Lance Kerwin, Star of James at 16 and Salem's Lot , Dead at 62: 'He Loved Each and Every One of You'
Lance Kerwin, who rose to fame in the 1970s through television series like Salem's Lot and James at 16, has died. He was 62.
Kerwin's daughter Savanah announced his death in a Facebook post on Wednesday and confirmed that he died the day prior. A cause of death was not provided.
"I am so sorry to those we have not been able to reach out to personally to notify but Lance Kerwin passed away yesterday morning," she wrote beside a family picture. "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."
Concluding the post, she added: "He loved each and every one of you."
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Kerwin, a California native, got his start in acting in the early 70s through his mother, who worked as a booking agent, and his father, who worked as an acting coach.
His first major series was 1975's The Family Holvak, with Glenn Ford and Julie Harris. A year later, he broke through as star of Michael Landon's autobiographical drama of a teenaged bedwetter, The Loneliest Runner.
"I'd had some experience along those lines myself," he told PEOPLE at the time of his role. "I got some teasing at school, but I also got the idea that the show hit home in a personal way for some of the kids."
In 1977, he portrayed the title role of James in the two-hour made-for-TV film, James at 15, which focused on the trials of an earnest Boston high schooler. His role prompted the series James at 16 and made Kerwin the highest-paid adolescent on TV at the time.
One of his most recognizable roles came soon after in the 1979 limited series, Salem's Lot, based on the Stephen King-penned horror novel. He also appeared in Little House on the Prairie, ABC Afterschool Specials and Wonder Woman.
While he continued acting sporadically in the 1980s, he ultimately left Hollywood behind in the late 90s and began serving as a youth minister, and later for the U-Turn for Christ ministry in Perrin, California.
According to a GoFundMe campaign created to help Kerwin make a return to acting in 2021, he began serving with the U-Turn for Christ ministry out on the small island of Kauai, Hawaii, in 2006.
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After news of his death became public, he was remembered by fellow child star Ike Eiseman in a touching Instagram post.
"I am beyond heartbroken to hear of the passing of one of my greatest friends and co-stars I have ever worked with, Lance Kerwin," expressed Eiseman in the caption of the post. "He was the child actor that inspired me to be the best that I could be because he was the best I had ever seen. Rest in peace my friend."