Johnny Crawford

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Johnny Crawford

Johnny Crawford with Chuck Connors in
The Rifleman, c. 1959
BornJohn Ernest Crawford
(1946-03-26) March 26, 1946 (age 66)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationActor, singer, musician, band leader
Years active1954–1999
Spouse(s)Charlotte Crawford (1995-present)
Relatives

Father Robert L. Crawford, Sr.

Brother Robert L. Crawford, Jr.
Website
http://www.thejohnnycrawford.com/
 
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Johnny Crawford

Johnny Crawford with Chuck Connors in
The Rifleman, c. 1959
BornJohn Ernest Crawford
(1946-03-26) March 26, 1946 (age 66)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationActor, singer, musician, band leader
Years active1954–1999
Spouse(s)Charlotte Crawford (1995-present)
Relatives

Father Robert L. Crawford, Sr.

Brother Robert L. Crawford, Jr.
Website
http://www.thejohnnycrawford.com/

John Ernest "Johnny" Crawford (born March 26, 1946) is a prolific American character actor, singer and musician. At 12, Crawford rose to fame for playing Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain (played by Chuck Connors), in the popular ABC western series, The Rifleman, which originally aired from 1958 to 1963. He first performed before a national audience as a Mouseketeer.

Life and career

Crawford was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Betty (née Megerlin) and Robert Lawrence Crawford, Sr. His maternal grandparents were both Belgian, and his maternal grandfather was violinist Alfred Eugene Megerlin.[1][2][3] In 1959, Johnny, his older brother Robert L. Crawford, Jr., a co-star of NBC's Laramie series, and their father Robert, Sr., were all nominated for Emmy Awards (the brothers for acting and their father for film editing).

One of Walt Disney's original Mouseketeers in 1955, Crawford has acted on stage, in films, and on television.

Disney started out with twenty-four original Mouseketeers. At the end of the first season, the studio reduced the number to 12 and Johnny was released from his contract. His first important break as an actor followed with the title role in a Lux Video Theatre production of "Little Boy Lost," a live NBC broadcast on March 15, 1956. Following that performance, the young actor worked steadily with many seasoned actors and directors. Freelancing for two-and-a-half years, he accumulated almost 60 television credits, including featured roles in three episodes of NBC's The Loretta Young Show and an appearance as Manuel in "I Am an American," an episode of the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise. By the spring of 1958, he had also performed fourteen demanding roles in live teleplays for NBC's Matinee Theatre, appeared on CBS's sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, and the syndicated series, Crossroads, Sheriff of Cochise, and Whirlybirds, and made three pilots for a series. The third pilot, which was made as an episode of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, was picked up by ABC and the first season of The Rifleman began filming in July 1958.

He was nominated for an Emmy Award at the age of thirteen for his role as Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain, played by Chuck Connors, in the Four Star Television series The Rifleman, which originally aired from 1958 to 1963. During this time, Crawford had wide popularity with American teenagers and a recording career that generated five Top 40 hits, including the single "Cindy's Birthday," which peaked at #8 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1962. His other hits included "Rumors" (#12, 1962), "Your Nose is Gonna Grow" (#14, 1962), and "Proud" (#29, 1963).

Late in 1961, Crawford appeared as Victor in the episode "A Very Bright Boy" of the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show.[4] Earlier his brother Robert had also been a guest star on The Donna Reed Show.

Throughout The Rifleman's five seasons, there was a remarkable on-screen chemistry between Connors and Crawford in the depiction of their father-son relationship. They were still close friends when Connors died on November 10, 1992, and Crawford gave a eulogy at his memorial.

Among his films, Crawford plays an American Indian in the unique adventure film, Indian Paint (1965). He gets mixed up with a disturbed young girl played by Kim Darby in The Restless Ones (1965), and he gets shot by John Wayne in El Dorado (1966).

While enlisted in the United States Army for two years, he worked on training films as a production coordinator, assistant director, script supervisor, and occasional actor. His rank was sergeant at the time of his honorable discharge in December 1967.

In 1968 he played a soldier wanted for murder in "By the Numbers," an episode of Jack Lord's Hawaii Five-O.

The Resurrection of Broncho Billy was a USC student film he agreed to do as a favor to his close friend, producer John Longenecker. It won the 1970 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Subject.

The Naked Ape was a partially animated 1973 feature film starring Johnny Crawford and Victoria Principal, produced by Hugh Hefner.[5] In an article about that movie he became the first man to be shown in full-frontal nudity in Playboy magazine.[6]

Crawford had a key role in the early career of Victoria Jackson of Saturday Night Live fame; after appearing together in a summer stock production of "Meet Me in St. Louis," he presented her a one-way airline ticket to California and encouraged her to pursue a Hollywood career. This led to her early television appearances on The Tonight Show before she was cast as a regular on Saturday Night Live.

Since 1992, Johnny Crawford has led a California-based vintage dance orchestra which performs at special events. His band has been sponsored by the Playboy Jazz Festival, and has been the repeated choice for fifteen annual Art Directors Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton. A remastered version of the orchestra's highly rated first album, "Sweepin' the Clouds Away," was officially released on September 30, 2011.

He reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Charlotte Samco, in 1990, and they married in 1995.[7]

In 2012, Johnny Crawford did an introductory commercial for The Rifleman for MeTV, saying, "Watch me on me, MeTV, on The Rifleman!"

4-Frames.jpg
Stills from The Resurrection of Broncho Billy

References

External links