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One TV show that tackled the life of a boy growing up in the ’60s is The Wonder Years. Two of the cast members included Fred Savage and Danica McKellar. They first appeared as child actors and would lead successful careers after the show. A Christmas Story had inspired the concept of The Wonder Years. There was even an homage to the film in the show. As it turns, out Savage and McKellar’s friendship also influenced the writing. 

Fred Savage and Danica McKellar facing each other, sitting on rocks
Fred Savage and Danica McKellar on ‘The Wonder Years’ | ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Fred Savage and Danica McKellar’s respective careers

Savage’s first debut on television was at the age of 9. Later, he was in shows like The Twilight Zone and Crime Story. Some people may remember his role as the grandson in The Princess Bride. He became famous as a child actor and received a couple of award nominations for his performance in The Wonder Years. Nowadays, Savage is producing and directing projects instead of appearing in front of the camera. In 2017, he did take on an acting job for the Netflix series Friends from College. The show got canceled after two seasons. 

McKellar started her acting career in the late ’80s. Her first prominent role was in the hit series The Wonder Years. Later, the actor would go on to have multiple guest roles in TV shows. In 2002, she landed a recurring part in The West Wing. Some of McKellar’s more recent roles were for television films on the Hallmark Channel. She was in Love in Design and Love and Sunshine. The actor has starred in the movie series Matchmaker Mysteries

Fred Savage and Danica McKellar were love interests in ‘The Wonder Years’

The Wonder Years ran from 1988 to 1993 and had six seasons. The story centers around the life of a middle-class family living in the suburbs from 1968 to 1973. The show is a coming-of-age comedy-drama about a boy named Kevin. Savage played the lead character, Kevin. From the ages 12 to 17, the viewer watches as the protagonist grows up during the turbulent late-’60s and early-’70s. Kevin lives with his mother, father, older brother, and older sister. 

Many people know McKellar for her portrayal of Winnie. Winnie is the family’s neighbor and Kevin’s love interest. She has a brother who dies in the Vietnam War, and her parents separate because of it. The first episode started with Winnie and Kevin kissing. While the two characters used to be close as children, Kevin and Winnie do not end up together. She went to study in Paris, and he got married to someone else. 

Real-life conversations turned into on-screen dialogue


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Similar to their characters, McKellar and Savage were close in The Wonder Years. McKellar once mentioned that she had a crush on her co-star in the beginning, and he liked her back. However, their relationship ended up evolving into a sister-brother bond. The stars worked closely while on the set for the series and maintained a deep friendship. They would keep in touch over the years after the show ended.

According to Mental Floss, some of McKellar and Savage’s real-life interactions bled into the production of The Wonder Years. Plenty of the dialogue came from their conversations. “There was this whole episode dedicated to, ‘Do you like him, or do you like him, like him?’ That was an expression that he and I used when we were talking about some guy that I had a crush on, in real life. And then, it showed up in a script, a few weeks later. There were a lot of blurred lines,” McKellar mentioned in an interview.