|Charlotte Samco||(14 February 1995 - present) (separated)|
Was one of Walt Disney's original Mouseketeers in 1955.
With five Top 40 hits in the 1960s, Crawford's recording of "Cindy's Birthday" peaked at #8 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1962.
Continued performing in theater and nightclubs after his early TV and pop-music heydays.
Crawford had a key role in the early career of Victoria Jackson of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) fame. In 1980, she was a college student in Birmingham, Alabama, earning credit doing flip-flops, as a member of the chorus, in a summer stock production of "Meet Me in St. Louis", featuring Crawford. He presented her with a one-way plane ticket and encouraged her to pursue a career in Hollywood. This led to her 22 appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962), before she was cast as a regular on "Saturday Night Live" (1975).
His maternal grandfather, Belgian violinist Alfred Megerlin (1880-1941), was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic (1918-1922), the Minneapolis Symphony (1923-1926), and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1927-1929).
His paternal grandfather, Robert "Bobby" Crawford (1889-1941), was a horse jockey from Chicago who changed his occupation to song "plugger" and became a very successful music publisher as the founder of De Sylva, Brown & Henderson and Crawford Music Corp.
A former member of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and the AJRA (American Junior Rodeo Association), he competed frequently at rodeos throughout the country during the 1960s and early 1970s.
Is of Russian, German, English and Irish ancestry.
Johnny has been a compulsive trick roper ever since Montie Montana got him spinning a "flat loop" in the very early days of The Rifleman, and horse wrangler Buster Trow taught him the "butterfly." After his Rifleman days Johnny was coached by Gene McLaughlin for many years.
His acting mentor was the late Chuck Connors.
He was a guest at the 2012 Memphis Film Festival's "A Gathering of Guns 4: A TV Western Reunion" at the Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
There were only about 50 people there, and they were all enjoying the band, and almost all were dancing. One fellow was standing off to the side watching for the longest time; it was Dustin Hoffman. He loved it. He said it reminded him of when he was a little boy and his parents took him to see Ted Lewis. Martin Short was a riot. He said, 'I wanna sing with Johnny Crawford!'
[on his orchestrated band]: It's a unique, romantic sound, and people love to hear it. It takes people back to an older America and a simpler, more elegant time. It's a sound I really love, and I find that once people get a chance to hear it live, in all its glory, that they love it, too.
[As to why his Mark McCain character became popular with audiences]: What boy wouldn't love dressing up as a cowboy and getting paid for it! It was hard work, and I took it very seriously as an actor, but I was living in a dream.
I always say that life is not easy for anybody. People hear about the young actors who have a rough life, but there are plenty of other kids who aren't actors who have a rough time, too, and I don't know if the ratio is any different.
[Comparing his character on "The Rifleman" (1958) to his real-life role as a bandleader]: The way I look at it, Mark McCain could have grown up to lead dance bands in the 1920s and '30s. As a young man who sang and played the guitar in two episodes, he might have made his way to Los Angeles, where there was lots of work for musicians in the early 1900s. By 1931, when he would have been the same age that I am now, he might have been leading his own band. I like to think he would have.
[on his on- and off-screen chemistry with Chuck Connors, who played Lucas McCain]: He was my hero. I enjoyed being with him. He wasn't as stern as he was on camera. He was like a kid around me.
[Of Chuck Connors]: Well, it was a great childhood, and he was bigger-than-life, a wonderful guy, very intelligent, and a big influence on me, and a great supporter, too. He was always interested in what I was doing and ready to give me advice or help me and he would call me out of the blue, and I really miss him. He left us in '92, and it's still a shock to me to think that he's not around because he had so much energy, and loved life and loved people, and he was 'The Rifleman.' He was that and a lot more.
(September 2006) Now director & chief vocalist of The Johnny Crawford Orchestra, he recently provided live accompaniment for a premiere screening of the restored, 1928 original silent version of "Chicago" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles.
(August 2008) Released August 5, Sweepin' the Clouds Away is the first album offered by Johnny Crawford And His Orchestra. It features fifteen authentic dance band orchestrations from the 1920s and 1930s, recorded during live performances at the L.A. County Museum of Art and in the historic Gold Room of the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. Vocals by Crawford. Music by Jerome Kern, 'Richard Rodgers', 'Harry Warren', Nacio Herb Brown, Duke Ellington and other music icons of that dance band era.
(July 2008) He played "Thor" in a stage production of "Morning's At Seven" this summer at Kentucky's venerable Pioneer Playhouse, celebrating its 59th season.
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