Gold is the older sister of actress Missy Gold, who appeared on the TV series Benson from 1979 to 1986. Her adopted stage name "Gold" comes from her stepfather Harry Gold, who married her mother when Tracey was a preschooler, and later became a powerful Hollywood agent. Her sister Missy also shares the birth name Fisher.
Gold has been an actress since the age of four, first appearing in a Pepsi print ad. She appeared in two canceled series, Shirley with Shirley Jones in 1979, and Goodnight Beantown, starring Bill Bixby in 1983. Gold was originally cast as the youngest daughter in the original pilot series of the show Gimme A Break! starring Nell Carter, but was replaced by actress Lara Jill Miller when the show went to series.
In 1985, Gold auditioned for the role of Carol Seaver on Growing Pains, but was not initially cast. The actress chosen for the pilot was later replaced with Gold for the series, and Growing Pains ran from 1985 until 1992. During this time, Gold became a famous teen star. In 1988, Gold also starred as Angela Strull in the teen film Dance 'Til Dawn.
After the end of the long-running series, Gold continued to work as an actress. Over the next decade, Gold starred in several television movies.
Gold is also famous for her highly publicized battle with anorexia nervosa, which almost killed her. From about the age seven, she says that she thought about dieting, having learned the word and the concept on the many television sets she worked on as a very busy child actress. She became preoccupied with the television movie The Best Little Girl In The World, starring actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, about an anorexic teenager. In her autobiography, Gold says that in an attempt to control her development into a woman, she began restricting what she ate. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with the early stages of anorexia by her family pediatrician after a weight loss that accompanied a growth spurt. After some counseling, she eventually returned to a more normal weight for most of her teenage years. In 1988 at age 19, Gold gained some weight over the Growing Pains series hiatus. That season, the show's scripts called for her to be the brunt of "fat" jokes from her television brothers for many episodes in a row. Beginning in October 1988, Gold dieted from 133 pounds to about 110 pounds on a medically-supervised 500 calorie a day diet, but still occasionally the scripts included "fat" jokes at her expense. In her autobiography, she says that between 1989 and 1991, she became increasingly obsessed with food and her weight, and continued to slowly and steadily lose weight. In 1990 Gold began group therapy in an eating disorder program, but only learned more ways to lose weight. That season, her problem with weight loss was touched upon slightly on her television series, when Gold is seen looking at her body in a carnival mirror, and describes to another character the distorted image in her head. In 1991, she started starving herself more than ever and vomiting, and lost a massive amount of weight, to the point that she was admitted to a hospital in early 1992. Her lowest weight is estimated to have been near 80 pounds. She was suspended from the show for her skeletal appearance. Photos of Gold's emaciated body were plastered all over tabloid magazines, and she was one of the first celebrities ever to be formally "outed" for anorexia. She last appeared in the 1991 Christmas episode, where her problem is very obvious in some scenes, and did not return until the last two shows of the series in the late spring of 1992, although she was not nearly recovered at this point. After a several year struggle, Gold eventually recovered, and starred in the 1994 TV movie For the Love of Nancy with Jill Clayburgh. The film explored a young woman's battle with anorexia and its effects on her family. Although she was warned of the possibility that she had done damage to her reproductive organs by the years of anorexia, Gold was later able to bear four children. As she entered her thirties, she maintained a normal weight for a woman of her age, and often held speaking engagements warning young women about the dangers of eating disorders, all the while continuing work as an actress.
Gold met her husband Roby Marshall through Growing Pains costar Joanna Kerns, who portrayed Marshall's mother in the TV miniseries adaptation of the true crime book Blind Faith by Joe McGinniss. Roby had served as a consultant on the miniseries, which dramatized the 1984 case in which his father, Toms River, New Jersey businessman Robert O. Marshall, was charged with (and later convicted of) the contract killing of his wife (and Roby's mother) Maria.
In 2003, Gold wrote the book Room to Grow: An Appetite for Life with Julie McCarron.
Gold made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, explaining her side of the story and what happened on what she proclaims was "the worst night of her life."
|1976||Captains and the Kings||Rosemary Armagh||TV miniseries|
|1977||Roots||Young Missy Reynolds||TV miniseries|
|1978||A Rainy Day||Stephanie as a Child|
|The Dark Secret of Harvest Home||Missy Penrose||TV miniseries|
|Night Cries||Donna Blankenstrip||TV movie|
|Little Mo||Cindy Brinker||TV movie|
|1979||The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel||Laurie Mae Moon||TV mvoie|
|Jennifer: A Woman's Story||Emma Prince||TV movie|
|The Child Stealer||Pam Rodman||TV movie|
|1980||Marilyn: The Untold Story||Young Norma Jean||TV movie|
|1981||A Few Days in Weasel Creek||Buddy||TV movie|
|1982||Shoot the Moon||Marianne Dunlap|
|Beyond Witch Mountain||Tia||TV movie|
|1983||Another Woman's Child||Lisa||TV movie|
|Thursday's Child||Alix||TV movie|
|Who Will Love My Children?||Pauline Fray||TV movie|
|1985||A Reason to Live||Ellen Maynes||TV movie|
|Lots of Luck||Cindy Maris||TV movie|
|1986||The Blinkins||Shady||TV movie / Voice|
|The Best of Times||Jaki's friend||Uncredited|
|1988||Dance 'Til Dawn||Angela Strull||TV movie|
|1993||Labor of Love: The Arlette Schweitzer Story||Christa Uchytil||TV movie|
|1994||For the Love of Nancy||Nancy Walsh||TV movie|
|1995||Stolen Innocence||Stacy||TV movie|
|Sleep, Baby, Sleep||Sylvie Pierson||TV movie|
|Lady Killer||Sharon||TV movie|
|Beauty's Revenge||Beth||TV movie|
|1996||A Kidnapping in the Family||Sarah Landers Taylor||TV movie|
|Face of Evil||Darcy Palmer/Barbara Richards||TV movie|
|The Perfect Daughter||Alexandra Michaelson||TV movie|
|To Face Her Past||Lori Molina||TV movie|
|1998||Dirty Little Secret||Sarah Wheetley||TV movie|
|The Girl Next Door||Anne 'Annie' Nolan||TV movie|
|A Crime of Passion||Alyssa Pierce||TV movie|
|2000||Stolen from the Heart||Leslie Wagner||TV movie / as Tracy Gold|
|The Growing Pains Movie||Carol Seaver||TV movie|
|2001||She's No Angel||Liddy Carlyle||TV movie|
|What's the Worst That Could Happen?||Woman at Auction||Uncredited|
|2002||Wildfire 7: The Inferno||Nell Swanson||TV movie|
|2004||Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers||Carol Seaver||TV movie|
|2005||Captive Hearts||Elizabeth Sorenson||TV movie|
|2006||Safe Harbor||Carly Segan||TV movie|
|2007||Final Approach||Linda Howren||TV movie|
|2008||Solar Flare||Dr. Clark||TV movie|
|1983–84||Goodnight, Beantown||Susan Barnes||1|
|1985–92||Growing Pains||Carol Seaver||1–7||Co-Starred in every season|
|2008–present||The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom||Host||1-Present|