• Lauren Chapin is a former actress best known for her role in the 1950s television series “Father Knows Best”
• She has an estimated net worth of $6 million
• Her childhood was troubled and she left home at 16
• She worked in various odd jobs and was also heavily addicted to drugs
• She eventually overcame her addiction and became an ordained evangelist and advocate for keeping children away from show business
Who is Lauren Chapin?
Lauren Ann Chapin was born on 23 May 1945, in Los Angeles, California, USA, and is a former actress, probably still best known for her work in the 1950s television series “Father Knows Best”, playing the youngest child of the family, Kathy “Kitten” Anderson. She stayed with the show for its entire run, but eventually left the entertainment industry, mostly attributed to numerous problems she encountered after the show.
The Net Worth of Lauren Chapin
As of early-2020, Lauren Chapin’s net worth is estimated to be over $6 million, earned partly due to her success as a child actress.
Later in her life, she began working as a broker, a teacher and also wrote a book, all contributing to her current wealth.
Lauren rose to fame when she was cast in the television series “Father Knows Best” – the sitcom starred her alongside names such as Robert Young, Billy Gray, Jane Wyatt and Elinor Donahue, and aired for six seasons. It ran on CBS for only a season and was then taken by NBC for a few years before returning to CBS. It tells the story of a middle-class family, the Andersons and the lives they have in a town in the US mid-west.
The show originated on radio, though there were stark differences in the personalities of the characters compared to the television show. The show was popular thanks to its comedic interactions, though the main star – Robert Young – wanted the show to be more homely and warm. He reprised his role in the television adaptation, which marked a change for many of the characters, and also grew to fame as it became an idealistic view of family life at the time.
Life After Father Knows Best
Lauren had a very troubled childhood during her time in the show, including with her family in general.
Her parents didn’t have a good relationship, as her father was sexually abusive. She admitted to being abused by her father and a friend referred to as uncle during her time in their household. Her mother knew, but she was an alcoholic, so leaving Lauren to fend for herself. It was acting that helped her get away from her home situation, but after “Father Knows Best’, she couldn’t find any further roles as she had become typecast as the character.
She later returned to reprise her role in a reunion movie “Father Knows Best: Home For Christmas”, in which the family show what happened to their respective characters, with most of the children starting families of their own.
Due to problems at home, Chapin became rebellious and began running away from home frequently. Eventually, she decided to make it out on her own, leaving home for good and looking for work in other fields. During this period she took many odd jobs to get-by, as the money she had from acting wouldn’t last her forever.
Lauren found work as a cocktail waitress for some time, and also took jobs as a dog groomer, and worked briefly as a flight attendant. She also worked for an insurance company, examining various claims. She fell in love at the age of 16 and married Jerry Jones, with many attributing the decision as a way for her to truly escape her parents.
The marriage didn’t last long, as they separated two years later, leading to divorce after five years.
To help cope with her problems, she turned to drugs and eventually became addicted. In a desperate need to get more drugs, she began selling, running deals while living in San Francisco, California. Her first arrest came when she tried to forge a check while in Hollywood. She was arrested several more times for drug offenses, and was checked in to a mental health institution following an attempted suicide due to her drug problems. Afterward, things became quiet for a few years, as she tried to overcome her addiction.
Following her release, she moved further away from life in Hollywood and lived quietly.
Other Known Endeavors
A few years after her release, Lauren looked to a career in teaching and began learning more about natural childbirth. During the 1980s, there was an especially strong movement to promote natural childbirth, as many felt that it was meant to be that way, and assisted childbirth in hospitals wasn’t natural. While working as a teacher, she also found work in a brokerage firm, a financial institution helping by being a middle man for those wanting to buy or sell financial securities.
Lauren gained a bit of attention once more in 1989, when she began promoting the book “Father Does Know Best: The Lauren Chapin Story”, co-authored with Andrew Collins. She went on several talk shows including “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee”, in which she described her troubled past and the experiences, providing even more details. Afterwards she reconnected with the entertainment industry, becoming a manager for events and talents related to “Father Knows Best”. She manages singers, dancers, actors who work on a live version of the popular television program. This version is often seen performed on cruise lines, and at live events and conventions.
It isn’t known if Lauren remarried after her divorce though it is likely. Her stance on natural childbirth is a good indicator that she had children as well, and probably went with that form of birth. She later converted to Christianity, the start of her life turning around, and became an ordained evangelist in the US. Lauren was previously addicted to diet pills, heroin, and speed. She even experienced working as a prostitute just to fund her habit. After her experiences, she became an advocate of keeping children away from show business.
She remained estranged from her parents even until their death. Things escalated in their household when her mother sued her, gaining around $90,000 from her trust funds.