As a child actor, Johnny Crawford loved working with adults on the set of The Rifleman

Crawford loved his co-stars.

Peter Rodgers Organization

While child actors are often envied for being able to seek success at such a young age, audiences tend to forget that many young actors must forfeit a childhood when they become a star, losing a right to both their adolescence and, to some degree, their privacy.

Luckily, an actor like Johnny Crawford can look back at his time as a child actor with fondness instead of scorn. For five years, Crawford played Mark McCain, son of Lucas McCain, on the hit western series The Rifleman. Crawford began the series as a young boy and grew up before viewers' very eyes.

As an adult, Crawford revealed to The Los Angeles Times that he had nothing but good memories of the set of The Rifleman.

"It wasn't a very demanding part," he said of Mark McCain. The actor also clarified that while some child actors may feel out of place on a television set, he was right at home with his adult costars.

"I loved being with grown-ups, being treated as a grown-up, the interplay and having dialogue to learn," said Crawford.

It's also certainly helpful that, as such a young actor, Crawford used his opportunity on The Rifleman as a learning experience at the feet of one of the finest actors of all time, Chuck Connors. In an interview with The Times, a young Crawford reported that he had earned Connors' respect with his acting ability.

"Chuck Connors tells me that I have improved so much since I first started with the show that it really astounds him," Crawford said. "It also pleases him because that's the kind of guy Chuck is. I appreciate his encouragement."

Crawford was also careful to remain realistic about his situation, despite his growing fame. "It was drummed into me by very smart people, people I respect, that you can be a boy wonder today and a flop tomorrow," he said. "So I realized that I had to be a well-rounded person. I don't think I'm handsome so I can't get by on looks. I'm no Laurence Olivier so I had to work hard, to study, to improve my acting."

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3 Comments

tootsieg 6 days ago
I said it once and I will say it again. Johnny Crawford was robbed of an Emmy. For a child/teenage actor, he was amazing.
LoveMETV22 7 days ago
The Rifleman is a great show. Think Johnny Crawford was an important part of the cast," 99% behind
Chuck Connors. The reverence and respect Johnny Crawford displayed towards adult cast members was/is 100% admirable. The role child actors on any number of series is understated! TV series would be pretty boring if there were nothing but adult actors!
Runeshaper 8 days ago
Sounds like Crawford was a very grateful, appreciative, and realistic young man (-:
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