Arrow’s Kelly Hu Never Knew Danger Like Kissing Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains
Danger surrounds actress Kelly Hu today.
As the nefarious China White in Arrow, she plays the head of an assassins syndicate that goes head-to-head with Green Arrow; and in her new role as Cece on The CW’s The Hundred, she’ll be facing incredible odds in an enthralling, futuristic thriller.
But at no time was she in more danger than when she kissed Kirk Cameron in her debut role on Growing Pains.
Hu is among several notable actors whose careers took flight after taking their initial bow in a guest appearance during Season Three of Growing Pains. Four-time Academy Award nominee Brad Pitt played his first character with an actual name in the ninth episode of the season, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”; The Hangover star Heather Graham doubled that feat by portraying her first two “name” characters as Cindy in “Michaelgate” and as Samantha in “Some Enchanted Evening”; and Butch Hartman, best known as the creator of the popular Nick animated series The Fairly Oddparents, had one of his first credited roles in the “Michaelgate” episode.
Season Three of Growing Pains is now available as a three-disk DVD set through the Warner Archive Collection.
For Hu, Growing Pains was truly a launching pad for a very busy career. Fresh out of high school, Hu filmed the episode – a season-opening two-parter entitled “Aloha” – and then moved to Los Angeles before it aired.
“The day (the episode aired), I put a full page add in Variety and sent out letters to agents announcing that I was ‘now available for west coast representation’,” Hu recalls. “I got 20 calls from agents before the show even aired that night.”
She also got fan mail. More to the point, hate mail. In the episodes, the Seavers take a family vacation to Hawaii – where Mike (Kirk Cameron) became infatuated with a young local girl named Melia (Hu). The island romance sent Cameron’s legion of young female fans into a tizzy.
“Kirk Cameron was my first on-camera kiss,” Hu says with a knowing smile, “and I got all kinds of death threats from little girls who were jealous that I got to kiss him.”
Now a veteran of more than 40 primetime series, not to mention films like X2, The Scorpion King and The Doors, Hu says the Growing Pains experience represented one new lesson after another. Even at the craft services table.
“It was on the set at breakfast my first day shooting in LA that I saw my first bagel,” Hu says. “I pointed at it and asked out loud, ‘Is that a bagel?’ and Tracy Gold, in her very New York accent, replied, ‘You don’t know what a bagel looks like!?’ I didn’t. I was a little girl from Hawaii. There was a lot I still hadn’t been exposed to yet.”