7th Heaven written by Brenda Hampton, was the longest-running family drama in television history, beating both Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. It was also the show that had the longest-running producer, Aaron Spelling.
The show ran for a total of 11 Seasons, with a total of 243 episodes. Aaron Spelling who sadly passed away in June of 2006, produced the show from the start and right up to season 10. Season 11 was produced by Chris Olsen and Jeff Olsen.
7th Heaven follows the Camden family, a Protestant minister’s family living in Glen Oak, California. The original show followed the parents and five children, until season three when the twins were born making the magic number seven.
Eric Camden played by Stephen Collins.
Annie Camden played by Catherine Hicks.
Matt Camden played by Barry Watson.
Mary Camden played by Jessica Biel.
Lucy Camden played by Beverley Mitchell.
Simon Camden played by David Gallagher.
Ruthie Camden played by Mackenzie Rosman.
Sam and David Camden played by the Brino Quadruplets.
Not forgetting Happy the dog.
The show was shown on what is now the defunct Warner Brothers Network or WB, in 2006 it was decided that the tenth season would be the program’s final season due to high production costs. It was up to the newly established CW network to decide whether to renew it for an eleventh season.
It was decided three days after airing the series finale, that 7th Heaven would be picked up for an eleventh and final season. The budget of the show had already been cut dramatically, and to cut further costs, many of the main cast were missing from a number of the episodes during this season, Stephen Collins and Beverley Mitchell were the only two cast members to appear in every single episode of 7th Heaven’s season run.
I think it would have been nice to have gotten all of the main cast back together for the final episode. The ending was terrible, but the show was fun to watch, with all of the kinds of mischief the children go into.
Stephen Collins (Eric Camden)
Born: Stephen Weaver Collins on October 01, 1947
Stephen is well known for his role on 7th Heaven and most recently as Dr. Dayton King on the ABC TV Series No Ordinary Family.
Stephen was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but was raised with his two elder brothers in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York where he attended Amherst College.
He played bass guitar and rhythm guitar in a number of rock and roll bands at Amherst, including the Tambourine Charlie & The Four Flat Tires, The Naugahyde Revolution, and The Flower & Vegetable Show. We see him many times play guitar on 7th Heaven – where he has a thing for singing Ricky Nelson songs.
Known as Reverend Eric Camden, the minister of Glen Oak Community Church, was raised in New York City by his parents, Colonel John Camden and Ruth Lynch. Eric attended college for five years and graduated from Kolbel Seminary.
Other notable characters Stephen Collins has portrayed is, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Tales of the Gold Monkey and Tattingers as well as guest appearances in The Waltons, Barnaby Jones, and Charlie’s Angels.
Stephen Collins has also written two novels: Eye Contact (1994) and Double Exposure (1998)
According to the Internet Movie Database, we will see Stephen portray Mr. Harter in the up and coming 2012 The Three Stooges which is currently in Post-Production.
Catherine Hicks (Annie Camden)
Born: Catherine Mary Hicks on August 06, 1951
Catherine is best known for her role as Annie Camden on the television series 7th Heaven, Dr. Gillian Taylor in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Karen Barclay in Child’s Play.
She was born in New York City, the daughter of Jackie a homemaker and Walter Hicks, an electronic salesman. She grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona where she attended Gerard Catholic High School of Phoenix, Arizona. After she attended Saint Mary’s College (Indiana), which is across the street from the University Notre Dame, where she studied English Literature and Theology, she won a prestigious acting fellowship with Cornell University.
After graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in Fine Art, she headed to New York where she starred in television commercials. Two weeks later she landed her first major role as Dr Faith Coleridge on Ryan’s Hope.
Her role as Annie Camden is the daughter of Charles and Jenny Jackson. She has one half-sister named Lily. Annie met Eric and married straight out of college. During her college education, Annie studied everything from art to business and economics and later returns to school to earn her Masters.
Since 7th Heaven closed its doors in 2007, Catherine has had a steady stream of acting jobs, including, The Genesis Code, Underground Entertainment: The Movie, Borderline Murder and A Christmas Wedding Tail, to name a few. Most recently, we will see her star as Annette in the up and coming movie Dangerous Attraction, currently in post-production. She is also noted as filming in the movie Reach which will be released in 2013.
Barry Watson (Matt Camden)
Born: Michael Barrett “Barry” Watson on April 23, 1974
Barry’s acting career didn’t really start until the early 1990’s when he guest starred in television series such as Baywatch and Sister, Sister. He had a short role on one of Aaron Spelling’s television series Malibu Shores, although this role was brief, it led him to 7th Heaven.
7th Heaven was where Barry gained much recognition for his portrayal of Matt Camden, the eldest child of the Camden family. When the show started he was the eldest of five and was a junior in high school. Matt would sacrifice his school time to help others who were in need of more help and respect their wishes to remain anonymous. He bounced from job to job, and have bad grades at school, but he would later go on to be Valedictorian and was accepted for a internship at the White House in Washington D.C.
It was after his uncle on the show Dr. Hank Hastings got him some work at the hospital cafeteria that he decided he wanted to be a doctor himself. He went on to marry Sarah Glass, a fellow medical student and daughter of a rabbi. The couple moved to New York City to attend medical school together, at the end of the series they graduated from medical school and announced that they were to have twin boys.
Barry was born in Traverse City, Michigan. His father worked as an attorney and his mother a paralegal. Barry is one of four siblings, at the age of eight his family moved to Dallas, Texas where he began modelling. He did study acting at Dallas Young Actors Studio with director Linda Seto. He was fourteen when his parents divorced. Only a year later, he moved to Burbank, California where he landed a role on Days of Our Lives. He moved back to Texas to attend Richardson High School, he graduated in 1992.
Barry Watson was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2002, and went on hiatus from 7th Heaven while he undertook treatment. In 2003, in remission he began appearing on the show again.
He has been married twice. His first marriage was in 1996 to Laura Payne-Gabriel, whom he met whilst acting, they divorced in 2003. He later was reunited with his high-school classmate Tracy Hutson whom he briefly dated, they married in August of 2006. He and Tracy had their first son, Oliver in 2005. Barry and Tracy then welcomed their second son, Felix in November 2007. They currently live in Los Angeles. However, on the season premier of the makeover show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Tracy stated she is a single mom and have to leave her boys for weeks on end sometimes, which would seem to indicate they have either separated or divorced.
Since 7th Heaven finished, Barry Watson has had several roles on television series such as What About Brian, Samantha Who, Drop Dead Diva and Rip City. Most recently he has been in a television movie My Future Boyfriend, and we are to see him in his latest television movie Kiss at Pine Lake.
Jessica Biel (Mary Camden)
Born: Jessica Claire Biel on March 03, 1982
Most notably known for her role as Mary Camden in the television series 7th Heaven, Jessica has also appeared on several Hollywood movies, including: The A-Team, Valentine’s Day, Planet 51 and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry to name just a few. She has several movies that are currently in post-production according to the Internet Movie Database, but her most recent movie is as Cindy in The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea due to be released in 2012.
Born in Ely, Minnesota in 1982, she has a younger brother Justin. Her family moved frequently as she grew up, living in Texas, Connecticut and Woodstock, Illinois, before settling in Boulder, Colorado. While growing up, she played soccer, and trained as a gymnast. From 2000 to 2002 she attended Tufts University.
Initially training as a vocalist, and from age nine appeared in several musical productions in her hometown. At the age of twelve Jessica attended The International Modeling and Talent Association conference in Los Angeles where she was discovered and began modeling in print advertisements, and commercials for products such as Dulux Paint and Pringles.
In the spring of 1998, during a break from filming 7th Heaven, Jessica starred as the love interest of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the movie I’ll Be Home For Christmas.
Interesting Fact: Although Jessica played the role as Mary Camden the older sister of Lucy Camden (Beverley Mitchell) she is actually a year younger than her.
Mary was an aspiring athlete with a more than passing interest in basketball. As the months progressed, she seemed to rise in both ability and confidence (she actually wanted to play for the WNBA someday) until she was hit by a car, critically injuring her knee (actually she had crashed into another girl during a soccer match). It seemed to go down hill from there. Mary had a series of different boyfriends, by her senior year she and much of the other basketball team had allowed their grades to slip, which caused the coach to impose a lockout on practice.
The team decided to impose their revenge by vandalizing the school gym, they were caught in the act and arrested. Fortunately Mary was able to evade serious punishment by undergoing a special program for first offenders and complete community service. This would be where she would meet her second serious boyfriend Robbie Palmer.
Mary decided not to go on to college and work instead. However, she was unable to hold down a job, getting fired from everywhere. She managed to get herself in a lot of debt, got involved in drugs and alcohol. Her parents decided enough was enough and sent her off to live with her grandparents in New York City.
She eventually went on to marry, divorce and get back together with Carlos Rivera, that she had met while volunteering at a homeless shelter years earlier. She had a son with Carlos and by the end of the series she had gotten back together with Carlos and gave birth to twin daughters.
Beverley Mitchell (Lucy Camden)
Born: Beverley Ann Mitchell on January 22, 1981
Beverley is an American actress and Country Music Singer. Best known for her role as Lucy Camden, later to be known as Rev. Lucy Camden-Kinkirk on 7th Heaven.
Her first major role was actually in the movie The Crow: City of Angels as drug-addict Grace. During the filming of this, she auditioned for the role of Mary Camden but was turned down. However, when she read for the role as Lucy she was an instant hit and cast as such.
She and Stephen Collins were the only two cast members of 7th Heaven to ever be in every episode of the full eleven seasons.
In 2003 Beverley played Erica Enders on the Disney Channel movie Right On Track. It was based on a true story about two sisters who drove race cars.
During a hiatus in filming of 7th Heaven in 2005 – despite admitting she is not a great fan of horror movies, she played a role in the sequel Saw 2.
It had been her life-long dream of becoming a country music singer and that dream would come true in 2006, when she recorded her debut album, on which she co-wrote eight of the songs that featured on the album, including the hit single “Angel” which was written in memory of her late friend Angela, who died when the car she was traveling in lost control.
The 7th Heaven episode ‘Nothing Endures But Change’ was also based on her experience.
Her role as Lucy, the third child in the Camden family was one of an overly dramatic, selfish and emotional childhood, but by her junior year in high school she had settled down. She had many boyfriends, but the relationships never lasted long.
Towards the end of the series, Lucy had followed in her father’s footsteps and became a minister because of her strong religious devotion. She eventually married Kevin Kinkirk, a New York cop that she met once in the airport in New York City when visiting her sister. He moved to Glenn Oak to be with her, they had a daughter Savannah. Lucy did at one point become pregnant with twin boys, which she lost in a miscarriage that deeply upset her emotional state.
At the series finale she and Kevin had decided to move to Crossroads, a small town where Kevin had been offered the job as Sheriff and she the minister at the church there.
Since finishing 7th Heaven, Beverley has gone on to star in the 2007 movie I Know What I Saw which aired on Lifetime Television Network. She has hopes of recording a second album and hopes to record her own version of the song “When You Say Nothing At All” for the album.
In 2010 she joined the cast of The Secret Life of the American Teenager as the school counselor which was also written by Brenda Hampton.
Her parents were divorced and remarried and she has a half-brother Guiseppe Tomasino from a father’s second marriage.
After graduating from Chaminade College Preparatory School in 1999, she enrolled at Loyola Marymount University where she majored in Film.
She was married in 2008 to long-time boyfriend Michael Cameron. Both Jessica Biel and Mackenzie Rosman attended as bridesmaids.
Beverley Mitchell also has two movies currently in Post-Production on the Internet Movie Database, Pennhurst where she has the role as Sarah, completed in 2011. Mentryvill where she has the role as Isabelle, is expected to be released in 2012 sometime.
It would be nice to see Beverley return to acting, and I look forward to hearing her second album if she ever does make it.
David Gallagher (Simon Camden)
Born: David Lee Gallagher on February 09, 1985
Firstly I will take this opportunity to wish David all the best for his birthday in a few days time.
David began his career at the age of two as a child actor and model. A five-time Young Artist Award nominee and Teen Choice Award winner, is best known for his role as Simon Camden on 7th Heaven; as well as his roles on Look Who’s Talking Now, Angels in the Endzone and as Richie Rich in Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish.
Born in College Point, New York. His parents separated when he was just a baby. His parents have since remarried and he now has four younger half-siblings, Michelle, Kelly, Kyle and Killian. As a result of Killian being diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, David is an active supporter of the Cure Autism Now organization.
He began acting at the age of two, first modelling for print advertisements in and around New York City, which eventually led to commercial work as an actor. His debut movie came as the role of Mikey in the sequel Look Who’s Talking Now, playing the son of John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. He would be later reunited with John Travolta for the movie Phenomenon. In late 1996 he would be cast as Simon Camden in 7th Heaven. When 7th Heaven was picked up for it’s eleventh season in 2006, David opted not to renew his contract.
David’s role as Simon Camden was one of the fourth child in the Camden household. He was well known among his siblings as “The Bank of Simon” as he was always good with money, he loved to make money anyway he could and sometimes his siblings would get him to spend his money on them.
We see Simon in the early episodes, badly wanting a dog, despite his parents disapproval, thinking he was not mature enough to have the responsibility of looking after a dog. Simon would sit for hours in the attic in the hope that a stray dog would enter the yard, he even prayed to God that one would come to him. He believed that although his mom went to the pound and adopted a dog, that God made her do it. The dog became the family pet named “Happy”.
The summer before his senior year at high school, Simon accidentally “killed” Paul Smith, a 13 year old who was on drugs, riding his bike without a helmet. The death was ruled an accident, but Simon could not escape the pain and blame he inflicted on himself. Fear of retaliation by the boys elder brother, Simon opted to graduate from high school early and attend college.
As a way to help him cope with his guilty feelings, he broke the family’s cardinal sin of having non-marital sex. After a scare involving his girlfriend Georgia being pregnant, he meets Rose, they fall deeply in love, get engaged and plan a wedding. They finally get to the wedding day, but decide not go through with it, as Rose still has feelings for an ex-boyfriend. Ruthie indicates that Simon goes on to marry someone else, but we never get to meet her, we do however get to know that he does eventually graduate from college.
In real life, he graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory School (California) in 2003 and went on to enroll at the University of Southern California, where he majored in film and television studies, he would graduate from here in 2007.
Since leaving 7th Heaven, David has gone on to star in a number of television shows as guests, including Numb3rs, Bones, Without a Trace and CSI: Miami. He also appeared in the horror sequel Boogeyman 2. His most recent stint was on the Crime Scene Investigation series CSI: New York. One of my all time favorite shows.
He has also played roles in the 2011 movie Trophy Kids and Super 8, whilst also staring in the television series as Ray Sutton on The Vampire Diaries.
Mackenzie Rosman (Ruthie Camden)
Born: Mackenzie Lyn Rosman on December 28, 1989
Mackenzie was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but currently resides in West Hollywood, California, where outside of acting is a competitive equestrian show jumper and rides in jumping competitions with one of her many horses, Mentos Junior. We see Mackenzie showing off her riding skills in 7th Heaven.
The first time we see her ride, it is believed that she has never ridden a horse before and because of her love for them, would like to learn to ride, when her onscreen brother Matt takes her for the first time, and seems to master riding almost immediately, it is clear to the audience that she has ridden before.
Mackenzie is an active supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and wishes to educate the world about the need for organ donation. Mackenzie’s stepsister, Katelyn Salmont, lived with Cystic Fibrosis in 2005 received a successful double lung-transplant. Katelyn sadly died from Pneumonia and Cystic Fibrosis at Christmas of 2008. 7th Heaven’s episode “Back in the Saddle Again” featuring Katelyn herself and Mackenzie riding horses together as they did at home, was to bring the attention to the problems living with Cystic Fibrosis.
Mackenzie attended Valencia High School and graduated in late May of 2007.
Mackenzie’s role as Ruthie Camden on 7th Heaven was the youngest of the original five children in the Camden family. She was named after her paternal grandmother.
She was portrayed as the family sneak, always listening into everyone’s conversations and getting to know everyone’s secrets. Ruthie rapidly ages as the show progresses – by the end of Season 11, she is 17 years old and managed to take enough courses to graduate a year early.
Mackenzie has had roles on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Fading of the Cries and we are to see her in her latest role as Rowena in the up and coming movie Blood Cure, currently in post-production and is expected to be released in 2012.
Lorenzo and Nikolas Brino (Sam and David Camden)
Born: September 21, 1998
Lorenzo, Myrinda, Nikolas and Zachary Brino are the quadruplets born to Tony and Shawna Brino. When the quadruplets were five months old, they were cast as twins Sam and David Camden on the television show 7th Heaven. All four of them, plus a set of twins, shared the roles until 2001. From this point on only Lorenzo and Nikolas played them.
Sam and David were born during episode 14 of Season 03 “In Praise of Women”, this was the one most watched hour on the WB Network.
There doesn’t appear to be any further information on the two boys.
Happy ‘the dog’
The final member of the Camden family is ‘Happy’. Before working on the show, the dog ‘Happy’ was a stray that was abused by her former male owner. Even though she was later rescued, she still has a fear of men. Before the taping of every new season Stephen Collins, Barry Watson and other adult male actors on the show have to spend some time with Happy to get her to used to them being around when doing scenes together.
7th Heaven Trivia.
A post-September 11th show revolved completely around the deceased Staff Sergeant Dwight J. Morgan, who was killed in a freak helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The episode had Ruthie corresponding with Morgan prior to his death, with actual letters to home that Morgan wrote to his family, who was a guest in the episode when Ruthie held a wake for Morgan.
When the show was filming Matt Camden’s wedding to a rabbi’s daughter, a Los Angeles synagogue originally offered a filming location contract but withdrew from the filming because of the show’s portrayal of the rabbi as hostile and intolerant towards his new Christian son-in-law.
The exterior shots of the Camden home in the pilot episode of the series is a real house that is located in Altadena, California. The house is very recognizable from movies such as The Baby-Sitters Club, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Risky Business, Can’t Hardly Wait, Bye Bye Love, and others.
Series creator Brenda Hampton purposely introduced more story-lines revolving around adoption and foster parenting in the later seasons of the eighth and ninth years of “7th Heaven” to express her desire for others to adopt kids who are in need, as she is also an adoptive parent of two children.
All eleven seasons are now available to purchase on DVD:
Season 01 released September 2004 – 6 Discs
Season 02 released February 2005 – 6 Discs
Season 03 released November 2006 – 6 Discs
Season 04 released March 2007 – 6 Discs
Season 05 released December 2007 – 6 Discs
Season 06 released June 2008 – 6 Discs
Season 07 released November 2008 – 5 Discs
Season 08 released March 2009 – 5 Discs
Season 09 released November 2009 – 5 Discs
Season 10 released March 2010 – 5 Discs
Season 11 released November 2010 – 5 Discs