‘The Waltons’: Elizabeth Actor Kami Cotler Described Why Show Was a ‘Playground’ for Her

by Evan Reier

The life of a child actor isn’t always easy. That level of work and attention at a young age can be detrimental. However, The Waltons star Kami Cotler didn’t describe her experience as such.

Talking to VisionTV.ca, Cotler recently opened up about her life growing up as a The Waltons star. Cotler played Elizabeth, the youngest member of the iconic TV family.

From 1972 to 1981, the show captivated American audiences with tales of family, love and the inherent hardship of the 1930s and 1940s.

But while the demands and stress of showbiz weighed heavily on some, Cotler said it was the opposite on The Waltons set. In fact, it was something she looks back extremely positively.

“For me it was very positive,” Cotler said. “I was lucky to be on The Waltons set. The adult actors and production staff established a friendly and professional working environment. Being one of many child actors ensured there was always someone to hang out with. I think I was lucky to be the baby, so there were many people to look out for me.”

Alongside cast members Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough and Eric Scott, Cotler appeared in the most The Waltons episodes of the cast. The four actors were in 212 episodes of the hit program.

The ‘Playground’ That Was The Waltons

Cotler says that it was a two-way street when it came to her enjoyment of working on the show. In order for her to enjoy doing the program, it required an attitude that was accepting of the situation.

Luckily for Cotler, she had just that.

“I had the right temperament to work as a kid,” Cotler said. “I was naturally curious and self-possessed.”

That mentality, whether it was just natural or cultivated through her childhood meant a great deal. Being able to find personal enjoyment while also being useful and well-behaved on set had to have been a big plus.

“I really enjoyed the rhythm of working on a series,” Cotler said. “Getting makeup, rehearsing, dropping into school while they set up, and filming. I liked the variety and the collaboration. Every week there was a new guest star to meet. Sometimes there were animals or fun props. To me, it was a big playground with lots of playmates. We were all working towards creating a story together.”

It’s no surprise that one of America’s most beloved on-screen families was made by a family off-screen. Even in 2021, The Waltons‘ storytelling holds up.