Successful Child Actors: Kirk And Candace Cameron

Successful Child Actors: Kirk and Candace Cameron


Toni Casala

You may remember Kirk and Candace Cameron from two of the most popular sitcoms of the late 80s and early 90s. Kirk was an instant teen-idol who starred on Growing Pains and his younger sister Candace played DJ Tanner on the hit show Full House. While both young actors were starring on wholesome, family-centric shows, their parents Robert and Barbara were working hard to make sure that their lives off screen were just as stable and supportive.

In her book appropriately named A Full House of Growing Pains, Barbara recounts her life as a typical Christian mother raising two not-so-typical children. It wasn t an easy task attempting to guide her children through the pressures and insecurities of a Hollywood lifestyle, nor was it easy balancing a normal home (the Cameron s have other siblings as well) with life in the limelight.

By the age of eighteen, Kirk was making $50k a week and had gained the admiration of thousands of young teens. His sister Candace, after her role on Full House, drew significant critical acclaim for taking on challenging dramatic roles in films like No One Would Tell.

In 1990, Kirk reaffirmed his faith after struggling internally to find himself for many years a personal revelation that had a profound effect on him. While it initially caused some friction on the Growing Pains set, Kirk had the strength to remain true to himself. In 1991 he married costar Chelsea Noble. Today Kirk and Chelsea have six children and Kirk has partnered with Way of the Master Ministries. In addition, he has stared in the Left Behind movies and continues to take on acting roles.

Candace Cameron was introduced to NHL hockey player Valeri Bure by former co-star Dave Coulier and the two were married in 1996. They have three children and currently reside in Florida. Candace speaks at various churches, colleges and outreach events in addition to being involved in organizations like the Starlight Foundation, Make-A-Wish, Compassion International, Children s Hunger Fund and Sheridan House Family Ministries.

Kirk and Candace will never forget their Hollywood roots, but their well-adjusted, successful and fulfilling adult lives are a true testament to the family-based upbringing their parents valued years ago. They continue to be walking examples of how a supportive upbringing and the development of personal esteem is invaluable in the lives of children growing up in the industry.



On Getting Started in Entertainment

CIF: What were the early signs that your child was meant to be in the limelight?

BC: There were no early signs that our children were meant for this business. It was something that just happened. Another showbiz mother, and friend of mine, encouraged me for years to get the kids involved.

CIF: How did you find your first agent?

BC: We lived in the same apartment building as Adam Rich s ( Eight Is Enough ) family. For years, Adam s mother Fran encouraged me to get my children in the business saying that I should really take my kids in to see her agent, Iris Burton. I trusted Fran and her opinion. Finally, I agreed not thinking that anything would ever become of it. A few days later Iris Burton was our agent. Today, however, I would encourage parents to interview the agent just as much as the agent is interviewing them and their child. Find the one that you feel good about representing your child.

CIF: How many auditions did you go on before the first job?

BC: Kirk booked his first commercial after about the 6th audition. I don t think it was more than a dozen before Candace booked her first commercial.

On Making it in Show Biz

CIF: What was your first big break?

BC: Though there was a progression of big breaks everyday, because small roles led to bigger roles, I guess Kirk s would be Growing Pains . It was during the years of Growing Pains that Kirk became one of America s teen stars and through this show, he became very popular. Candace s break came from her role on a feature film, Punchline with Sally Field, John Goodman and Tom Hanks. It was during this film that the audition came in for Full House .

CIF: Any funny/interesting stories from when you were first getting started?

BC: One story that I can remember was an event at the Disney Studios. We were invited to attend and Kirk brought along a girl friend of his. They found a bicycle and rode tandem. There were paparazzi taking pictures of all the celebrities that attended. They spotted Kirk and followed him trying to capture a photo. Kirk was very good at dodging the media and did his best to find refuge. But the photographers were insistent and so his dad had an idea! They were able to find an abandoned building on the lot. It was there that they exchanged clothes, coat, and hat and Kirk (really his dad) rode off on the bicycle with Kirks friend. The paparazzi saw the two of them and yelled, There he is! Robert, disguised as Kirk, rode off, paparazzi s chasing them, leaving Kirk free to escape into the crowd. It was a fun idea for awhile, but the photographers eventually got smart and realized that they were had .

On Education

CIF: How did you school your children?

BC: During Kirk s high school years, we were able to have him attend his school for a class or two before filming (on set he had a studio teacher). This would give him the opportunity to stay connected with his classmates at his regular school. He graduated with his class with high honors. Candace was tutored on the set for a number of years and when she entered high school, we enrolled her in a private school so that she could develop a social life outside the studio. She missed being among her peers and there were a few kids at her regular school that were making it difficult for her to attend there on a regular basis. Being able to attend this school was wonderful, and helped her connect with friends that she still has today!

Toni Casala is the founder and CEO of

, a comprehensive information resource center and networking site for parents, child actors and industry professionals where you can get everything you would need to know about young actors working in the entertainment industry. Toni is one of Hollywood s leading authorities on California Child Labor Law.

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Successful Child Actors: Kirk and Candace Cameron