7th Heaven: 7 Behind The Scenes Secrets

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7th Heaven was the most all-American, family friendly, religious sitcom on television between 1996 and 2007. The series was created and produced by Brenda Hampton and featured the well-rounded Camden family. 7th Heaven revolved around Eric Camden, a Protestant minister who lived in the fictional town of Glenoak, California and his wife Annie and their seven children. Surprisingly, the show was a huge success and became the longest-running family drama ever with 11 seasons under its belt! We can’t believe it’s been over two decades since the show first premiered, so here’s a look back at 7 behind the scenes secrets from the set!

7. Happy was Scared of the Male Actors

Remember the Camden’s cute family dog named “Happy?” He was actually a rescue dog who was adopted after it was discovered he was being abused by his former owner. The stray began appearing on the show 7th Heaven, but he still had a fear of men due to his history. Before the taping of each new season, the male actors — Stephen Collins, Barry Watson and any other male actors who were set the appear on the show — had to spend time bonding with Happy so that the dog would be comfortable in their presence.

Courtesy Warner Brothers

6. The Story Behind George Stults Character

George Stults played the character of Kevin Kinkirk, a police officer who turns out to be Ben Kinkirk’s (Mary’s boyfriend) older brother. In an interview with Thought Co, he said that he was originally hired as a small, brief character. “I randomly auditioned to be a high school senior, who was supposed to peer pressure Simon into drinking and doing stuff he wasn’t supposed to do. Somehow, they [the producers] figured out that Geoff and I were brothers on the show. They brought me on to play Beverly’s love interest on the show for a couple episodes and all of a sudden, it turned into a marriage. It was weird how it happened, I thought I was going to be on for a couple episodes and that was it!” said Stults.

© WB / Courtesy Everett Collection

5. Jessica Biel’s Racy Magazine Cover

Back in 2000, Jessica Biel stirred up a lot of controversy when she posed topless for the cover of Gear magazine at the age of 17. Not surprisingly, producers weren’t happy about it. According to her former co-star, Mackenzie Rosman, the magazine was banned. “I remember that. It was a big deal. The magazine was banned on set, I think by orders of Aaron Spelling. I sneaked a peek at it, though. It was racy gossip amongst the women of 7th Heaven,” she said. Biel has since spoken out on the topic and said she regrets the decision. “That photo shoot was just a really bad decision on my part and I got myself involved with people who weren’t thinking about me and were instead thinking about what kind of story they could get out of it.”

Spelling Television

4. Quadruplets Were Used for the Twins

Due to Child Labor Laws in California the Camden twins, Sam and David, were introduced as the newest members of the 7th Heaven family in season 3, their role was actually filmed with quadruplets by the name of Zachary Brino, Lorenzo Brino, Nikolas Brino and Myrinda Brino. The actors would be rotated around in order to comply with the laws that regulate how much time babies can work on set. Once the twin characters got older, the producers started using only two of the quadruplets, especially since one was female.

WB

3. Jessica Biel Rebelling Teenage Years

In an interview with W Magazine, Biel talked about what it was like working on a television show while also being a teenager and going through her rebellious years. She admitted that she probably did a few things that made the producers not so happy with her. “I cut my hair super short and dyed it blonde. I had to apologize to Aaron Spelling [the producer] for doing that. He wasn’t happy. When I turned 17 or 18, a really obnoxious friend sent a stripper to the set. I had to apologize for that too. The show was all about family values, and they took that position seriously. I was always apologizing.”

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2. Secret Crush

In her blog titled “Growing Up in Hollywood,” Beverly Mitchell revealed she and Jessica Biel used to have a secret crush on one of their co-stars! She wrote, “Both Jess and I MAY have had a little crush on Barry in the beginning, ok so we did, but that didn’t last that long because soon we began to see Barry as an older brother and that just made it weird. But if you ask him, he is still convinced we have crushes on him!” Barry Watson played the role of Matt Camden, the older brother of both Jessica Biel and Mitchell’s characters.

(c)Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

1. Catherine Hicks Didn’t Want to do the Show

In an interview with Snakkle, Catherine Hicks, who played the matriarch of the Camden family, admitted that when the show first started she didn’t want to do it! “I was dragged kicking into the first season, because I really wanted to be free for film. I was doing a film with Ray Liotta and I thought, ‘I’m back in cinema!’ Of course, Turbulence came out and it was a horrid film. Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with the cast [of 7th Heaven] and realized the fun of acting. Our scenes were mammoth: It was like doing a play every day. On a lot of shows you go, ‘Freeze! Book ’em!’ but these were long, emotional scenes. So I thought, ‘Wow, this is really acting,'” she said.

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