Family & Companions
In the mid-1980s, actress Tracey Gold became one of America's most recognizable sitcom daughters. The petite and pretty brunette Gold got her acting start as a toddler, appearing steadily in television commercials and series before breaking out in the role of Carol Seaver, the middle child of "Growing Pains" (ABC, 1985-1992). After seven seasons, Gold started a family and continued to act, becoming a TV movie staple and occasionally reuniting with the Seavers, but struggled to juggle both in the midst of a long-held, well-publicized battle with anorexia and a much later harrowing alcohol-related auto accident.
Tracey Claire Fisher was born on May 16, 1969 in New York City, NY, but raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. As a toddler, Gold's parents split up and her mother, a homemaker, remarried Hollywood talent agent, Harry Gold. The family - which included Fisher's sister Missy - would expand to include sisters Brandy, Jessie and Cassie. Tracey and Missy ultimately adopted their stepfather's surname as both began acting, with the latter becoming the family's first star with her role as Katie Gatling on the hit sitcom, "Benson" (ABC, 1979-1986).
At the age of four, Gold began acting in commercials, which she segued into while accompanying her stepfather to auditions. At seven, she began acting professionally in a series of television roles, playing the young Missy Anne Reynolds of ABC's acclaimed miniseries "Roots" (1977) and putting in guest appearances on top network show like NBC's "Quincy M.E." (1976-1983) in 1978 and twice on its cop drama "CHiPs" (1977-1983 ) in 1979. That year, she was also regular as a divorcee's daughter on NBC's short-lived Shirley Jones comedy "Shirley" (1979-1980).
Gold's onscreen roles soon begin to increase in scope. She was cast as a young Norma Jean in the TV movie, "Marilyn: The Untold Story" (ABC, 1980) before making an impression as Marianne, one of four daughters dealing with divorce in Alan Parker's acclaimed feature drama, "Shoot the Moon" (1982). Gold was nominated for two Young Artist Awards for television projects aired in 1984, winning in the "Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series" category for her work as a television anchor's daughter on "Goodnight, Beantown" (CBS, 1983-84), a short-lived, Emmy-nominated comedy series about smitten newscasters.
In 1985, Gold auditioned for the series that made her a household name - "Growing Pains" - fortuitously replacing the actress that initially won the part. The sitcom focused on an earnest, typical suburban family, and Gold comfortably nestled into her role as Carol Seaver, the studious second child who often clashed with her more lackadaisical brother, Mike (Kirk Cameron). The following year, she was nominated in the Young Artist Award category she had won in 1984. The series ran out of steam a bit in its later years, but still, it was a door-opener, as Kerns brought the consultant of her TV Movie "Blind Faith" (NBC, 1990), Roby Marshall, to the sitcom set. He quickly became Gold's boyfriend. Despite the highs of love, the actress was finding herself plagued by doubts about her weight, a concern that had for years secretly threatened to jeopardize her personal and professional lives. In a sad set of circumstances, Cameron's Mike often chided her onscreen about her supposed heft, creating a sense of insecurity offscreen for Gold, who took the writers' words to heart. It would prove to be a devastating mix of fiction blending into real life pathos.
Gold's fight with anorexia reared its head in ways that were becoming evident even to her castmates by 1990. She had faced smaller concerns about her weight at as early as age 12, but the informal intervention of her television parents, Joanna Kerns and Alan Thicke, did little to coax Gold into treatment. Becoming noticeably more gaunt, Gold whittled away to under 100 pounds - even ending up missing three of the show's final four episodes in 1992. After "Growing Pains" wrapped, Gold committed to the long, rocky road to recovery over the next few years, helped in part by Marshall's desire to marry the actress, made memorable in a 1993 live proposal in front of Gold and her family that capped off a taped interview on "Primetime Live" (ABC, 1989- ). A year later, the couple was married.
Returning to work, Gold notably tried to shed some light on anorexia with her role as the suffering titular teen of the telefilm, "For the Love of Nancy" (ABC, 1994). Though able to play teen roles well into her 20s - such as the seduced teenager of the TV movie, "Stolen Innocence" (CBS, 1995), she matured into a long list of made-for-television movie characters that repeatedly moved her away from the good-natured sweetheart audiences came to know. Telefilms like "Face of Evil" (CBS, 1996), "The Perfect Daughter" (USA Network, 1996) and "Dirty Little Secret" (USA Network, 1998) steered Gold into troubled women with often violent tendencies, while others, including "Lady Killer" (CBS, 1995) and "A Kidnapping in the Family" (1996), put her as the victim, either of an unstable parent or lover. She managed to work extensively, even as she and Marshall had two sons - Sage in 1997 and Bailey in 1999.
Gold did return to the beloved world of the Seavers with "The Growing Pains Movie" (ABC, 2000) and four years later, "Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers" (ABC, 2004) - both mildly-successful reunions which reflected a much more mature, reflective tone than the original series. She was also the co-author of a memoir about her eating disorder which had unfortunately reared its ugly head during the run of her "Growing Pains" fame - 2003's Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life.
Gold's appearance on the reality staple "Celebrity Mole: Yucatan" (ABC, 2004) highlighted the degree to which her personal life had now overtaken her onscreen works. Months after its debut, Gold and her personal life again took a scary turn when later that year, she flipped her SUV containing Marshall and her children off a California highway under the influence of alcohol, seriously injuring her oldest son in the crash. Gold pled guilty to the charges of driving while intoxicated and received a three-year probation, along with work-release and community service obligations. She rebounded from the event and went back to work for her frequent network collaborators, Lifetime and Hallmark. With business as usual, she took a visit to the former's "Safe Harbor" (2006), as a detective investigating satanic rituals, then jumped aboard Hallmark's ambitious action miniseries "Final Approach" (2007), an elaborate ensemble project focusing on an airplane terrorism attempt.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Cast in the short-lived series "Shirley" (NBC) with actress Shirley Jones
Played one of Albert Finney and Diane Keaton's four daughters in the family drama "Shoot the Moon"
Cast in the CBS sitcom "Goodnight Beantown"
Landed most memorable TV role as Carol Seaver on the popular family sitcom "Growing Pains" (ABC), struggled with anorexia nervosa during 1988-92 seasons
Starred as Angela Strull in the teen film "Dance 'Til Dawn"
Starred in the ABC TV movie "For the Love of Nancy" with Jill Clayburgh
Starred in the ABC TV movie "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" with Kyle Chandler and Joanna Cassidy
Co-starred in the USA Network movie "Dirty Little Secret"
Reunited with original cast for "The Growing Pains Movie" (ABC)
Produced and starred in the drama thriller "She's No Angel"
Co-authored a memoir about her eating disorder <i>Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life</i>
Appeared on the ABC reality series "Celebrity Mole: Yucatan"
Starred in the Lifetime movie "Safe Harbor"
Hosted the TLC show "The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom"
Hosted the Lifetime docu-series "Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold," which helped women struggling with anorexia