Lance Kerwin dies: “James at 15,” “Salem’s Lot” actor turned 62

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Lance Kerwin, the former child actor who rose to fame in the late 1970s as the star of the sometimes controversial NBC teen drama series Jacob at 15He died of unknown causes on Tuesday in San Clemente, California. He was 62.

His death was announced today in a Facebook post by his daughter Savanah.

Kerwin was a busy child actor in the 1970s and also starred in the 1979 TV miniseries SalemLot, based on the novel by Steven King. He played the lead character of Mark Petrie, the young horror movie fanatic turned vampire hunter. In the film’s most terrifying and memorable scene, he is visited by a classmate-turned-vampire who hovers eerily outside Mark’s bedroom window.

Kerwin’s television career began in the early 1970s with appearances on shows such as Emergency!, Little House on the Prairie and wonder womanbut his breakthrough came in 1977 Jacob at 15. The coming-of-age drama series was creator and writer Dan Wakefield’s attempt to portray teenagers in a more realistic way than was customary at the time.

The program then made headlines in 1978 with the new title James at 16, Kerwin’s title character lost his virginity to a Swedish exchange student.

Two years later, Kerwin starred in the TV movie The boy who drank too muchwith Scott Baio as a teenage alcoholic.

Kerwin continued to act throughout the mid-1990s, primarily as a guest star on episodic television. By the end of the decade, he retired from acting to become a youth teacher. He later moved to Hawaii to work for the U-Turn for Christ ministry. A GoFundMe page from 2021 revealed that Kerwin had been struggling following various health issues.

He is survived by children Savanah, Fox, Terah, Kailani and Justus. Information about a planned funeral ceremony is expected in the coming weeks.

Author: Gregory Evans

Source: Deadline