Clothing and Costumes Worn by Child Actors: P

Figure 1.--This is Lassie and Jon Provost (Timmy) at the kitchen door on the "Lassie" TV set. He wears his tradmark checkered shirt, jeans (with cuffs), and sneakers (Keds). That outfit became such TV Americana that it now hangs by Archie Bunker's chair in the Smithsonian.

Information about child actors also provodes a great deal of fashion information. Both clothes these children wore as well as the costumes they wore in their films and shows provide much valuable information. These childrens often dressed very fashionably so information about them provides insights into contemprary fashions. The costumes they wore in films also provides useful information--although it must be treated more cautiously. HBC is preparing an alphabetical listing of child actors in movies, plays, and television.

Patrick, Butch - (US)

Butch Patrick played Eddie in the TV series "The Munsters" (1964-66). He always appeared in a dark blue (or black) velvet short pants suit with a wide collar and worn with knee socks. He appeared in most episodes, but unfortunately there were few episodes where he had big parts. Curiously no one ever said anything about his outfit, even the other kids at the Mockingbird Heights Elementary School, where the boys all wore long pants. (There were comments aboit his relatives' costumes.) There were a few episodes where Ediie had a prominent part. In one episode the other boys teased teased him for being so short. There was another episode where Eddie eats some of a love potion made by Grand Pa. The girls at his school wound up chasing him home from school. In another there was robot purchased to keep him company, it also wore velvet shorts. I rather enjoyed the series, even though it was rather inane. Curiously it has become one of the most popular reruns on television. It only ran a couple of years, but I noted in the last episodes, Eddie was growing a bit, but must have kept the same costume as the shorts looked a bit shorter than at first. Apparently he was a bit embarrassed about his outfit. I noticed comments he made about a tour bus which the studio instituted. He hated to be seen while he was in costume, assume because the visitors must have thought he looked so sweet in his velvet suit. He recalls once having to rush to the bathroom when the bus was driving by. Apparently this delayed him and he had an accident. His velvet shorts did not have a fly.

Patrick, Neil - (US,1973?- )

Auditioned for a part with his brother in the "Wizzard of Oz" as a munchkin, and at 6 landed the part of the dog, Toto. He sings with his father in a church choir. A teacher in New Mexico was impressed with him and urged him to go to a summer drama camp. A playwright at the camp helped him get a part opposite "Whoopie Goldberg" in "Clara's Heart." His performance earned him a nomination for a Golden Globe Award. He received excellent reviews for his part in the Hallmark made for TV movie "Home Fires Burning" (1989) in which he wears shorts even though he was 15 years old.

Petersen, Paul - (US, 1946?- )

Paul was famous for playing Jeff, the wise-cracking teenage son, on "The Donna Reed Show. He played the part reasonably well, but never was one ofthe more popukar child stars. Paul began at age 12 on the show and was on from 1958-66. Actually he was one of the original Disney Mouseketeers, but was fired after three weeks. He was about 9 at the time. He had an aversion to nick names, but they called him "Mouse" and "Willie PP"--both of which he objected to. One of the adult Mouseketeers (Lee--the fat one) called him Mouse one day. Paul slugged him in the stomachs. Walt Disney saw him and had him fired. He made at least one movie. He played the teenage son of Carry Grant and has a crush on Sophea Loren in Houseboat" (1958). I saw him recently on a show interviewing several former child stars. He really resented the experience, saying it deprived him of his childhood. He said he would never let his kids do it. I was quite amazed by his looks. He is one of the few child actors who still recognizably looks like himself as a boy. He now runs a counseling service for former child actors and is a frequent spokesperson on the subject..

Petersen, Peter - (US)

"Where the Red Fern Grows" (1974) and "Seven Alone" (1975).

Phoenix, Leaf - (US)

Leaf was a nickname. His actual name was Joaquin Phoenix. See details about his family under his brother River's entry. His movies include: "Rescues" (1987?)" where he plays the tough, anti-communist boy. He was a competent child actor, but not nearly as exciting an actor as his brother. He also appeared in a made for television movie, "Secret Witness." It was a typical American implausible story, although he did quite nicely. Even though it was set during the summer, but he wore long pants throughout.

Phoenix, River - (US,1971-93)

River was a pure hippy baby, born of love beads and macrame, ginseng and stardust and a genetic disposition toward saving the world. His father had a real tough time. River's grandmother was struck by a car and paralyzed when his father was 7. His grandfather deserted his father when he was about 12. He got into trouble and spent time in juvenile hall. River's mother probably saved him--at least for a time. His father and mother decided to "drop out" and find themselves. He didn't grow up educated toward American culture. He was born in a log cabin in Oregon, where his parents were picking apples. He spent his early years in Venezuela with his parents. They gave up psychedelic drugs to join a born again Christian group, the Children of God. His parents took the name Phoenix and gave their children names right out of the whole earth catalog: Rainbow, Leaf, Liberty, and Summer. They were strict vegetarians, shunning all meats and dairy products. River started playing the guitar at 5 and he and his sisters would serenade tourists with religious songs to make a little money. They lived on a beach in a hut and contended with rats and flying cockroaches. He was very religious and memorized long Bible passages. The family returned from Venezuela in 1977. He dropped out of school in the 4th grade. His mother took River to various auditions soon after they returned from Venezuela. He did a few commercials before landing a part on the TV series, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in 1981 at 10 and later appeared in the mini series "Robert Kennedy and His Times". He had a small part in "Surviving" in which he very effectively played the surviving younger brother. In the film he appeared in short shorts and gets a few playful swats on his little bottom from his older brother. He was known for the naturalness of his performances. His first film real success was "Explorers" (1985) at 15. I particularly liked his rather scholarly boy in "Explorers. He then brilliantly played a scruffy, cigarette smoking Chris Chambers in "Stand by Me" (1986). Many say he stole the film with his performance. I was certainly impressed by his performance. I would classify it as one of the best performances by an Amerucan child actor. There is something inside River," his director Rob Reiner in "Stand by Me" said. "He's got tremendous warmth; he's obviously been loved quite a bit." "I project a definite innocence," he told an interviewer. "A lot of that is just the way I grew up. Being very humble." His other juvenile movies include "Mosquito Coast" (1986), and "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon". As an older teenager he appeared in "Little Nikita" and "Running on Empty." He also appeared in the Indiana Jones trilogy "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" as a resourceful young Indiana Jones who was a boy scout. As a young man he played a computer hacker in "Sneakers" (1992). Unlike many child stars who fell into alcoholism and drug abuse, River maintained a strictly clean-cut image. It came as a total shock when such a talented young man's life ended so abruptly when he collapsed outside a night club of a drug overdose.

Pintauro, Danny - (US, )

Danny was the boy on "Who's the Boss". He rather grew up on the show. I think the series ran about 8 years. He was a well behaved little guy with bangs, but grew up to be a bit of a wuzz. I don't know much about him. He always wore longs. There may have been one episode in a Scout-type shorts. I don't know anything else he has done. He seems to have turned out very differently than most child stars. All his co-stars speak very highly of him as a very professional young man. He became an Eagle Scout. He was interviewed on TV in 1996. He is in College, doing very well and studying drama.

Popper, Michael Ray - (UK, 1944- )

Born in Gerrard Cross, England on July 21,1944. At age 10, English born Michel Ray was fluent in both French and German, as well as in English. It's interesting that perhaps his best remembered role is that of a Mexican boy in The Brave One. He won Film Daily's Critics Award for his performance in The Tin Star, and was one of the top ten juvenile performers for 1957. In The Space Children, he co-starred with many of the great child stars of his day.`

Presson, Jason -

"The Stone Boy" (1984), "Explorers" (1985), "The Leftovers" (1987)

Provost, Jon - (US,1951)

Jon was a Personable little movie and TV actor. He was born and raised in Los Angeles (1947). He began acting as a toddler, only 3 years old. He appeared with major movie stars--but of course is most famous cast partner was Lassie. And given the connection between boys and dogs, he and Tommy Rettig stand out as child actors. He began his run on the 'Lassie' TV series at age 7 years (1954). And it is with Lassie that he will ever be associated. Countless images show Jon with his arms around his heroic co-star. His first movie role was 'So Big' (1953) where he played Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden's son. He then appeared in 'The Country Girl' (954), this time as Bing Crosby's and Grace Kelly's son. Next was 'Back from Eternity' (1956) with Rod Steiger and Anita Ekberg. His biggest film appearance was 'Escapade in Japan' (1957). Here he wears short pants in contrast to his more standard American Timmy Martin Lassie role. His largest movie role was in 'Escape in Japan'. If you look carefully you can see Clint Eastwood. In the midst of all of this he was chosen at the age of 7 as Tommy Rettig's replacement in the 'Lassie' TV series beginning in 1957. Tommy by this time was too old for doggie adventures. The farm was sold to the Martins and Lassie had a new partner. (Actually there wre several Lassies. Timmy's outfits were like those Timmy wore, a kind og fashion time warp. It was all jeans and Keds. His outfit in fact became such a part of Americana that they hang in the Smithsonian next to Archie Bunker's chair. While on the Lassie show he appeared on may TV shows and even go to meet the famous talking horse--Mister Ed. The Lassie series ended (1954). Lassie but not Jon was off to Australia. Jon's His last movie as a child actor was with Kurt Russel, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. He had troble adjusting to the end of his show business career. Had triuble ith depression, bt managed to avoid the disasters of many show-biz kids.


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Created: October 18, 2000
Last updated: 3:04 AM 11/10/2017