Kirk Thomas Cameron was born on October 12, 1970, in Panorama City, California, to the family of Barbara Cameron (née Barbara Jeanne Bausmith), a homemaker, and Robert Cameron, a teacher. He is an American actor and is best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains (1985–92), a role for which he was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.
As a child actor, Cameron made several other television and film appearances through the 1980s and 1990s, including the films Like Father Like Son (1987) and Listen to Me (1989). In the 2000s, he portrayed Cameron “Buck” Williams in the Left Behind film series and Caleb Holt in the drama film Fireproof (2008). His most recent film, Saving Christmas (2014), gained notoriety for reaching #1 on the IMDb Bottom 100 List within one month of its theatrical release.
Firmly established as the resident star of “Growing Pains”, Cameron saw his pay jump to $50,000 a week and his fans sending him some 10,000 letters a week. But his coming-of-age took an unexpected turn, at least for everyone who worked with him.
Cameron was an atheist in his early teens. When he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, he became a born-again Christian.
As he would later recall it in his autobiography, “Still Growing”, the family of his first girlfriend initially exposed the 17-year-old to evangelical Christianity. Cameron experienced what he would later describe as a “life-changing encounter with Jesus” and declared himself “born again”. He is now a Christian evangelist, with Ray Comfort, in “The Way of the Master” organization.
After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be edited to remove anything he thought too adult or inappropriate in Growing Pains. 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.”
Cameron and his wife, Chelsea Noble, fellow Growing Pains star, who he co-founded The Firefly Foundation with, 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 (born 2001) and James (born 2003).