNicol and Jim Carey (How the Grinch Stole Christmas). He starred on a number of televison series, and landed a contract role on a soap for which he was nominated and won awards. He wasn't afraid to make his dreams come true. Way to go, Josh. You will be missed.
Our tribute to Josh Ryan Evans continues…
The Time I Met Josh Ryan Evans
by Jessica Radloff
Although I only met Josh Ryan Evans once, I will always remember his graciousness and enthusiasm. Before I came to work at Soapdom, I was an intern at the Young and the Restless. As it turned out, the show gave me and my mom tickets to the awards show, in which Josh was nominated for Outstanding Scene Stealer. Although I had never watched Passions before, I couldn’t help but smile when Josh went on stage to accept his award. The joy and happiness he brought to his work will always be an inspiration to me.
As the ceremony came to a close, I walked out of the Hollywood Palladium with Hunter Preisendorfer (ex-Noah, Y&R) and his family. As the other stars were waiting for their limousines to whisk them away, Hunter’s mom and I spotted Josh. We couldn’t help ourselves but go up to him and ask for a picture. When I approached Josh, he was so happy to indulge my request, but he was worried that I would ruin my dress by bending down on both feet!
After taking the picture, Hunter’s mom wanted to get a picture with her son and Josh, but Hunter was too afraid. You see, Hunter was three-years-old at the time, and couldn’t understand why, with Josh being the same size as he, how he could he be so intelligent and adult-like. In response, Hunter started crying, but Josh went out of his way to comfort Hunter and show him that he was harmless. In the end, Hunter’s mom got in the picture to help calm her son’s anxieties, but it was Josh’s natural disposition and attitude that eventually helped Hunter to be at ease around him.
I was completely taken aback and deeply saddened when I heard of Josh’s death. Although I had only met him that one time, I admired the way he always conducted himself and lived each day to the fullest. As a kid, Josh turned to TV to help him get through the rough times he endured. Now we thank Josh for coming on TV and entertaining us. He has done us proud.
My Memories of Josh Ryan Evans
By Lesleyann Medeiros
I had the pleasure of knowing Josh Ryan Evans during the first year of Passions while I was a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine. He was one of my favorite people to interview, as he always wanted to talk and was very friendly and outgoing.
I have many fond memories of my time with him. I will never forget him teasing me because I hadn't seen the movie Star Wars. Every time I would come to the set he would always ask me if I had rented it yet, and I would always say no. Then he would take me to his dressing room and show me his Star Wars memorabilia and try and sell me on the movie. Maybe I will see it for him now.
I remember when Josh landed his role in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He was so excited to be in a Ron Howard movie because it marked the pinnacle of his big screen dreams. The first time he wore his yellow glowing Grinch eye contacts he was thrilled. He brought Polaroid's to the Passions set to show everyone. For the next month or two, even while he was taping scenes, those Polaroids were in his pocket and he was always offering to show them to anyone.
It was also around this time that Josh bought one of those Razor scooters so he could zip around the lot between the set of Passions and the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I had seen the scooters all around town, as they were quite the rage then, but had never ridden one. Josh took great delight in watching as I clumsily attempted to balance on the scooter. I can still hear his laughter.
Josh was always laughing and smiling and upbeat, no matter how lousy he might have felt physically. Once, in a rare serious moment, he told me about the three heart operations he had had as a child and how his long stays in the hospital had inspired him to help kids in similar situations. It was a promise he made to himself early in life, and one he kept. Josh had no greater joy than his work on behalf of the Make a Wish Foundation, and other children's charities.
Josh signed all of his autographs with his personal motto, "Dream Big." He used to tell me, "It is not the size of the dreamer that matters, but the size of the dream." Josh lived his life this way and encouraged others to do the same. It speaks volumes about his strength of character that a kid from Hayward, California, without any Hollywood connections or an agent, could move to LA with only his mother and a business card that read - Josh Ryan Evans - Kid, and see those show biz dreams realized.
I think my favorite memory of Josh and perhaps the most telling, is a conversation we shared during a Q&A interview. The interview featured standard questions such as, what is your favorite movie, favorite food, who can you imitate, etc. One of the questions was "What is the one thing you would change about your appearance if you could?" I remember feeling somewhat uncomfortable asking Josh that question, but he had already heard me pose the question to other actors, so I decided not to skip it with him. He paused and smiled and said, "Well, you know, I think I would like to be a little taller," and laughed his hearty laugh. Then he said, "No, don't print that. I am actually very happy the way I am. My height is part of me and makes me special, as it has opened doors for my career. I wouldn't change a thing."
I remember thinking that was a profound answer to a silly question. It is very rare you find someone in show business or even "real" life, who is comfortable with who they are, and better yet, happy with who they are. Josh was both, and I will always remember that. That is his gift to me, and I feel like it was my privilege to have known him for a brief time.
We have also heard from many of Josh's fans. Here is one such letter…
"I am deeply sadden by the death of JOSH RYAN EVANS. I loved him, and my whole family enjoyed seeing him everyday. Passions will not be the same to us. I hope they get someone equally as talented as Josh to play opposite Juliet Mills, but our TIM TIM could never be replaced. May he rest in peace. I will never forget him." Thelma C.
Dedicated in loving memory to Josh Ryan Evans. A young man with a big talent and an even bigger heart. He lived his dream and in so doing, inspires us all.
Josh Ryan Evans 1982-2002
- Passions @ Soapdom
- Josh Ryan Evans Bio
- Soap Opera Awards 2000
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