The show family affair It might not be the most well-known TV series of the 60s, but it was hugely popular in its time. The show was about a wealthy bachelor, who had to take in his teenage niece and six-year-old twin niece and nephew and raise them with his butler. Corn, family affair was a comedy about an unconventional family, unfortunately the behind-the-scenes story of the series is full of tragedy. A star who has been through her own dark times is Johnny Whitakerwho played Jody, one of the twins.
Whitaker was six years old when he joined family affair, and he spent five years on the program until it ended in 1966. Whitaker did acting in the years that followed, but also worked in other fields, including addiction counseling. He also opened up about his own struggles with addiction and the tragedies facing his co-stars. Continue reading to learn more.
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Whitaker had acted on screen before he even starred in Family affair. He actually got the part because he appeared in a movie with Brian Keith, who would play his uncle on the TV show. “I did The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. I met Brian Keith. He said I wanted you to be on the new show I’m doing,” Whitaker explained to Workshop 10 in 2018.
Whitaker’s TV appearances as a child star included Delighted, Bargainand Gun smoke. He was the first actor to play Scotty Baldwin on general hospital and also starred in Sigmund and the sea monsters. As for movies, he’s starred in a few Disney movies and a musical version of Tom Sawyer.
Whitaker’s acting career slowed down in the 1970s, around the time he decided to take a missionary trip to Portugal as part of his Mormon education. He also attended college. “I went to Brigham Young University for directing and producing,” he told Fox News in 2016, “and unfortunately Utah, which I thought would open its arms to me as a that brother, didn’t do it with my 17 years of experience and didn’t accept me so I moved back to California.”
In the 80s, Whitaker’s wife left him and he began to walk down a dark path with drug and alcohol addiction. “With this I lost my faith in God, in man and in the world,” he told Fox News. He said he lost his life to “sex and drugs and rock and roll”, which “lasted about seven, eight years”. Whitaker continued, “And then my family said, ‘You have a choice of getting clean and sober or being excommunicated from the family. “”
Whitaker got sober and dedicated himself to helping others as a certified addiction counselor and lawyer, according to his website. He started a non-profit organization called Paso por Paso and also championed prison reform. “I think we need to talk about other effective drug deterrence programs other than throwing people in jail for a mental health issue,” he said in his Fox News interview.
Whitaker’s work as an addiction counselor touches us in more ways than one: Anissa Joneswho played Jody Buffy’s twin on family affairdied of a drug overdose at the age of 18.
Whitaker has appeared in a few acting roles in recent years, however. He was in episodes of the 2016 reboot of Sigmund and the sea monstersand in the movies A Husband for Christmas and The Grove of Preppers. He has also made a documentary about drug policy in Portugal, and his website says he is writing his memoirs. Over the years, he has also worked in talent management.
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Whitaker being such a prolific child actor, he has many fans who grew up watching him on TV. “Well, if you’re over 45, you know who I am,” he told From the Mixed Up Files in 2020. “Or if your mom and dad were smart enough to tell you what is real television.” He also said of TV fan conventions: “I don’t do them as often as I used to, but when I can, I do. I have a great time and it’s fun to see fans… “
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