Why child star Missy Gold left Hollywood and became a psychologist
Missy Gold doesn’t regret leaving Hollywood to become a shrink.
The former child star — who is best known for playing the Governor’s daughter, Katie Gatling, on the sitcom ‘Benson,’ which ran from 1979 to 1986 — tells Page Six exclusively that she « always knew « that she wouldn’t be on TV forever.
« I didn’t start playing as a kid for a big love [of it]says Gold, whose sister Tracey Gold played Carol Seaver in « Growing Pains. »
« In the family, we all sort of worked and acted…and I was always more of the student, » Missy continues. “My older sister, who was also an actress and is an actress, is still well in her wheelhouse. But for me, I’m much more introverted.
When « Benson » was canceled, Missy was 16 and offered to test for a soap opera.
« I was like, ‘No, this is going to interfere with what I want,' » she recalls. « I knew I wanted to go to college, and I knew I wanted to do something beyond that…so I said no to even the tests, finished school, and applied. at University. »
Missy eventually attended Georgetown University before earning a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. She is now a practicing psychologist.
The mum-of-two says she feels « very lucky » to have been a child star and come out unscathed unlike so many others, including her sister.
Tracey, now 53, battled anorexia while filming ‘Growing Pains’. At one point, her weight dropped to around 80 pounds, and she was suspended from the show due to her skeletal appearance. After several years, she recovered and co-wrote a book, « Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life with Julie McCarron, » about her struggle and eventual recovery from the eating disorder.
« I think you can’t have that kind of experience without pausing and thinking about what it was like, » Missy tells us about being a working child actor. “And especially as a mother myself, looking at the choices, I can relate to the choices as an adult now that my parents made that were appropriate for this moment for them.
» I was lucky. I have been very lucky. I’ve heard stories of people going through really, really tough experiences. And I credit my parents to some extent that it was positive, but we just got lucky. It’s a risky business. I mean, I wouldn’t send my kids into the industry, that’s for sure. And my parents know it. But we were in a different place and under different circumstances. And it worked for me. It really did.
Missy also credits the cast of « Benson » for « nurturing and supporting » her.
“So often, I spent my days in my dressing room, people would come in and visit me. And I think about it these days in my practice where I am [a] psychologist and I kind of do the same, » she says. « I’m in my room and people come in and visit me and share their thoughts with me. »
That’s not to say Missy didn’t come out of the experience completely unscathed, explaining that she started seeing a therapist in college to « kind of make sense of my experiences. »
She wisely describes childhood stardom as being both treated like an adult, but also infantilized and fostering an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
“Here, you are a child, taking on the role of an adult,” she explains. “But that’s the role of an actor…often on set, actors are very infantilized. And so it’s complicated to then develop a real sense of self. And who am I? Psychologically, having that celebrity experience is complicated, and doing it as a kid, you know, when your mind is forming…
« I see it for myself and what my experience has been, but it helps me in the forms, in a way my work with all my patients, everything that we experience resonates during our life. »