Thesp John Crawford dies

Thesp was featured in action films like 'The Enforcer'

Thesp John Crawford, who appeared in more than 200 titles in his over 40-year career, died of a stroke on Sept. 21 in Newbury Park, Calif. He was 90.

Crawford was spotted by a Warner Bros. scout while attending the U. of Washington’s School of Drama and though he failed a screen test he joined RKO as a laborer.

He followed that up by working at Circle Theater in Los Angeles building sets and persuaded the producers to cast him in some of its plays. Soon Columbia signed him to act in its westerns.

He moved to bigger roles in such films as 1958’s “Orders to Kill” and “The Key” in the U.K. On his return to the U.S. he was

cast in 1970s action pics including “The Enforcer,” “Towering Inferno” and “The Poseidon Adventure.”

Crawford had recurring arcs in iconic TV shows of the era from “The Waltons” to “Swiss Family Robinson” and “Gunsmoke.” He last appeared on TV in 1986’s “Hardcastle and McCormick.”

In 2009, “My Rodeo Years: Memoir of a Bronc Rider’s Path to Hollywood Fame” was published, with Crawford sharing writing credits with stuntman Yakima Canutt.

Survivors include his longtime companion, Ann Wakefield; four daughters; and two grandchildren.

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  1. Karen says:

    LOVED this actor! His portrayal as Ep Bridges on The Waltons was touching and so real and his comic twist was a delight! He reminded me of Gary Cooper . . . . A very fine actor and very underrated.

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