Lance Kerwin, Star of ‘James at 15,’ Has Died

Lance Kerwin in 'James at 16.'
(Image credit: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Lance Kerwin, who played James in the 1970s teen drama James at 15, died January 24 at home in San Clemente, California. He was 62. No cause of death was given. 

Debuting as a made for TV movie in 1977, James at 15 ran on NBC for 21 episodes. Main character James, a photography enthusiast with long blond hair, has relocated to Boston with his family after growing up in Oregon. Dan Wakefield created the show.

The show was renamed James at 16 in 1978. 

Kerwin was born in Newport Beach, California in 1960. His acting career began in the early ‘70s with minor roles on Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie and Wonder Woman. He appeared in five episodes of ABC Afterschool Special, reported the NY Times, from 1974 to 1976. 

After James at 15, Kerwin starred in a miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Salem’s Lot. He played teen Mark Petrie. 

His movie work includes Enemy Mine and plague thriller Outbreak

Kerwin battled drug abuse, and stepped away from acting. 

After getting sober, he worked on the rehabilitation program U-Turn for Christ and was a youth pastor. ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.