HomeAmerican EntertainmentLance Kerwin, ‘James at 15’ and ‘Salem’s Lot’ Star, Dead at 62

Lance Kerwin, ‘James at 15’ and ‘Salem’s Lot’ Star, Dead at 62

by Craig Garrett
Lance Kerwin
(Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

Actor Lance Kerwin, known for childhood roles in tv projects such as James at 15, Salem’s Lot, and The Loneliest Runner, has died. He was 62 years old, Variety reports.

His daughter Savanah Kerwin penned a heartfelt message on Facebook, expressing her gratitude to her father’s fans. “I am so sorry to those we have not been able to reach out to personally to notify. Lance Kerwin passed away yesterday morning. We appreciate all the kind words, memories, and prayers that have been shared. As the coming weeks progress, I will share more information about afterlife ceremonies. He loved each and every one of you.”

Kerwin’s most famous role was in the iconic TV miniseries Salem’s Lot (1979), which is based on Stephen King’s second novel. Directed by Tobe Hooper, who is renowned for his work with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this adaptation was well received. It even became so popular as to be released internationally as a movie feature.

Fans of Salem’s Lot have been paying tribute to Kerwin on social media. “#RIPLanceKerwin,” one fan wrote. “The character he played in ‘SALEM’S LOT could have been any one of us MonsterKids, whose parents looked on with a raised eyebrow and asked, “When are you going to grow out of this?” His character in the mini-series, Mark Petrie, is a fan of horror films. This made him a highly relatable character to generations of scary movie fans.

Lance Kerwin came from an acting family

Kerwin, born on November 6th, 1960 in Newport Beach California, was no stranger to the entertainment industry. His father was an acting instructor and his mother was a performer and agent. He spent most of his formative years growing up in Lake Elsinore. Kerwin’s television career began with a 1974 appearance on Emergency! He soon became a regular in the medium, appearing as both an occasional guest star and starring in numerous TV movies.

After appearing on many shows such as Shazam!, Little House on the Prairie, and Cannon, he was included in a regular role for the period drama show, The Family Holvak. The show had veterans of Hollywood like Glenn Ford and Julie Harris. Unfortunately, this 1930s series only lasted ten episodes before its cancellation.

Kerwin starred as James Hunter in the popular series James at 15 and James at 16. The show first aired in 1977, depicting a young teenage boy’s journey of self-discovery while he moves his family from Oregon to Massachusetts. Despite its popularity, thousands of letters were sent protesting an episode that featured James losing his virginity – stirring up controversy and debate.

In 1995, he appeared in the hit film Outbreak. After a hiatus, last year he made a return to acting in the adventure film The Wind and the Reckoning. After retiring from acting, he pursued his passion for ministry and became a youth pastor in California and Hawaii.