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Lassie Star Writes Memoir

Society & Culture  (tags: jon, provost, lassie, timmy, harry, smith, timmy's, TV, TV Series, great family programs, animals )

- 3607 days ago -
Fifty years after "Lassie" aired, former child star Jon Provost writes about his life during and after the hit television series. He talked to Harry Smith. Also check out


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Gregory S (257)
Sunday November 30, 2008, 11:10 pm


April 2008

Hey all!

I’ve been flat out swamped since the publication of my autobiography, Timmy’s in the Well. There have been so many signings and expos and entertainment events to get to that my feet have hardly hit the ground. It’s been so good to meet you all and I have many more appearances coming up, so no time for rest yet!

I’ll be going to Michigan in May to do the Saginaw Pet Expo, then back to LA for a Mother’s Day event at the Television Academy on May 6th (watch it live at and a signing at the Book Expo of America. And that’s just May!

Even more exciting, it looks like there will be a few television appearances coming up. Make sure you sign my GUESTBOOK so I can let you know.
And btw, my guestbook can be finicky…something to do with individual spam filters. If it won’t go through, just send it to:
It may take awhile, but I eventually answer everyone personally.

Big News! (drum roll): I’ve started writing a column called ‘Your Canine Connection’ for Fido Friendly, a great national travel and lifestyle doggie magazine. Check it out at I make my bow (wow) in the July/August issue.

In April, I attended the opening night screening at the California Independent Film Festival of “On the Edge of Black and White”, a great documentary I have the pleasure of being in. Check out the trailer: Edge of Black and White

And here’s a link to a part of the Q&A that followed the screening with Tony Dow, Ken Osmond, Marta Kristen and me

I’m booking more dates all the time, so check my APPEARANCES page for updates. If you can’t make it or you’ve already missed me, you can still order an autographed copy of the book, click here.

On a very sad note, on February 22nd, Laurie and I lost our best friend, Barney our wonderful beagle. It was very sudden and unexpected, but very peaceful and easy. We miss him terribly. We want to rescue a new furry friend, but have been travelling so much, we haven’t been able to. We’re hoping May will be the right time to add to the family

Well, time to do some packing… more from me soon!

- Jon

(Taken from Jon Provost website to inform all of his fans - for informational purposes only)

Michele DiGiorgi (320)
Monday December 1, 2008, 4:36 am
Thank you Gregory my good friend for this article. I loved Lassie when it was on, it certainly was an excellent show for learn how to love & care.

My thanks to Jon Provost for still showing us love. Sorry to hear about his doggie. This is noted.

Walk in peace all,

Mick Gill (119)
Monday December 1, 2008, 4:53 am
gee now I feel old ;( lol

Michael Owens (1647)
Monday December 1, 2008, 5:45 am
Gregory thanks I never missed an episode aether.

Past Member (0)
Monday December 1, 2008, 9:06 am
I didn't watch alot of T.V. But love that show:)

Kathy W (299)
Monday December 1, 2008, 9:54 am
I had a little cat named Sammy, and believe it or not, he use to love watching Lassie! When they had the Jon Provost Lassie on the Animal Planet for awhile eveyday Sammy would sit on the couch and watch Lassie. He got to where he 'knew' what time it would be on and if I didn't turn it on for him he'd be sure to come and get me to do it. It was hilarious. I'll just have to read the book.
Thank you Gregory.

Marion Y (322)
Monday December 1, 2008, 12:10 pm
I loved Lassie too, as well as Jon Provost, June Lockhart and the cast. Thank you Gregory!

De L (321)
Monday December 1, 2008, 11:29 pm
This show is one of the best memories of my childhood!!! The kids of today don't know what they're missing.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 2, 2008, 2:39 am

JustaHuman Here (53)
Wednesday December 3, 2008, 10:49 am
Yes, after many years of Lassie I realized that there is life after Lassie.

Deborah Hooper (59)
Wednesday December 3, 2008, 12:34 pm
Lassie and Timmy, from a time before we lost our innocence.

"May we all walk together in peace."

Gregory S (257)
Wednesday December 3, 2008, 9:50 pm
Please take a moment and visit this Wikipedia page about Tommy Rettig.

Thomas Noel Rettig, more familiarly Tommy Rettig or, as an adult, Tom Rettig (December 10, 1941 – February 15, 1996), was an American child actor and computer software engineer and author. Rettig is best remembered for having portrayed the character "Jeff Miller" in the first three seasons of CBS's Lassie television series, from 1954-1957, later seen in syndicated re-runs as Jeff's Collie.

He also co-starred with another former child actor, Tony Dow, in the mid-1960s television teen soap opera Never Too Young and recorded the song by that title with the group "The TR-4".

Rettig was born to a Jewish father, Elias Rettig, and a Christian mother, Rosemary Nibali, in Jackson Heights section of Queens, New York. He started his career at age six, on tour with Mary Martin in the play Annie Get Your Gun in which he played Little Jake.

Tommy Rettig as Jeff Miller with Lassie (1955).
As Billy with Felicia Farr in The Last Wagon (1956).Before his famous role as Jeff Miller in the first Lassie television series, Rettig also appeared in about 18 feature films including The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (written by Dr. Seuss) and River of No Return with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum. Rettig later told of a warm personal friendship with Monroe, who was more reserved in the company of older males.

It was his work with a dog in The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T. that led animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax to urge him to audition for the Lassie role, for which Weatherwax supplied the famous collies.

Rettig later told interviewers that he longed for a life as a normal teenager, and after four seasons, was able to get out of his contract. He was also critical of the treatment and compensation of child actors of his day. He reportedly received no residual payments from his work in the Lassie series although his work was syndicated and widely shown under the name Jeff's Collie.

He graduated in 1959 from University High School in Los Angeles. In 1964–1965, he co-starred with another former child actor, Tony Dow, in the ABC television soap opera for teens, Never Too Young.[1] With the group "The TR-4", he recorded the song by that title on the "Velvet Tone" label.[2]

[edit] Adult, software engineer
As an adult, Rettig preferred to be called "Tom". He found the transition from child star to be difficult, and had several well-publicized legal entanglements relating to illegal recreational drugs (a conviction for growing marijuana on his farm and a charge for cocaine of which he was exonerated). Some years after he left acting, he became a motivational speaker, which led him while working on mailing lists to get involved in the early days of personal computers.

For the last 15 years of his life, Rettig was a very well-known database software author and expert. He was a very early employee of Ashton-Tate, and specialized in (sequentially) dBASE, Clipper, FoxBASE and finally FoxPro. (Tom Rettig's career in software engineering is not to be confused with the person of the same name who worked at Brøderbund doing sound on such projects as Carmen Sandiego and Kid Pix. That Tom Rettig is one of Thomas Noel Rettig's two sons; as their middle names differ, the son is not Tom Rettig Jr.)

Coincidentally, when Rettig moved to Marina del Rey in the late 1980s, one of his neighbors was named "Jeff Miller".[3]

[edit] Later years and death
Rettig did a guest appearance in an episode of the later television series The New Lassie, with Jon Provost, which aired on October 25, 1991. The series featured appearances from two other Lassie veterans, Roddy McDowall, who had starred in the first movie Lassie Come Home (1943) and June Lockhart, who had starred in the 1945 movie Son of Lassie, and the television series (as Timmy's mother in the years after Rettig left the show).

After his death at the age of fifty-four of a heart attack, his memorial service in Marina del Rey, California was attended by Roger Clinton, Jr., the half-brother of then U.S. President Bill Clinton, and several other former child stars who were featured in a photo spread in The National Enquirer. His loss was also mourned by many in the software industry. Many computer people who read his books and articles or used Rettig's software products did not realize that he was a former child star.

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