The life and legacy of James at 16 star Lance Kerwin

Cheryl E Preston
Lance Kirwin as James at 16Photo byWikepedia screenshot

A 1970s icon has passed away

James at 16 was a sitcom that was only on NBC for one season from 1977-1978. I was 18 and headed towards 19 at the time so I could relate to the antics of Lance Kerwin's character and his associates. The series came from a made-for-television movie James at 15 which also starred Melissa Sue Anderson from Little House on the Prarie. Kerwin as James had those wholesome looks of the all-American boy.

The character was dealing with his family moving from Oregon to Massachusetts and leaving his girlfriend behind but he soon begins crushing on another girl. James at 16 also started Lynn Carlin and Linda Chiles. Kerwin grew up in California where his father was an acting coach and his mother a talent agent. He had 5 children and his firstborn, daughter Savannah from his marriage to Kristen Lansdale reported on Tuesday that the actor had passed away at age 62 and said details will come later.

"Hello Everyone 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. We appreciate all the kind words, memories, and prayers that have been shared,"

James at 16 behind the scenes

Dan Wakefield who wrote the book, and spearheaded the movie and the television series about teenage James quit when NBC wrote an episode without his permission about the character losing his virginity. Wakefield wanted NBC to put "responsible sex" AKA birth control into the script but they refused. James at 16 was beloved by fans but canceled when Kerwin turned 17- the powers that be did not desire to keep changing the title as he aged.

Kerwin's former co-star Ike Eisenmann paid tribute on Instagram, writing, "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. 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."

Life after James

The actor left Hollywood after roles in The Loneliest Runner, Salem's Lot, and Wonder Woman. It was reported that in later years he was working as a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Kapaa, Hawaii and as a program leader at U-Turn for Christ] a drug and alcohol rehab organization. James at 16 may have only been on screen for one season but it left an impression on Baby Boomers who were coming of age at the time,

Lance Kerwin is survived by his wife Yvonne who he married in 1998, and their four children. He was the poster boy for wholesomeness ad a time of innocence that can never be revisited. Former theater critic and British Film Institute governor John Holmstrom once said of him "probably America's leading boy actor of the late Seventies ... a handsome lad".

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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