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Johnnie Whitaker

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 “A Dream to Dream” written by Michael Landon starring Dan Blocker (1968)


Hoss becomes "Pa" to two youngsters whose alcoholic father is negligent to his wife and children.  Michael changed the title to "Someone Please Love Me" when he re-worked the script for Little House on the Prairie.


Johnnie Whitaker was born December 13, 1959 and had several acting credits when he was cast in this episode as Timmy Carter one of two children of Sarah (Julie Harris) and Josh Carter (Steve Ihnat).  His first movie role was in The Russians Are Coming!  The Russians Are Coming! (1966) with Brian Keith who would later play his uncle in Family Affair.  He was 8 1/2 when this episode was filmed.


Johnnie was 6 when he screen-tested for the role of Jody Davis in Family Affair (1966).  The role was written for a 10-year-old but the on-screen chemistry between him and Anissa Jones (Buffy) was immediately apparent so the roles were re-written for six-year-old twins.


Later, Johnnie starred with Jodie Foster in Tom Sawyer (1973) and gave Jodie her first on-screen kiss.


Even though Johnny dropped the “ie” in his name, he  found the transition to adult actor difficult.  He left acting to attend school and do missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He married in 1984 and divorced in 1988.  He said the divorce, coupled with the death of Anissa Jones, caused him to lose faith in God and himself and led him into a 9-year period of drug addiction.  


“I started hanging out in bars and smoking marijuana and then going from marijuana to cocaine and methamphetamine and smoking heroin and losing three cars, four apartments, five jobs and a company that I'd started and ran into the ground".


Whitaker's family held an intervention and threatened not to have any more contact with him unless he got help for his substance abuse. He agreed and started a twelve-step program. Whitaker ultimately became a certified drug counselor and founded a nonprofit organization for Spanish-speaking addicts.


 He remains sober.



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