Jon Provost was most famously known for his endearing role in the series "Lassie." He left the industry as a teenager, pursued a completely different career, and married his current wife, to who he has been married for over two decades.
According to the website dedicated to Jon Provost, he started acting as a child star at age two. His first gig was in "So Big," as Sterling Hayden and Jane Wyman's son, and he later got to work with other prominent celebrities.
They included William Holden in "Toward the Unknown," Anita Ekberg and Rod Steiger in "Back From Eternity," Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in "The Country Girl," Kurt Russell in "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes," and many more.
Lassie, the dog, and Jon Provost as Timmy Martin in the series, "Lassie," circa 1964, and him with his wife, Laurie Jacobson, on February 9, 2022. | Source: CBS/Getty Images & Facebook/Jon Provost
At the age of seven, Provost finally found international fame in the fan-favorite television series "Lassie." His significant role as Timmy Martin came when he was just seven years old, and he nailed it, gaining many more fans through it.
The blond-haired star was able to become a success through the help of his mother, who pushed him and chased after jobs on his behalf. She also protected him by being present on his film sets while his father didn't meddle.
Baby, as Lassie, June Lockhart, as Ruth Martin, and Jon Provost, as Timmy Martin in a promotional portrait for "Lassie," in 1960. | Source: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
However, being a big celebrity at a young age came with challenges. Provost recalled how he didn't have an identity as everyone other than the one of his character, with him confessing:
“Everybody called me Timmy, which was not my real name; it was Jon. Having that thrust on you and not having any control over it is not good.”
LEAVING HOLLYWOOD, MARRIAGE, KIDS, AND DEPRESSION
Baby the dog, as Lassie. and Jon Provost, as Timmy Martin, in a promotional still for the television show "Lassie," in 1960. | Source: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Provost had already worked in the acting industry for 16 years when he turned 19! At age 16, he got his driver's license and became a frequent patron of the Sunset Strip, where nightclubs, drugs, and alcohol were abundant.
By the time he turned 18, he had graduated from high school and was still receiving job offers when he left his career to study at a college in Northern California. The actor once explained his departure from the industry, stating:
“So it was time for a break for me, and that’s when I left the industry. The last thing I did was a Disney movie with Kurt Russell in 1969.”
Jon Provost as Timmy Martin with Baby as Lassie in the television show, "Lassie" on June 25, 1963, in Burbank, California. | Source: CBS/Getty Images
When Provost left Hollywood, he'd had enough of the lifestyle. He moved to the north because he was chasing a girlfriend and enrolled at Sonoma State University with her, but the relationship failed to last.
After six months, she returned to Los Angeles, and he stayed behind and finished his studies. Instead of going back to Hollywood after he graduated, the star found work as a real estate agent, where he stayed for over 20 years.
Jon Provost, Howard, best known as Lassie, and June Lockhart, in New York at the 75th anniversary of CBS television on November 2, 2003. | Source: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Provost eventually tied the knot with his first wife, Sandy Goosens, in 1979. Together they welcomed two children, son Ryan and daughter Katie; however, the union concluded in divorce in 1995.
The former actor was left alone and became depressed when Goosens left with the children. The star's mental health issues led him down a very dark path, which he explained as such:
“I drank too much. I binged on ice cream. No matter what I did, the depression never seemed to let up. . . . I was in the deepest darkest well I’d ever been in, and there was no dog in sight.”
HEALING FROM DEPRESSION AND MOVING ON
Jon Provost at the 6th annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California, on June 8, 2008. | Source: Joe Seer/Shutterstock
What eventually pulled Provost out of his depression were the autograph shows during weekends. Even though he'd tried to escape his role as Timmy Martin, going to "Lassie" events felt like he was coming home.
In 2008, he shared how he took part in autograph and nostalgia shows around the nation. He's also kept busy with fundraising monies for pet shelters and was involved with Canine Companions for Independence.
The organization supplies service dogs for people with disabilities. Provost met his second wife, Hollywood writer Laurie Jacobson, at one of his signing events, and they got married in 1999 and settled down in Santa Rosa, California.
The former star's Facebook biography revealed that he and Jacobson tied the knot on March 28, 1999, meaning they recently celebrated their anniversary. Jacobson celebrated their wedding anniversary in 2022 by uploading her wedding day photo.
In the image, she and Provost held hands while standing in front of a koi pond. The bride was dressed in a white wedding dress that appeared to have a cape attached, including matching elbow-length gloves.
The groom wore a gray suit with a flower pinned on the jacket as he looked at his wife. Jacobson shared that they got married at Yamashiro's in Hollywood in a second post, with her image showing the wedding ceremony and venue.
The venue had a lot of greenery, and the building had a Japanese-inspired design. A Facebook photo shared by Provost on the same day showed the newlyweds posing with the former star's two children.
The former actor's wife is a well-known Hollywood author and researcher. Her book, "Timmy's in the Well - The Jon Provost Story," was a memoir that she co-wrote with her husband, and it's a celebration of the character's 50th anniversary on "Lassie."
According to Katie's Facebook biography, she's a graduate of Santa Rosa Junior College, where she studied for an Associate Degree. In the past, she worked at Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery, and she's now the owner and a licensed esthetician at Santa Rosa Skin Studio.
On the other hand, Ryan is the spitting image of their father, as seen in a father-son Facebook post in 2015. According to his Facebook biography, Ryan went to Maria Carrillo High School, and he's self-employed.
His social media account also revealed that he was a fan of riding motorcycles. Provost and his wife are doting grandparents to their grandchildren, with the former star sharing an image where he was bonding with his grandson, Lucas, for a couple of hours.
In January 2022, he uploaded another photo of his grandchildren with his wife. Not everything has been smooth sailing for Provost over the years because, in 2021, his wife shared an image of him in hospital and revealed he was diagnosed with an intestinal blockage.
Others teared up as they shared their stories about what the series "Lassie" meant to them.
Laurie said her husband's small intestine had somehow gotten twisted and was undergoing treatment. However, as seen in recent images, the former actor appears to have made a full recovery.
JON'S LIFE AFTER "LASSIE"
Jon Provost at the Pop Culture Expo in Wilmington, Massachusetts on May 25, 2014. | Source: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
In 1990, Provost returned to television in "The New Lassie" and later won a Genesis Award for Outstanding Television in a Family Series for an episode he wrote; four years later, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Provost also became a chef and released a cookbook called "Timmy's in the Kitchen." His jeans and check shirt from "Lassie" now hang in The Smithsonian, and the former star continues to receive letters and emails from fans worldwide, with him stating:
"I could never possibly have imagined what my work would mean to people over the years.”
Jon Provost at the "Child Stars - Then And Now" preview reception on August 18, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
Provost, 72 in 2022, said wherever he went, people would recognize him as his past character role on "Lassie." Seeing him made them recall a time when they got to be happy and warm for 30 minutes weekly.
The star, who has been married to Laure for more than 23 years, shared how his fans met him with hugs and smiles as they recalled the boy and his dog. Others teared up as they shared their stories about what the series meant to them.