Born in California, Brandon Call first rose to prominence as a young star in the ABC sitcom, Step by Step (1991). A performer since the age of two, he appeared on television for the first time when he was eight years old in an episode of the mystery drama, Simon & Simon (1984). That same year, he also played another small role in the romance drama, Hotel (1984). After appearing in a made-for-television movie the following year, he made his big screen debut, albeit in a voice role, in the animated action film, The Black Cauldron (1985). From there, it wasn’t long until he made his film debut in a live-action role- for he was soon cast as a supporting character in the movie, Jagged Edge (1985). Over the next few years, Call continued to play various guest roles in a number of television series such as Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1986), Life with Lucy (1986), Outlaws (1987), and Webster (1987). In 1985, the young actor was also selected to play a recurring role in the long-running NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara- which later garnered him a Young Artist Award win for “Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor” in 1987.
Two years later, Call received another break when he was cast as a series regular in the Primetime Emmy Award-winning series, The Charmings (1987) where he played alongside Cork Hubbert, Judy Parfitt, and Christopher Rich; it later earned him a Young ARtist Award nomination in 1988. While he was on the show, he also appeared for a short three-episode arc in the action crime series, Magnum, P.I. (1985). Following that, it wasn’t until four years later that he received another big break on television when he was offered a role in the popular teen drama, Baywatch (1989); playing the role of Hobie Buchannon, he ultimately appeared for twenty one episodes. Several movie appearances later, he appeared as a character named Zack in the adventure series, Thunder in Paradise (1994).
After many years of climbing up the industry ladder, Call was given a huge breakthrough role with the ABC sitcom, Step by Step (1991). Perhaps his most well known role to this day, it eventually netted him three consecutive Young Artist Award nominations for the categories of “Best Young Actor Supporting Role on TV”, “Best Young Actor Starring in a New TV Series”, and “Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a TV Series”, the last of which he shared with his fellow co-stars. Throughout his acting career, Call has taken on close to thirty different roles both on film and on television.
So what has the former child actor been up to nowadays? Is he still acting or has he put the show biz lifestyle behind him? What are some of his latest acting projects? What happened to Brandon Call? Where is he now in 2018?
Brandon Call’s Early Life and Career Beginnings
Born on November 17, 1976 in Torrance, California, Brandon Spencer Lee Call is the son of Elyse and Richard Call; he has three siblings named Dustin, Tandi and Dee Anne. Growing up, he had many interests including music, and sports- he was especially fond of basketball and boogie boarding. Like many child actors, Call started performing early at the age of two. When he was eight years old, he made his small screen debut in an episode of the mystery drama, Simon & Simon (1984). Buzzing through another audition, he later appeared in an episode of the romance drama, Hotel (1984) later that same year. Continuing to act while attending school, the grade schooler subsequently appeared in the made for television film, Slickers in 1985, prior to making his feature film debut, albeit in a voice-over role, in the animated adventure movie, The Black Cauldron (1985).
Soon afterward, he appeared in a live-action role on the big screen in the Oscar Award-nominated drama thriller, Jagged Edge (1985), where he played alongside Peter Coyote, Glenn Close, and Jeff Bridges. Over the next few years, Call made a handful of appearances in various television programmings including the TV film, I Dream of Jeannie…Fifteen Years Later (1985), Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1986), Between Two Women (1986), Life with Lucy (1986). Around that time, he also received a big break with the long-running NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1985), in which he was introduced during the first season.
Created by husband and wife team Bridget and Jerome Dobson, Santa Barbara chronicled the eventful lives of the Capwell’s- an affluent family living in Santa Barbara, California. Noted for its varied and versatile cast throughout the years, it saw Call as Brandon DeMott Capwell- a young boy who arrives in the city with his presumed mother, Gina DeMott during the initial part of the show. Later in the series, it is revealed that he is in fact, Santana Andrade’s son, with whom he had with a man named Channing. Some of the other main characters featured in the series include Nikki Alvarez, Quinn Armitage, Robert Barr, Laura Simmons Asher, Flame Beaufort, among numerous others.
Premiered on NBC on July 30, 1984, Santa Barbara was one of the most watched soaps of the 80’s. Immensely popular, it carried out for well over 2000 episodes throughout its nine year run. Showered with praise, the show also garnered numerous prestigious awards while it was on air including two dozen Daytime Emmy Awards and eighteen Soap Opera Digest Awards. For his portrayal of Brandon, the eleven-year-old actor at the time also received two Young Artist Award wins for the categories of “Outstanding Young Actor” and “Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime Series”.
Highlights from Brandon Call’s Continued Acting Career
In the fall of 1985, the young actor made his live-action debut in the courtroom thriller, Jagged Edge. Directed by Richard Marquand, it centers around a man named Jack who finds himself being suspected for murder after his wife, an heiress is brutally killed in her remote beach house. In attempts to free himself from the accusations, he employs the help of a lawyer named Teddy Barnes. While actors Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close played the roles of Jack and Teddy respectively, Call portrayed the small role of David Barnes, a young boy who appears in the film. Although he doesn’t play a large part in the movie per se, it’s noteworthy for being his first appearance in a film. Some of the other main cast members include Peter Coyote, Robert Loggia, Maria Mayenzet, John Dehner, and Karen Austin.
Released theatrically on October 4, 1985, the Columbia Pictures film grossed a little over $4 million during its opening weekend across 1100 screens. Later proving itself to be a commercial success, it went on to earn over $40 million worldwide from a production budget of $15 million. Not only did the movie garner high praise from viewers, but contemporary critics writing for publications such as The New York Times and Variety Magazine also lauded the well-crafted script and the cast’s performance. The following year, Jagged Edge was nominated for an Academy Award; it also netted the young actor a Young Artist Award nomination for “Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor in a Feature Film”.
In 1987, Call received another break when he was cast as one of the series regular in the fantasy sitcom, The Charmings. Directed by Jack Shea, Gerren Keith, and Howard Murray, it revolved around Prince Charming and Snow White, both of whom must adjust to every day life in 20th century Los Angeles after waking up from a thousand-year curse. While the two protagonists were played by Caitlin O’Heaney and Christopher Rich, Call was given the role of Thomas Charming- one of their two children who have a hard time accepting the fact that they are from a land of fairy tales after having spent most of their time in 20th Century society; he has a brother named Cory Charming who is played by Garette Ratliff Henson. Aside from the previously mentioned actors, The Charmings also stars Judy Parfitt, Cork Hubbert, Paul Eiding, Dori Brenner, and Paul Winfield.
Distributed by Sony Pictures, the series premiered on ABC on March 20, 1987. Met with favorable reviews, many have praised it to be both a well acted and well written show. In 1988, the comedy also received a Primetime Emmy Award among four nominations. Call’s portrayal of the Charming’s son also garnered him yet another Young Artist Award nomination 1988. Despite all that it had going for it however, The Charmings was cancelled after two seasons due to low viewership ratings. In total, it ran for twenty episodes, the last having aired on February 11, 1988.
In 1989, the actor was cast as a recurring role in the popular action drama, Baywatch– a series centered around a group of lifeguards on the beaches of Los Angeles, California. Playing the role of Hobie Buchannon, Call first appeared in the pilot episode; after appearing on-and-off throughout the initial season, he made his final appearance in the twenty first episode of the first season. Second to The Charmings, it is perhaps one of his most well known roles of the late 80’s. In fact, Baywatch earned him yet another Young Artist Award nomination in 1990.
Brandon Call’s Biggest Breakthrough with Step by Step
After a number of roles, some bigger than others, Call received a big breakthrough with the ABC sitcom, Step by Step (1991). The brainchild of Michael Warren and William Bickley, it centered around a large blended family led by Carol Foster-Lambert and Frank Lambert (played by Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy respectively), the two of whom spontaneously tied the knot together after meeting one another during a vacation as single parents. In the series, the young actor played as John Thomas Lambert aka T.J.- Frank’s oldest son who is often depicted as being a slacker. Although academically challenged due to his dyslexia, he excels at sports, something which he takes from his father. Other cast members include Staci Keanan, PAtrika Darbo, Christine Lakin, Peggy Rea, and Christopher Castile.
Filmed in a couple of studios in California, Step by Step was first released via ABC on September 20, 1991. A successful sitcom, it quickly garnered a devoted fan base during the early 90’s. Supported by a steady viewership, it ultimately continued for 160- the series finale having aired on June 26, 1998. Critical reception wise, it also garnered positive comments from critics such as Jean Rosenbluth of Variety Magazine who described it as being a “modestly amusing, heartwarming show”. Call’s most well remembered TV role to date, it later earned him three Young Artist Award nominations, one of which he shared with the rest of his fellow cast.
What’s Brandon Call Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
Unfortunately for fans, it’s fair to say that Call has left the show business- considering his last appearance was in that of Step by Step back in 1998. Since then, he hasn’t taken on any roles neither on television nor film. According to rumors that surfaced on online forums, it seems that the former child actor has taken to working at his parent’s San Diego car wash/gas station. From a few photos that recently turned up, it would also appear that he’s donning the shaved-head look.