Daughter Of “Lionel” (From “The Jeffersons”) Revealed Her Painful Experiences With Him

Posted On : March 23, 2023
“The Jeffersons” star, Mike Evans, who played “Lionel Jefferson”

We all love Mike Evans and the diversity he added to prime time TV back in the day. We came to know him as the character, “Lionel,” from “The Jeffersons” and it was he and his friend, Eric Monte’s, creative genius that gave us their sitcom creation, “Good Times.” But while we were getting to know Mike Evans, the actor, his daughter, Carlena Harris, was apparently getting to know him as her dad, whom she says neglected her all of her life. Carlena explains what they went through in an interview she did with The Charay Vaughn Show. The pain she expressed is just another reminder that it’s never too late to right our wrongs.

Evans’ Daughter On His Rejection Of Her

(L) “The Jeffersons” star, Mike Evans; (R) Evans’ daughter, Carlena Harris

Carlena Harris: My mother and my grandmother raised me 100%. My father he was just…he was alive, but he definitely wasn’t involved and at times he would even say he didn’t know who my father was, so…he wasn’t even always claiming me, but at times he would, you know. But was he a good father? No, never was a good father…and so at [age] 13 we actually concluded this foolishness and took a blood test and [the results] came out 99.9% [that he was my father]. At that point, he couldn’t say I wasn’t his anymore. But after that, he [still] just chose for whatever reason, to continue being separate and I just had to live with the fact that I didn’t have an…earthly father who wanted me, but the thing with that is it certainly caused me to be closer to my heavenly father and got me to a point where I was content. I guess…I could have a human father, but a human father can only do but so much, but when the God of the universe is your daddy, it certainly makes a difference and I’m walking in that now.

On what it was like for her when her dad, Mike Evans, passed away…

CH: He died in December of ’06 and it’s interesting because he actually died of throat cancer. He was a smoker [and he died] without a tongue in his mouth, broke and very miserable. And so uh, it was actually quite a sad and tragic death and he ultimately died in his mother’s house.

Carlena on whether or not she and her father, Mike Evans, ever established any type of relationship prior to him passing away from cancer:

CH: No, not at all. The last time that I talked to him literally I was 21 years old and at that time is when…his last couple words in that conversation to me was that he didn’t know if he was even my father and I said ‘uh I have blood tests that say you are my father’ and he said “Well I don’t know, maybe you should consider my brother.” I said ‘WHAT?!! Who’s your brother? Nobody even knows who your brother is.’ This is clearly some stuff that took place with him and my Momma that I know nothing about…um, I’m clearly innocent and at that time I’m just like ‘I just don’t understand, I just don’t.’

So I mean it was a long story, he ended up calling me back because that was like pretty tragic and I was just like ‘Who’s my father?’ I’m calling my Momma, I’m calling my Grandmomma like ‘What’s going on?’ And they both told me “You know who your dad is, he knows who he is too, whatever.” I even put [out] an ad that was in the National Enquirer, Wendy Williams did something [on my story] and it was just, it was a mess. [But after] that point I decided ‘You know what? I’m not going to the media’…and eventually I decided I just had to suck it up, ‘this man doesn’t want me,’ you know? It was pathetic but I had to come to the conclusion that I can’t make a person acknowledge, accept, or want me. It just so happened that a couple years after that, he died and the rest is history.

How She Forgave Him

Carlena said things eventually started to change for her, after she said ‘God told her’ to go to L.A., where her sister, Tammy (who’s also Mike Evan’s daughter), was living in their Grandmother’s home. That was the same home that their Dad, died in. Carlena ended up having to sleep in the same room her dad died in and says she ‘felt his spirit’ talk to her, asking her to save his his home, which was about to be foreclosed.

She said that’s when she realized that in death, her father not only needed her, but also finally accepted her, which she says then allowed her to fully forgive him.