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Joshua Evans, 20; 3-Foot, 2-Inch Actor Starred in TV's 'Passions'

Obituaries

August 07, 2002|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Joshua Ryan Evans, who portrayed the 8-year-old version of actor Jim Carrey in the motion picture "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," acted as a child prodigy lawyer in television's "Ally McBeal" and was best known as Timmy the living doll in the NBC soap opera "Passions," has died. He was 20.

Evans, who suffered from a rare growth disorder that limited his adult height to 3 feet 2, died Monday in a San Diego hospital of complications from a congenital heart condition, NBC officials announced.

The diminutive young man often said he chose acting because he spent so much time watching movies and television while recuperating from surgeries as a child.

"I thought, if it's all pretend, why can't I do that?" he told The Times in 2000 when the Grinch movie was released.

By then, Evans was already something of a cult figure for his role as Timmy. The character, which he had portrayed since the inception of "Passions" in 1999, is a doll turned into a real boy by a witch named Tabitha.

Associated Press reported that in Monday's episode of the soap--taped last month--Evans' character Timmy died. The NBC announcement said future episodes have been edited to remove any scenes that included Timmy.

Evans earned two consecutive Soap Opera Digest Awards for outstanding male scene stealer for the living-doll role.

Even though his makeup as the young Grinch required 5 1/2 hours a day--two more than for Carrey--Evans relished the role and working with director and former child star Ron Howard. "It was wonderful," Evans told an interviewer. "Every time I got to see Ron it was an honor."

When the film was released nearly two years ago, Howard told The Times that Evans' role as the furry green classroom misfit was envisioned as a mere walk-on--until he met the tiny actor.

"As it turned out, [Evans] was able to create a character and generate a lot of heart for the story," Howard said then. " ... Josh was just delightful."

Evans was pint-sized lawyer Oren Koolie challenging series star Calista Flockhart in two episodes of her "Ally McBeal" series in 1998.

The native of Hayward, Calif., also played circus performer Tom Thumb opposite Beau Bridges in the 1999 Arts and Entertainment cable presentation of "P.T. Barnum" and was one of the toddlers in the 1999 film "Baby Geniuses" starring Kathleen Turner.

Evans also appeared on "7th Heaven" and in Showtime's "Poltergeist: The Legacy."

The actor got his first break in show business at age 12 when he was featured in a national commercial for Dreyer's ice cream titled "The Dancing Baby." The commercial won a Cleo Award.

Evans is survived by his parents, Chuck and Cheryl Evans; a brother, James; and grandparents Gene and Belle Riding.

A memorial service is pending. The family has asked that any memorial donations be sent to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, P.O. Box 29119, Phoenix, AZ 85038-9119.

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