Why child star Missy Gold left Hollywood to become a psychologist

Missy Gold doesn’t regret leaving Hollywood to become a shrink.

The former child star, best known for playing the governor’s daughter, Katie Gatling, on the 1979-1986 sitcom “Benson,” told Page Six that she will never be on TV again. He says exclusively that he “always knew”.

“I didn’t get into acting as a kid for a big love. [of it]’” explains Gold, whose sister, Tracy Gold, played Carol Seaver in “Growing Pains.”

“In the family, we were all working and acting…and I was more of a student than usual,” Missy continues. But I’m much more introverted.”

Missy was 16 when “Benson” was canceled and offered a soap opera test.

“I thought, ‘No, this is going to block what I want,'” she recalls. “I wanted to go to college, and I wanted to do more than that…so I turned down even the test, finished school and applied to college.”

Robert Guillaume and Missy Gold "Benson."
Missy Gold left Hollywood to become a psychologist.
© Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Eve

Missy eventually attended Georgetown University and earned a PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology. She is now a clinical psychologist.

The mother of two children, unlike many of her children, including her sister, is a child star and feels “very lucky” to have come out unscathed.

Tracey, now 53, battled anorexia while filming Growing Pains. At one point her weight dropped to an estimated 80 pounds and she was suspended from the show due to her skeletal appearance. co-authored the book Growing Room: Appetite for Life with Julie McCarron.

Missy Gold
Gold holds a PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology.
Longarella Collection by Getty

“I don’t think you can have an experience like that without pausing and being thoughtful and contemplating what it was,” Missy says of being a working child actor. “And looking at that choice, especially as a mother myself, I can understand the adult choices her parents made that were appropriate at the moment.

“I was lucky. It’s a risky endeavour, I mean, I’m not going to send my kids into this industry, and my family knows it, but we’re in different places and I was in a different situation, and it worked for me, it really did.”

Tracy Gold and Missy Gold as children.
Missy (right) is the younger sister of Growing Pains star Tracy Gold (left).
Courtesy Everett Collection

Missy also credits the cast of “Benson” for “nurturing and supporting” her.

“I used to spend my days in my dressing room and people would come in and visit me. And I’ve been thinking about it lately in my practice where I [a] “Psychologists and I do the same thing,” she says. “When I’m in my room, people come in and share their thoughts with me.”

It explained that Missy didn’t come completely unscathed from the experience and began seeing a therapist while in college to “get some understanding of my experience.”

Missy Gold "Benson."
Missy appeared in over 150 episodes of “Benson.”
Disney General Entertainment Con

She wisely describes her childhood stardom as simultaneously being treated like an adult and being infantilized, fostering an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

“Here, you’re a child, taking on the role of an adult,” she explains. “But that’s the role of the actor…a lot of the time, on set, the actors are so infantilized. That’s why it’s complicated to develop a real sense of self. And who am I?” Going through an experience like that is psychologically complex, and doing it as a child can be a daunting task when your mind is forming…

“I take it for myself and what my experience has been, but it took shape for me, it’s kind of my job with all my patients, and everything we live is ours. It resonates with the course of life.”


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