Kami Cotler appeared in the hit television show “The Waltons” at the tender age of six years old. She began starring as Elizabeth Walton as soon as she turned 16. During that time, Cotler said the show helped her become a drastically different person.
Cotler told VisionTV.ca in an interview that “The Waltons” was a “very positive” experience for her despite her youth.
“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,” she told the entertainment news website.
However, simply being a child actor on a show with a lot of other child actors isn’t what helped Cotler become a different person, she says. Instead, it was a combination of the life lessons she portrayed on the show, and the ones other actors on set helped her learn.
“To me, it was a big playground with lots of playmates. We were all working towards creating a story together,” Cotler said.
Kami Cotler’s First Life Lesson on “The Waltons”
Cotler said the first life lesson she learned on the show was learning how to work with people from all backgrounds. She added that leaving the set was often the most difficult part. Growing up in suburban California, Cotler said she was never really exposed to different backgrounds.
“The best part was meeting people from all different backgrounds and experiences – both cast and crew,” Cotler told VisionTV.ca. “The harder part was transitioning back to school each spring and having to be cautious about new people…were they really seeing me as me, or just thinking about Elizabeth?”
Learning how to work with people from different backgrounds really helped once the show became popular. Cotler told VisionTV.ca that she was too young to really understand the scope of its popularity at the time. However, there was a time that she had to stop going to amusement parks because the crowds became too large to manage.
“But, I don’t remember feeling like it was an unreasonable burden. It was just how it was,” Cotler added.
Teaching the Next Generation the Life Lessons of Yesterday
After leaving “The Waltons”, Cotler decided that she would not return to the entertainment industry. Instead, she took a job as the Acting Principal at ECMS-Gardena and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Environmental Charter Schools in California.
Cotler told VisionTv.ca that her new role allows her to “focus on the education of [myself] and others.”
However, her new role still reminds her of her time on the show. She told VisionTV.ca that both experiences have helped deepen her appreciation for difference.
“If I hadn’t been on the show, I would have been raised in a middle class Los Angeles suburb and rarely interact with anyone different than myself,” Cotler said in an interview. “Because of actors and crew I met on the show, my world was vastly expanded. Meeting fans also enabled me to interact with a wide range of folks. It helped me understand how we can be different, and still be good people.”