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Danica McKellar Reveals How Her Parents Kept Her Grounded as a Child Star

Photo from Danica McKellar’s Instagram

Danica McKellar Reveals How Her Parents Kept Her Grounded as a Child Star

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Danica McKellar recently recalled how her parents kept her grounded and wanted her to have as normal of a childhood as possible despite her success as a child star on THE WONDER YEARS. 

“I’m very fortunate to have two parents who never overemphasized the importance of Hollywood or my acting career,” McKellar told Fox News Digital at ’90s Con. 

“It was just a fun, cool thing that I did. But family, health, education all came first. Always. Never a question about that,” she added. 

THE WINTER PALACE star recalled when THE WONDER YEARS was nominated for an Emmy, but the awards show coincided with a previously planned family rafting trip in Oregon. 

“I remember the first year that THE WONDER YEARS was nominated for best comedy series, and the only year that we won, we had a trip scheduled with my dad and my sister and me,” she said. “The three of us were going to go on this river rafting trip on the Rogue River in Oregon, and we did. It conflicted with the Emmys, so we didn’t go to the Emmys, we went on the trip.”

McKellar and her family still celebrated the win even though they they didn’t attend in person. 

“So, we were staying in this tiny little place, watching THE WONDER YEARS win the Emmy for best comedy series. We were jumping up and down on this tiny bed, can’t believe we didn’t break it, [cheering] ‘Yay, we won!,’” the actress recalled. “And then next morning, we got on the river and had the trip of our lives.” 

“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, Danica is on the show.’ No, I had chores when I came home, and I was a regular kid and that kept me very grounded,” McKellar reflected. “It kept me in touch with where my value is. And that makes a big difference.”

Movieguide® previously reported how McKellar almost didn’t get the role as Winnie Cooper on THE WONDER YEARS because of certain ground rules her mom set as she was starting out in show business: 

“This was going to be a hobby only. No series regular auditions, and no auditions for feature films that would take us out of town,” McKellar told TV INSIDER’S MY AUDITION STORY of her audition for the hit show that first aired 35 years ago.

“She wanted school, family, home life to come first,” she added.

But auditioning for the role of Winnie Cooper was not initially a concern for McKellar’s mother, because the character was just supposed to be in one episode. However, soon after Danica got the part and they shot the pilot, producers wanted to make her a regular character on the show…

Mahaila was hesitant, but seeing how the other children were treated helped change her mind…

She said, in the end, getting the role was “meant to be.”

“If they knew from the beginning that it was going to be a series regular role, I never would’ve auditioned for it,” McKellar said.


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