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Tracey Gold is an actress who shot to stardom in the 1980s on the hit TV show Growing Pains.
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In 1985, Tracey Gold got the part of Carol Seaver on a new sitcom called Growing Pains. The family-friendly sitcom immediately became popular, making Gold a star. Though her career was a success, the pressures of the spotlight soon took a dangerous toll, and she struggled with eating disorders, her weight plunging at one point to 80 pounds. She overcame her disorder and went on to raise a family.
Actress Tracey Gold was born Tracey Claire Fisher on May 16, 1969, in New York City. Six years after her birth, her mother Bonnie Fisher married an actor named Harry Goldstein, who adopted Tracey and her younger sister, Missy. The whole family took on the new last name, Gold. The Golds went on to have three more daughters, and three of the four Gold girls eventually became actors.
Gold booked her first acting job by accident, after tagging along with her stepfather, Harry, to an audition for a Pepsi commercial when she was only 4 years old. Though Harry didn't get the part, Tracey charmed the casting director. Gold went on to book several more television commercials before landing her first serious acting role, in the 1977 Roots mini-series. (Her sister Missy was also a child actress, starring on the television show Benson from 1979 to 1986). Gold worked steadily throughout her childhood, appearing in commercials, films and television guest spots (though she told an interviewer when she was 10 years old that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up).
She had recurring roles on two short-lived series: Shirley and Goodnight, Beantown. Then in 1985, she auditioned for a new sitcom called Growing Pains. Gold got the part of Carol Seaver, the brainy middle child of psychologist dad Jason Seaver and journalist mom Maggie Seaver. The family-friendly sitcom immediately became popular, making Gold a star before her high school graduation in 1987.
Though her career was a success, the pressures of the spotlight soon took a dangerous toll on Gold. In 1988, a casting director made fun of her weight (then a very normal 133 pounds). Her bookish character was also frequently the brunt of on-air jokes about her weight. For a young woman who had already struggled with eating disorders, this proved to be a disastrous script.
Gold was first diagnosed with symptoms of anorexia when she was 12. She managed to maintain a healthy weight again after four months of therapy, but the teasing and pressure on Growing Pains retriggered her fears. She began a doctor-supervised weight loss program in 1989 to drop a few pounds, but was then unable to stop. She hid her weight loss from family and friends for two years with baggy clothing. Then, in 1991, Gold's mother, making a visit to the actress' dressing room, caught a glimpse of her daughter while changing and was horrified to realize that she had dropped to only 90 pounds.
Gold entered therapy but continued to battle anorexia, her weight plunging at one point to 80 pounds.
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Browse our collection of Growing Pains cast members and learn more about Alan Thicke, known to 1980s television audiences as Dr. Jason Seaver; Joanna Kerns, the face of Maggie Seaver; Tracey Gold, who played the Seavers' daughter, Carol; and Kirk Cameron, who played Mike, the elder brother of the Seaver clan.
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