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What the 'Growing Pains' cast did after the show ended

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/14/2016 By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
This 1991 image released by ABC shows the cast of "Growing Pains," standing from left, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Thicke and Jeremy Miller, with Kirk Cameron, seated center left, and Joanna Kerns, seated center right, and Tracey Gold, seated left on floor and Ashley Johnson. Thicke, who played Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and ideal TV dad, died on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. He was 69. (Bob D'Amico/ABC via AP) © The Associated Press This 1991 image released by ABC shows the cast of "Growing Pains," standing from left, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Thicke and Jeremy Miller, with Kirk Cameron, seated center left, and Joanna Kerns, seated center right, and Tracey Gold, seated left on floor and Ashley Johnson. Thicke, who played Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and ideal TV dad, died on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. He was 69. (Bob D'Amico/ABC via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The death of Alan Thicke has saddened every fan of "Growing Pains," the warm family sitcom where he played Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and ideal TV dad.

FILE - This Oct. 31, 1986 file photo shows actor Alan Thicke in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, a publicist said the actor has died at the age of 69. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) © The Associated Press FILE - This Oct. 31, 1986 file photo shows actor Alan Thicke in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, a publicist said the actor has died at the age of 69. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The show lives on in reruns and memories since its ABC run ended in 1992 after seven seasons. But a quarter-century later, what has become of the actors who portrayed the rest of the Seaver clan?

— Joanna Kerns (who played Maggie Seaver, Jason's wife and the mother of their brood of three, then four, offspring): At 63, she has continued to work as an actress, with notable projects including Katherine Heigl's hit 2007 movie, "Knocked Up," where she played Heigl's mom, and "Girl, Interrupted," the 1999 film starring Angelina Jolie. Kerns has also logged several TV movies as well as many series guest performances. In the meantime, she branched out into directing, most recently tackling episodes of "The Goldbergs," ''Pitch" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."

— Kirk Cameron (Mike, the oldest Seaver child, who was 15 when the series began): Now 46, Cameron has blended show biz with his faith (having become a born-again Christian at 17). Emerging from "Pains" as a teenage heartthrob, he starred in a short-lived sitcom, "Kirk," in 1995. Since then, he has largely focused on Christian-based film projects, including three "Left Behind" movies. His next film, set for release in 2017: "Extraordinary," based on ultra-marathon legend David Horton.

— Tracey Gold (daughter Carol, who was a year younger than Mike): An actress since she was 4, Gold, now 47, battled anorexia and bulimia during the show's run, a condition exacerbated by a storyline that called for her character to be kidded about her weight gain. In her 2004 autobiography, Gold wrote that between 1989 and 1991 she became increasingly obsessed with food and continued to steadily lose weight. Her worsening condition even led to her being written out of several episodes. She went on to star in the 1994 TV movie "For the Love of Nancy," which explored a young woman's battle with anorexia and its effects on her family. She has continued to appear in TV films.

— Jeremy Miller (little brother Ben, who was 9 when the show began): Now 40, he struggled with alcoholism for years after the show ended; he has said he began drinking at age 4. Though his show-biz career was put on hold, he found a new calling after "Pains" as a celebrity chef for private parties. And he became a spokesman for a substance-abuse rehabilitation program. "I finally found something that worked for me," he said in 2011 in announcing his association with the company.

— Ashley Johnson (baby sister Chrissy): Midway through the series' run, the Seavers welcomed a fourth child to the family. Initially played alternately by twin infants, the role went to Johnson when the fast-growing Chrissy hit age 6. After "Pains" ended, Johnson kept working. By the time she was 21, she had been in the casts of eight TV series. In recent years, Johnson, now 33, has had recurring roles on "The Killing" and the animated "King of the Hill," and is currently a regular on NBC's "Blindspot."

— Leonardo Di Caprio (Luke Brower): Long before his Best Actor Oscar for "The Revenant," even before his childhood breakout performance in the 1993 film "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," Di Caprio, now 42, joined "Growing Pains" late in its run. He played a homeless child who moved in with the Seavers. The warm embrace he got in the Seaver household only served as a prelude to the global popularity he's enjoyed ever since.

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