Former Child Actor Lance Kerwin, Best Known for 'Salem's Lot,' Passes Away at Age 62

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 6 2023, Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Lance Kerwin
Source: Stan Margulies Productions

Lance Kerwin in 'A Killer in the Family'

The Gist:

  • Actor Lance Kerwin starred in various films and TV shows including Little House on the Prairie and Wonder Woman.
  • Perhaps Lance is best known for his role in Salem’s Lot, which released in 1979.
  • The last role Lance held before leaving Hollywood in the late '90s was in Outbreak.
Article continues below advertisement

In October 2022, Lance Kerwin was at the horror convention Spooky Empire in Orlando, Fla. as talent. While there, he was interviewed by The Riley and Kimmy Show about his time filming 1979's Salem's Lot. At the time, this television miniseries was one of the earlier adapted works of Stephen King and was directed by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame.

During his chat, Lance waxed poetic about being on the set and working with venerated actors like James Mason. He then went through some more highlights of his short but glorious career. It's easy to forget how much Lance did in such a short time onscreen.

Sadly, it was reported in January 2023 that he passed away at age 62, thus leaving a hole in Hollywood's history. Here's what we know about actor Lance Kerwin's cause of death.

Article continues below advertisement

What was Lance Kerwin's cause of death?

Lance Kerwin attends the Chiller Theatre Expo Halloween 2022 at Hilton Parsippany.
Source: Getty Images

In a Facebook post by Lance's daughter Savanah on Jan. 25, she announced the passing of her father.

"I am so sorry to those we have not been able to reach out to personally to notify but Lance Kerwin passed away yesterday morning," she wrote. "We appreciate all the kind words, memories, and prayers that have been shared. ... He loved each and every one of you."

At the time, no cause of death was revealed though Lance had suffered from various health issues. While Wikipedia does note that Lance passed away from a drug overdose, there isn't yet any evidence that substantiates these claims.

Article continues below advertisement

In June 2021, a friend of Lance's started a GoFundMe page to help him get back on his feet, which referenced a back injury as well as some other unnamed problems. In response to this, Lance posted a heartfelt thank you in an update on the GoFundMe.

"As I read this, I'm not really sure [any] funds will be raised but I can't help but think how blessed I am to have made some friends early in life, some of which became fans and watched my shows but most of which I can still call friends."

Article continues below advertisement

Lance also mentioned his children, whom he thanked their mom and God for. "They have their mom's spark, her beauty, and sense of humor. Really, they don't have much from me [but] I'm gonna do my best to give them the best of me," he wrote.

By the end of his life, Lance's religious beliefs as well as his children were the most important things to him.

Lance Kerwin in 'Salem's Lot'
Source: Warners Bros.

Lance Kerwin in 'Salem's Lot'

Article continues below advertisement

Lance Kerwin had a prolific acting career. So, why did he quit?

While horror fans know him from Salem's Lot, Lance had a few pivotal roles, one of which was as the titular James in the NBC drama series James at 15 (later changed to James at 16). Although it only ran for one season, the show was applauded for how it dealt with the sensitive issue of growing up.

Tom Shales of The Washington Post said the show was "not perfect, not revolutionary, not always deliriously urgent [but was] still the most respectable new entertainment series of the season."

Lance would go on to become a staple of 1970s entertainment and continued acting into the 1990s, after which he left Hollywood for a larger purpose. According to Deadline he "retired from acting to become a youth minister," and moved to Hawaii where he worked with the U-Turn for Christ ministry.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic all but decimated the secular work he was doing so he returned to California, which is where he passed. Apart from his daughter Savanah, Lance is survived by his children Fox, Terah, Kailani, and Justus.

More from Distractify

Latest Human Interest News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.