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Johnny Whitaker Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 December 1959Van Nuys, California, USA
Birth NameJohn Orson Whitaker Jr.
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Johnny Whitaker was born on December 13, 1959 in Van Nuys, California, USA as John Orson Whitaker Jr. He is an actor, known for Family Affair (1966), General Hospital (1963) and Tom Sawyer (1973). He was previously married to Symbria Wright.

Spouse (1)

Symbria Wright (15 June 1984 - 1988) (divorced)

Trivia (23)

Graduated from Sylmar High School outside of Los Angeles after Family Affair (1966) was canceled. He then spent two years in Portugal as a full-time, volunteer missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When he returned to the US, he attended Brigham Young University and obtained a degree in communications in 1986.
He was divorced in 1988. He went through a 12 step program to rid himself of drug dependency.
He was the fifth of eight children born to Thelma and John O. Whitaker, Sr. He was born at 12:14 AM, Pacific Standard Time.
He was the only six-year-old who screen-tested for the role of Jody Davis in Family Affair (1966), which originally was supposed to be for a 10-year-old boy, but when the producers saw the chemistry between him and Anissa Jones (Buffy), they promptly rewrote the parts for 6-year-old twins.
He gave Jodie Foster her first on-screen kiss in Tom Sawyer (1973).
Speaks several languages fluently, including Portuguese, Spanish, French and American Sign Language.
Began his acting career at the age of three. He was discovered while singing in his church's children's program, where he broke up the entire congregation after he'd forgotten the words to the song and started to improvise with his own. He went on to do his first on-air performance in a commercial for OK Used Cars.
A recovering addict since 1997, he has served to help others. He is President and Founder of Paso Por Paso, a California 501 (c)3 corporation dedicated to helping Spanish-speaking addicts / alcoholics find treatment and recovery.
In 1999, he received the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the Young Artist Awards.
His first film, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966) co-starred Brian Keith. He and Keith got along so well that Keith was instrumental in setting him up for an interview with the producers of Family Affair (1966), in which he was eventually cast as Keith's nephew.
Finding it harder to transition into young adult roles and following the tragic death of his 18-year-old Family Affair (1966) co-star Anissa Jones, Johnny took what was supposed to be an extended sabbatical from acting and a return to "normalcy" by attending public schools again. He instead went into missionary work.
For 13 years, Johnny worked closely with the joint SAG/AFTRA Young Performer's Committee helping current young performers receive the benefits and prepare them for the detriments that a career in show business is likely to produce.
His sister, Dora Whitaker is a well-established talent agent in North Hollywood, California.
At one point he and two of his sisters and a brother were in a variety act called The Johnny Whitaker Show where they performed at fairs and Mormon church get-togethers.
In June of 1984 he married a theatrical agent named Symbria Wright. They divorced four years later.
Changed the spelling of his first name "Johnnie" to the more adult "Johnny" around 1973.
Co-starred with young Jodie Foster twice in films. The first time was in Disney's Napoleon and Samantha (1972), and then she played Becky Thatcher to his Tom Sawyer (1973). He made national tours for the "Tom Sawyer" line of boys' clothing after being cast in the the musical film. Eventually the same firm put out a "Johnnie Whitaker" line as well.
Originated the role of Scotty Baldwin, a General Hospital (1963) character still seen on the show.
Brother of Billy and Dora Whitaker.
Interviewed in "Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Classic Film and Television" by Tom Goldrup and Jim Goldrup (McFarland, 2002).
Best known by the public for his role as Jody Davis on Family Affair (1966).
Starring in stage play 'Nighty Nite San Francisco,' a talk show parody, in San Francisco. [October 2001]
Appeared at the Hollywood Celebrities and Collectors Show in Burbank, April 23-24 to sign autographs. [April 2005]

Personal Quotes (2)

[Family Affair (1966)] was much too sugar-and-spice. We never lied or cheated. No children are as angelic as we were supposed to be."
Although we played twins we were poles apart as human beings. It didn't keep us from getting along well, but we were being raised in very different homes. I felt terrible about her death, but I wasn't all that much surprised. - JW, referring to the drug death of former co-star Anissa Jones

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