Growing Pains: The Trials and Tribulations of 1980s TV Child Stars

The Trials and Tribulations of 1980s TV Child Stars

Andrew Koenig, Dana Plato, Gary Coleman, MacKenzie Phillips:

Growing pains, indeed.

Maybe it was the heavy metal, maybe it was the designer drugs, maybe it was the questionable fashion -- for a host of reasons, many of the actors and actresses who grew up on TV during the late 1970s and '80s plummeted from childhood stardom to a life mired in trials and tribulations.

Koenig, the "Growing Pains" actor who went missing in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this month, is the latest to reveal his personal struggles. Below, check out his story plus those of nine other child stars from 1980s TV who ended up plagued with problems.



Andrew Koenig

Andrew Koenig

The '80s made him a star, but Koenig may not want any part of it. According to his friends and family, Koenig, who went missing while visiting friends in Vancouver earlier this month, has been trying to escape his fame as "Growing Pains" goofball Richard "Boner" Stabone and doesn't want to work anymore.

"He's been depressed," his father, Walter Koenig, told ABC News. The elder Koenig played Chekov on the "Star Trek" TV series. "He's trying to get ahead in this business, and he's been working at it a long time."

The younger Koenig, who appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and played The Joker in 2003's "Batman: Dead End," had most recently been working on comedy and editing movies with his friend, writer/producer Lance Miccio. Miccio told ABCNews.com that the actor "suffered with depression and "would get down easily."

"He liked to go to Vancouver because it's beautiful and quiet, it's his favorite place in nature," Miccio said. "One of the films we did together, 'Living the Blues,' it's about a manic depressive musician who went to a spot in nature that he loved and took his own life. I'm not saying that's what happened with Andrew, but it has occurred to me."

According to Miccio, Koenig hated being known for his "Growing Pains" role and "Star Trek" connection.

"When I introduced him to people, he said, 'Never say my dad's Chekov and never say I played Boner,'" Miccio said. "He didn't want to be known as Boner his whole life. That's something that affected him."



Tracey Gold

Tracey Gold

Koenig's "Growing Pains" co-star, Tracey Gold, has also whethered the ups and downs of Hollywood. Gold rocketed to teen stardom after being cast as Carol Seaver in the series.

But while she thrived on TV, behind the scenes, Gold struggled with anorexia. In 1992, her mother, Bonnie Gold, told People magazine that she burst into tears when she visited her daughter on the "Growing Pains" set in 1985 and was shocked to find she had wasted away to 90 lbs.

After seeking treatment in the early '90s, Gold transitioned from "Growing Pains" to acting in TV movies. But in 2004, she was arrested for driving under the influence after she rolled her SUV, carrying her husband and her three young sons, down a California highway embankment.

Gold's 7-year-old son, Sage, sustained the worst injuries, a broken clavicle and a head wound. The actress spent five hours in prison before being released on $50,000 bail. Gold later plead guilty to a felony DUI charge and was sentenced to one month in a work release program, 240 hours of community service, and three years of probation.

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