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.
Kirk Cameron was born on October 12, 1970, in Panorama City, California, to a schoolteacher father and a stay-at-home mother. He is one of four children and was not the only child-star in the family. Both Cameron and his younger sister, Candace, found fame at a young age. Cameron began acting professionally at 9 years old. Friend and young actor Adam Rich introduced Cameron to acting, and helped him acquire an agent.
Cameron was soon landing commercials and earning small television appearances. His first starring role was on the television series Two Marriages in 1983.
Actor Kirk Cameron began acting at a young age and found early success as teenage-heartthrob, Mike Seaver on the popular family sitcom Growing Pains.
As a child actor, Cameron made several 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).
Two years after Cameron’s first starring role, he earned his career-defining big break as Mike Seaver on the popular family sitcom Growing Pains. The young actor grew up on set, spending seven years of his childhood with the show. Growing Pains not only launched Cameron’s acting career, it turned him into a teen heartthrob and pin-up boy. The young star told reporters around this time that stardom was “just his job,” not his identity. He even had early aspirations of becoming a brain surgeon.
During the last few seasons of Growing Pains, Cameron began separating himself from the rest of the cast, turning his attention toward religion and preferring to spend time with his family. The young star eventully became an Evangelical Christian, and further isolated himself by insisting his story lines not include any racy or adult material.
While working on Growing Pains, Cameron appeared as a guest star on many other TV shows. On the popular sitcom Full House, he played the cousin of D.J. Tanner, portrayed by his real-life sister, Candace Cameron.
Cameron also expanded his career beyond the small screen, appearing in such films as Like Father Like Son (1987) with Dudley Moore, the romance Listen to Me (1989) and 2008’s Fireproof. His film, Saving Christmas (2014), gained notoriety for reaching #1 on the IMDb Bottom 100 List within one month of its theatrical release.
In 2013, the former child star became the headlines when his evangelical-themed film, Unstoppable, was banned from Facebook and YouTube. Both websites claimed that their malware systems mistakenly identified the promotion as spam. Cameron described the work as his “most personal film about faith, hope and love, and why God allows bad things to happen to good people.”
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 he was “born again”. Around this same time, he and evangelist colleague Ray Comfort began running a religious organization, Way of the Master. The group has a cable TV show (which began airing in 2003) and a website—mediums through which they preach what they believe to be the truth about Christianity.
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.”
In 1991, a 20-year-old Cameron married his Growing Pains on-screen girlfriend, Chelsea Noble, who was then 26 years old. 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).