‘The Waltons’: Elizabeth Actress Kami Cotler Kickstarted Brother’s Acting Career by Asking Show to Cast Him

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Even though they might argue on occasion, most brothers and sisters really do get along and help each other throughout their lives. However, actress Kami Cotler went above and beyond for her younger brother, Jeff Cotler.

Fans of the classic television show “The Waltons” will recognize Kami Cotler as the actress who played young Elizabeth Walton. According to an article on MeTV.com, the show’s producers were looking for a young male actor to play a small, but very important role, in an episode titled “The Graduation.”

Knowing they were looking for someone about her brother’s age, a 9-year-old – and very brave Kami Cotler – suggested they hire her brother, Jeff. And in a move that started Jeff’s acting career, the producers of “The Waltons” agreed to hire him.

What Role did Jeff Cotler Play on ‘The Waltons’?

So, what role did Jeff Cotler land on “The Waltons” thanks to his sister? According to the article, he plays a young student who is just starting the school where John-Boy Walton attended. During “The Graduation” episode, John-Boy interacts with his classmates just before his graduation from high school. He prepares for the graduation ceremony and shares moments with his classmates as they autograph a special book he has.

As the episode draws to a close, John-Boy enters a classroom on his own. He’s there to reflect and be alone. However, while John-Boy is in the classroom, a youngster – played by Jeff Cotler – comes in. Jeff’s character thinks John-Boy is a teacher. Obviously, this isn’t the case. According to the article, in true John-Boy fashion, he is kind to the boy. John-Boy encourages the boy and lets him know that he will like the woman who is the real teacher.

The article also reports that the role on “The Waltons” was the start of Jeff Cotler’s acting career. According to information available on IMDb.com, he also appeared “Falcon Crest,” “Mork & Mindy,” and “Eight is Enough.”

What Promoted Kami Cotler to Ask Producers of ‘The Waltons’ to Hire Her Brother?

According to the article on MeTV.com, Kami Cotler was inspired by her mother to help get her brother Jeff a job on “The Waltons.” Her mother was reportedly worried that Jeff could become envious of Kami’s job working on the show.

Kami Cotler talked about getting her brother a job on the classic television show in a Facebook post. She said that her mother was just hoping that Jeff Cotler might work as an extra on the show. Apparently, other actors who played children on “The Waltons” had siblings who worked as extras on the show. Kami was too young to realize that when she asked for Jeff to be on the show, she was actually asking for him to have a part and not just appear as an extra, according to the article.

“My mom asked me to get Jeffrey a part on ‘The Waltons’ because she worried he might be jealous of the attention I was receiving. She imagined he might work as an extra, as Mary’s sister and Eric’s brother both did,” Kami Cotler said, according to MeTV.com. “I had no idea how one became an extra, so I just walked across the lot to the producers’ office and asked them to give my baby brother a part. They happened to be looking for a little boy for ‘The Graduation.’ Jeffrey wasn’t eager to be on the show, my mom told him it’d be a favor to me, and he certainly didn’t want to have lines! After much cajoling, he agreed to do it, and he did a very fine job indeed.”