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Whatever Happened To Ernie From KC Undercover

Zendaya can trace her roots back to the Disney Channel, as many people know, in a little dance-focused series called "Shake It Up" — but after that series ended, she had another one with Disney. "K.C. Undercover" ran from 2015-2018, turning her run as a Disney star into a six-year position. "K.C. Undercover" had the actress playing a super-spy whose parents were also super-spies, but her less-cool brother, Ernie, initially wasn't meant to know about their action-oriented alter egos. In fact, the first three minutes of the series pretty much established that he was not his parents' favorite child. "Don't be ridiculous, just because K.C. has an A average, she's a black belt in karate, and she single-handedly retrofitted the whole house to run on solar power doesn't mean you're not as good as ... hey look, breakfast is ready," their father, Craig Cooper (played by Kadeem Hardison), says in the pilot.

Playing Ernie, K.C.'s younger brother (by a year) who is shorter than she is with crooked teeth, was an actor named Kamil McFadden. While Zendaya has gone on to a busy acting career, McFadden has joined the less high-profile ranks of many Disney Channel supporting players. So what happened to McFadden, anyway? 

Ernie came into his own during the course of K.C. Undercover

While Ernie was pretty much dissed and dismissed in that first episode, he did quickly figure out that his entire exceptional family, other than him, was made up of super-spies. What's more, he came to K.C.'s rescue at the end of the pilot. Okay, his rescue was a bit clumsy and played for laughs, but he eventually joined them and became a vital member of the Cooper family's team over the course of the next three seasons. Ernie showed that he was skilled at computer hacking, engineering, and science, which allowed him to come into his own and even put away some of the bad guys himself. 

McFadden says his character is both relatable and different from his actual personality. "What I take from his situation is he is a bit of an underdog, and I view myself as an underdog sometimes. So we relate there because most people overlook us and that's okay, but when we show our skill set and people are like 'oh, this guy can actually do it'," the actor told Hollywood News Source. "And also being smart. He is a little socially awkward and I am not. I think his character is showing people that it's okay to be smart. And it's okay to not be out-there and just keep trying."

Not to mention, there's his relationship with on-screen sister Zendaya. "No matter how much they bicker and tease each other, they are a team. This team shows the true relationship between a brother and sister," he told Talk Nerdy with Us.

Kamil started out with the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta

McFadden has been acting since he was six years old, starting his professional career at the age of eight with the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (via a press release from his manager, Kimberly Parks). While there, he starred in the productions of "Raisin in the Sun" and Jasmine Guy's "I Dream."

Then, in 2010, he guest-starred in two episodes of "House of Payne," a stint that was followed by a role in the 2012 Dreamworks Animation film put out by Paramount Pictures, "Rise of the Guardians." He played one of the kids, Claude, who was Caleb's twin brother who stopped believing in the Guardians as a result of nightmares, but by the end of the movie they've both had their faith restored. After that, he had a role in Chris Rock's film "Grown Ups 2," playing the love interest of Charlotte, played by China McClain — another Disney star for her turn on "A.N.T. Farm."

It was a couple of years after that when he showed up on "K.C. Undercover," which was his first regular role in TV. 

He went on to transform from super-spy to superhero

Continuing to do voiceover work following the end of "K.C. Undercover," McFadden then secured a place in the Marvel universe. He played Rayshawn Lucas, whose alter ego is the hero Patriot. He's part of the woman-centered team of the diverse Disney Channel franchise "Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors." McFadden played Patriot in the TV movie and in four other Marvel TV projects from 2018-2019. Patriot has Captain America-like powers as a result of his super-suit and was mentored by the Avenger himself. He's a bonafide good guy who works with Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennett) leading the team. McFadden told a panel at WonderCon that one reason he chose to be on the show is its diversity. "That's why I love this show so much and jumped at the opportunity," he said. "I'm glad to be a part of a project that is all about representation and diversity. There's nothing like seeing yourself on screen. It opens your mind to different paths, different opportunities."

More than any other role, McFadden's turn as a superhero has transformed the actor into someone kids look up to. "I really don't see myself as a role model, I just see myself as a person who just tries to do good," he said in an interview posted to the Marvel Entertainment YouTube page. "Me knowing that there are people that look up to me influences my decisions even more so, to just do the right thing and show people all of the possibilities. Acting is my industry but I would like to inform young people of different avenues of architecture, science, other jobs that we need that young people need to be a part of to affect change."

He has unmet goals when it comes to acting on television

McFadden isn't done acting — not by a long shot. He'll be in a movie due out later this year called "Caged Birds," in which he plays one of three Black high school boys who accidentally kill their white bully in a prank gone wrong. The independent production from director Fredrick Leach isn't going to get a high-profile release, but it has generated some buzz as an official selection of the Pan African Film Festival and the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. It's the first project for which McFadden is getting top billing — but hopefully not the last. 

McFadden hasn't met all his goals when it comes to his profession. In 2016 he told Teenplicity that he wanted to create a family-ensemble television show of his own. "I would like it to be a mix of comedy and drama because there's certain things that need to be touched on, but also kind of in a lighthearted way so those are definitely some ideas for my show. And dreams, goals, they change daily but that's definitely something that I would want to do: have my own TV show, you know, just to see how it is," he said. 

He has known for a long time that he wanted to be a television actor. "Because [television] is global — like anybody in the world can see that and be affected by it and smile because of me. So that's why I chose television, because it's a wider audience, you can affect more people," he said. 

He writes poetry and dabbles in photography

Like many actors, the 24-year-old McFadden is on social media. His YouTube isn't particularly active, but it's where he puts up visual poetry pieces he's written, including one called "Soulmate." He's much more active on Twitter and Instagram, the latter of which is full of selfies showing that the star is a bit more self-confident and definitely less awkward than the person he played on "K.C. Undercover." In fact, he has multiple accounts on Instagram, and it looks like he dabbles in photography although he doesn't have too many snaps online. 

On those platforms he expresses his faith, and sometimes even discusses his lack of a love life. He seems to be perpetually single and not particularly happy about it, if his posts regarding being "close friends" with women mean anything. He also recently said something on Twitter about taking on "side jobs," whatever that means. Basically, he's living the life of an actor and a creative person in his mid-20s, surviving life during the pandemic.