Before They Were Stars (2-for-1 Special): Leonardo DiCaprio and Hilary Swank on Growing Pains

If you were ever a follower of the TV show, Growing Pains, you’ve probably heard the infamous stories of Kirk Cameron becoming a born-again fundamentalist Christian halfway through the series’ run and turning into quite a growing pain himself, constantly demanding that the producers make the show more wholesome and moral. That meant the character of Mike Seaver suddenly morphed from being a lovable slacker goofball into a serious and responsible person, which translated to the show being a lot less interesting and funny. In an attempt to boost sagging ratings during the show’s final season, the writers added a desperate plot device… er, new character to the cast: a homeless teenager named Luke, who was brought home by the morally responsible Mike to live with the Seaver family. This role would wind up being the big break in the career of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, who would garner his first Oscar nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape only one year after Growing Pains went off the air. This particular clip also features a very early acting appearance in the career of Hilary Swank. Eighteen years ago, if you told me this cheesy sitcom scene contained both a two-time Academy Award winner and a three-time Academy Award nominee, I probably would have said: “Jeremy Miller’s going to win an Oscar?!”.

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