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Light Notes: Actor Kirk Cameron on nationwide mission to help marriages

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald on

Published in Religious News

Kirk Cameron is a man on a mission, a guy filled with purpose. Interestingly, this go-getter actor is named after another high achiever; a television series character determined to lead -- Captain Kirk of Star Trek.

"That's the story I've been told," Kirk said as he joked about his TV namesake. "And as the family legend goes, my sister would have been named Spock if my father hadn't stepped in."

Little did his parents, who lived near Hollywood, realize when they linked their baby boy's name to the television screen, he would someday be appearing on it. Yet, within the decade, Kirk became a familiar face.

"I was about 10 years old when my mom banked on a suggestion from a friend who suggested she enlist help from a talent agency," Kirk said, recalling how he started interviewing for parts in TV shows and commercials. "I started out working that way, and within a few years I started working on the TV show 'Growing Pains'."

The sitcom about a New York family turned out to be a cultural icon of the '80s. Kirk played the role of Mike Seaver, who wore cool glasses, sported a mullet and was always armed with a wisecrack or two. The show ran for seven years, and that meant Kirk was on the "Growing Pains" production set a lot.

"It was very much a family atmosphere, so I probably spent more time with my TV family than with my real family," Kirk said, recalling the lifelong friends he made, one in particular. "I met my co-star (Chelsea Noble) and we got married in our last year of the show."

By then, Kirk was an adult with a deep faith, his mission to have his life reflect new values. This involved a few "growing pains" on the set when Kirk wanted to steer away from some of the scenes his character was being asked to depict.

"We locked horns a few times and there were ruffled feathers when we'd work through a script -- that's common with anyone," Kirk said, as he reflected on how usually actors are asking for more money and he was a "piece of cake" in comparison. "I simply wanted to have discussions about the best way to portray my character in light of the fact that I was a role model for teenagers."

A leading bright light back then, and a guy committed to a purposeful life straight ahead.

Since those early days on the "Growing Pains" sitcom, Kirk has intertwined his acting career with his ability to lead people forward on issues that matter. "Fireproof," "Monumental," "Unstoppable," and the "Revive Us" theater event have all addressed societal concerns and problems from the perspective of faith in God.

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