The Blue Bird 1918
The Polar Express
|Date of birth:
Jon Provost will forever be associated with a heroic TV collie Lassie (1957-1964). The blond tyke was actually a veteran performer by the time he won the role of "Timmy Martin" at age seven.
L.A. born, Jon was just three-years-old when he was cast as Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden's son in the film So Big (1953). He proceeded with The Country Girl (1954) as Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly's son, Back from Eternity (1956) starring Anita Ekberg, and co-starred in Escapade in Japan (1957), which featured an unknown Clint Eastwood.
And then came Lassie... Actor Tommy Rettig, as Lassie's original young master since 1954 "Jeff Miller", had become too old to be romping around with his dog, so in 1957, he moved away to college and his entire family sold the farm to a brand new clan -- The Martins. Jon's parents were played by rangy Hugh Reilly and the ever-wholesome June Lockhart. For seven seasons audiences grew to love Timmy and his perilous adventures with the invincible canine. By 1964, however, the Martin family decided to move to Australia and Jon's reign was over as a child star.
By the time Jon turned 19, he'd worked in film and television for 16 years. The darker side of the 60s was beginning to take over. Jon was a flower child and his celebrity status afforded him alot of attention at the Sunset Strip clubs in the 1960's. He was good friends with Sal Mineo, David Cassidy & Davey Jones. Jon headed for college in Northern California's wine country, studying psychology and eventually settling to raise a family in Sonoma County.
In 1990, Jon made a decision to return to television. He performed in The New Lassie (1989) with Dee Wallace. In one nostalgic episode, he appeared together with Lassie's original master, Tommy Rettig, who was making a guest appearance.
The Provost saga is told with refreshing candor in his autobiography, "Timmy's in the Well: The Jon Provost Story", and along with his other tv kid pal (Jay North) can be still seen in nostalgic conventions around the country.