would be the start of a remarkable career that would span nearly a decade.
The first acting jobs for a new actor are always challenging--a young actor venturing onto a Hollywood set for the first time can easily find themselves lost among a small army of people who work diligently to produce a weekly television series. It is a time when the basic rudiments of the entertainment industry must be learned in only a matter of a few days shooting.
During the 60's, young faces were showing up in television and movies at a frantic pace that seemed like almost every minute. New faces were plentiful and casting directors had their
pick of any for a particular role being cast. Many of these roles were little more than vehicles for young actors to showcase their acting skills based on the hijinks of the "typical" child finding themselves in various situations.
This formula worked well for most young actors. Lisa, however, tended to break this mold by portraying her characters with a unique mixture of emotional intelligence and honesty seldom found in most actors--child or adult. At a
time when most young actors had only two or three emotions in their repertoire, Lisa was tackling roles that required a much broader range of emotions. These talents differentiated her from most young actors of her day and added to the
believability of the characters
Probably the best example of these skills is typified in the 1968 episode of Gunsmoke titled "The Miracle Man." In the episode, Lisa gives one her most memorable performances as Nettie Wright. Nettie's widowed mother, Lorna, becomes involved with a fast-talking con-man named Bob Sullivan.
A young actor must quickly learn what it means to "hit your mark," what it means to get your "call," and what it
means to "learn your lines." There are also new people to meet including directors, writers, etc. Each has a specific job to do and the new actor may meet some or all of these people during the course of filming. Then there
is the shooting itself--you are directed where to stand, how to say your lines, how to position your body, and so on. With luck and tenacity, the young actor will make it through these first jobs and will become more comfortable as time
progresses. Judging from her performances from 1968 to 1970, it is apparent that Lisa was a fast learner and quickly became an accomplished actor.
Very soon, Lisa began making regular appearances on some of the highest-rated television shows of the 60's including Gunsmoke, Family Affair, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father. But, no child performed on these shows unless they had talent. For Lisa, talent was plentiful--but it was also a step above most other actors her age--a difference that set her apart from the rest of the pack.
Lorna's children (especially Nettie) come to believe that Sullivan is a "miracle man" because of the kindness and good deads he initially performs for the family. But, Sullivan soon plots to cheat Nettie's mother out of a sizeable amount of money with a cattle scheme. Just before making his way out of town, he is visited by Nettie (who has a terminal illness) and asked if he can perform another miracle by curing her. Sullivan makes the wish but his heart suddenly