‘The Waltons’ Child Star Had Lots of Success Before Show, Was First Boy Ever Cast in a Doll Commercial for Mattel

by John Jamison
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Eric Scott’s acting career was the reverse of the typical trajectory. He started acting when he was an 11-year-old kid, and when he hit his teens, he landed his iconic role on “The Waltons.”

Much of the Ben Walton actor’s work came before his big break, however. And once “The Waltons” finished up in the early 1980s, a full-time acting career was not among Scott’s priorities. But in addition to some character work on TV shows during the early 1970s, Eric Scott found success in commercials. He had a look that brands responded positively to.

In fact, it was his neighbors and family friends who motivated his career in the first place. After hearing that he should be on TV for a while, he decided to make it happen. All of the agents he met with echoed the same sentiments of others. Eventually, he linked up with one by the name of Helen Bruce. And boom, Eric Scott was a working actor.

His first work came in a Hot Wheels commercial for Mattel. Apparently, the casting director for the toy company took a shine to young Scott. It led to him appearing in several Mattel advertisements. To include one that saw him become the first boy ever depicted in one of their doll commercials.

“She saw that look I had and needed to cast it. In fact, I was the first boy that was actually cast in a doll commercial for Mattel,” Scott told Herbie J. Pilato of Media Biz Bloggers in 2011.

In addition to the commercial work, Scott began to land roles on actual television shows. He played characters in episodes of “The Doris Day Show,” “Lancer,” “Bewitched,” and “Medical Center.” These all came before “The Waltons,” mind you.

Eric Scott Was a Seasoned Veteran by the Time He Joined ‘The Waltons’ as a 14-Year Old

Diehard fans of the Earl Hamner Jr.-created Walton family will know that the child actors on the show all appeared in the preceding “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” TV movie. There were cast changes to other parts of the family. But in 1971, Eric Scott first appeared as Ben Walton before “The Waltons” was a show.

And compared to most of his on-screen brothers and sisters, Scott was an acting veteran. Of course, he couldn’t compete with the resume of Richard Thomas, who began his career at the age of five. Nonetheless, Scott knew his way around a TV show set.

Ironically, the only new experience for him was the fact that he was working with other kids. In his other TV appearances, he hadn’t come across a situation in which he had to act alongside other kids. And it turns out that for the most part, the decade he spent on “The Waltons” was enough acting for Eric Scott.

Outsider.com