Lance Kerwin was a familiar face to many people thanks to his roles in the television series James at 15 and Salem’s Lot. The actor who rose to fame in the late ’70s as a child star died Tuesday at 62 in San Clemente, California, according to his daughter Savanah. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death, but Savanah wrote in a Facebook post that her father’s death was due to natural causes.
Kerwin, born in Newport Beach, California, began acting as a child on shows like Little House on the Prairie and Emergency! He went on to play a variety of children’s and teen TV roles, but it was his role as the lead character in James at 15, which aired from 1977-1978, that made him famous. The series followed the adolescent adventures of James Hunter, a budding photographer who moved with his family from Oregon to Massachusetts. Its sometimes controversial storyline — including a teen pregnancy and an underage sex scene — was a first for TV and garnered the show critical acclaim.
In addition to his work on James at 15, Kerwin starred in the 1979 TV miniseries Salem’s Lot, based on the Stephen King novel. He played Mark Petrie, the teen vampire hunter who leads the fight against the undead. The series is remembered for its atmospheric visuals and chilling plot arcs, and its depiction of modern urban vampires inspired subsequent TV and film adaptations.
Following the end of his acting career in the 1990s, Kerwin devoted himself to ministry and evangelism. He worked as a youth minister, and later for the U-Turn for Christ ministry in Perrin, California. He also traveled the world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Kerwin’s family is mourning the loss of their beloved patriarch. He leaves behind his daughter Savanah, as well as his siblings Fox, Terah, Kailani, and Justus.
The 62-year-old passed away in his sleep at his home in San Clemente, California on Tuesday. His cause of death is yet to be determined, but he was battling several health issues. He was also a known drug user.
Who is Lance Kerwin?
Lance Kerwin is an American actor who gained prominence during the 1970s and 1980s. He was born on November 6, 1960, in Newport Beach, California. Kerwin began his acting career at a young age and quickly became known for his talent and charm.
Kerwin’s breakthrough role came in the 1971 television movie “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” in which he played the character of John-Boy Walton. The movie was a precursor to the successful TV series “The Waltons,” and Kerwin’s portrayal of John-Boy earned him critical acclaim and recognition.
Following his success in “The Homecoming,” Kerwin appeared in various television shows and movies throughout the 1970s. He showcased his versatility by taking on diverse roles in projects like “James at 15,” “Salem’s Lot,” and “The Loneliest Runner.” His performances were praised for their depth and emotional range, solidifying his status as a talented young actor.
In the 1980s, Kerwin continued to work in both film and television. He appeared in movies such as “Out of the Blue” and “Enemy Mine,” and he had guest roles in popular TV shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “The Love Boat.” Despite his success, Kerwin decided to step away from acting in the mid-1980s to focus on other pursuits and to lead a more private life.
While Lance Kerwin’s acting career was relatively short-lived compared to some of his peers, his talent and impact on the entertainment industry should not be underestimated. He left an indelible mark with his memorable performances and continues to be remembered as a gifted actor of his time.
Since his departure from acting, Lance Kerwin has largely stayed out of the public eye. While it is unclear what he has been doing in recent years, his contributions to the world of entertainment remain significant.