Lance Michael Kerwin (November 6, 1960 – January 24, 2023) was an American actor, known primarily for roles in television and film during his childhood and teen years in the 1970s. He played lead roles in the TV series James at 15, and the made-for-TV films The Loneliest Runner and Salem’s Lot.
Early life and career
Kerwin was raised in Lake Elsinore, California. His father was an acting coach, who brought home scripts for his son to read. His mother was also a performer and later, a talent agent. He was the youngest of five brothers. His brother Shane was his stand-in.
In the 1970s, Kerwin appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and series. He was, said former theater critic and British Film Institute governor John Holmstrom, “probably America’s leading boy actor of the late Seventies … a handsome lad … [with] considerable sensitivity as an actor”. His serious acting roles often portrayed anguished characters facing difficult challenges, such as in The Loneliest Runner, The Boy Who Drank Too Much, and Children of Divorce.
In 1985 he co-starred in the “Snow Queen” a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen‘s classic tale in an episode of Shelly Duvall‘s children’s television series Faerie Tale Theatre, alongside Melissa Gilbert, Lee Remick, and Lauren Hutton.
Personal life and death
Kerwin had a daughter, Savanah Paige, with Kristen Lansdale, and four children with his wife Yvonne Kerwin. He gave up acting in the mid-1990s, but returned to the screen in 2022 for The Wind & the Reckoning, filmed in Hawaii.
In July 2010, it was reported that Kerwin was working as a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Kapaa, Hawaii and a program leader at U-Turn for Christ, a drug and alcohol rehab organization. The report also stated that Kerwin and his wife Yvonne pled guilty to falsifying documents to obtain state medical assistance in Hawaii, after neglecting to report his ownership of three properties on the mainland. Kerwin was sentenced to five years probation and 300 hours of community service. He publicly apologized.
Kerwin died in San Clemente, California, on January 24, 2023, at the age of 62.
- Emergency! (1973, TV Series) – Wheeler Boy
- The Healers (1974, TV Movie) – Kennedy Brown
- Little House on the Prairie (1974, TV Series) – Danny Peters
- Shazam! (1974 TV Series) – Season 1 Episode 2 – Chad Martin
- Cannon (1974 TV Series) – Season 4 Episode 6 – Unnamed Delivery Boy
- The Greatest Gift (1974, TV Movie) – Ramey Holvak
- Reflections of Murder (1974, TV Movie) – Chip
- The Meanest Men in the West aka Bad Men of the West (1974, TV Series)
- ABC Afterschool Specials (1974-1976, TV Series) – P.J. / The President’s Son / Buzz / Peter Finley / Adam Rush / Ezzie
- Gunsmoke (1975, TV Series) – Tommy Harker
- Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) – Boy in Blue-Striped Shirt (uncredited)
- The Family Holvak (1975, TV Series) – Ramey Holvak
- Sara (1976, TV Series) – Derek
- Amelia Earhart (1976, TV Movie) – David Putnam
- The Loneliest Runner (1976, TV Movie) – John Curtis as a Youth
- The Death of Richie (1977, TV Movie) – Russell Werner
- Wonder Woman (1977, TV Series) – Jeff Hadley
- The Bionic Woman (1977, TV Series) – Prince Ishmail
- Cheering Section (1977) – Bob
- Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (1977, TV Movie) – Joe, Jr. (age 14)
- James at 15 (1977-1978, TV Series) – James Hunter
- The Busters (1978, TV Movie)
- Salem’s Lot (1979, TV Movie) – Mark Petrie
- Once Upon a Midnight Scary (1979, TV Series)
- The Boy Who Drank Too Much (1980, TV Movie) – Billy Carpenter
- Children of Divorce (1980, TV Movie) – Tony Malik
- Side Show (1981, TV Movie) – Nick Pallas
- Advice to the Lovelorn (1981, TV Movie) – Larry Ames
- CBS Schoolbreak Special (1982, TV Series) – Billy Lee Daniels
- The Mysterious Stranger (1982, TV Movie) – #44
- Trapper John, MD (1982-1985, TV Series) – Gary Gordon / 42
- A Killer in the Family (1983, TV Movie) – Ray Tison
- Faerie Tale Theatre: The Snow Queen (1985, TV Series) – Kay
- The Fourth Wise Man (1985, TV Movie) – Passhur
- Enemy Mine (1986) – Wooster
- Murder She Wrote (1989, TV Series) – Eddie Frayne
- Final Verdict (1991, TV Movie) – Harry Johnson
- Outbreak (1995) – American Mercenary
- The Wind & the Reckoning (2022) – Anderson
- ^ “Lance M Kerwin, Born 11/06/1960 in California | CaliforniaBirthIndex.org”. www.californiabirthindex.org. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
- ^ Labov, William; Browne, Ray Broadus; Browne, Pat, eds. (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Madison: Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0879728212.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Lance is ‘Off And-Running'” The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.) January 15, 1977 p. 10.
- ^ The Instructor 1979 vol 88; p. 18.
- ^ Holmstrom, John (1996). The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich: Michael Russell. pp. 328–329. ISBN 978-0859551786.
- ^ https://m.filmaffinity.com/us/movie.php?id=725235
- ^ Jump up to:a b Lileks, James (July 28, 2010). “”James at 15″ star pleads guilty”. Star Tribune. Minneapolis.
- ^ Evans, Greg (25 January 2023). “Lance Kerwin Dies: ‘James at 15’, ‘Salem’s Lot’ Actor Was 62”. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
- Lance Kerwin at IMDb