Johnny was born on March 26th, 1946 in Los Angeles, California as John Ernest Crawford. He is an American character actor and musician. He is mostly known for playing 'Mark McCain', the son of 'Lucas McCain' in the popular western series, The Rifleman (1958 to 1963), Hellboy (2004), and The Thirteenth Floor (1999). However, he appeared in many other television series such as: The Big Valley, The Lone Ranger (1956), Wagon Train (1958), and Little House on the Prairie (1978). In addition, he had many movie parts as well, working alongside John Wayne in the 1967 movie El Dorado and also in the 1965 film Indian Paint.
While enlisted in the United States Army for two years, Johnny 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. For this reason, he received the National Veteran's Memorial medal at the Reel Cowboys Silver Spur Awards Show in 2016.
Since 1992, Johnny has led a California-based vintage dance orchestra which performs at special events. His band has been sponsored by the Playboy Jazz Festival; and the orchestra has been the repeated choice for 15 consecutive annual Art Directors Guild Award shows at the Beverly Hilton. A remastered version of the orchestra's highly rated first album, "Sweepin' the Clouds Away," was released in 2012.
Johnny Crawford's Celebration of Life Memories, Movies, Family, Friends, & Fans
Video Created for Johnny Crawford's Memorial in 2021
Johnny Crawford was given the well-deserved Silver Spur Award on Friday evening, September 21st, 2018 at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California. During the event, this video was shown in honor of Johnny and in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of The Rifleman television show.
Johnny Crawford's 72nd Birthday Celebration - Hosted at the Valley Relics Museum
The Reel Cowboys and the Valley Relics Museum joined together to throw Johnny Crawford (Mark McCain from 'The Rifleman' television show) a celebration of his 72nd birthday. He was also presented with an 1892 Winchester, modified to be a replica of the one that Chuck Connors used in the Rifleman TV show.
Thanks go to Frank Painter for shooting the video, Charles Scott and Robert Lanthier for editing the video, and all the fans of Johnny Crawford for contributing their own hard-earned cash for the creation of the 1892 Winchester rifle (a replica of the one Chuck Connors used on the show) as a birthday gift for Johnny.
Here is just a small sample of what happened.
Was one of Walt Disney's original Mouseketeers in 1955.
With five Top 40 hits in the 1960s, his recording of "Cindy's Birthday" peaked at #8 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1962.
Most famous for portraying Chuck Connors' sensitive young son, Mark McCain, on the TV series The Rifleman (1958-1963).
Continued performing in theater and nightclubs after his early TV and pop-music heydays.
His maternal grandfather, Belgian violinist Alfred Megerlin (1880-1941), was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic (1918-22), the Minneapolis Symphony (1923-26) 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.
He 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." Later, he was coached by Gene McLaughlin for many years.
His acting mentor was the late Chuck Connors. Chuck Connors, died on November 10, 1992, at age 71. Johnny has said many times that he had a wonderful working relationship with Chuck Connors, and he was Chuck's surrogate son. He also credits Chuck Connors as his favorite acting mentor/best friend, and was highly influenced by him.
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, MS.
In 2006 he directed a live orchestra using authentic period orchestrations for the premiere screening of the newly restored silent version of Chicago (1927) at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles.
Profiled in the 2016 book "X Child Stars: Where Are They Now?" by Kathy Garver and Fred Ascher.
He received a Silver Spur award from the Reel Cowboys in 2018.