'James at 15' actor Lance Kerwin dies

 January 26, 2023

Lance Kerwin, the child TV star of the 1970s known for starring in the teen drama James At 15, has died.

The beloved actor passed away in San Clemente, California of unknown causes. He was just 62.

Child actor Lance Kerwin dies

The news was shared by his daughter Savannah in a Facebook post.

"We appreciate all the kind words, memories, and prayers that have been shared. As the coming weeks progress, I will share more information about after life ceremonies. He loved each and every one of you," she wrote.

Born in 1960 in Newport Beach, Kerwin began reading scripts as a child with his parents, both actors. He got his start in 1970s shows like Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, and Wonder Woman. 

His breakthrough came in 1977 with James at 15 and its second season, James at 16, in which Kerwin portrayed a struggling teenager, James Hunter.

The series was controversial for its frank depictions of adolescent life, including a scene where the protagonist loses his virginity.

Salem's Lot actor

Another significant role came in the 1979 miniseries Salem's Lot, based on the popular Stephen King novel, in which Kerwin plays a teenaged vampire hunter alongside Hollywood great James Mason.

Kerwin shared the screen with Robert Mitchum in the 1983 TV movie A Killer in the Family. Other notable roles include the made-for-TV movies The Loneliest Runner and The Boy Who Drank Too Much.

His final screen appearance was in 2022's The Wind and the Reckoning. 

Actor-turned pastor

Later in life, Kerwin moved to Hawaii where he worked as a youth pastor. A GoFundMe was set up to help Kerwin with health problems in 2021.

A Twitter user by the name of Susie said the actor struggled with drugs but "found Jesus and led U Turn for Christ here on Kauai."

"We worked together and attended the same church. See you on the other side brother. Rest in Jesus arms and sing with the angels," the user wrote.

Kerwin is survived by five children.

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