We all remember watching Growing Pains on ABC as kids, relating to the realistic events the Seaver kids and parents went through when dealing with annoying younger siblings, friend drama, and miscommunications between parents and children.
We also remember Mike Seaver's best friend who was ridiculously named "Boner." Richard Milhous "Boner" Stabone was a silly, slightly dim-witted, go-with-the-flow type of teenager. He brought the comic relief to heavy moments and was a loyal and loving friend to Mike, played by Kirk Cameron.
A Talent That Will Never Be Forgotten
It turns out the actor who played Boner was an incredible human being in real life as well. Andrew Koenig was not only multi-talented in acting, directing, editing, and writing, but he was also a human rights activist.
Koenig continued with his passion for acting post-Growing Pains, making appearances in such films and TV shows as 21 Jump Street, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Batman: Dead End, just to name a few.
His Fight for Rights
Andrew Koenig was also an incredibly compassionate man. He adopted a vegan lifestyle due to his deep affection for animals. He also cared for humans across the globe, which is evident as he traveled to Thailand with his father to visit Burmese refugee camps as part of the U.S. Campaign for Burma in 2007.
In 2008, Koenig held up a sign reading " China: Free Burma" in both English and Chinese during the 119th Tournament of Roses at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in front of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Chinese float. He was briefly arrested for his act of civil disobedience, which he never let slow him down.
His Untimely Death
In 2009, Koenig stopped taking his depression medicine and a year later, unbeknownst to his parents, Koenig sold all of his belongings from his Venice Beach, California apartment before traveling to Canada.
He then sent his parents a letter in which his tone was hopeless and melancholic, which caused his parents to contact the police. It seems this empathetic man was so focused on helping others, that he had a difficult time understanding that he needed help himself.
In February 2010, Koenig missed his flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles, which further worried his family greatly. He was then found hanging from a tree in Stanley Park in Vancouver. He had sadly lost his battle with depression and committed suicide.
The Legacy He Leaves Behind
Koenig's family urges people not to ignore the warning signs and to connect with those that need help and love.
Walter Koenig, his father, put it beautifully:
"The only thing I want to say is, if you're one of those people who feels that you can't handle it anymore, if you can learn anything from this it's that there are people out there who really care. You may not think so, and ultimately it may not be enough, but there are people that really, really care.
Before you make that final decision, check it out again; talk to somebody."
Koenig's parents opened their hearts to the world by telling Andrew's story, thus hoping to inspire and help others, proving that Andrew's legacy lives on past his death.