Author: Kirk Cameron
Title: Still Growing: An Autobiography
Publisher: Regal Books
If you turned on your television between 1985 and 1992, it would have been hard to miss Kirk Cameron.
With his boyish charm and a now-famous crooked grin, Cameron shot to fame as the irrepressible Mike Seaver on the hit TV show, Growing Pains. After just one season, Cameron became a teen idol featured in countless tabloids and talk shows. VH1 recently ranked him #15 on their list of the “100 Greatest Kid Stars.”
What some may not know is that Cameron also became a born-again Christian during his years on Growing Pains. In this simplistic, co-written autobiography, Cameron takes us behind the scenes and shares his perspective on life, fame, faith and Hollywood. He talks about landing an agent and his first commercial (for Count Chocula), as well as his early roles, but particularly Growing Pains. Cameron also shares his conversion story, which led him to confront producers and writers about the show’s content, as well as the infamous firing of his TV girlfriend, Julie McCullough, after she posed for Playboy.
If you’re looking for dirt—or even a humble confessional—you’ll be disappointed. Although Cameron’s on-set nickname was “Devil Boy” (for the pranks he played on cast and crew), his admissions are mild. He insists he had nothing to do with McCullough’s dismissal. About his alarmist refusal to go on location to Spain because he, a 17-year-old, feared the plane would be attacked by terrorists, Cameron says only that his decision “reverberated throughout the industry” and that he was henceforth perceived as a “big-headed punk who thought he could tell the studio what they could and could not do.” Apparently, however well-meaning, Cameron had become just that—but he doesn’t admit to it. Even more disappointingly, he also doesn’t talk about any struggles as a son, a husband or a parent in the book.
Years later, at the Growing Pains reunion, Cameron did ask for forgiveness from his former producers, but couches it this way: “I know that I could have handled those situations more graciously than I did when I was 17.” Hardly a humble admission of his narcissism, however youthful. Then again, Cameron was also a pretty good kid, for the most part.
“I never got a DUI because I didn’t drink,” he writes. “The only thing I ever smoked was a ham for Thanksgiving. Maybe I would have had more free time to get into trouble with girls if I wasn’t so busy killing rats to feed my snakes. All I wanted was to find one girl and be with her for life.”
Well, as most everyone knows, Cameron did find that girl. Her name was Chelsea Noble and she played Kate, his true love on Growing Pains. Cameron and Chelsea have now been married for 17 years and have six children. They own and operate Camp Firefly, a Georgia-based retreat center for terminally ill children and their families.
Although Cameron’s autobiography will have a limited audience, former Growing Pains fans should enjoy this glance into the actor’s life and faith.