Former Child Star Lance Kerwin Dead at 62

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In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

The television industry has lost a lifelong talent.

Lance Kerwin, who rose to stardom in the ’70s for shows such as Salem’s Lot and James at 15, died on Jan. 24, his agent John Boitano confirmed to E! News. He was 62. No cause of death has been revealed.

“I’ve worked with Lance for two years, he was an intelligent, funny and compassionate person,” Boitano said in a statement. “He was looking forward to resuming his acting career, he recently had a role in the The Wind and the Reckoning, I enjoyed our time together and considered him a friend as well as client. I will miss him.”

Kerwin emerged on the scene as a child actor, appearing in multiple television series including Little House on the Prairie, The Family Holvak and Wonder Woman.

He starred in James at 15—later known as James at 16 when the character turned 16—as titular character James Hunter, the son of a college professor with a passion for photography. In the series, James struggles with adjusting to his new life after his family moves across the country from Oregon to Massachusetts.

His appearance on the show cemented him as talent to watch, with Kerwin telling local North Carolina newspaper The Robesonian in 1978 that he had been preparing for acting stardom since he was 8 years old. In fact, he recalled reading plays after school and performing them in front of his parents, as well as penning a letter to idol Clint Eastwood.

In the note, Kerwin—who also doubled as a skilled flute and piccolo player—had written, “if you ever need a kid like me, just give me a call,” the outlet reported.

Following his success on James at 15, Kerwin landed the role of Mark Petrie in the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot, based on a 1975 Stephen King novel of the same name.

Getty Images

“One of the reasons they liked me for the role was that when I came in, I had ideas,” Kerwin told The College Crowd Digs Me in 2019. “I didn’t really have to audition, but I would come in and meet with them. And we’d talk about the character and talk about the film.”

Reflecting on his time in the spotlight, Kerwin—who appeared in 2022 movie The Wind and the Reckoning—said that his experience as a child actor “was a positive one.”

“The work ethic I learned. The exposure to different cultures,” he said. “It was a wonderful, wonderful childhood. And it was a great career. Probably 20…25 years of doing it. And the shows I was a part of and the people I worked with…I carry it to this day.”

He married wife Yvonne in 2000. According to Variety, he is survived by children Savanah, Fox, Terah, Kailani and Justus.

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