R.I.P. Johnny Crawford, Mark McCain on The Rifleman and original Mouseketeer

The former teen idol was 75.

On Now
Johnny Crawford sings ’’Something Special’’ on The Rifleman
Up Next:

Johnny Crawford, best known for co-starring in The Rifleman along Chuck Connors, has passed away at the age of 75.

After becoming one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, Crawford landed the role as Mark McCain just three years later. He was nominated for an Emmy at 13 years old for his work as the son of single dad Lucas McCain, played by Chuck Conners. The two remained incredibly close after the series ended and Crawford even gave a eulogy at Connors' funeral in 1992.

Even at his young age, Crawford was a dedicated actor. In a 1982 interview with TV Collector, he named "The Vision" as his favorite in the long run of The Rifleman. 

"At the time I remember thinking that it was very imaginative and unusual," Crawford said. "Also, at that time, one of my favorite shows was The Twilight Zone, so that was where my tastes were."

He adored the episode despite the painful process of filming it. Mark McCain was not the only one suffering from a fever — the actor himself was running a high temperature.

"I was actually ill," Crawford recalled. "Normally, it took us three days to do an episode and we worked like crazy, but I think it was on the first day of the show, I had a fever and I was trying to keep it a secret.

By that precocious age, he was a veteran of showbiz, not just for his work with Walt Disney, but also thanks to his pop career. Crawford scored five Top 40 hits in the early 1960s, the biggest of which was "Cindy's Birthday." The string-drenched love song peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1962.

His work on The Rifleman allowed him the chance to thrice work with his brother, Bobby Crawford, who appeared in three episodes, "Eight Hours to Die," "The Gaucho" and "The Second Witness." Mark's first crush on the show was also a reunion of sorts with another former Mouseketeer.

Aside from his notable run as Mark McCain, he also appeared on Rawhide, Hawaii Five-O, and The Big Valley.

Two years ago, after a two-decade absence from the screen, Crawford returned to his Western roots for a role in an indie WesternBill Tilghman and the Outlaws.

Watch The Rifleman on MeTV!

Weekdays at 3 PM & 3:30 PM
Saturdays at 5 PM & 5:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


geobake 29 months ago
I had not heard of his passing until today! Thanks to fellow contributors. Would have thought metv would have had some kind of tribute.
krethred 29 months ago
I was shocked to read this (had heard nothing on the news)! Hope you rest in peace Mr. Crawford!!
Mac2Nite 29 months ago
Johnny Crawford went waaaay too young. Alzheimers is an insidious disease.... 😔
billtabor61 Mac2Nite 29 months ago
I read covid took him
bd64kcmo 29 months ago
As well liked this show was, I am surprised not to hear of Johnny Crawford's passing, even during the "those we lost" news segments. I read he considered himself a better singer than actor, He had a supper club in LA I wish I could have visited to shake his hand.
RSBROWNSR 35 months ago
Johnny and I have been friends sine 1958 . Watching him go through the illnesses he had, and the strength he showed , well that in it self was unreal. He has always been a tough it up person. God Bless my friends soul I will miss him. RIP Johnny .
ItalGal68 37 months ago
RIP Johnny Crawford. I hope MeTV will do a "remembering Johnny Crawford" on one of the Rifleman showings this week! Or did I miss it? Sad to hear he suffered from dementia. Loved young Mark McCain.
dinska ItalGal68 37 months ago
I am very surprised that they haven't done this considering he recorded promos for them a few years back and because of how long The Rifleman has been on their schedule.
StrayCat 37 months ago
The obituary said he was suffering from dementia, had Pneumonia, and covid. Not a pleasant way to exit this mortal plane of existence.
Mac2Nite StrayCat 29 months ago
Alzheimers is such a no-win scenario 😟
kimayoung81 37 months ago
RIP Johnny. Prayers for you family and friends
DaBossLadi 37 months ago
Mr.Johnny Crawford Will Truly Be Missed And Loved By Many,And Always Will Be Remembered As Mark McCain The RIFLEMAN'S SON.May He Enjoy Eternal Life In Paradise 🙏🕊💔
retired2019 37 months ago
I might have missed it but I didn’t see a report on my local Chicago tv stations about Johnny’s death.
AnnKyes 37 months ago
So sorry to hear of his passing. "The Rifleman" was one of my favorite shows as a child and of course I had a crush on Mark ☺
RobertReynolds 37 months ago
Sorry to hear Johnny past I like watching him on the rifleman
Charlotte 37 months ago
Hard to believe watching those old shows & hearing of them passing away. Sad to hear :(
yperdomo 37 months ago
I am really sad after I heard the bad news on TV Friday morning . RIP Johnny and thank you for had giving us so much on the Western sitcom The Rifleman . I watch it every day and thank you so much for making it so enjoyable and memorable . You'll always be remembered and missed !!! May God bless your soul .

Mark091 37 months ago
Hope Summers who played Clara
Edwards on THE Andy Griffith Show
And she was also a regular on The
Rifleman and Frank Bank (Lumpy Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver)
Meredith MacRae (Billie Jo on Petticoat Junction) and Tommy Leonetti (Cpl Nick Cuccinelli)
And Skip Young (Wally Plumstead)
In Ozzie and Harriet ) will welcome Johnny Crawford to Heaven.
So many actors Actresses and singers have passed away over the years including the 3 Stooges
Johnny Crawford is in good company
In the afterlife (Heaven) and fans of
Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford
Will look forward to meeting them
When the fans of all of these actors
Arrive in Heaven. Anyway Chuck
Connors and Johnny Crawford are
Now reunited in Heaven
I'm sure that Johnny Crawford is
Very happy to be reunited with
His TV dad Chuck Connors in
Heaven . Persons on Earth mourn their Favorite actors and singers
When they pass Away but our loss
Of these performers is Heaven's
Gain . Remember someday we will
Reunited with these performers
When we arrive in Heaven.
Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors
And all of the other actors will live
Forever on film and video tape.
These performers will always be
With us on film and in our memories and in our hearts.
joerekab 37 months ago
He was also in El Dorado a scene with the Duke, John Wayne
bariayda 37 months ago
Rest In Peace Johnny; the Rifleman was much watched in my young years growing up. Thank you for making it enjoyable and memorable.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?