Kirk Cameron

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Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Cameron at CPAC in February 2012
Born Kirk Thomas Cameron
(1970-10-12) October 12, 1970 (age 43)
Panorama City, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, evangelist, TV show host
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Chelsea Noble (1991–present)
Relatives Candace Cameron Bure (sister)
Website
kirkcameron.com

Kirk Thomas Cameron (born October 12, 1970)[1] is an American actor. He is known for his role as Mike Seaver on the television situation comedy Growing Pains (1985–92), as well as several other television and film appearances as a child actor. In the 1980s and 1990s, Cameron appeared in dozens of television shows and in the films Like Father Like Son and Listen to Me. In the 2000s, he has portrayed Cameron "Buck" Williams in the Left Behind film series and Caleb Holt in the 2008 drama film, Fireproof. Cameron is also an active evangelical Christian, partnering with Ray Comfort in the evangelical ministry The Way of the Master, and has co-founded The Firefly Foundation with his wife, actress Chelsea Noble.

Early life

Cameron was born in Panorama City, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.[2] His parents are Robert Cameron, a retired school teacher, and Barbara (Bausmith), a stay-at-home mother.[3] He is the brother to Bridgette, Melissa, and Candace Cameron Bure, who is most notable for her role as D.J. Tanner on the popular television sitcom, Full House.[4] He went to school on the set of Growing Pains, as opposed to public school.[5] He graduated from high school at age 17 with high honors.[6]

Acting career

Cameron at the Emmy Awards in 1989

Cameron began acting at age nine, and his first job was in an advertisement for a breakfast cereal.[7] His first starring role was at age 13, in the television series Two Marriages.[8] At this age, he appeared in several television shows and films. He became famous in 1985 after being cast as Mike Seaver in the ABC television sitcom Growing Pains.[9] In the series, Mike would eventually have a girlfriend in Kate MacDonald, played by Chelsea Noble, Cameron's future wife.[10][11] Cameron subsequently became a teen heartthrob in the late 1980s,[12] while appearing on the covers of several teen magazines, including Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, 16 and others. At the time, he was making $50,000 a week.[13] He was also in a 60-second Pepsi commercial during Super Bowl XXIV.[14]

Cameron also guest starred in "Just One of the Guys" a 1988 episode of Full House in which he played the cousin of D.J. Tanner, who was played by Cameron's sister, Candace.

Cameron went on to star in many films, including 1987's Like Father Like Son[15] (a body-switch comedy with Dudley Moore), which was a box office success.[16] His next theatrical film, 1989's Listen to Me, performed poorly at the box office.[17] When Growing Pains ended in 1992, Cameron went on to star in The WB sitcom Kirk which premiered in 1995 and ended two years later. In Kirk, Cameron played Kirk Hartman,[18] a 24-year-old who has to raise his siblings.[19] Cameron and Noble also worked together on Kirk.[11]

Cameron has since left mainstream film, though a decade after Growing Pains ended, he starred in a television reunion film, The Growing Pains Movie,[20] in 2000, and another one, Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers, in 2004.[21] Cameron reunited with the cast of Growing Pains for a CNN Larry King Live interview which aired on February 7, 2006, in conjunction with the Warner Bros. release of the complete first season of Growing Pains on DVD.[22] Aside from this, Cameron has often worked in Christian-themed productions, among them the post-Rapture films Left Behind: The Movie, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, and Left Behind: World at War, in which he plays Cameron "Buck" Williams. Cameron's wife Noble also starred in the film series,[23] playing Hattie Durham. Cameron has worked with Cloud Ten Pictures, a company which produces Christian-themed films, and has starred in several of their films, including The Miracle of the Cards.[24]

He also appeared in the 2008 drama film, Fireproof,[25] which was produced by Sherwood Pictures. The film was created on a budget of $500,000, with Cameron as the lead actor, portraying Captain Caleb Holt.[26] Though it was a low-budget film, the film grossed $33,415,129 and was a box office success. It was the highest grossing independent film of 2008.[27]

In 2012, Cameron was the narrator and host of the documentary film Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure. On its opening day, March 27, 2012, Monumental grossed $28,340. The film stayed in theaters until May 20, 2012, grossing a total of $177,729.[28]

In 2013, Cameron announced he would be the host of the film Unstoppable slated to premiere September 24, 2013. A trailer for the film was blocked on Facebook, with Cameron speculating that it was due to the film's religious content. Facebook has since removed the block, stating it was the result of a mistake by an automated system and a spam site previously registered at the same web address.[29]

Conversion to Christianity

Cameron says he was an atheist in his early teens.[30] When he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, he became a born-again Christian.[13][31][32] After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that storylines be edited to remove anything he thought too adult or inappropriate in Growing Pains.[33] After the series was cancelled, Cameron did not maintain contact with his former co-stars, and did not speak to Tracey Gold for eight years. Cameron has stated that this was not due to any animosity on his part toward any of his former cast-members, but an outgrowth of his desire to start a new life away from the entertainment industry, and the life he had been in for the previous seven years. Prior to the premiere of The Growing Pains Movie in 2000, for which the entire main cast reunited, Cameron described his regrets over how his relationship with his castmates changed after his religious conversion during production of the series, saying, "I definitely kind of made an about-face, going toward another aspect of my life," admits Cameron. "I shifted my focus from 100% on the show, to 100% on [my new life], and left 0% on the show--and even the friendships that were a part of that show. If I could go back, I think I could make decisions that were less inadvertently hurtful to the cast--like talking and explaining to them why I just wanted to have my family at my wedding."[34]

Evangelistic ministry

Cameron currently partners with fellow evangelist Ray Comfort, training Christians in evangelism. Together, they founded the ministry of The Way of the Master,[35] which is best known for the television show of the same name that Cameron co-hosts, and which won the National Religious Broadcasters’ Best Program Award for two consecutive years.[36] It also formerly featured a radio show known as The Way of the Master Radio with talk show host Todd Friel.[37] The radio show was later canceled, and replaced with Wretched Radio, hosted by Friel. Cameron, along with his wife, founded The Firefly Foundation, which runs Camp Firefly, a summer camp that gives terminally ill children and their families a free week's vacation.[38][39]

Kirk Cameron with Ray Comfort in 2008

Cameron and Comfort participated in a televised debate with atheists Brian Sapient and Kelly O'Conner of the Rational Response Squad, at Calvary Baptist Church, in Manhattan, on May 5, 2007. It was moderated by ABC's Martin Bashir and parts of it were aired on Nightline. At issue was the existence of God, which Comfort stated he could prove scientifically, without relying on faith or the Bible.[40] The audience was composed of both theists and atheists. Points of discussion included atheism and evolutionary theory.[41] While Sapient contended during his arguments that Comfort violated the rules by talking about the Ten Commandments, Cameron later stated on the Way of the Master radio show that the rules of the debate did not say that the Bible could never be referenced, but rather that Comfort simply had to come up with one argument that didn't reference the Bible or faith.[42][dead link]

In November 2009, Cameron and others distributed free copies of an altered version of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species on college campuses in the United States.[43][44] The book consisted of Darwin's text with chapters of the book removed, and with an added introduction by Ray Comfort reiterating common creationist assertions about Darwin and evolution. The book was criticized by scientists and Darwin biographers who criticized the omission of key chapters of the book, and who stated that its introduction contains misinformation about Darwin, and long-refuted creationist arguments about the science of evolution,[45][46] such as the linking of Nazi racial theories to Darwinist ideas.[44] Comfort later said that the four chapters were chosen at random to be omitted in order to make the book small enough to be affordable as a giveaway, with the absent chapters available for download, but that the missing chapters were included in the second edition, which had a smaller text size that made printing the entire book as a giveaway affordable. The second edition still lacks Darwin's preface and glossary of terms.[47] The National Center for Science Education arranged a campaign to distribute an analysis of the Comfort introduction and a banana bookmark at colleges across the U.S.[48]

In March 2012, Cameron stated on Piers Morgan Tonight that "homosexuality is unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to foundations of civilization".[49] Cameron's comments received criticism from GLAAD,[50] and provoked a backlash from gay rights activists and members of the entertainment industry, including Roseanne Barr, Kristin Chenoweth, Craig Ferguson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Debra Messing, Martha Plimpton, as well as Growing Pains co-stars Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke. Piers Morgan stated that Cameron was brave for expressing his opinion, "however antiquated his beliefs may be".[51][52][53] Rosie O'Donnell invited him to discuss his comments on same-sex marriage on The Rosie Show, but he declined and suggested a private dinner to discuss this topic personally.[54]

On April 11, 2012, Cameron was honored by Indiana Wesleyan University, and inducted into their Society of World Changers during a ceremony in which he spoke on IWU's campus.[55]

Personal life

Cameron and his wife, fellow Growing Pains star Chelsea Noble, were married on July 21, 1991. They now have six children, four of whom were adopted: Jack (born 1996), Isabella (born 1997), Anna (born 1998), and Luke (born 2000); and two biological: Olivia Rose (born 2001) and James Thomas (born 2003).[56]

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Goliath Awaits Liam Movie
1981 Bret Maverick Boy #1 Episode: "The Lazy Ace: Part 1"
1982 Beyond Witch Mountain Boy Movie
1982 Herbie, the Love Bug Young Kid Episode: "Herbie the Matchmaker"
1983 Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land Gary Movie
1983 Two Marriages Eric Armstrong Episode: "Relativity"
1983 ABC Afterschool Specials Willy
Jeff
"The Woman Who Willed a Miracle"
"Andrea's Story: A Hitchhiking Tragedy"
1984 More Than Murder Bobby Movie
1984 Children in the Crossfire Mickey Chandler Movie
1985–92 Growing Pains Mike Seaver 167 episodes
1988 Full House Cousin Steve Episode: "Just One of the Guys"
1991 Little Piece of Heaven, AA Little Piece of Heaven Will Loomis Movie
1994 Star Struck Runner Movie
1995 Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, TheThe Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dexter Riley Movie
1995–96 Kirk Kirk Hartman 31 episodes
1998 You Lucky Dog Jack Morgan Movie
2000 Growing Pains Movie, TheThe Growing Pains Movie Mike Seaver Movie
2001 Touched by an Angel Chuck Parker Episode: "The Birthday Present"
2001 Miracle of the Cards, TheThe Miracle of the Cards Josh Movie
2002 Family Law Mitchell Stark Episode: "Blood and Water"
2003–13 Praise the Lord Recurring guest host
2003–
present
Way of the Master, TheThe Way of the Master Himself/Host
2004 Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers Mike Seaver Movie

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1986 Best of Times, TheThe Best of Times Teddy
1987 Like Father Like Son Chris Hammond / Dr. Jack Hammond
1989 Listen to Me Tucker Muldowney
1990 Willies, TheThe Willies Mike Seaver
1998 Birth of Jesus, TheThe Birth of Jesus Video
2001 Left Behind: The Movie Buck Williams
2002 Left Behind II: Tribulation Force Buck Williams
2005 Left Behind: World at War Buck Williams
2008 Fireproof Caleb Holt
2012 Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure Himself Documentary; also producer
2013 Unstoppable Himself Documentary
2014 Mercy Rule Direct-to-video and digital download

Video games

Awards and nominations

References

  1. ^ Laufenberg, Norbert B. (June 2005). Entertainment Celebrities. Trafford Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4120-5335-8. 
  2. ^ Mansour, David (May 2005). From Abba to Zoom. Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9. 
  3. ^ Celizic, Mike (October 18, 2007). "Candace Cameron has ‘Full House’ of her own". The Today Show. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Full House: Cast Listing". TV.com. Retrieved November 27, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Just one of the guys". Chicago Sun-Times. November 16, 1987. Retrieved February 28, 2009. "I go to school on the set, not to a regular school." 
  6. ^ Mills, Bart (August 31, 1988). "Kirk Cameron grows past his early fame as teen idol". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 28, 2009. 
  7. ^ Mills, Nancy (June 26, 1987). "Curly-Haired Kirk Cameron Teen-Age Heartthrob Takes Fame In Stride". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ O'Conner, John J. (March 8, 1984). "ABC's Two Marriages Now A Weekly Series". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  9. ^ Rhudy, Ben (January 29, 2009). "Kirk Cameron talks Fireproof, marriage, and the demands of playing a firefighter". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved February 15, 2009. 
  10. ^ Kogan, Rick (September 20, 1991). "End of the line Saturday winds up the week with series winding up their runs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b Slewinski, Christy (May 27, 1996). "'Growing Pains' Pair A Couple Once Again". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 24, 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Will Fall Strategy Keep New Networks Alive?". The Charlotte Observer. August 28, 1995. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Ewald, Dan (March–April 2003). "The Rebirth of Kirk Cameron". Today's Christian. Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Channel Hopping". Dayton Daily News. January 12, 1990. Retrieved February 28, 2009. 
  15. ^ Tucker, Ernest (September 27, 1987). "Dudley Moore & Kirk Cameron — Comic team of 'Like Father Like Son'". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  16. ^ "Like Father Like Son Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 26, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Listen to Me Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 26, 2008. 
  18. ^ Grahnke, Lon (August 23, 1995). "More Growing Pains — Kirk Works On Being Adult". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Steve (August 23, 1995). "Up And Running, WB Gets A Jump On Fall With 'KIRK'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2009. [dead link]
  20. ^ Owen, Rob (November 3, 2000). "On the Tube: 'Growing Pains Movie' catches up with the Seaver clan". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 24, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers : Overview". MSN Movies. Retrieved November 27, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Growing Pains Cast Reunion". CNN. February 7, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  23. ^ Lammers, Tim (November 4, 2005). "Film Series Is Something Kirk Cameron Won't Leave 'Behind'". ABC News. Retrieved February 24, 2009. 
  24. ^ Ault, Susanne (November 16, 2004). "Acquires distribution rights to Christian-related titles". Video Business. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  25. ^ Marrapodi, Eric (February 13, 2009). "'Fireproof' is still generating heat". CNN. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Church hosts showing of 'Fireproof' movie". The Herald-Dispatch. January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  27. ^ Buss, Dale (January 21, 2009). "What Christians Watch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
  28. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=monumental2012.htm
  29. ^ "Kirk Cameron fights Facebook over new film". USA Today. July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  30. ^ Bashir, Martin (7 May 2007), "Does God Exist? The Nightline Faceoff", ABC News, retrieved 4 April 2009 
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  32. ^ Cameron, Kirk; Ray Comfort (2004). The Way of the Master. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. Foreword. ISBN 1-4143-0061-1. 
  33. ^ "The Cast of 'Growing Pains:' Where Are They Now?". Fox News. December 18, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  34. ^ Keck, William (November 3, 2000). "TV Family’s Cast Gets Over Its Own 'Growing Pains'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  35. ^ Phan, Katherine T. (February 14, 2009). "Christian Evangelist's Book Ranked Bestselling 'Atheist' Item". The Christian Post. Retrieved February 15, 2009. 
  36. ^ "Christian Reality TV Show wins 'Best Program' and 'People's Choice' Awards". Christian Broadcasting Network. June 14, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Wretched with Todd Friel" (PDF). InTouch Ministries. February 26, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  38. ^ "'Fireproof' shows Christian movies sell". ABC News. October 3, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2009. [dead link]
  39. ^ "Growing Pains Are Behind Him". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. September 13, 1998. Retrieved February 24, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Correction to article; "Evangelist Challenges Atheists to Debate on ABC"". Christianpost.com. 2007-04-29. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  41. ^ "Prepare for a Conflict: The Nightline Face-Off No-Holds Barred Battle Over the Existence of God". ABC News. May 7, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2008. 
  42. ^ "Was somebody lying or just plain forgetful?". Way of the Master Radio, May 9, 2007 Hour 2[dead link]
  43. ^ "Actor Blasts Evolution". CNN. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  44. ^ a b Jones, Oliver. "Kirk Cameron Stands Behind Controversial Darwin Statements". People. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  45. ^ Scott, Eugenie (October 30, 2009). "How Creationist 'Origin' Distorts Darwin". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  46. ^ "The Don't Diss Darwin Institute". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  47. ^ Ray Comfort; Darwin, Charles (2009). Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition. Bridge-Logos Foundation. ISBN 0-88270-919-4. 
  48. ^ "The Don't Diss Darwin Institute". National Center for Science Education. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
    "Got Comfort? Get protection!". National Center for Science Education. November 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  49. ^ "Cameron: 'Homosexuality is unnatural'". CNN. March 2, 2012. 
  50. ^ Fowler, Brandi (March 4, 2011). "Kirk Cameron: Homosexuality Is 'Detrimental and Destructive'; GLAAD Says 'He's Out of Step'". E!.
  51. ^ Serpe, Gina (March 5, 2012). "Kirk Cameron backlash swift as stars slam anti-gay speech". Today. 
  52. ^ Marikar, Sheila (March 5, 2012). "Kirk Cameron Receiving Support Despite Anti-Gay Comments". ABC News. 
  53. ^ Johnson, Zach (March 5, 2012). "Update: Tracey Gold, More Stars Slam Kirk Cameron for Anti-Gay Remarks", Us Weekly.
  54. ^ "Kirk Cameron, Rosie O'Donnell to discuss gay rights". On Top Magazine. March 15, 2012. 
  55. ^ a b "Cameron Selected as latest IWU World Changer". Indiana Wesleyan University. March 1, 2012.
  56. ^ "Kirk Cameron On His Kids: "I forgot who was adopted and who was not"". People.com. June 3, 2008. 

Further reading

External links

Interviews