Childhood & Early Years
Tracey Gold was born as Tracey Claire Fisher on May 16, 1969 in New York City, USA. Her mother Bonnie Fisher was an advertising executive in New York City, and later hosted her own radio show in Montana. Nothing is known about Tracey’s biological father Joe Fisher.
Born elder of her parents’ two children, Tracey has a younger sister named Melissa (Missy). Melissa, who formerly was a child actress, is now a practicing psychologist in California.
In 1973, Tracey’s mother married actor Harry Goldstein, who later became a successful talent agent in Hollywood. He adopted Tracey and Melissa, changing their surnames to Goldstein, which was later shortened to Gold for professional reasons.
After her mother’s marriage to Goldstein, they moved to South California. Later, Bonnie gave birth to three more daughters: Brandy, Jessica (Jessie) and Cassandra (Cassie). Brandy and Jessie also became actresses. Among the five sisters, Cassandra was the only non-actor.
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At the age of four, Tracey Gold got her first job when she tagged along her stepfather to an audition for a Pepsi commercial. Although Harry Goldstein failed to get the job, the casting director was so charmed by little Tracey that he put her in the commercial.
After the Pepsi commercial, Tracey acted in several other ads before landing her first TV miniseries role in 1976, appearing as Rosemary Armagh in 'Captains and the Kings'. In 1977, she got her first serious role, appearing as young Missy Reynolds in an episode of the TV miniseries ‘The Roots’.
Year 1978 was a busy year for Tracey. In that year, she appeared as Missy Penrose in the television thriller miniseries, ‘The Dark Secret of Harvest Home’ and as Lisa Carson in a medical mystery-drama television series called, 'Quincy, M.E.'
In 1978, she also appeared in two television movies; as Donna Blankenship in ‘Night Cries’ and as Cindy Brinker in ‘Little Mo’. In the same year, she made her film debut, appearing as young Stephanie Carter in ‘A Rainy Day’.
In 1979, she appeared in three television movies. First among them was ‘The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel’ in which she appeared as Laurie Mae Moon. Later, she appeared as Emma Prince in 'Jennifer: A Woman's Story' and as Pam in 'The Child Stealer'.
In 1979, she also appeared in three television series; as Tracey Kappleton in one episode of 'Eight is Enough', as Monica in one episode of ‘Fantasy Island’, and as Linda/Dona in two episodes of ‘CHiPs’.
In 1979, she played the role of Michelle Miller in 13 episodes of 'Shirley'. Despite having an acting career at such a young age, she led a very normal life at home. She went to school when there was no work, studied hard to get good grades, and decided at the age of 10 that she would become a teacher one day.
In 1980, Tracey appeared in two television series; as Laurie in ‘Here’s Boomer’ and as Ellie in ‘Trapper John M.D’. Also, in the same year, she appeared as young Norma Jean in 'Marilyn: The Untold Story', a television movie released on September 28.
In 1981, Tracey appeared as Carrie in 'CBS Afternoon Playhouse', as Jane in 'CBS Library' and as Buddy in ‘A Few Days in Weasel Creek'. But very soon, her acting career lead to a disaster in her life when she was introduced to the concept of dieting while working among older actors.
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When she was around 11 years old, she underwent a period of growth spurt and weight loss. Very soon, she was diagnosed with anorexia, an eating disorder, by their family pediatrician. Since it was in its early stages, she returned to normal weight after counseling.
In 1982, after a gap of four years, Tracey returned to films, appearing as Marianne Dunlap in ‘Shoot the Moon’, a drama film premiered on February 19, 1982. Concurrently, she continued to appear on television as Jenny in ‘Father Murphy’, as Tia in ‘Beyond Witch Mountain’ and as Jan in ‘The Phoenix’.
In 1983, Tracey Gold appeared in three TV movies and three TV serials. The most significant among them was ‘Goodnight Beantown’, in which she appeared as Susan Barnes in 18 episodes. Others were 'Another Woman's Child', 'ABC Afterschool Special', 'Thursday's Child', 'Who Will Love My Children?' and 'Fantasy Island'.
Concurrently with acting, she also focused on her studies, entering Chaminade College Preparatory School, located in West Hill, Los Angeles, for her high school education. She graduated from there in 1987.
Her biggest break came in 1985 when she was cast as Carol Anne Seaver in ‘Growing Pain’, a sitcom that was aired on ABC from September 24, 1985, to April 25, 1992. That year, she also appeared in the following TV movies, ‘A Reason to Live’, 'Lots of Luck' and the TV show 'Benson'.
In 1986, she appeared in her 14th television movie, 'The Blinkins'. It was followed by ‘Dance 'til Dawn’ (1988), ‘The Girl Next Door’ (1989), ‘The Willies’ (1990), ‘DuckTales: The Movie Special’ (1990) and the show 'ABC Afterschool Special' (1990).
In 1988, Tracey Gold suffered another bout of anorexia, when her character’s father in one of the episodes of ‘Growing Pain’ laughed about her character’s weight, while serving her food. At that time, she was five foot three inches tall and weighed 135 pounds.
She first pleaded with the makers not to air the episode. When it fell on deaf ears, she found a doctor who set her on a 500-calorie a day diet. She ended up losing 23 pounds in a short period.
Between 1989 and 1991, Tracey became increasingly obsessed with food, counting every calorie she consumed. She weighed only 90 pounds by 1992, all the while camouflaging her weight loss under baggy clothes. Her family did not know anything about it until her mother saw her changing clothes.
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On January 7, 1992, she was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital to recover from an eating disorder, while her character in ‘Growing Pain’ was sent to London for further studies. She was last seen in the series on February 8, 1992 in the ‘Manage a Luke’ episode.
On January 15, 1992, she checked out of the Los Angeles hospital, deciding to take things in her own hand, later working with a nutritionist and a leading UCLA therapist who specialized in eating disorders. In late spring, although not fully recovered, she returned to the sets of ‘Growing Pain’.
By 1994, she had recovered enough to star as Nancy Walsh in ‘For the Love of Nancy’, an anorexia related television film. She drew from her own experience with anorexia to play her role in the film. Meanwhile in 1993, she played a small role in the TV movie, ‘Labor of Love: The Arlette Schweitzer Story’.
By 1995, Tracey Gold had recovered enough to appear in four television films; including 'Sleep, Baby, Sleep', 'Lady Killer', 'Beauty's Revenge' and 'Stolen Innocence'. In 1996, she acted in four more films, 'A Kidnapping in the Family', 'Face of Evil', 'The Perfect Daughter' and 'To Face Her Past'.
She did not work in 1997, possibly to pay more attention to her eldest son who was born that year. She appeared in two television movies in 1998. In 1999, the year her second son was born, she appeared in only one television film, ‘A Crime of Passion’.
Tracey’s sixth film ‘Wanted’ was released in 2000. In the same year, she acted in two television movies; as Leslie Wagner in 'Stolen from the Heart’ and as Carol in ‘The Growing Pains Movie’. These were followed by ‘She's No Angel’ in 2001, and 'Wildfire 7: The Inferno' in 2002.
In 2003, she published her book, ‘Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life’, co-written with Julie McCarron. Her juvenile non-fiction talks about her problems she faced as an anorexia sufferer, and how she recovered from the disorder.
In 2004, she returned to the set of ‘Growing Pain’ with ‘Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers’. It was followed by TV movies, ‘Captive Hearts’ (2005), ‘Safe Harbor’ (2006) and ‘Final Approach’ (2007).
In 2008, Tracey starred in an action, drama, thriller movie called, ‘Solar Fire’, appearing as Dr. Joanna Clark in it. Her last film 'My Dad's a Soccer Mom' was released in 2014 while her last television movie ‘I Know Where Lizzie Is’ was aired on April 10, 2016.
Along with appearing in films and TV movies, Tracey has also taken part in a number of reality shows, including ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ for ABC, ‘The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom’, ‘The View’, ‘Life Time’, etc.
In 2017, she appeared as herself in the ‘Competition 20’ episode of ‘Battle of the Network Stars’. In the same year, she was selected to host ‘Daily Blast Live’. It was her second stint as a host. She had previously worked in the same capacity for ‘Trapped in TV Guide’ in 2006.