Lance Kerwin, ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘James at 15′ star, dead at 62

Lance Kerwin, a 1970s staple who starred as a teenager on “James at 15″ and “Salem’s Lot,” has died at age 62, his family said.

An autopsy is underway following the actor’s death Tuesday in Clemente, Calif., daughter Savanah told Variety.

The Southern California-born Kerwin appeared in more than 50 roles during his career. He got his start as a child actor in the mid-70s, appearing on episodes of “Little House on the Prairie,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Shazam!”

Kerwin landed the lead role of James Hunter on “James at 15,” which premiered in 1977. The show centered on Kerwin’s photography-loving character’s experiences after moving from Oregon to Boston with his family. The series was renamed “James at 16″ when the title character celebrated a birthday.

Two years later, Kerwin starred as the vampire hunter Mark Petrie on the “Salem’s Lot” miniseries, adapted from Stephen King’s popular 1975 horror novel.

Kerwin also appeared with Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman in 1995′s “Outbreak,” a disaster film centering on the spread of a deadly virus. The movie marked Kerwin’s final role for more than two decades. He returned last year in the historical drama film “The Wind and the Reckoning.”

The actor also worked in California and Hawaii as a youth pastor, according to Variety.

“I never met Lance Kerwin, but I did have a TV in the ‘70s, and saw a lot of kid actors,” tweeted Michael McKean, an actor known for “Laverne & Shirley” and “This Is Spinal Tap.” “This one had a terrific humanity you didn’t see just everywhere. RIP Lance Kerwin.”