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November 08, 2010

Prolific Actor John Crawford Passes at 90

In a career spanning more than 40 years, he appeared in hundreds of movies and television series.

John Crawford, an actor who appeared in hundreds of feature films and television series over the course of a career that spanned more than 40 years, died September 21, 2010, in Newbury Park, California. He was 90.

According to news reports, the cause was a stroke.

Crawford, a native of Colfax, Washington, was a student at the University of Washington when he caught the attention of a scout for Warner Brothers. After a screen test he was not offered a job. Instead, he took a job as a laborer at RKO.

While working at Circle Theater in Los Angeles, where his duties included building sets, he convinced the producers to cast him in some of its plays. This led to a contract with Columbia, where he appeared in such films as Adventures of Frank James.

Larger roles followed in films produced in Britain as well as the U.S. In the 1970s he was seen in such high-profile movies as The Enforcer, The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure.

At the same time, he work at length in television, amassing credits in such series as The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, The Cisco Kid, Playhouse 90, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, My Favorite Martian, Batman, Mannix, The Wild Wild West, Bonanza, Hogan’s Heroes, The Bob Newhart Show and many more. He also had recurring roles in such shows as The Waltons, Swiss Family Robinson and Gunsmoke. His final television credit came in a 1986 episode of Hardcastle and McCormick.

Along with renowned stun performer Yakima Canutt, Crawford co-wrote the 2009 book My Rodeo Years: Memoir of a Bronc Rider’s Path to Hollywood Fame.

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

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