Lance Kerwin, a prolific child actor in the 1970s who starred in the groundbreaking “James at 15” series, died Tuesday, his daughter Savanah announced on Facebook. He was 62.
Kerwin was also known for a prominent role in the 1979 miniseries “Salem’s Lot,” adapted from Stephen King’s novel.
Lance Kerwin on "James at 15" (left) and pictured in 2022.
The Newport Beach, California, native had dozens of roles in the decade, including on “Little House on the Prairie,” “Gunsmoke” and “Wonder Woman.” His heartbreaking portrayal of a teen bed-wetter who became an Olympic marathon champion in “The Loneliest Runner” TV movie (1976) reunited him with Michael Landon of “Little House.” (The story was based in part on Landon’s youth.)
But it was the coming-of-age NBC series “James at 15” (1977-1978) that cemented him as one of the top young actors of the era.
The show “was an attempt by creator-writer Dan Wakefield to present a more realistic depiction of teenagers than was common at the time,” Deadline noted.
After the show was renamed as “James at 16,” Kerwin’s character lost his virginity to an exchange student in what was considered a bold move.
Kerwin’s show-business career continued with mostly guest TV roles into the 1990s. His final credit listed on IMDB was the 2022 leprosy movie drama “The Wind & the Reckoning.”
Kerwin later became a pastor, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While in Hawaii, Kerwin worked with a ministry to help people with addiction, a GoFundMe page noted. The post said he had back and other health issues and that his income had dried up.
His daughter did not mention a cause of death on Facebook but said more information would be forthcoming.
The actor is survived by five children, Variety reported.