Former actor Lance Kerwin, known for roles in Salem’s Lot and James at 15, died Tuesday at the age of 62. Lance Kerwin’s daughter Savannah announced his death today in a Facebook post. Kerwin rose to fame in the 1970s as the star of the NBC teen drama James at 15, which stirred up controversy for portraying the teenage journey more realistically than other TV shows at the time. Those familiar with the 1973 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Salem’s Lot will remember Kerwin as Mark Petrie, the monster movie fanatic turned vampire hunter who is a terrifying scene is visited by a former classmate turned vampire. Lance Kerwin’s cause of death has not been disclosed.
The Bold Career of ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘James at 15’ Actor Lance Kerwin
Kerwin began his career in with appearances on shows such as Little House on the Prairie, Emergency!, and Wonder Woman. However, it was his role at James Hunter in James at 15 that garnered him significant attention. While the show only lasted one season, it made headlines when the character lost his virginity to an exchange student on his 16th birthday. Two years later, Kerwin took a role in the 1980 TV movie The Boy Who Drank Too Much, which starred Scott Baio as a teenage alcoholic.
While James at 15 was his claim to fame, Salem’s Lot may be the role Kerwin will always be remembered for. He appeared at numerous conventions and autograph signings for fans of the miniseries. Salem’s Lot is being remade as a feature film to be released this year.
Kerwin continued to act into the mid-1990s before retiring from the profession to be a youth minister. He eventually moved to Hawaii and was a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Kapaa, Kauai. He served as program director for U-Turn for Christ, a drug and alcohol rehab organization. A GoFundMe account reveals that in the midst of the pandemic and due to health and fianancia issues, he had to leave Hawaii and move to California. He was hoping to make a return to acting.
Whether it was for James at 15, Salem’s Lot, or any other roles, actor Lance Kerwin likely showed up on your screen sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. The Nerd Stash celebrates his career and sends condolences to his family. Along with Savannah, Kerwin is survived by children Fox, Terah, Kailani, and Justus.