A prodigious child, he started acting at a young age. He gave his first take as an actor at the tender age of nine. It was his friend who introduced him to the world of acting and also secured for him an agent.
He started appearing in commercials and television shows. His first take for the camera was for a breakfast cereal advertisement. He was only nine years old then.
Four years later, he secured himself a starring role in the television series, ‘Two Marriages’. Following this appearance, he performed in several television shows and films.
It was the 1985 ABC television sitcom, ‘Growing Pains’ that served as the big breakthrough for the prodigious actor. In the series, he played the character of Mike Seaver.
‘Growing Pains’ served as the perfect platform, as it not only helped him better his artistic skills and talent, but assisted him in maturing as an actor. Furthermore, it made him a teen heartthrob and a growing sensation amongst the audience.
It was while shooting for ‘Growing Pains’ that he appeared in several television shows and commercials. He was cast in the 60 seconds Pepsi commercial during the Super Bowl XXIV. He was also the cover face of numerous magazines including Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, 16 and several others
In 1988, he guest starred in an episode of ‘Full House’, ‘Just One of the Guys’, wherein he played the character of D.J. Tanner’s cousin. Interestingly, the character of Tanner was portrayed by his real life sister Candace.
He did not limit his acting to just television shows and series. Instead, he plunged to try his hand at the big screen as well. He was cast in several films including, ‘Like Father Like Son’ and ‘Listen to Me’. While the first was in the genre of comedy, the later was a romantic film.
An atheist, he converted to Christianity during the late teens when he was at the peak of his career, thus becoming a Christian yet again. It was after the conversion that he started objecting to anything that he thought was too adult or inappropriate for him.
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The growing contention between him and cast members of ‘Growing Pains’ led him to distance himself from all the co-stars. This was out of his desire to start a new life away from the entertainment industry. He shifted his focus from acting to religious practices.
After the conclusion of the television series, ‘Growing Pains’, he starred in the WB sitcom, ‘Kirk’. The show premiered in 1995 and lasted for two years. In the series, he portrayed the character of Kirk Hartman, who has the responsibility of raising his siblings.
In 2000, he yet again made his entry into mainstream cinema by appearing in the television reunion film, ‘The Growing Pains Movie’. Later, he starred in the film, ‘Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers’
In 2006, he reunited with the cast of Growing Pains for a CNN Larry King Live interview in conjunction with the Warner Bros. Two years later, he appeared in the drama film, ‘Fireproof’, produced by Sherwood Pictures. The film was a major hit and became a blockbuster success, grossing 600% profits. In 2008, it became the highest grossing independent film.
Other than this, he starred in the Christian themed productions, such as ‘Left Behind: The Movie’, ‘Left Behind II: Tribulation Force’ and ‘Left Behind: World at War’. Additionally, he has worked with Cloud Ten Pictures which produces Christian-themed films. He has also starred in a number of their films, including, ‘The Miracle of the Cards’.
In 2012, he served as the narrator for the documentary film, ‘Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure’. The film stayed at the theater for nearly three months grossing a total of $177,729.
He presently serves as one of the partners in Evangelical Christianity, training Christians in evangelism. Together with fellow evangelist Ray Comfort, he founded the ministry of ‘The Way of the Master’. He also hosts a show of the same name. the show was awarded with a National Religious Broadcasters’ Best Program Award for two consecutive years
Personal Life & Legacy
It was during the shooting of ‘Growing Pains’ that he first met Chelsea Noble, who was to star as his girlfriend Kate McDonald in the television sitcom. The reel-life relationship turned to become a real life one.
The two tied the nuptial knot on July 21, 1991. The couple have six children, out of which four were adopted, including, Jack, Isabella, Anna and Luke. Their biological children include Olivia Rose and James Thomas.
He along with his wife founded the Firefly Foundation. The organization runs a Camp Firefly which provides a free week's vacation to terminally ill children and their families.