Ever since stepping onto the scene in the 70s, these women haven’t just proven their powers of popularity but cemented their statuses as trendsetters, feminist role models, and cultural icons we’ll never forget. After taking a look at what they’re all up to today, these women are showing no signs of slowing down.
1. Barbara Eden
NBC couldn’t have dreamed of anyone better than Barbara Eden to play Jeannie the genie in I Dream of Jeannie. Eden crossed her arms, blinked, and then poof! the fantasy sitcom was a wish come true, with more than 100 episodes of sheer magic.
Barbara Eden kept making Hollywood magic in the years that came after I Dream of Jeannie, and even though she’s got an extensive resume of roles since the spellbinding ’60s/’70s sensation went off-air, Eden recognizes that Jeannie is still seen as her signature role. But that’s more than alright with Eden who says, “She is also easy to live with, I really like her.” We do too.
2. Delta Burke
Dubbed “Most Likely to Succeed” in her high school yearbook in 1972 Delta Burke really did do just that, winning the coveted title of Miss Florida in 1974. The pageant queen then decided to go in a different direction. After audition on top of audition, Delta landed her career defining role on CBS’s Designing Women.
After earning two Emmy nominations for her performance as Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women, Delta became a television mainstay. Consistently making appearances on the most popular TV shows of the time, the actress is sure to pop up in an episode of your favorite series sometime soon — Delta’s not done yet!
3. Jane Fonda
After finding her voice both in acting and as an activist in the ’60s, by the time the ’70s rolled around Fonda was hitting some career highs. For her 1971 film Klute, Fonda won her first Academy Award, and the praise kept pouring in. Fonda’s performances garnered multiple Oscar nominations, another win, some BAFTAS, and more.
Today, Fonda remains tireless (and timeless) appearing in her Netflix show Grace and Frankie, movies like Book Club, an HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts, and of course, her continued public participation in politics and policy reform. What’s next for the fierce (and fiercely funny) Fonda? According to her “I haven’t a clue.”
4. Katharine Ross
How could anyone forget Katharine Ross’ face at the end of The Graduate? That flash of…disappointment? Contentedness? It’s hard to say, and that’s what made Katharine Ross a star – her acting chops were seriously impressive. Ross’ skills were on display once more in 1975’s The Stepford Wives — another role which would earn raves.
Ross has continued to take roles in movies and television shows throughout the years, and has added children’s book author to her resume too. Ross married fellow actor Sam Elliott in the early 80s, and the two have even appeared together on screen. Most recently she played the wife to her real-life love in the 2017 dramedy The Hero.
5. Bern Nadette Stanis
When a young, 21 year old Bern Nadette Stanis was first cast on Norman Lear’s latest sure-to-be-successful sitcom Good Times, she immediately became a part of history. Starring as Thelma Ann Evans-Anderson for the full run of the series from 1974-1979, Good Times was the first sitcom to feature a two-parent African American family.
Once Good Times went off the air, Stanis decided to stick to the small screen, appearing in various TV shows and movies throughout the years. Stanis isn’t only an actress though, she has also gone on to author four books, including a couple of relationship guides for the singletons among us.
6. Stefania Sandrelli
Not many people can say they were in an Academy Award winning movie at age 14, but that’s because they’re not Stefania Sandrelli. After proving to everyone she was an actress beyond her age, Sandrelli became a star of Italian cinema, acting opposite superstars such as Marcello Mastroianni, and in a few of Bernardo Bertolucci’s finest films.
Sandrelli has continued her acting career, and eventually received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival. But never won to rest on her laurels, Sandrelli keeps taking movie roles, and award worthy roles too, like in 2010’s Golden Lion nominated La Passione.
7. Barbara Hershey
While Barbara Hershey did not become a truly critically acclaimed actress until the 1980s, in the ’70s she was beginning to get her start in Hollywood, taking on roles in a few movies. One of those movies happened to be Martin Scorsese’s first Hollywood movie, Boxcar Bertha, so we’d say she was doing pretty well for herself.
Today, she is still acting in series like The X-Files and ABC’s Once Upon a Time. And any Hershey fan was probably excited to see her play everyone’s least favorite overbearing mother in Black Swan. It seems that the woman once dubbed “one of America’s finest actresses” has still got it.
8. Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow flew from the fashion scene in the ’60s, leaving modelling for movies. The ’70s saw Farrow starring in an impressive series of films, including her iconic turn as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Taking her skills to the stage, Farrow also became the first American actress to join the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Farrow has consistently garnered critical praise for her performances, such as in her 2014 return to Broadway in the play Love Letters. The acclaimed actress is also an award-winning humanitarian. Outside of the sheen of show business Farrow is busy as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, focusing on human rights in Africa.
9. Maureen McCormick
Starting out as a wee blonde babe not yet 10-years-old with Mattel commercials and guest roles on I Dream of Jeannie, The Farmer’s Daughter and others, Maureen McCormick finally landed her big break on The Brady Bunch playing “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” the oldest daughter of the blended brood.
Despite a post-Brady Bunch bout of very un-Brady behavior, McCormick came out the other side swinging – literally! In 2016 McCormick appeared on Dancing With The Stars and her TV mom Florence Henderson (Carol Brady) even went to watch her “daughter” compete. Keep an eye out for this former-Brady’s future projects, McCormick is far from bowing out.
10. Lynda Carter
Lynda Carter could easily be the face of the ’70s. After being crowned Miss World United States in 1972, Carter toured with her band, The Garfin Gathering, setting aside money for acting lessons. Those lessons paid off when Carter was cast as Wonder Woman in 1975, and instantly became a cultural icon.
Since hanging up her Wonder Woman suit and Lasso of Truth, Carter continued acting, and has done extensive voice-over work and theater as well. Rumor has it Carter may next be seen on the big screen in a super special cameo role in the Gal Gadot fronted sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, and we can’t wait.
11. Michelle Pfeiffer
First garnering attention as “The Bombshell” in Delta House, the short-lived TV adaptation of National Lampoon’s Animal House, Michelle Pfeiffer’s star shot up when she was cast as the lead in Grease 2. Despite the box-office bomb that was Grease 2, Pfeiffer was able to finagle an audition for Scarface, and from then on, Hollywood was hers.
Since the ’70s, Michelle Pfeiffer hasn’t loosened her hold on Hollywood one bit, appearing in critical and commercial successes such as White Oleander. Pfeiffer has also found a place for herself in the Marvel Universe, playing Janet van Dyne aka The Wasp in the Ant-Man movies. With two movies slated to film in 2019, there’s plenty of Pfeiffer still to come.
12. Olivia Newton-John
After seeing Sandy skip around in a poodle skirt and slink around showing Danny Zuko what’s what in black spandex in Grease, we’d just like to say, since the ’70s until today, Olivia Newton-John, you’re the one that we want. And we couldn’t be happier that the Aussie singer is still taking to the stage.
Just like Sandy’s transformation from a goodie-goodie to a risk-taker in Grease, Newton-John changed up her stage persona, and found immense success. Newton-John still tours regularly, was selected to sing at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics, and has recorded a Billboard no. 1 Dance Club Play hit with her daughter Chloe.
13. Jacklyn Zeman
While Jackie Zeman got her start playing Lana McClain in One Life To Live, it was not until she took on the role of Bobbie Spencer in General Hospital that she became a household name. And years after she checked out of the soap opera hospital, her name was still in households across the country – just now in a slightly different way.
Today, Zeman fans can find the actress co-hosting the TLC home makeover show Make This Place Your Home or acting in the Amazon series The Bay. Somehow she has still found time to start her own line of makeup brushes, aptly titled Jacklyn Zeman Beauty. All these years later, and Zeman won’t be brushed out of the spotlight.
14. Farrah Fawcett
Acting in quite a few television series before finding real success, Farrah Fawcett finally found the role she was meant to play as Jill Munroe in Charlie’s Angels. From that moment on, Fawcett became a cultural icon of the 70s, famous for role as an Angel, and of course, for the famed “Farrah-flip” — her signature hairstyle.
After her stint on Charlie’s Angels, Farrah Fawcett continued appearing in television shows and miniseries, earning multiple Emmy nominations for her work. Fawcett was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and along with a friend, recorded her battle with the disease. Fawcett earned a posthumous Emmy nomination for the documentary in 2009.
15. Raquel Welch
At a time when Hollywood was all about the “blonde bombshell,” Raquel Welch was breaking molds with her boldness and brunette hair. Her roles in One Million Years B.C., Bedazzled and other blockbusters of the ’60s/’70s stuck the star with the status of “sex symbol” but Welch would work to break away from that title too.
The “Raquel Welch” of the ’70s may have given her an entrance into Hollywood but Welch has spent the better part of her career proving to small-minded industry bigwigs and belittlers that she’s a bona fide, grade A acting talent. In her own words, “I was a bigger-than-life persona before I was anyone in my own mind.”
16. Ali MacGraw
Making a name for herself almost as soon as she got her start in Hollywood in the early ’70s, Ali MacGraw was already being nominated for major movie awards after acting in only two films. Her third movie, Love Story, earned rave reviews, especially her performance, and MacGraw was honored with a hands and footprints ceremony at the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In her early 50s Ali MacGraw became a Hatha yoga devotee, and produced a video, Ali MacGraw Yoga Mind and Body. The yoga video became a bestseller, and is largely credited with starting the more widespread popularity of Hatha yoga practice in the United States.
17. Jaclyn Smith
Best known as one of the original Charlie’s Angels, Jaclyn Smith was gracing America’s television screens as Kelly Garrett from 1976 to 1981. And it seems that she loved being in the series just as much as people loved watching her, as she was the only original Angel to stick with the show until the very end.
Smith even came back for a second round when she made a cameo appearance in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2003. And while she’s made a few appearances on shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, she has not acted on TV since 2015. Instead, she’s attaching her name to a few fabric, skincare and accessory lines.
18. Cheryl Ladd
Although she may not have been one of the original Angels on ABC’s ’70s smash hit series Charlie’s Angels, Cheryl Ladd is the second-longest actress from the series. Ladd replaced former Angel Farrah Fawcett, playing Fawcett’s character’s younger sister, Kris Munroe. Ladd used her popularity as an Angel to help her music career, releasing three albums (and one went gold!).
After Charlie’s Angels went off the air, Cheryl Ladd decided to stick to television, appearing in over thirty made-for-TV movies and numerous fan-favorite sitcoms. Recently, Ladd was lauded for her role in the critically acclaimed The People v. O.J. Simpson, where she played Linell Shapiro, the wife of O.J. Simpson’s defense attorney, Robert Shapiro.
19. Kate Jackson
Most famous for her role as Sabrina Duncan in the wildly successful series Charlie’s Angels, Kate Jackson was the first actress cast. At the time that Jackson was first pitched the series, it was being called The Alley Cats. According to Aaron Spelling, when he asked her what she would like the show to be called, it was Jackson that came up with Charlie’s Angels.
Most recently, Kate Jackson has a contract with Gallery Books to publish her memoir, which is sure to reveal some secrets. Jackson’s book is reportedly looking at a 2021 release date, so there’s still plenty of time to pre-order your copy.
20. Barbi Benton
Initially born Barbara Klein, an 18 year-old Barbara took a job as an extra on Playboy After Dark, before catching the eye of host Hugh Hefner. It was Hefner that convinced the young starlet to change her name to Barbi Benton. And it was Benton that convinced Hefner, her then-boyfriend, to buy the Playboy Mansion in 1974.
Benton spent four seasons on the series Hee Haw doing short comedy sketches, before transitioning into a career as a country singer. As the ’70s came to a close, a newly married Benton decided to retire from Hollywood and her music career, devoting her time to her two children, Alexander and Ariana.
21. Melissa Sue Anderson
America first fell in love with Melissa Sue Anderson as a child actress in the iconic NBC series Little House on the Prairie as Mary Ingalls. Anderson would later tell magazines that playing Ingalls as her character lost her eyesight was one of her most challenging roles, but a more challenging role would come later in life.
Anderson would end up leaving the series and later marrying and raising two children. She picked up a few small acting gigs along the way, wrote an autobiography “The Way I See It: A Look Back at my Life on Little House,” and is taking time away from Hollywood and the prairie to be with her family.
22. Cybill Shepherd
Starting her career as a model and magazine cover girl, Cybill Shepherd was cast in her breakout role in The Last Picture Show after director Peter Bogdanovich’s wife saw her on the cover of a magazine at the grocery store. From then on Shepherd starred in some notable critical and commercial success throughout the ’70s, such as The Heartbreak Kid and Taxi Driver.
Shepherd then took some time out to act on the stage, before finding small screen success playing Maddie Hayes in the cult classic series Moonlighting. Shepherd continues to be a television star to this day, and wrote a best-selling autobiography entitled “Cybill Disobedience.”
23. Candice Bergen
A college-aged Candice Bergen broke out into Hollywood in the 1966 film The Group. Art imitated life, and Bergen decided to bail on college for her clear calling – acting. Bergen’s next role alongside Steve McQueen in the film Sand Pebbles garnered award show attention, and Bergen’s been beloved ever since.
Candice Bergen hasn’t broken away from Hollywood, consistently appearing in films and TV shows since becoming a star in the ’70s. In 2018 Bergen brought fan favorite sitcom Murphy Brown back to TV, reprising her role as the tough talking television reporter. Apparently, Bergen is happy to be one of the busiest broads in Hollywood.
24. Jane Seymour
With a few acting credits to her name, Jane Seymour really broke out internationally after starring as Bond Girl “Solitaire” opposite Roger Moore in Live and Let Die in 1973. Being a Bond Girl never seems to be a bad move for an actress’ career, and Seymour saw huge success in Hollywood in the decades that followed.
Seymour has gone on to play some iconic characters, such as Dr. Michaela Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Younger movie goers might recognize Seymour from her more recent roles, such as in the hit 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers, or the 2011 romcom Love, Wedding, Marriage with Mandy Moore.
25. Rene Russo
When John Crosby, an agent from the famed IMG modeling agency, first spotted a young Rene Russo at a Rolling Stones concert in 1972, he knew she had some serious potential. Once Russo began modeling, she immediately became one of the top models of the ’70s, appearing on the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
Russo transitioned from modeling into acting with ease, and has built a pretty impressive resume, including a starring role in The Thomas Crown Affair, Get Shorty, and Lethal Weapon 3 and 4, to name a few. Most recently Russo has been playing Norse goddess Frigga in Marvel’s Thor franchise and Avengers: Endgame.
26. Faye Dunaway
When discussing the most influential and thought-provoking films of her era, there’s simply no avoiding Faye Dunaway. After her breakout performance as the notorious bank-robber in Bonnie and Clyde, the fiercely-talented star graced the screen alongside Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Network.
Faye Dunaway has continued to appear in films sporadically, most notably her infamous performance as Joan Crawford in the controversial film Mommie Dearest. She is famously private, rarely making public appearances or granting interviews. Dunaway made headlines in 2017 when she was handed the wrong envelope at the Oscars, accidentally announcing the incorrect pick for Best Picture.
27. Pam Grier
She was one woman you certainly didn’t want to tangle with. Pam Grier shot to fame for playing on-screen roles of tough women who fought back against the system. Director Quentin Tarantino has gone so far as to dub her the first female film star of the action genre.
She joined Tarantino for the much-lauded 1997 film Jackie Brown. Since then, she had a recurring role on the television series The L Word, and has found solace living off the grid on a ranch in rural Colorado. Grier has in fact lived on ranches in the countryside for decades, because of how much she values that lifestyle.
28. Cheryl Tiegs
Today, American supermodels have conquered the world, and many people can instantly list at least several of them. But in the 1970s, there was just one huge name: Cheryl Tiegs. Having modeled since the age of 17, she graced the covers of People, Time, and Sports Illustrated multiple times. Her ‘Pink Bikini’ photo and its style came to define an entire era.
Today, Cheryl Tiegs continues to make a splash. Beyond her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, she is deeply involved in a variety of philanthropic organizations, and her work has even taken her on an expedition to the Arctic in order to raise awareness of the necessity of conservation.
29. Ellen Burstyn
One of the few actresses to win an Academy Award, Tony Award, and Emmy, Ellen Burstyn has been bestowed the coveted “Triple Crown of Acting.” Her first Academy Award came early in her career, following her 1971 performance in The Last Picture Show. The film launched her career into the stratosphere, and Burstyn appeared in popular 70s films like The Exorcist and Same Time, Next Year.
One of Burstyn’s most recognizable roles didn’t happen until 2000, when she played the character of Sara Goldfarb in the psychological drama, Requiem for a Dream. That role earned the talented, first-rate actress, another 13 awards and numerous other nominations.
30. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is so respected in her field, that her name alone is synonymous with good acting. From the start, this star was no stranger to award shows, being given a Tony Award only a year after her first on-stage debut in 1975. The 70s was a big decade for Streep who, in addition to the Tony, also won an Emmy in 1978 and her first of three Academy Awards in 1979.
In the words of Vanity Fair, “It’s hard to imagine a time before Meryl Streep was the greatest-living actress.” Indeed, Streep has been described by numerous publications as the greatest actress of her generation for her versatility, style, and of course those many accents that she manages to skillfully impersonate.
31. Diane Keaton
As the sixties turned into the seventies, audiences around the world turned from watching Julie Andrews to the new, upcoming star, Diane Keaton. Keaton made her film debut in 1970 with her role in Lovers and Other Strangers, and soon became one of the biggest actresses in the 1970s and 80s.
Keaton didn’t go out of style just because bell bottom pants and loose flair jeans did though, the actress was recently in the 2019 television series Green Eggs and Ham, based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. We’ll be keeping an eye open for her next film, Love, Weddings, and Other Disasters which just wrapped up filming.
32. Jodie Foster
Seemingly not content with just being an award-winning and respected actress, Jodie Foster is also an accomplished director and producer. Her first role was actually in 1968, at age six, and definitely didn’t stop there. The lifelong actress had her breakout role in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver, which propelled her to fame at the age of 14.
While Foster had already directed two films from the early to mid 1990s, the 2010s represented a shift from working as an actress to focusing on directing. Foster’s 2011 film, The Beaver, was directed by Foster and also starred her next to Mel Gibson and which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. Her 2016 directed film, Mad Money, only had her working behind the camera, but starred big timers like George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
33. Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher’s name is practically synonymous with Princess Leia from the epic space opera, Star Wars. The films were responsible for her breakout role in 1976 and were also her final film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was released in 2017 and is dedicated in memory to the late, great actress.
Fisher isn’t just an award winning drama actress though, she is also well known for her work in comedy, taking on roles in The Blues Brothers, Family Guy, and 30 Rock. In addition, she is an outspoken activist, raising awareness for mental illness and drug addiction, even going so far as to write about it openly and honestly in her memoirs.
34. Amy Irving
Throughout the 1960s, Amy Irving was a Broadway child actress living in New York City with her family. By the time the 70s rolled around, Irving was starring in films, first in 1976’s Carrie, and then as the lead role in the 1978 supernatural thriller, The Fury.
Lately, Irving has gone back to focusing on theater, and according to her IMDB page prefers spending time on Broadway along with being with her family and friends. That’s not to say that this 70s star has completely stepped out of the limelight, she has reportedly been involved in two productions in 2019 with another two on the way.
35. Goldie Hawn
Even before the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Goldie Hawn had already won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her work in Cactus Flower. Post Beatles breakup, and after the turn of the decade, Hawn starred in numerous films, building her reputation as a bankable star.
Hawn took a break from acting starting in 2002, surfacing briefly to guest star next to Gordon Ramsay in an episode of the animated comedy, Phineas and Ferb. In 2017, she returned at last to the big screen for the first time in 15 years, starring next to comedian Amy Schumer in the film, Snatched.
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