The Many, Varied Stories of Child Stars from the Seventies

You may have watched them grow up, or grown up with them, while they were on-screen during the seventies. Or, you may be younger, finding these faces for the first time thanks to Netflix or another streaming service.
Getty Images Photo by Silver Screen Collection
Getty Images Photo by Silver Screen Collection
There were plenty of young stars we saw and came to love, but what happened to them afterward? We’re about to find out.

Erin Murphy

Murphy, and her fraternal twin sister Diane, played the part of Tabitha Stephens in the “Bewitched” TV series, which ran from 1964 to 1972. Erin took the role over full time when their personal looks began to become too different (fraternal twins are really just siblings, after all).

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Murphy would eventually take time off from acting for a more normal childhood but has never left acting behind for good. She’s become an acting teacher, a producer, a make-up artist, and even as a stunt double. She is also a business owner and works on commercials and reality TV.

Donny Osmond

How many albums has Donny Osmond recorded throughout his life? Try Sixty. This Osmond brother also found success among his family in The Osmonds, the band that brought stardom to them all. Later, Donny also had a variety show with his sister Marie. In the eighties, Donny released a solo pop album and also made a turn as Gaston in a Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

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The Osmonds still perform together in Las Vegas, and Donny also appeared on the ninth season of “Dancing With the Stars,” which he won!

Alison “Nellie” Arngrim

Alison Arngrim from “Little House on the Prairie” doesn’t have many good memories from her time on the show. Arngrim played the mean girl of the show, Nellie Olson. The character has been ranked as one of the most hated characters in television history, and Arngrim has described playing her “like having PMS for seven years.”

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She’s had a number of guest spots on several television shows. She’s also authored a few books and has even written and performed a stage performance based on one of them, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch”.

Ricky Schroder

Ricky Shroder first made waves alongside Jon Voight in the 1979 film “The Champ.” He later appeared in the show “Silver Spoons,” and his fame continued rising from there. Ricky has continued acting, mostly in television, such as in the show NYPD Blue.

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Schroder met a girl named Andrea Bernard and converted to Mormonism for her prior to their marriage. Andrea later revealed that she had a dream bag, in which she had written that she hopes to marry Ricky one day, long before they ever met. The two had three children, but in 2016 they filed for divorce after twenty-four years of marriage.

Helen Hunt

While Helen Hunt doesn’t have one single famous character attached to her, she started studying acting at eight years old with her father, director, and acting coach Gordon Hunt. She debuted at nine and has appeared in “Amy Prentiss,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The Facts of Life,” and “The Fitzpatricks.”

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She’s won four Emmy Awards, a Blockbuster Award, four American Comedy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and an Oscar (Best Actress in “As Good as it Gets”). She’s not going anywhere soon and is likely to continue her career for years to come.

Kim Richards

Kim Richards appeared in a huge number of television shows throughout the seventies and is most notable as a child star for her role in “Race to Witch Mountain.” She’s had a number of notable roles as an adult, including as Christina Ricci’s mother in the film “Black Snake Moan.”

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In 2010, she began appearing on the reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” which became an immediate hit. Richards has had a number of run-ins with the law due to alcohol abuse but attended rehab and has remained clean and sober for years. You go, girl.

Kim Richards and Sister Kyle

Kim isn’t the only Richards daughter who has gained fame. Her sister Kyle Richards was also an actress at a young age, though her star never rose as far as Kim’s. Kyle has joined Kim a number of times on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” But, there’s one more sister: Kathy Hilton. Does that last name sound familiar?

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That’s right, Kim and Kyle are Paris Hilton’s aunts. The reality show has struggled due to Kim’s battle with alcoholism, with some even accusing Kyle of being an enabler, a title she has fought against, stating she just wants what’s best for her sister.

Jon Walmsley

A child actor from “The Waltons,” Walmsley is also the famous voice of Christopher Robin for Disney’s ‘Winnie the Pooh.’ However, Walmsley is also a well-known musician and composer and has worked with a number of other recording artists, such as Richard Marx, Roger Daltrey, and John Mayall.

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Walmsley has appeared on the Waltons’ reunions but has also appeared on TV on a few other occasions, including “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” in 2006. He’s been a composer and musician on various programs, like “8 Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and Secret “Life of an American Teenager.”

Susan Swift

Susan Swift’s very first role, at the age of thirteen, was in the film “Ivy Templeton,” for which she received rave reviews. She continued acting throughout the 1980s and made her last film appearance in 1995’s “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”

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Susan went on to study law and married attorney Alan Arnall in 1995. The two have had seven children together, and she decided to become a full-time mother. However, she also has time to write about politics for conservative sites Politichicks and Breitbart and has also written a children’s book about guns. Now we’re talking.

Julie Dawn Cole

Julie Dawn Cole got her start as the extremely spoiled child Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory,” but also acted into the eighties, most famously on the British television series “Angels.” According to her, both she and Denise Nickerson (who played Violet Beauregarde) both had a crush on Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie.

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Julie is the mom of two children and leans on her background as Veruca Salt to aid in parenting. Whenever her daughter, Holly, would do something bratty, Julie would say, “Is there a problem, Veruca?” which always slowed the girl’s roll.

Brooke Shields

Shields’s career started at five days old when her mother proclaimed, “she’s the most beautiful child, and I’m going to help her with her career.” She played the part of a child prostitute in 1978’s “Pretty Baby” and a dozen other films, including “The Blue Lagoon” and “Endless Love.”

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Shields seemed like she was on a path toward classic child-only stardom, but then she took a lead role in “Suddenly Susan,” a sitcom that ran between “Seinfeld” and “ER.” While the show itself never gained independent fame, Shields herself gained stardom. She’s now a model, a mom, and a writer, having written the book “Down Came to the Rain,” which detailed her personal struggle with postpartum depression.

Mike Lookinland

Lookinland appeared as the dark-haired youngest brother alongside Maureen McCormick on the “Brady Bunch.” He tended to have smaller roles among his older co-stars, but he managed to have his moments despite that.

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Lookinland also played parts in “Little House on the Prairie,” the numerous “Brady Bunch” specials, and movies (most famously “Towering Inferno”) before leaving show business. He’s married, has two children, and owns a concrete business in Utah. It sounds like he’s done the incredible – moved from child stardom to a simple, quiet life of family, work, and listening to the Grateful Dead.

Jackie Earle Haley

J.E.H. He was most famous as a child star for his role as “Kelly Leak” in the hit movie “The Bad News Bears.” Haley continued acting and has enjoyed even more success as an adult, earning an Oscar nomination for his role in the film “Little Children.”

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Other notable roles include Rorschach in “Watchmen” and playing the re-imagined version of famous horror icon Freddy Krueger. He’s also appeared in the science-fiction film “Alita: Battle Angel,” which is based on a famous manga comic by Yukito Kishiro.

Katy Kurtzman

Cast by Michael Landon to play Anna on “Little House on the Prairie” in 1977, Katy Kurtzman went on to star in “The New Adventures of Heidi” as the titular role, which has garnered her the most fame. Kurtzman continued acting, appearing in the hit show “Dynasty” in the 1980s. Katy later moved into writing and directing and wrote a short called “The Pool Boy,” which she directed back in 2001.

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Her most recent acting role was in 2013 when she made a guest appearance on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Scott Baio

An award-winning young star, you’re likely to remember Baio from “Happy Days.” But he was also one of the title characters on the spin-off “Joanie Loves Chachi,” as well as the lead character in “Charles in Charge.” He also had a key supporting role in “Diagnosis Murder.” Baio has also had plenty of movie credits, including “Baby Talk,” “Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion,” and “Very Mean Men.”

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Baio’s daughter Bailey has been diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder and a meningioma brain tumor, the first of which prompted Baio to found the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation.

Scott’s Politics

Baio has done more than just acting and managing foundations. He reached big headlines in 2017, during the American presidential election. He appeared at the Republican National Convention as a Donald Trump supporter.

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Many on the other side of the aisle made fun of the fact that A-list celebrities by the dozens lined up to support Trump’s opponent Hilary Clinton, while Trump could only bag smaller names such as Baio. Yet, Hollywood proved to be out of touch with most of America when Trump defeated Clinton to become the next president.

Danny Bonaduce

Bonaduce’s bright red hair and winning smile made him a famous character on “The Partridge Family,” where he played the bass-playing middle child. Bonaduce seemed destined for life-long stardom, but life has a way of taking its own road. He’s appeared in a number of films, including “Corvette Summer,” and also had guest appearances on “CHiPs.”

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After a hiatus, he began to appear in episodes of “Married… with Children,” “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigations,” and “The Drew Carey Show.” He also had his own reality show, “Breaking Bonaduce.” He’s been a regular morning host at Seattle radio station KZOK-FM since 2011.

Ron Howard

Howard first appeared on screen in the movie “Frontier Woman” in 1956, at the tender age of eighteen months. He got one of the lead roles in “The Andy Griffith Show,” which made him a national name, and also had a role as Richie Cunningham in “Happy Days.”

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But Ron Howard has gone on to do much more. He’s appeared in twenty-seven films, has directed twenty-eight films, and produced more than twenty others. Some of his most memorable turns behind the camera include “A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13,” “Cocoon,” and “The Da Vinci Code.” He’s constantly doing new and different projects, and everything he does has a unique style.

Melissa Gilbert Melissa Gilbert first made her mark as the main character of Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls, also known as “Half-Pint.” But she’s also been in other works such as “The Miracle Worker” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” She also showed up on commercials and a few other shows before her breakout.
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She’s still going strong, though her name might not be on everyone’s tongue. She got a spot on the reality TV show “Dancing With the Stars,” has played her original character’s mother (Caroline “Ma” Ingalls) in the touring production of “Little House on the Prairie, the Musical,” and has added her voice to “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Kristy McNichol

While she made her start in commercials at a young age, McNichol appeared as a guest star on “Starsky & Hutch,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Love American Style,” and “The Love Boat.” She had a starring role as Patricia Apple in the show “Apple’s Way” and has earned two Emmys for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Family.”

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Her acting took side stage as she worked on her singing career, releasing “Kristy & Jimmy McNichol” for RCA records, which included the hit single “He’s So Fine.”

Kristy’s Voice

McNichol’s work has continued, and she made an appearance on “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” which starred Mark Hamill and Dennis Quaid. She won a “Best Supporting Actress” Golden Globe Award working on “Only When I Laugh,” and joined “Empty Nest” for a few seasons.

 

She’s still part of the industry and has become a voice-acting expert, joining numerous other stars (including Mark Hamill) who have moved from behind the camera to behind the mic, appearing on animated shows like “Extreme Ghostbusters” and “Invasion America.”

David Cassidy

Cassidy had already appeared on “Ironside,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Adam-12,” and “Bonanza” when producers decided he had the look of a heartthrob and hired him for the role of Keith Partridge, the lead singer on the 70’s hit “The Partridge Family.” The Family went on to produce ten albums, and Cassidy has released five solo albums.

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All of the albums have been huge successes. Cassidy toured around the world, and his accolades and accomplishments are extensive, but not all was well: Cassidy filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

David’s Diagnosis and Death

In 2017, David Cassidy made appearances in shows, appearing disoriented, erratic, and confused. Many attributed the behavior to drunkenness until David announced he had been diagnosed with dementia. His mother died from the same condition, meaning Cassidy had expected the diagnosis and wasn’t surprised.

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But, surprisingly, Cassidy later admitted he didn’t have dementia, admitting that, yes, it was the effects of alcohol at the root of his behavior. David Cassidy would later die of liver failure at the age of sixty-seven, on November 21, 2017.

Tatum O’Neal

Tatum O’Neal won an Academy Award at the tender age of ten for her role of Addie Loggins in “Paper Moon,” and her early success continued with “The Bad News Bears” and Nickelodeon. But, after the seventies, she would only appear in five films over the next fifteen years.

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She pushed back into acting with small guest roles on shows like “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” and “Sex and the City.” She’s also had a recurring role on the hit series “Rescue Me.”

Tatum’s Rocky Road

Tatum has never had an easy life, despite her success. She’s the youngest person to ever win an academy award, and the substance abuse came next, beginning around the time of her famous role in “Paper Moon.”

 

Tatum would get sober but relapsed and developed an addiction to heroin after her divorce from Tennis superstar John McEnroe. She sadly lost custody of her children due to her substance abuse issues. However, she has maintained her sobriety following an arrest in 2008.

Tatum’s Relationship With Her Father

Tatum’s father, Ryan O’Neal, is an accomplished actor in his own right, but his physical and emotional abuse of Tatum is likely what triggered her substance abuse. Tatum has discussed her rough relationship with her father in two of her published books, going into detail in her autobiography called “A Paper Life,” which came out in 2005.

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She would discuss the relationship again in her 2011 book called “Found: A Daughter’s Journey Home.” Ryan struggled with his own substance abuse, meaning there’s plenty to unpack.

Mindy Cohn

Cohn is best known for her portrayal of Natalie, the strong-willed student from the television series “Facts of Life,” which ran from 1979 to 1988. Her role was essential to the show’s success, bringing humor and levity to any scene she was in. But the role ended up typecasting her, making it difficult for Cohn to branch out.

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Her acting did continue, however. In addition, she picked up a degree in cultural anthropology and has helped found the weSPARK cancer support center. She’s also provided the voice of Velma in the “Scooby-Doo” animated series, for which she won an Emmy.

Mindy Cohn Becomes an LGBTQ Icon

While Mindy Cohn has, for the most part, stayed out of the spotlight. She has never gotten married and chose to not have children. On the other hand, she regularly shows support for LGBTQ causes and acts as a positive figure within the community.

 

During an interview with “The Advocate,” Cohn said there were very few gay people on the set of the “Facts of Life,” yet she maintains a progressive family and has numerous gay family members and friends, which prompted her to announce her support of the community.

Michael Jackson’s Tough Relationship With His Father

Joe Jackson was famous for his tough relationship with his family, and none more so than with Michael. He conceded to beating his children in an interview with Oprah and constantly made his children rehearse, especially in the early days of the Jackson 5. The boys of the Jackson 5 lost their childhood.

 

It’s been thought this led to Michael Jackson’s Peter Pan fascination, naming his home “Neverland” and embracing the idea of “Never Growing Up.” Others also assume that Michael’s weird actions later in life resulted from the poor treatment he received from his father.

Michael Jackson’s Kids

Michael had three children of his own. The relationship they had is remarkably different, in a wonderful way, but there are still questions about the children’s parentage. According to TMZ, his eldest son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., conceded it’s possible he isn’t even Michael Jackson’s biological child, but the idea means nothing to him.

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MJ Jr. has said that his father taught him how to be a man and hopes to take care of his own children the same way his father took care of him.

MJ’s Other Kids

On the other hand, Paris Jackson believes she is Michael’s biological child. She’s been pursuing fame in her own right and has signed with a major modeling agency after a decade of tough time following her father’s death. Paris has maintained a close relationship with her mother, Debbie Rowe.

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Debbie has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her youngest son (and Michael Jackson’s youngest son) Blanket is still a teenager and has stayed out of the spotlight – he is currently in the custody of his grandmother Katherine Jackson.

Michael Jackson and Issues With Addiction

Jackson received accusations of inappropriate actions toward children in 1993, at which he entered rehab for dependency on prescription medication. One possible cause of this dependency was a severe scalp burn Jackson received while filming a Pepsi commercial.

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More drug danger ahead: ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley has said that addiction and drug use was a big part of their lifestyle while they were together. When Michael passed, it was revealed he regularly used strong anesthetics to get to sleep. Other people connected to Michael have backed the stories up.

Gary Coleman

Coleman got famous and rich for his role in “Diff’rent Strokes,” but it was revealed his parents were mishandling his funds, and Gary sued them, winning over a million dollars in the settlement. Coleman has had multiple issues with the law over the years. Coleman would end up marrying a twenty-two-year-old extra (he, at the time, was in his thirties), but the two divorced a year later.

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Coleman died only a few years later due to complications from health problems he had his entire life. His wife attempted to make a claim on the estate but was denied.

Barry Williams

Yet another Brady child makes the list. Barry Williams was fourteen when he joined the cast as the oldest child and teenage heartthrob Greg, and would go on to win a Young Artist Foundation Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. He’s appeared in “Brady Bunch” specials, as well as “That 70’s Show” and “Three’s Company,” among others.

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His biography, “Growing Up Brady…I Was a Teenage Greg,” came out in 1992, was a best-seller for three months, and would become a made-for-TV movie on NBC. Williams was an executive producer on the movie.

Quinn Cummings

Cummings began in commercials, then became the memorable Lucy McFadden in “The Goodbye Girl.” For her stand-out performance, she earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Cummings went on to a recurring role on “Family,” as well as a part on “Hail to the Chief.” She’s also a casting director, a business owner, and a blogger.

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In fact, her writing may be the biggest part of her fandom nowadays. She’s authored three books about herself, homeschooling, and pets, and has also had her writing featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time, People, The Atlantic, Salon, Los Angeles Magazine, Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping.

Paris Themmen

Another former “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory,” Themmen appeared as the television-obsessed child Mike TeeVee, but quit acting at the age of fourteen. He would later return to the screen, taking small roles in shows such as “Star Trek: Voyager.” He also appeared in “The Big Lebowski.”

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He’s appeared with other cast members for reunions as Mike TeeVee a number of times. He’s dabbled in real estate, film production, Walt Disney Imagineering, retail, and a number of other business pursuits, and also directs casting sessions.

Johnny Whitaker

Johnny Whitaker began his career at the age of three in a TV commercial for a car dealership and then leaped straight to “General Hospital.” He’s best known as the orphan Jody Davis in “Family Affair,” from 1966-71. He’s also been in “The Littlest Angel,” “Snowball Express,” “The Biscuit Eater,” “Napoleon and Samantha,” and plenty more. He also had the lead role in the 1973 musical “Tom Sawyer.”

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Whitaker has received Young Artist Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and while he has had drug issues, he’s on the road to recovery and remains with us today.

Maureen McCormick

Before she appeared as the eldest Brady, daughter, McCormick also appeared on “My Three Sons,” “Bewitched,” and “Camp Runamuck,” as well as commercials for Barbie and Kool-Aid. While McCormick continued TV roles, she also appeared in the movies “Dogtown,” “Great Easter Adventure,” and “The Million Dollar Kid.” She also won on the reality show “VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club.”

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She’s detailed her Brady Bunch experiences in her book “Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice,” which came out in 2008.

Dana Plato

Dana Plato is a classic child star cautionary tale. She was most famous for her role in the hit show “Diff’rent Strokes,” lasting through the eighties. However, Dana became addicted to prescription pills, and while she claimed to have been sober for over ten years, Dana passed away at the young age of thirty-four in 1999.

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Incredibly, only a day before her death, she appeared on the Howard Stern radio program and directly discussed her addiction. Her death was ruled a suicide, though we’ll never know if it was accidental or intentional.

Dana Plato’s Son Tyler

The sad story continues. Dana Plato’s son, Tyler Lambert, never had an easy life with a famous mom, and after she died in 1999, his life began its own downward spiral.

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Tyler’s grandmother, Joni Richardson, relates that Tyler was never able to get over his mom’s death and inherited her demons. Dana died when Tyler was only fourteen, and only eleven years later, Tyler would follow his mother into an early grave.

Tyler’s Yearning for Mom

Grandmother Joni reportedly found a note left after his death that elaborated on his substance abuse: “The only moments of happiness for me are when I’m real high and don’t think about the past, or I’m real drunk and not able to.”

 

Tyler longed to feel close to his mother, even after her death. Most notably, he used tattoos. He had his mother’s name on his hand, his arm, and across his finger, and apparently put her ashes in the ink. Joni said, “he could feel that he had part of her with him.”

Robby Benson

Throw a dart at a big sheet of movies from the seventies, and you’re likely to hit Robby Benson. Let’s see, he’s been in “Jory,” “Jeremy,” “Ode to Billy Joe,” “Wait Until Dark,” “The Rothschilds,” “Death Be Not Proud,” “Lucky Lady,” “One on One,” “The Death of Richie,” “The End,” “Ice Castles,” “Die Laughing,” “Tribute,” and “The Chosen.” He was also in “Search for Tomorrow,” a show running 71-72.

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You almost certainly know Benson for the voice-work he did for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” What character was he? Why the Beast himself! He’s also written a bestselling novel, “Who Stole the Funny?: A Novel of Hollywood,” which came out in 2007.

Marie Osmond

While the single Osmond sister was never part of the band, Marie found fame of her own just by relation. She would gain her own true success when she began to release country-pop songs and had a huge hit with “Paper Roses.” She was also known for her popular variety show with brother Donny.

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Marie still performs music and appears on television. She’s been very candid about her struggle with postpartum depression and has also written a book about it. Marie has seven children, so we imagine she has plenty to say about it. She publicly supports LGBTQ rights.

The Tragedy of Marie Osmond

Like many stars that have come out of her era, Marie Osmond has seen tragedy. Her adopted son Michael has struggled mightily with depression and substance abuse and was checked into a rehab center in 2007. Unfortunately, the rehab center proved not enough.

 

In 2010, at only eighteen years old, Michael took his own life when he jumped from a building. He left a note detailing his struggle with depression. The Osmond family was deeply affected, and Marie stayed out of the public eye for some time.

Did Marie Osmond Have Plastic Surgery?

I’m sorry, I thought this was about child stars, not tabloid chatter. Well, whatever. Many people think that Marie Osmond has gotten plastic surgeries, like a facelift, botox, lip fillers, and “various other facial fillers.”

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She, of course, has never spoken about it, and her brother Donny maintains his good looks with ease, which leads some people to surmise it’s just good genetics, whatever that means. The lady just wants to look pretty, people. Nothing wrong with that.

Clint Howard

The little brother to actor and director Ron Howard, Clint also got his start as a child star and even starred in five episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.” He’s continued acting into his adult years and is well-known as a character actor.

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Clint is also an avid gamer and loves the MMORPG World of Warcraft. He plays under the name “Extras” in the guild “Thrust” on the Dark Iron realm. Another hobby of his is golfing, although he doesn’t do it as frequently as he used to before he had his hip replaced.

Noah Hathaway

While Noah got his start as the character “Boxey” in the 1970s sci-fi show “Battlestar Galactica,” the role you’ll remember him for is the iconic Atreyu in “The Neverending Story,” which came out in 1984. Noah was famous for doing his own stunts in the film, as the director requested, which led to a number of injuries. Noah has appeared at fan expos and conventions.

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In 2016, he reprised his role for a Spotify commercial, of all things. Surprisingly, he has no relation to Anne Hathaway.

Noah Hathaway Fan Conventions

Noah makes most of his living appearing at various fan conventions across the country, and he certainly isn’t the only actor to do so. Another famous actor who did most of his work interacting with fans was former Power Ranger Ricardo Medina, who played the Red Ranger on “Power Ranger Force” and “Power Rangers Samurai.”

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Noah, however, has not been arrested for manslaughter, so he at least has one leg up on Ricardo.

Kim Fields

Kim Fields was famous for her character of Tootie on the show “The Facts of Life.” When the show ended, she put out a few pieces of music and then made the decision to leave show business and attend Pepperdine University. She’s since come back to the screen with small roles in “Fresh Princes of Bel-Air” and “Kenan and Kel.”

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Fields has directed episodes of “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” as well as a few other things. She’s married to Broadway actor Christopher Morgan, and the two have a pair of sons. She’s appeared in “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Dancing With the Stars” in 2016.

Kim Fields as a Housewife

Fields only lasted one season on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” before she left, having famously feuded with fellow cast member and show mainstay Kenya Moore, who apparently criticized Fields’s success.

 

It’s possible all of that tension was just scripted drama; however, as Kim did it “for the experience.” Fields probably won’t miss the drama, real or fake, of the show, having plenty on her plate with directing, though creator Andy Cohen may miss having such a big name.

Robert Downey Jr.

You’re probably quite familiar with RDJ thanks to his superstar-making role as Tony Stark in the Marvel movies. But he began as a child in his father’s film, “Pound,” playing Puppy. He enjoyed steady acting gigs until he began a difficult struggle with addiction and even landed in prison.

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He managed a second chance at fame after getting – and remaining – clean, getting more success than ever before. RDJ is married with three children, including son Indio, who is gaining steam as a musician.

RDJ’s Eldest Son

Robert Downey Jr.’s eldest son, Indio Downey (from his previous relationship with Deborah Falconer), is already an adult, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Indio inherited his father’s addictive personality and has struggled with a drug problem of his own.

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However, with help from his famous father, Indio made his own way back to sobriety, a remarkable feat for someone so young. In 2016, Robert Downey Jr. announced that Indio had remained committed to recovery.

Eric Scott

Eric Scott is mostly known for his character of Ben Walton on the television show “The Waltons.” He’s been in three marriages, most recently to Cynthia Wolfen, with which he has two children. His second marriage, from which he has a daughter, ended after the death of his wife from cancer.

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Scott has revived his famous character a number of times, for reunions or specials. On the other hand, Scott has mostly moved away from acting and now owns a parcel delivery service, Chase Messengers, in California.

Valerie Bertinelli

Bertinelli’s TV debut, on “One Day at a Time,” earned her a Golden Globe in 1981. She starred in “Sydney” and “Café Americain,” neither of which earned much notice, before joining the short-lived-yet-memorable “Touched by an Angel.” Bertinelli has gone on to appear as a popular spokeswoman for the weight loss products of Jenny Craig after she shared her struggles with body image and weight loss.

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She’s gone on to join television grand dame Betty White, as well as Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves on “Hot in Cleveland,” from 2010 to 2015.

Laurence Fishburne

What if I told you Laurence Fishburne started acting at the tender age of seven? He appeared on the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Ten years later, he appeared in the famous film “Apocalypse Now,” in which he played a young soldier in the Vietnam war, but wasn’t even as old as his character!

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He’s most well-known for his role of Morpheus in “The Matrix” and its sequels but has done plenty of other projects. For example, starring in the TV series “Black-ish,” and has been in a television miniseries about Nelson Mandela called “Madiba,” in which he is playing Nelson Mandela himself.

Laurence Fishburne’s Drama With His Daughter

Fishburne’s daughter Montana, at only eighteen years of age, back in 2010, decided to star in an adult film. Laurence recruited a number of friends and attempted to purchase every single copy of the tapes for the film, but they were unsuccessful.

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Montana didn’t stay in the adult movie industry for long, and when she left, she encouraged other young women to do the same, speaking about abusive practices within the industry. Montana was on the upswing, but she has since been arrested for driving under the influence.

Michael Bollner

Michael Bollner is originally from Germany, and when he acted as Augustus Gloop in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory,” he barely spoke any English. Allegedly, some of the crew aided him in learning English in order for him to get his lines right.

 

He later appeared in a number of other German films but ultimately abandoned acting, which is what his father wanted in the first place, even since Wonka. He owns an accounting firm in his home country of Germany, though he does appear in reunions with his former cast members.

Lisa Whelchel

Lisa Whelchel began her career as a child star on “The Facts of Life” and continued acting on and off, including the 2013 movie “A Madea Christmas.” Lisa is very active in her Christian faith and spends most of her time speaking at various churches and Christian conferences. She’s also written several best-selling books on a number of topics, including homeschooling and parenting.

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However, at one point, she revealed she uses hot sauce as a discipline for her children, which landed her in hot water. It honestly doesn’t even seem like a punishment to me.

Peter Ostrum

You’ll know Ostrum for only one role: Charlie, from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring alongside Gene Wilder. Peter could have gone anywhere, but he instead decided to give up acting and stayed away from the spotlight, though beginning in 1990, Peter began speaking at the local elementary school about his famous role.

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Ostrum would eventually start a veterinary practice in New York and start a family. When the Chocolate Factory story was remade in 2005, Peter had to eventually request no more interviews, as his private life was quickly becoming too public for his taste.

Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono, born Chastity Bono, was only famous because of his parents, Sonny and Cher, and their television show, “The Sonny and Cher Show.” Chaz was assigned female at birth but began to transition to male in 2008, after years of identifying as a lesbian publicly. He is an active LGBTQ activist and even made a documentary film titled “Becoming Chaz,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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He’s also made an appearance on the popular TV reality show “Dancing With the Stars,” notable for being the first time a transgender man has appeared on a network television program without anything to do with his gender identity.

Diane Lane

Actress Diane Lane got her start at the age of fourteen in a film called “A Little Romance.” She continued acting and continued to accumulate success when she reached adulthood. Some of her well-known roles include acting in “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Unfaithful.”

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Diane was once married to actor Josh Brolin, but the two have already divorced. The couple made headlines at one point when it was suspected Josh had attacked her, and the police came to the couple’s home. However, Diane has stated it was a misunderstanding, and there was no abuse.

Janet Jackson

Just as in Marie Osmond’s case, the Jackson daughter was never part of her brothers’ singing group. Don’t count Janet out, though, because she’s achieved her own dose of stardom, first appearing in her family’s variety show, “The Jacksons,” in 1976. She’s had a number of notable TV roles, including on “Good Times” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” and achieved much more as an adult, including a number of multi-platinum albums and a super bowl half-time show you may remember.

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In 2012 she married a Qatari business magnate and gave birth to their first child, a son named Eissa, in January of 2017.

Emilio Estevez

Son of actor Martin Sheen, Emilio also first appeared alongside his brother and father in “Badlands.” Emilio went on to have massive success as a member of the Brat Pack, seen as the “leader” of the group of actors, which included Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy.

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This group appeared in several blockbuster films together, such as “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and you also probably know him from the “Mighty Ducks” films. Emilio is still active in the industry, acting as well as directing.

Jasper Jacob

Jasper Jacob began his acting career playing legendary monarch Prince Arthur in the early 1970s. Jasper has continued to act throughout his life, appearing in films like “RocknRolla” and “The Iron Lady.” He’s also active in theater. When he isn’t acting, he teaches at the “Go For It” school in Middlesex, England.

 

Recognize Jacob from “Star Wars?” He was Captain Yorr in “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.” Jasper is married to actress Cheryl Kennedy. The two have two children, Augustus and Clarissa.

Christopher Knight

We’ll run out of Brady kids eventually. Christopher Knight acted as Peter, the second oldest brother, and continued acting for some time before pursuing a career in computers during the 1980s. In the 2000s, he appeared on the Vh1 show “The Surreal Life,” where he met fellow cast member (and America’s Next Top Model winner) Adrianne Curry.

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The two entered a relationship and married, quickly starting their own reality series called “My Fair Brady,” which documented their relationship all the way through their marriage. However, the two divorced in 2012. He has since remarried.

Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips got her big break on the television series “One Day At A Time” in the 70s and 80s and also had a role in the film “American Graffiti.” Mackenzie is from the famous Phillips family, which includes John Phillips, a singer from The Mamas and The Papas. Mackenzie has famously struggled with alcohol and drug issues since her teenage years, suffering multiple overdoses.

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In 2010 she appeared on the Vh1 show “Celebrity Rehab,” where she strived for and discussed her sobriety. Mackenzie continues to act, such as in the new Netflix show, which revived “One Day At A Time.” She’s also a drug addiction counselor.

Phillips’ Family Scandals

In 2009, Mackenzie Phillips released a memoir that contained shocking and stupefying fact: according to her at the time, Mackenzie had been in a long-running romantic relationship with her father. On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Mackenzie said, while it didn’t start that way initially, it became a consensual relationship that lasted ten years.

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She compared the relationship to Stockholm Syndrome, and after speaking with other survivors, she began to see things a different way and acknowledge that her father abused her.

The Response of the Phillips Family

Response after Mackenzie’s revelation has been mixed. John’s former wife didn’t believe the allegations. John’s second wife, Michelle Phillips, also did not believe her former stepdaughter. Both of Mackenzie’s half-sisters, Chynna and Bijou, believed Mackenzie when she first mentioned the relationship.

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However, Bijou no longer believes her sister. Jessica Doherty, daughter of The Mamas and The Papas member Denny Doherty, said her father knew the truth and was horrified. Mackenzie has said her relationship with her family has become strained and says those who have not accepted her reality are “devaluing the victim.”

Justin Henry

Justin Henry’s big break was as the young boy caught between parents in the legal movie “Kramer Vs. Kramer.” He got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the role but doesn’t remember much about the Oscars. He’s also appeared on the shows “Fantasy Island,” “Danger Bay,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” and “Brothers & Sisters.”

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He’s been in movies such as “Tiger Town,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Sweet Hearts Dance,” “Andersonville,” and “Chasing Home.” After college, Henry moved to LA and began Slamdunk, an independent distribution company. It would go on to partner with Microsoft and help small filmmakers get bigger distributions.

Harvey Stephens

How did Stephens get the role of Damien in the religious horror film “The Omen?” The director asked Stephens to attack him and make it look convincing, and Stephens obliged. Harvey chose not to pursue an acting career, though he did appear in “The Omen”‘s 2006 remake as a journalist.

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He also appeared in a television series based on “The Omen,” but only in old footage from the original film. In 2017, Harvey had a road rage incident and had to appear in a British court.

Charlie Sheen

You certainly know about Sheen, but he got his start in the 1973 film by Terrence Malick, “Badlands,” which starred his famous father, Martin Sheen. Charlie is well-known for outlandish public behavior, causing him to be dropped from his long-running sitcom, “Two and A Half Men.”

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His rants include “facts,” such as he had Adonis DNA. He has also revealed he is HIV-positive. Charlie made no secret of his free-wheeling exploits, frequently cavorting with porn stars, so his diagnosis came as no surprise to him. But, does the man truly have tiger blood in his veins?

Was There a Charlie Sheen Breakdown?

At one point, Charlie Sheen had tiger blood in his veins, Adonis DNA in his genetics, and spent quite a lot of time around his “goddesses.” At the same time, Sheen was, according to him, having a mental breakdown. He’s publicly dealt with a number of divorces, has had multiple children, and was going through a feud with the creator of “Two and A Half Men,” Chuck Lorre, as well as his co-star, Jon Cryer.

 

Charlie would reappear on another show, “Anger Management.” As Charlie said: “I don’t know what happened. I think I cracked.”

Charlie Sheen Diagnosis

Sheen announced he was HIV-positive in 2015, but the world wasn’t taken totally by surprise since rumors had been swirling that a big, A-list celebrity was about to announce a diagnosis. It turned out to be Sheen, who made the announcement with Matt Lauer on the “Today Show.” Charlie Sheen has become very outspoken in his support of HIV activism.

 

Thanks to various experimental medication, the illness is now virtually undetectable in Sheen, mainly because of a virus-suppressing injection called PRO-140. Hopefully, Sheen will use his star power to continue raising funds for HIV/AIDS research.

Dominic Guard

Dominic Guard got his start as the voice of Pippen, one of the hobbits in the animated version of the “Lord of the Rings” in the late 1970s. When he was fourteen, he played the lead in the film “The Go-Between” and was nominated for a BAFTA for his work.

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He appeared in “Absolution” alongside Richard Burton, which was one of Burton’s last films before his death due to alcoholism. While shooting “Absolution,” Dominic met Susan Duce, whom he would later marry. The couple has two children, and Dominic works as a child psychotherapist.

Sarah Jessica Parker

SJP is famous for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in the TV series “Sex In The City” and the spin-off movies but has also stared in plenty of other noteworthy films like “Hocus Pocus” and “Footloose.” But Parker got her beginning all the way back in 1974, appearing in a TV movie called “The Little Match Girl.”

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Parker was involved with Robert Downey Jr. during his legal and drug problems but was unable to “save” him. She eventually married Matthew Broderick, and the two have three children together.

Sarah Jessica Mastering Parenting

Parker has made recent headlines thanks to discussing her relationship with Downey and how the relationship made her a better parent. The couple was together for seven years during the 80s and 90s, but RDJ was already deep in drug addiction and headed even lower.

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Parker tried to care for Downey but came to realize the type of affection wasn’t appropriate in a romantic relationship. However, she’s said she learned how to parent more affectionately. Sarah very much wanted to help Downey, but he was unable to get sober until jail and rehab.

Corey Feldman

Feldman is famous for his roles in the eighties, but he actually got his start in the 70s. His first role was at the age of three in a McDonald’s commercial and had a role in the 1979 film “Time After Time.” He and Corey Haim became good friends, and both struggled with addictions.

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Corey also had a close friendship with Michael Jackson. In 2016, Corey appeared on the “Today Show” to promote his album, “Angelic 2 The Core,” though the performance was widely mocked as bizarre and strange. A few people, on the other hand, enjoyed the non-conformist outlook.

Corey Feldman’s Performance on the “Today Show”

Feldman performed a new single called “Go 4 It” on the “Today Show,” performing it with a band made up of women, whom, in the music video, he also lived with, a la Hugh Hefner. The mocking came hard and fast, with many saying the performance, particularly Feldman’s dance moves, were too strange to enjoy.

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Corey returned to the show later on to discuss the criticism, saying it hurt him deeply. Following the performance, Corey married one of the band members, Courtney Anne Mitchell. We wish them nothing but happiness.

Peter Barton

The short-lived TV show “Shirley” ran for a very limited time, but it still made Peter Barton a star. He was soon cast in much bigger roles on the shows “The Powers of Matthew Star” and “The Young and the Restless.”

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Barton’s popularity extended well into the 80s and won him numerous fans. In a weird turn of events, one of his most devoted fans bequeathed him a substantial fortune when he passed away, making him $1.3 million richer.

Sally Field

Sally Field’s career almost transcends time, so picking the peak decade of it is next to impossible. Still, she did have a pretty good run in the 1970s, topped with a 1979 Academy Award. Field starred in more timeless movies than we can count, such as “Forrest Gump” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

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She is incredibly talented and has even performed live on Broadway! In 2018, Field published a memoir, titled “In Pieces,” and she is constantly working on new projects.

Leif Garrett

Garrett started making his way through the spotlight as a child actor. However, he didn’t reach his teen idol status until he started making music in the 1970s. After acting in a number of films as a child, Garrett transitioned into music.

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He released his first album in 1977, naming it after himself. It featured cover versions to hits from the previous two decades. His great popularity has seen highs and lows, normally as a result of legal troubles surrounding him.

Jack Wild

Jack Wild made his acting debut as Dodger in the musical “Oliver!” in England in 1968 and went into the 70s as a full-fledged star. He was 16 at the time and was already nominated for an Oscar for that role. His stature in the industry at the time sent him to the US for a role in the kids’ show “H.R. Pufnstuf” — a role which paid him $1 million!

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Success took its toll on Wild, who smoked and drank regularly. At 24 years old, the problem became so severe he could no longer act. After an extensive rehab process, he regained enough strength for short on-screen performances. He passed away in 2006 after battling aggressive cancer.

Mark Lester

Mark Lester was also made a star at a very young age thanks to the musical film “Oliver!”. He was quickly showered with other acting suggestions, including in European cinema, making him an international star.

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Lester had a tough time dealing with his success. At 18 years old, he became reckless with his money and descended into substance abuse. A year later, he decided to retire from acting. He trained in martial arts and became a certified osteopath. Most of Lester’s acting credits are grouped in the 70s, although he has a couple of on-screen blinks in the late 2000s.

Richard Thomas

Known to many as John-Boy from “The Waltons,” Richard Thomas has built up an impressive acting record by his 20th birthday. One of his first major film roles was in “Winning,” where he played alongside Paul Newman.

 

After leaving “The Waltons,” Richard experienced a successful theater career, which included “Fifth of July” and “Richard II.” In 2009-2010, Thomas appeared in the Broadway play “Race” by David Mamet. He acted alongside James Spader, Kerry Washington, and David Alan Grier.

Mark Hamill

Forever Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill actually started his way as a voice actor. He later landed roles in shows such as “The Texas Wheelers” and “General Hospital” in the 1970s, which gained him great popularity even before landing the role of Luke.

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Luke won Hamill two Saturn Awards and an honorable place in American cultural history. He keeps acting to this day and has several newly announced acting projects to look forward to.

Vincent Van Patten

Son of the actor Dick Van Patten, Vincent was encouraged to take the spotlight at a young age, and he appeared in many commercials as a child. He soon transitioned into bigger roles, starring in numerous films and TV shows, the first of which was “Bonanza.”

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But Vincent is more than just an actor. He is also a talented tennis player with a well-established career and titles, as well as a successful poker player. So even though he doesn’t act anymore, he has a plethora of other ways to make a living.

Bobby Sherman

Bobby Sherman started out as an actor, but it didn’t take long for his other talents to shine. His first television appearance was on the show “Shindig!” and then he started leaning into music as well. His music career won him five gold albums and seven Top 40 hits.

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When Bobby felt like his Hollywood career wasn’t fulfilling anymore, he went a different way. He retired from showbusiness and started a career as an EMT and a sheriff’s officer.

Iman

One of the biggest models in the seventies, Iman had a rags-to-riches story that’s almost too hard to believe. Born in Somalia, Iman was a university student when a photographer spotted her. She moved to America and began modeling for “Vogue,” and before long was a top runway star.

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She dated Warren Beatty in the late seventies and had a daughter with basketball star Spencer Haywood. She met British rocker David Bowie in the early nineties, with which she had one daughter, and the two stayed together until Bowie passed away in 2016.

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane had it made: she married her college sweetheart Prince Egon von Furstenberg and became an official part of the German royal family (such as it is). But before long, she realized she wanted a career of her own and jumped into the fashion world in 1970, only a year after getting married.

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Thanks to her newfound wealth and a pretty good amount of talent, von Furstenberg is now one of the most famous in the world, and its high-profile devotees include Victoria Beckham and Michelle Williams.

Grace Jones

Grace Jones came bursting into our lives with her unconventional looks and taste. She got her start as a model, and thanks to her unique masculine look, she got people’s attention pretty quickly. However, she would then move on to music and release three albums during the seventies.

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Her avant-garde concerts garnered her more attention, but she wasn’t about to let her star fall. She jumped into acting, and a talent for on-screen performances combined with her big name and striking looks landed her acting roles next to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Walken, and Halle Berry.

Susan Dey

Susan Dey got her start in Hollywood with “The Partridge Family.” At 17, it was her first acting job. She had no acting experience, but she got the role of Laurie Partridge because her beautiful face was spotted in her budding modeling career. Screen Gems execs discovered her lovely visage on the cover of an ad booklet for a feminine hygiene brand, actually. Her career shot to fame with the Partridges.

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She’s known as the Partridge star who refuses to attend reunions. But, if you heard her side of the story, you might feel the same. Intimidating details of her relationship with David Cassidy were exploited in his 1994 tell-all memoir. Since then, she’s refused to join reunion shows. And anyway, she’s been off-screen since 2004.

Suzanne Crough

Little Tracey Partridge was the second-to-youngest sister and played the tambourine. Played by Suzanne Crough, she was loved by many and kept acting in productions such as “Mulligan’s Stew.” Despite being a child actress, her education was important to her, and she went on to finish school and graduate from college.

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She later owned a bookstore, got married, had two daughters, and went off the grid after 1980. Sadly, in 2015, Suzanne passed away suddenly. The entire cast attended the services for the sad occasion.

Pilar Crespi

Being the daughter of a countess who is a member of the International Best Dressed List puts the spotlight on you at a young age. And Pilar Crespi flourished under that spotlight. Becoming a young model, Pilar stunned the fashion world with her breezy, effortless beauty.

 

She went on to become an editor at “Vogue” and a well-known name in the fashion industry, but she’s most proud of her philanthropic endeavors. She started an organization with her husband, Stephen Robert, called Source of Hope, which provides educational programs, grants, and scholarships to low-income cosmetology students.

Ron Paolillo

You might remember “Welcome Back Kotter” as the hit 70s sitcom that has brought Arnold Horshack to your TV screens. Horshack, the class clown of his high school friends, aka the Sweathogs. Playing Horshack was none other than Ron Paolillo, whose hyena-like laugh still rings in everyone’s ears to this day.

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Ron’s fame stretched beyond the realm of “Welcome Back Kotter,” and he played lots of characters on the big screen as well as the small one. You might remember him from “Laverne and Shirley in The Army” or from “Friday The Thirteenth” and others. He has also branched out and worked as a Broadway director,  a fashion designer, and even a children’s books author. He sadly passed from a 2012 heart attack.

Shirley Jones

Shirley Jones turned down a role in “The Brady Bunch” to play the mother of “The Partridge Family,” so she would have made her mark on the 70s one way or another. She could’ve been Carol Brady, but she said playing a housewife, and nothing more, was not her style. So she played the lead in what can only be described as an American TV rendition of “The Sound of Music.”

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The difference being, she was a hippie-dippy widow, managing all of the children on her own just fine. Since she was married to Jack Cassidy until 1974, she was not only a TV mom, but she also was a stepmom to David Cassidy in real life. Shirley Jones is a stage actress with a six-decade career under her belt.

Brian Forster

The youngest sibling of the Partridge Family was Chris, the cute little drummer brother. This character was played by Brian Forster, but not until 1971, a year into the show. (Back then, making changes to the cast during the show was still a thing). The former child actor was Jeremy Gelbwaks.

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Brian played Chris for the remainder of the series. He’s the son of British film actor Peter Forster and step-grandson of British acting legend Alan Napier. And, are you ready for this? He’s the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens. His days of stardom are long behind him as he hasn’t been on any non-partridge-related roles since 1974.

Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter’s immense musical talent gained her fame, the kind most people can only dream of. She hypnotized people with her fantastic voice and her mesmerizing drumming skills. She saw massive success when performing with her brother as The Carpenters. Her hit 70s singles, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Close to You,” made it into the top two of the Hot 100 list.

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Her success, however, got the best of her, and she developed an eating disorder which made the Carpenters cancel a tour and a performance in front of the Queen of England. Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate end came in 1983 when she was only 32 after a long battle with an eating disorder, which ended in a cardiac arrest.

Linda Blair

Linda Blair’s career in show business started in the late 1960s when she was just six years old and started modeling. However, the thing that truly made her famous was the child in “The Exorcist” and its sequel during the 1970s. That role got her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win.

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After her possessed glory, however, she descended into minor roles in minor productions, none of which was as big as her horror stint. She had parts in films like “Hell Night,” and “Savage Street,” and in TV shows such as “Supernatural” and “S Club 7 in LA.” While she maintains a low profile, she still maintains a decades-long acting career.

Danielle Spencer

Looking at Danielle Spencer’s face will instantly make you hear little Dee Thomas saying her famous “Oooh, I’m tellin’ Mama!”. Spencer’s unforgettable performance as Dee in “What’s Happening!!” will forever be etched in the memory of anyone who watched TV in the 70s.

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After the show ended, Spencer’s life went in a different direction, and she got certified as a veterinarian. She has even played minor roles as a veterinarian in “As Good as It Gets” and “Peter Rabbit and the Crucifix.” In 2014, Spencer was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she has since recovered.