- Kirk Cameron’s role in Maura Tierney’s firing from Growing Pains is uncertain.
- Cameron allegedly played a direct role in Julie McCullough’s firing from the show due to his Christian values.
- Kirk Cameron had a supportive role in his sister Candace Cameron-Bure’s acting career and their faith.
In the 1980s, Kirk Cameron was one of the most popular teenagers in America. Starring as Mike Seaver in Growing Pains, Cameron became a heartthrob for an entire generation. Throughout his years on Growing Pains, Cameron began to have a personal transformation period, becoming a devout Christian.
While filming the legendary 1980s and 1990s sitcom, Cameron has been accused of reportedly having Maura Tierney and Julie McCullough fired from the show. Interestingly, there are multiple stories revolving around the incidents.
Why Were Maura Tierney And Julie McCullough Fired From Growing Pains?
Growing Pains was one of the most popular and beloved sitcoms of its era. The show eventually even helped launch the career of Leonardo DiCaprio, who played one of Mike Seaver’s students in season seven. Reportedly, DiCaprio’s hiring upset Growing Pains star Jeremy Miller.
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Getting hired in a guest spot or reoccurring role on Growing Pains was a coveted job for teenage and young adult actors. When Maura Tierney and Julie McCullough were brought on the show, they were beyond excited. Unfortunately, their Growing Pains journeys ended in disappointment.
Both of them allegedly got fired for very different reasons. However, Kirk Cameron may have played a role in both terminations. Maura Tierney suggested that there were two possible reasons for her firing. According to Showbiz CheatSheet, Tierney admitted that maybe she struggled following directions on set and potentially had an attitude issue. “I think maybe I had a bad attitude. I really don’t know. The director kept saying, ‘Watch Kirk! Watch Kirk! Kirk knows what he’s doing! Watch Kirk! And then I got fired. So that’s what I get for watching Kirk, I guess. Or maybe I didn’t watch him closely enough.”
Tierney was let go from Growing Pains after only two days of rehearsals. While it cannot be confirmed why Tierney was fired, Kirk Cameron certainly could have indirectly been responsible.
The firing of Julie McCullough is a much different story, however. If rumors are true, Cameron played a pivotal and direct role in her removal. McCullough enjoyed a lengthy stint on Growing Pains, and played Mike Seaver’s girlfriend, Julie Costello, in season four. Mike Seaver and Julie Costello were even set to get married in season five.
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During the filming of season four, Cameron had already become a devout Christian and upheld certain values. When he learned that McCullough had done a photo shoot for Playboy Magazine, this reportedly frustrated him considerably. He did not want his character to be with someone who was affiliated with Playboy and its respective industry. Thus, Cameron allegedly asked McCullough to be removed from the show. As a result, an early season five episode wrote her out of the show.
While the story has merit considering Cameron’s values, Cameron himself denied the incident completely in his memoir,
“Contrary to popular gossip, I had nothing to do with the firing of Julie McCullough as my TV girlfriend because she posed for Playboy magazine.”
Growing Pains show runner Dan Guntzelman elaborated, “the truth is, Julie was let go because Mike being in a committed relationship was a dead end. He was, after all, an immature imp who was ill-equipped to deal with a grownup world on all levels.” Guntzelman’s reasoning for McCullough’s removal makes sense also. Furthermore, if Cameron were lying about the incident, this would go against his Christian values.
Julie McCullough has spoken about her removal from Growing Pains, but did not share if Cameron was responsible. “It was a dream job for me. Then, when the show was done, it was kind of a catch-22 for me because everyone knew me so well as that character, people didn’t want to book me on other sitcoms.”
There is little evidence to suggest that Cameron directly had McCullough fired. While fans will always speculate, Cameron himself and the sitcom’s show runner have tried to clear the rumors. While Cameron most likely did not have McCullough fired, his strong values and convictions have impacted his relationship with Growing Pains cast members.
Did Kirk Cameron Help With His Younger Sister Candace Cameron-Bure’s Career?
Kirk Cameron was not the only member of his family to pursue a career in entertainment. His younger sister, Candace Cameron-Bure, was also a child actor and starred on a very popular sitcom. Known for her role as DJ Tanner on Full House, Candace Cameron-Bure was one of the most recognizable faces on family TV in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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While Kirk Cameron surely inspired his sister to pursue acting, he did not have a large influence on her career choices as a child actor. However, he did make a guest appearance on Full House to support her in the show’s first season, according to The List. Cameron’s acting career was not the only thing that inspired Cameron-Bure. Cameron-Bure’s family became Christians during her childhood, and Kirk Cameron’s unwavering faith was encouraging to Candace Cameron-Bure in her teenage years and young adulthood.
While Kirk Cameron and Candace Cameron-Bure were major celebrities of their era, they have remained humble. They would credit their faith and upbringing for their humility. Most importantly, they have remained close throughout their fame. However, both have been subject to controversy due to their old school values.