You might remember the fresh-faced Lance Kerwin as the sensitive James Hunter on the critically acclaimed 1977 NBC series James at 15. Or as young Ramey, son to a Tennessee reverend struggling through the Depression in 1975's The Family Holvak. Or even as the teenage Mark Petrie, protecting a New England town against evil in 1979's Salem's Lot.
Lance was one of the top child actors of 70s TV and for a time, was a go to 'everyteen' seen on everything from Little House on the Prairie to the ABC Afterschool Specials to Wonder Woman. His acting was sincere and natural, and this was often noted by critics and TV viewers. Legendary TV director Ralph Senesky, who directed Lance on The Family Holvak and James at 15, has called him "the most talented young male juvenile I worked with." Kevin Williamson, the creator of Dawson's Creek, cited James at 15 as a major influence on him and named it as an inspiration for his show: "Dawson's Creek came out of my desire to do James at 15 for the '90s. It was very provocative and way ahead of its time.”
Having himself been helped by the U-Turn for Christ program, he left Hollywood behind; and in 1997 began serving as overseer of the U-Turn for Christ ranch in Perrin, California. In 2006, he began serving with the U-Turn for Christ ministry out on the small island of Kauai, Hawaii-a residential faith-based treatment program helping men to overcome addiction. Since that time, the ministry has helped hundreds of men turn their lives around and leave behind lives of hopelessness in favor of a life of hope and faith.
Today, he is humbly asking for your help. The Covid-19 pandemic severely affected the Hawaiian islands-whose economy largely revolves around tourism-with record high unemployment levels. This resulted in Lance being left with virtually no income from his secular work for most of 2020. At the same time, he suffered from a back injury and other health issues. With life in the islands no longer sustainable, Lance brought his family to the mainland. However, a toxic family situation quickly left Lance with no ID or credit cards and locked out of accounts; then a towed car soon resulted in no transportation. Although they now thankfully have obtained a car, he and his three children, aged 16, 12, and 10 are currently staying in motel rooms and spare bedrooms offered by the kindness of friends.
Lance is ready to make a return to acting, has an agent and the potential for TV and film work-but funds are needed to cover immediate needs and stabilize his family's current situation as he re-establishes himself in the LA area and continues working on replacing all his documentation . Any funds contributed will go to legitimate expenses to cover immediate needs such as communication, food, fuel, and housing.
About the organizer: I'm Chris Cooling and I produce content on classic TV. Last year, I produced a documentary podcast on James at 15 and came into contact with Lance. Lance is probably the least 'Hollywood' actor I've spoken to and was raised with an honest work ethic and to not let his youthful stardom go to his head. During my research, James at 15 creator Dan Wakefield spoke highly of him, as well as directors and even guest actors that worked with him. Lance carried the show as the lead actor and its a shame music rights are keeping the show from being released to DVD or being broadcast or streamed, preventing him from earning further residuals from it. James at 15 has not been rerun since 1988 according to my research, and residuals from other acting appearances have dwindled to a mere trickle.
All funds raised will go directly to Lance Kerwin and any amount is deeply appreciated. Thank you.