Lance Kerwin: American actor, child actor (1960 - 2023); Actor, Television actor, Film actor, Child actor; From: United States of America | Biography
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Lance Kerwin
American actor, child actor

Lance Kerwin

Lance Kerwin
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor, child actor
A.K.A. Lance Michael Kerwin
Was Actor Television actor Film actor Child actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 6 November 1960, Newport Beach, Orange County, California, USA
Death 24 January 2023, San Clemente, Orange County, California, USA (aged 62 years)
Star sign Scorpio
Residence Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA
Siblings: Shane KerwinBrian Kerwin
Spouse: Kristen LansdaleYvonne Kerwin (1998-24 January 2023)
Children: Savanah Paige KerwinTerah KerwinTrinity KerwinKailani KerwinJustus Joe Kerwin
Elsinore Jr. High school in Lake Elsinore, California
Hollywood Professional School, Hollywood, California
The details


Lance Kerwin (November 6, 1960 – January 24, 2023) was an American film and television actor and child actor known for his roles in television and movies from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. He played lead roles in the TV series James at 15, and the made-for-TV films The Loneliest Runner and Salem's Lot.

His serious acting roles often portrayed anguished characters facing difficult challenges, such as in The Loneliest Runner, The Boy Who Drank Too Much, and Children of Divorce.

According to the noted theater critic and British Film Institute governor John Holmstrom, Kerwin was "probably America's leading boy actor of the late Seventies... a handsome lad... [with] considerable sensitivity as an actor".

Early life and education

Lance Kerwin was born Lance Michael Kerwin on November 6, 1960, in Newport Beach, California, to parents in the entertainment industry. His father was an acting coach who brought home scripts for his Lance to read. His mother was also a performer and later, a talent agent.

The youngest of five brothers, Lance was raised in Lake Elsinore, California. Two of his brothers, Brian Kerwin and Shane Kerwin are also actors. Shane often served as a stand-in for Lance.

Lance graduated from Elsinore Jr. High school in Lake Elsinore, California, in 1975.


Kerwin made his acting debut in 1974 with a minor role in "Messin' Around" episode (aired on January 12, 1974) of the NBC TV series Emergency! starring Robert Fuller, Julie London, and Bobby Troup. The same year, he was seen in the role of "Kennedy Brown" in Tom Gries's TV movie The Healers with John Forsythe, Pat Harrington Jr., and Katherine Woodville.

In 1977-1978, Kerwin had a recurring role of "James Hunter" in screenwriter Dan Wakefield's Fox TV series James at 16. He was seen in 21 episodes of the series.

In 1985, he co-starred in "The Snow Queen", a retelling of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale in an episode of Shelly Duvall's children's television series Faerie Tale Theatre, alongside Melissa Gilbert, Lee Remick, and Lauren Hutton.

Kerwin retired from the film industry in the mid-1990s and then worked as a program leader with U-Turn For Christ, an alcohol rehab center, in Kaua'i, Hawaii. He made a reappearance in 2022, as "Anderson" in Swiss-born director David L. Cunningham's adventure-drama The Wind & the Reckoning alongside Henry Ian Cusick, Johnathon Schaech, and Jason Scott Lee. It was filmed in Hawaii.


In 2005, Kerwin are ranked 82 on VH1's The Greatest: 100 Greatest Kid Stars. The top 3 spots were taken by Gary Coleman (of Different Strokes), Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone fame), and Mary Kate Olsen & Ashley Olsencombined (Full House fame).

Personal life

Kerwin was married twice. His first marriage was with Kristen Lansdale, with whom he had one daughter, Savanah Paige Kerwin. The marriage ended in divorce.

After retiring from the film industry, he relocated to Kaua'i, Hawaii, where he worked as a program leader with U-Turn For Christ, an alcohol rehab center. He was also a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Kapaa, Hawaii.

In 1998, he married his second wife Yvonne. They had four children: daughters Terah, Trinity, Kailani, and a son Justus Joe.

Fraud conviction

While living in Hawaii, in July 2010, Kerwin and his second wife Yvonne pleaded guilty to falsifying documents to obtain state medical assistance and food stamps in Hawaii. Defense attorney Craig De Costa said that when Kerwin applied for the benefits, he omitted in the application that he owned three properties on the mainland. Kerwin was placed on five years probation, given credit for 90 days served, and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. Kerwin publicly apologized.


Kerwin died in San Clemente, California, on January 24, 2023, at the age of 62. Savanah Kerwin, his daughter with his first wife (Kristen Lansdale) informed of his death in a Facebook post on 25 January 2022, "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. As the coming weeks progress, I will share more information about after life ceremonies. He loved each and every one of you." A cause of death has not been disclosed yet (26 January 2022.)

Selected filmography

  • Emergency! (1973, TV Series) - as Wheeler Boy
  • The Healers (1974, TV Movie) - as Kennedy Brown
  • Little House on the Prairie (1974, TV Series) - as Danny Peters
  • Shazam! (1974 TV Series) - Season 1 Episode 2 - as Chad Martin
  • Cannon (1974 TV Series) - Season 4 Episode 6 - as an unnamed Delivery Boy
  • The Greatest Gift (1974, TV Movie) - as Ramey Holvak
  • Reflections of Murder (1974, TV Movie) - as Chip
  • The Meanest Men in the West aka Bad Men of the West (1974, TV Series)
  • ABC Afterschool Specials (1974-1976, TV Series) - as P.J./The President's Son/Buzz/Peter Finley/Adam Rush/Ezzie
  • Gunsmoke (1975, TV Series) - Tommy Harker
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) - as a boy in Blue-Striped Shirt (uncredited)
  • The Family Holvak (1975, TV Series) - as Ramey Holvak
  • Sara (1976, TV Series) - as Derek
  • Amelia Earhart (1976, TV Movie) - as David Putnam
  • The Loneliest Runner (1976, TV Movie) - John Curtis as a Youth
  • The Death of Richie (1977, TV Movie) - as Russell Werner
  • Wonder Woman (1977, TV Series) - as Jeff Hadley
  • The Bionic Woman (1977, TV Series) - as Prince Ishmail
  • Cheering Section (1977) - Bob
  • Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (1977, TV Movie) - as Joe, Jr. (age 14)
  • James at 15 (1977-1978, TV Series) - as James Hunter
  • The Busters (1978, TV Movie)
  • Salem's Lot (1979, TV Movie) - Mark Petrie
  • Once Upon a Midnight Scary (1979, TV Series)
  • The Boy Who Drank Too Much (1980, TV Movie) - as Billy Carpenter
  • Children of Divorce (1980, TV Movie) - as Tony Malik
  • Side Show (1981, TV Movie) - Nick Pallas
  • Advice to the Lovelorn (1981, TV Movie) - as Larry Ames
  • CBS Schoolbreak Special (1982, TV Series) - as Billy Lee Daniels
  • The Mysterious Stranger (1982, TV Movie) - #44
  • Trapper John, MD (1982-1985, TV Series) - as Gary Gordon / 42
  • A Killer in the Family (1983, TV Movie) - as Ray Tison
  • Faerie Tale Theatre: The Snow Queen (1985, TV Series) - as Kay
  • The Fourth Wise Man (1985, TV Movie) - as Passhur
  • Enemy Mine (1986) - Wooster
  • Murder She Wrote (1989, TV Series) - as Eddie Frayne
  • Final Verdict (1991, TV Movie) - as Harry Johnson
  • Outbreak (1995) - American Mercenary
  • The Wind & the Reckoning (2022)
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