For the past 10 years, Erin Krakow has starred on Hallmark’s longest-running original series When Calls the Heart. The Philadelphia native has also starred in the Hallmark movies A Cookie Cutter Christmas, Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen, Finding Father Christmas, Engaging Father Christmas, and Marrying Father Christmas. Here are a few fascinating facts about the actress:
1. Erin Krakow is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City
Krakow became serious about acting at a young age and attended the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. After graduation, she moved to New York to study drama at Juilliard, which has trained many of the country’s finest actors. Fellow graduates include Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Jessica Chastain, Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline, and Adam Driver.
2. When Calls the Heart was not her first television show
Before she took on the role of Elizabeth Thatcher Thornton, Krakow played Army Specialist Tanya Gabriel in the television series Army Wives.
The show also starred Catherine Bell, who played Cassie Nightingale in Hallmark’s Good Witch film and television series.
Krakow told a reporter that she considers Bell a good friend.
“I LOVED working with Catherine Bell on ARMY WIVES,” Krakow said. “She was so kind to me and has become a dear friend! She’s also incredibly talented!”
3. She wasn’t the original Elizabeth
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Krakow playing the role of Elizabeth (Thatcher) Thornton. However, the actress wasn’t originally cast as in the part.
When Hallmark Media (then called Crown Media) decided to make a film version of the first book in Janette Oke’s Canadian West series, the director chose actress Poppy Drayton to play the role of Elizabeth. The British actress did a great job, but when it came time to cast the TV series, the director went with Krakow.
In an interview, Krakow said she hopes to work with Drayton at some point.
“I’ll always feel connected to Poppy through Elizabeth,” Krakow said. “Hopefully we’ll get to work on something together soon. That would be special.”
4. She has played a bride onscreen three times (so far…)
The first time Krakow got married onscreen was during Season 5 of When Calls the Heart, when her character, Elizabeth, married Mountie Jack Thornton (played by Daniel Lissing). In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Lissing said the pair made a request to write the vows themselves.
“Erin and I had sat down together… and I talked to her about the potential of writing our own vows, as Jack and as Elizabeth,” he said. “So we took that to the producers and they were like, ‘Well, yeah, you guys know the characters better than anyone else does,’ and so we actually wrote our vows.”
Later that year, Krakow played a bride in the Hallmark Channel movie Marrying Father Christmas, when her character, Miranda Chester, married Ian McAndrick (played by Niall Matter).
Krakow also played a bride in the 2021 Hallmark movie It Was Always You, though her character ended up not getting married to her original fiancé. In the romantic comedy, Krakow’s character, Elizabeth, realizes she has feelings for the groom’s brother (in a tasteful, Hallmark-y way), who was played by Tyler Hynes.
The actress requested Hynes for the part, and the two became good friends.
“…You work with some people and it feels very natural and like you’ve known that person or have been working with them for a long time,” Krakow said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “And that was the case between the two of us. Tyler is an incredible actor. He’s very collaborative. He’s always wanting to elevate the work.”
5. The first scene she ever filmed for When Calls the Heart was with Lori Loughlin
In the pilot episode of When Calls the Heart, Elizabeth accidentally burned down the teacher’s cottage where she was supposed to live. A local widow named Abigail Stanton (played by Loughlin) took Elizabeth in, and the two soon became good friends.
Her second scene was with Daniel Lissing, and Krakow said she had a feeling that it was the start of something special.
Hallmark Channel has not yet released a premiere date for Season 10 of When Calls the Heart. In 2022, Season 9 premiered in March.