(written from a Production point of view)
John Crawford (13 September 1920 – 21 September 2010; age 90), born Cleve Allen Richardson, was a film and television actor. He played High Commissioner Ferris in the Star Trek: The Original Series first season episode "The Galileo Seven". He filmed his scenes on Thursday 22 September 1966, Friday 23 September 1966 and Monday 26 September 1966 at Desilu Stage 9.
Thirty years after his performance in TOS, he revealed, still riled, that his experience on the series was less than a pleasant one, and he especially had issues with William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the episode: "William Shatner, the star of the series, was having an ego problem, and every time I walked on the set, I could just see it. I was not allowed to move around the set during the entire scene. He kept saying "No! No! No! No! This is the bridge of the ship and we can't be moving around." Well, that's a lot of bullshit. He always worried about people that were taller than him [note: Crawford was 6'½" (1.84 m) tall]. He didn't want you to tower over him. Well, I needed this like a hole in my head. I had a personal tragedy, my baby had recently passed away. This was in 1966 and then I had trouble with Shatner." Crawford was also disappointed by the way how the director, a close personal friend, handled the situation, "My friend Bob Gist was directing it. Now sometimes Bob can be fun, and sometimes he can be a pain. I think he was playing it safe, didn't want to make an enemy of the star, because after all, he might want to do one of these again. Since I was a friend, he could say, "Well, John, why don't you take this line right here and hold the whole scene right here." It wasn't free and easy like all the things I did in Lost in Space, where I could do any damned thing I wanted. The first job, I think, of any director is to free the actor so that he can act with his head and to give him monumental confidence - hell, you can do anything." (Starlog, issue 223, p. 67)
Career outside Star Trek
Crawford made well over two hundred film and television appearances. He was probably best known for portraying Sheriff Ep Bridges on the family drama The Waltons (1972-81) and for playing Major (and later Colonel) Harry Thompson in the 1979 mini-series From Here to Eternity and its subsequent series, which lasted for only one season in 1980. Both co-starred regular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actress Salome Jens, while the mini-series also featured another DS9 actor, Andrew J. Robinson.
Besides his role on Star Trek, he also guest-starred on such classic TV shows (some of which, like Star Trek, were Desilu Studios productions) as The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Batman, Mission: Impossible, Bonanza, The Bob Newhart Show, and Dallas. Crawford was one of the favorite actors of producer Irwin Allen, and appeared in guest roles in all four of Allen's television series: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, starring Bill Mumy, several appearances on The Time Tunnel, starring James Darren, Lee Meriwether, and Whit Bissell, and Land of the Giants, starring Don Marshall. Crawford also appeared in Allen's unsold sci-fi pilot The Man from the 25th Century, which also starred Darren. He also had a recurring role on Dynasty, starring Joan Collins and Lee Bergere. Crawford's last television appearance was in a 1986 episode of Hardcastle and McCormick, starring Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly. He also appeared in an episode of The Incredible Hulk with fellow "Galileo Seven" guest actor Don Marshall.
His many feature film credits include Mystery Street (1950, starring Ricardo Montalban and featuring Frank Overton), Right Cross (1950, also starring Ricardo Montalban and featuring Kenneth Tobey), Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952, with Leonard Nimoy), Scaramouche (1952, with Richard Hale), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952, with Lawrence Tierney), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956, with DeForest Kelley), The Longest Day (1962, with Richard Beymer and Jeffrey Hunter), Jason and the Argonauts (1963, with Nancy Kovack), The Americanization of Emily (1964, with William Windom), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965, with Nehemiah Persoff, John Abbott, Michael Ansara, Mark Lenard, and Celia Lovsky), Duel at Diablo (1966, with John Hoyt), The Poseidon Adventure (1972, with Elizabeth Rogers), Trouble Man (1972, starring Robert Hooks and Paul Winfield), The Severed Arm (1973, with Paul Carr), The Towering Inferno (1974, with Paul Comi and George D. Wallace), Night Moves (1975, with Harris Yulin and Kenneth Mars), and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979, with Kenneth Mars, Robert Pine, Rex Holman, Nick Ramus, John Arndt, and Vince Deadrick).
Crawford died of a stroke in Newbury Park, California, on 21 September 2010. He was 90 years old.
Star Trek interview
- "Merchant of Menace", Joel Eisner, Starlog, issue 223, February 1995, pp. 64-68