top of page


Frame - John Provost.png


Forever associated with a heroic TV collie whom he frequently had his arms lovingly wrapped around, blond tyke Jon Provost actually was a veteran performer by the time he won the role of "Timmy Martin" at age seven in the series Lassie (1954). Los Angeles born (March 12, 1950) and bred, Jon was just three years old when he was cast as Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden's son in the film So Big (1953). He proceeded with The Country Girl (1954) as Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly's son, Back from Eternity (1956) starring Anita Ekberg, and co-starred in Escapade in Japan (1957), which featured an unknown (and unbilled) Clint Eastwood.

And then came Lassie (1954). Teenager Tommy Rettig, as Lassie's original young master "Jeff Miller", had become too old to be romping around with his dog after three seasons. In 1957, the producers had him moving away to college and his entire family sold the farm to a brand new clan -- the Martins and their 7-year-old son, Timmy. Timmy's parents were played by rangy Hugh Reilly and the ever-wholesome June Lockhart. For seven seasons, audiences grew to love Timmy and his perilous adventures with the invincible canine. By 1964, however, the Martin family decided to move to Australia and Jon's reign was over as a child TV star.

Jon's career slowed considerably following the canine series and, aside from a few minor roles in the films This Property Is Condemned (1966), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and Philippine-made family adventure The Secret of the Sacred Forest (1970), found little work to sustain himself. By the time Jon turned 19, he'd worked in film and television for 16 years. The darker side of the 60s was beginning to take over; so, amid plentiful high-profile job offers, he escaped from the only life he'd known - showbiz. Jon headed for college in Northern California's wine country, studying psychology and eventually settling to raise a family in Sonoma County.

In 1990, Jon made a decision to return to television, performing in The New Lassie (1989) starring Dee Wallace. In one nostalgic episode, he appeared together with Lassie's original master, Tommy Rettig, who made a guest appearance. He also received a Genesis Award for Outstanding Television in a Family Series for a New Lassie story he wrote focusing on the inhumane treatment of research animals.

Since his early acting days - gracing screens from not-quite-three - Jon has seen it all: the trials of child celebrity; the social strain; the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll of the '60s on the Sunset Strip; and battles with near-crippling depression and dyslexia. For a while there, Timmy really was stuck down a well. But he got out - and these days Jon has a different story to tell. He began directing and hosting online videos about dogs and cats for a Purina website. Jon's career began afresh and has been burgeoning in a variety of surprising directions since.

A divorced father of two children, Jon is married to documentary writer Laurie Jacobson. 2008 marked Jon's 50th anniversary in the role of Timmy. He celebrated with the release of his autobiography, Timmy's in the Well and a multi-city tour. He has done a few animated voiceovers and made an isolated film appearance in the family film drama Susie's Hope (2013).

bottom of page