Joanna Kerns

Joanna Kerns Biography.com

Actress, Television Actress(1953–)
On the hit sitcom, Growing Pains, actress Joanna Kerns played Maggie Seaver, one of the most popular television mothers of the late 1980s.

Synopsis

Born on February 12, 1953, in San Francisco, California, Joanna Kerns landed her first acting roles in commercials. After that, her career began to pick up with guest appearances on popular series' such as Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company and Hill Street Blues. In 1985, she struck television gold as the role of Maggie Seaver on Growing Pains, which ran for seven years. She went on to star in a string of TV movies and smaller roles in theatrical films such as Girl, Interrupted and Knocked Up.

Early Life

Actress and director Joanna Kerns was born on February 12, 1953, in San Francisco, California. On the hit sitcom, Growing Pains, Joanna Kerns played one of the most popular television mothers of the late 1980s. She grew up in an athletic family and seriously pursued gymnastics for a time. Her older sister Donna de Varona won two gold medals at the 1964 Olympics in swimming.

Early Career

After a knee injury in 1970 ended her gymnastics career, Kerns decided to try dancing and then moved on to acting. The first parts she landed were in commercials and in 1974 she met her future husband, producer Richard Kerns, on a car commercial shoot. Two years later, the couple married. After that, her acting career began to pick up with guest appearances on Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company and Hill Street Blues. She even landed a lead role on the 1984 series The Four Seasons, which was based on the 1981 film of the same name.

'Growing Pains'

While her first series didn't last long, Joanna Kerns struck gold with her next project. On Growing Pains, which debuted in 1985, she delighted viewers with her portrayal of warm and sometimes frazzled working mom Maggie Seaver opposite Alan Thicke as her psychologist husband with Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold and Jeremy Miller as their three children. Ashley Johnson joined the series later on as their fourth child. Ironically as the series was beginning, Kerns' marriage was ending. The couple divorced that same year.

Later Years

The show ran for seven years as audiences tuned in to watch the Seaver family grow up and overcome life's many challenges. After it ended in 1992, Joanna Kerns continued to act, appearing in several television movies and reprising her role as Maggie Seaver for The Growing Pains Movie (2000) and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (2004).

In recent years, Kerns has spent more of her time working behind the camera. She has directed episodes of many popular television programs, including Ally McBeal, The Division, Scrubs, Ghost Whisperer and ER.

Joanna Kerns has a daughter, Ashley, from her first marriage. She is currently married to Marc Appleton.

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