If you grew up watching Growing Pains, then the news of Andrew Koenig’s death probably hit home. It was like discovering that an old schoolmate or a kid from the neighborhood had died – someone you didn’t necessarily keep in touch with, but whom you assumed was still young and vital and thriving. I can’t say that I ever lost sleep wondering what Mike Seaver’s pal Boner was up to these days, mainly because in my mind he remained locked in a sitcom world where the Seavers themselves still live and breathe. I think I was as stunned to realize that he was an actor with a real life as I was to hear that he was missing. The fact that he disappeared in Vancouver only made it weirder, because the Olympics had dropped the city into our living rooms. I had friends in the area for the games (including Linda of Moviepie), and suddenly the world seemed very small. How had Boner emerged from a 1980’s sitcom and become a face on a MISSING poster on a telephone pole?
(Photo taken February 22, 2010 in Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Would his life have taken the same path if he had known how many of us still held a place for him in our hearts? It’s a question we will never be able to answer. The most we can do at this point is savor our memories. I spent yesterday afternoon trying to find the Growing Pains episode where Mike sneaks out of town and Boner takes his place at home in an attempt to fool Mike’s parents. Poor Boner spends most of the day shoveling snow in the driveway (in a ski mask), but runs into trouble when Mrs. Seaver thoughtfully brings him a cup of cocoa. How to sip it without revealing his face? How to put her off without seeming rude? Boner drinks it *through* the mask. Though I was only able to stream the episode from a Chinese site, it’s all there:
Rest in peace, Andrew. You will be missed.