The 1970’s were a fascinating time: wacky fashions like bell-bottoms and sequins everywhere, disco music, and the creation of some of the most iconic films and television shows of the century. Many of these child actors were in the most popular forms of entertainment of the decade and many have gone on to win awards and continue to act today! Several of these child stars aren’t in the world of entertainment anymore (and do things like sell insurance)… bet you can’t guess who! Here are your favorite 70’s kids stars today:
1. Tatum O’Neal
Tatum O’Neal has some pretty impressive credentials on her resume, including being the youngest person to win a competitive Oscar when she was only 10 years old!
O’Neal really got her career kicking off when she won the Academy Award for Paper Moon, after which she would continue acting. Soon she would start making headlines for other things, though, including being Michael Jackson’s first girlfriend!
2. Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields is the ultimate 1980’s icon. Best known for her work in such films as The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love, Brooke Shields broke out and became a star in these great 80’s films!
Then, in the late 80s, Shields took a break from acting to attend Princeton University and get a degree in French Literature. Since then, she has resumed acting in television series such as Suddenly Susan, Lipstick Jungle, and The Middle. Shields is still going strong!
3. Valerie Bertinelli
Valerie Bertinelli began her acting career in the sitcom One Day at a Time when she was only 15 years old. She ended up starring in 208 of the show’s 209 episodes!
After the show ended, Bertinellie acted in several TV shows, including Hot in Cleveland alongside Betty White. She was married to rock musician Eddie Van Halen, and received he own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.
4. Susan Olsen
Another Brady Bunch member, Susan Olsen played Cindy, the youngest of the bunch. Before that, she appeared on Ironside, Gunsmoke and Elvis Presley’s The Trouble With Girls. Aside from some Brady Bunch reunions, Olsen pretty much quit acting after she show ended.
Nowadays, Olsen is an advocate for animal rights, as well as an artists. In 2008, she appeared on the reality show Gimme My Reality Show, where she tried to raise awareness to animal rescue.
5. Mackenzie Phillips
Actress Mackenzie Phillips started her life as Rocknroll royalty – her father, John Philips, is a member of The Mamas & the Papas. She starred in the film American Graffiti when she was only 13, and later joined the cast of One Day at a Time.
In the 80’s, Phillips suffered two nearly-fatal drug overdoses and ended up in rehab for cocaine use. Recently, she began working as a drug rehab counselor in West Hollywood, and continues acting to this day.
6. Melissa Sue Anderson
The American-Canadian Melissa Sue started acting in TV commercials when she was less than 10. Later on, she appeared in an episode of Bewitched, and then landed her a recurring role as Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.
After being on the show for 7 years, Anderson earned several award nominations. She later acted and produced several other TV shows and films, including Michael Landon’s last project, Where Pigeons Go to Die. In 2010, she released an autobiography, that was primarily based on her Little House years.
7. Erin Moran
Another Happy Days cast member, Erin Moran played Joanie Cunningham, the youngest member of the Cunningham family. Not only did she find success on Happy Days, she also starred in the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi afterwards. She was only 14 when she began playing the Cunningham!
After her success in the world of the 1950’s, Moran fell into financial hardship and moved into a trailer with her husband and mother-in-law.
8. Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson is now a huge superstar, but she had her own rise to fame. She was never a part of The Jackson 5, like her brothers, but did perform at the MGM in Las Vegas at the age of 7! From there, she would act in several television shows, including The Jacksons and Good Times, among others.
Janet Jackson soon became a superstar of her own right, releasing many popular singles like “What Have You Done for Me Lately” and “Control.”
9. Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt is one of America’s most beloved actresses, known for both her television work and her notable films, many for which she’s won awards. She began her career in the 70’s, and appeared in episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Showand The Swiss Family Robinson, to name a few.
Hunt appeared in “Mad About You” for 7 years, then won the Academy Award for Best Actress for appearing in the 1997 romantic comedy As Good As It Gets. She’s also appeared in Twister, Cast Away, and The Sessions, which got her an Oscar nomination.
10. Erin Murphy
Erin Murphy is best known for her role on the hilarious, nose-wiggling show, “Bewitched.” Think Murphy can do the trick?
Murphy played the daughter on the show and once caused a major news outbreak by saying that the “wiggle was actually a camera trick.” Yikes! After “Bewitched,” Murphy moved on to television commercials, some episodes of “Lassie,” and working as a swimwear model.
11. Johnny Whitaker
Johnny Whitaker is one of everybody’s favorite on-screen redheads, appearing in several popular television series and even a musical!
Whitaker played Jody Davis on “Family Affair” when he was only 7 years old and then went on to star in “General Hospital.” In 1973, he starred in the musical version of Tom Sawyer! Like many child actors, he eventually struggled with substance abuse but has now been sober many years!
12. Pamela Sue Martin
Pamela Sue Martin is best known for her role as Nancy Drew on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. She also starred as the spoiled Fallon Carrinton Colby on Dynasty.
In the late 70’s, Martin appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine. Nowadays, Martin owns her own theatre company in Idaho., and is involved in environmental causes to save wild animals.
13. Mindy Cohn
Mindy Cohn has had a fascinating career, doing both physical work and voice acting. She first starred as Natalie Green when she was 13-years-old on “The Facts of Life.”
In her adult career, she had roles in television series here and there, including in the “The Facts of Life” reunion! She also has done a lot of voice acting for the Scooby-Doo franchise, especially from 2002 to 2015. She’s the voice of Velma Dinkley!
14. Danny Bonaduce
Danny Bonaduce has had quite the eclectic career, including everything from acting to professional wrestling to being a radio personality!
Bonaduce’s career started when he got the role of Danny Partridge in “The Partridge Family,” though his work didn’t end there! He continued his television work on shows like “Married… with Children,” “Monk,” and “Girlfriends.” In the 1980’s, he began his work in radio and eventually made his way to the ring!
15. Susan Dey
Another “The Partridge Family” star, Susan Dey was the charming Laurie Partridge on the 1970’s musical sitcom, though this was just the start of her career!
fter “The Partridge Family,” Dey appeared in a few films alongside hugely famous actors. Then, in 1988, Dey landed a leading role in “L.A. Law” and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role and was also nominated for an Emmy!
16. Maureen McCormick
You probably remember McCormick’s stunning blue eyes from the role that made her a household name: Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch!
McCormick played the eldest sibling of the bunch before becoming a singer, writer and TV personality. She never could quite recreate her Brady Bunch success, however, so she turned to hard drugs. In 2015, though, McCormick’s husband, Michael Cummings, claimed that she managed to quit using drugs. Hope she’s doing well!
17. Ron Howard
Ron Howard is one of Hollywood’s biggest names nowadays, but it took quite a bit of time for him to get to where he is! Some of Ron Howard’s biggest acting roles include Richie Cunningham in Happy Days and Steve in the similar film, American Graffiti.
While he was relatively young in these roles (at least he was super young looking), he was acting before then in Dennis the Menace and The Andy Griffith Show! He’s now a super successful Hollywood director.
18. Jodie Foster
Everyone knows who Jodie Foster is, right? She’s one of the most famous actresses and directors in Hollywood, known for being a child actress and outspoken lady!
In 1976, Foster had her first break out role in Taxi Driver. For rest of the 70’s, she was a teen idol after starring in Disney’s Freaky Friday and Candleshoe, then starred in the epic 1991 horror film Silence of the Lambs, for which she won an Oscar. It wasn’t long before she would turn to directing movies!
19. Kim Richards
Now in her 50’s, Kim Richards started acting in commercials when she was only 7 months old! Then when she was 6, she starred in “Nancy and the Professor.”
You might know her as a Disney star for Escape to Witch Mountain and the Whiz Kid Capers series. She’s also appeared in Little House on the Prairie, Magnum, P.I., and The Dukes of Hazzard. She’s now a regular cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!
20. Mike Lookinland
Mike Lookinland is best known for playing the absolutely adorable Bobby Brady on the iconic and groovy family show, “The Brady Bunch.”
He spent many years reprising his role as Bobby Brady in various spin-offs and Brady Bunch specials, and even appeared in Growing Up Brady. Eventually, he moved to Salt Lake City where he now manufactures decorative concrete. Fun!
21. Linda Blair
Linda Blair is best known for having played one of the most terrifying roles in film history ever: Regan in the 1973 film, The Exorcist.
Blair was only 14 when she appeared in this film and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance and won a Golden Globe! She also starred in the sequel, and went on to several other scary films, including Scream and the television series “Supernatural.”
22. Lance Kerwin
The 56-year-old Lance Kerwin was most active as an actor when he was a child and into his teenage years, though he changed careers after that!
Some of Kerwin’s most popular roles include the television series “James at 15” in which he played the lead and the two made for television films, The Loneliest Runner and Salem’s Lot. These are just a few of his many roles, however! It’s been several decades since Kerwin has acted – he now sells timeshares!
23. Mark Lester
The English Mark Lester was well known as a child star in America, one of his most notable roles being Oliver in the 1968 musical film Oliver!.
Lester had the most work acting in the early 1970’s, in films such as Eyewitness and Black Beauty. After this his roles waned, and he turned to working in Italy. When he was 19, he gave up acting and became an osteopath. He acted once more in 2015 in the film 1066!
24. Robby Benson
Robby Benson, born Robin David Segal, began his work as a child in daytime soap operas, but it wouldn’t be long before he was starring in movies!
Benson worked in several different films, including The End, Ice Castles, and The Chosen. Perhaps his most famous role, however, was the voice work for the Beast in Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast. Since then, he’s been teaching at Indiana University!
25. Jackie Earle Haley
Jackie Earle Haley is an extremely talented actor that can be found in several award winning films and voicing several fun video games!
Haley is best known for his films Breaking Away, The Bad News Bears, Watchmen, and the absolutely terrifying Freddy Kreuger in a remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Recently, he has appeared in Dark Shadows and Lincoln. He currently lives in San Antonio with his wife Amelia Cruz!
26. Peter Ostrum
You probably remember this little guy from his role as Charlie Bucket on Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, which was his only film appearance. He was only in sixth grade when he was picket to star in the classic film, opposite Gene Wilder who played Willie Wonka.
Not long after the film, Ostrum decided to quit acting altogether and set his mind to become a veterinarian. He did, however, make a short visit back to the world of Willie Wonka when he joined his movie costars to a 2011 edition of Top Chef: Just Desserts.
27. Ricky Schroder
Now this is a face who’s still plenty recognizable to this day. The young, blond Schroder began his acting career when he was 9 years old, in the 1979 film The Champ. After that, he joined the cast of the sitcom Silver Spoons and became a household name.
Nowadays, Schroder is still acting and directing, and even has his own production company, called Ricky Schroder Productions. He directed quite a few films, including the adventure horror film Hellhounds, and appeared in numerous films and TV shows.
28. Suzanne Crough
Suzanne Crough became a household name when she appeared on the well-loved The Partridge Family, as the youngest sibling, Tracy Partridge. After that, she appeared on several other TV shows, including Mulligan’s Stew.
After she quit acting, Crough married, had two daughters and ran a bookstore she owned. Sadly, she passed away from a heart condition in 2015.
29. Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond wasn’t only a child star, he was also a huge teen idol back in the 1970s. Osmond’s successful music career began in the 60s with his brothers as The Osmonds, and later on, he became a successful solo artist with the hits Puppy Love and Go Away Little Girl.
Osmond has never really left the public eye, and has used his many talents as talk show host, game show host, record producer, author, singer, actor and Dancing with the Stars winner.
30. Kathy Coleman
Kathy Coleman first rose to stardom as Holly Marshall in the childern’s series, Land of the Lost. She appeared on several other shows in the 70’s, and hasn’t acted much since.
In 2015, Coleman published an autobiography called Lost Girl: The Truth and Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Kathleen. In the book, Coleman revealed she survived two abusive marriages.
31. Alison Arngrim
You probably remember Alison Arngrim’s face from her role as Nellie Oleson on the NBC series, Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1981. Before that, young Alison was a child model and appeared on several TV commercials.
After Little House, Arngrim began doing stand-up comedy. As an actress, she appeared on shows like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Nowadays, she is a comedian, philanthropist author, and is still friends with fellow Little House star, Melissa Gilbert.
32. Justin Henry
Remember the little kid from Kramer v Kramer? Well, he’s certainly not a kid anymore. Henry was nominated for an Oscar for his role on that film, which was his first acting job ever. He was also the youngest actor to have ever been nominated.
Henry never quit acting and has appeared in TV shows and films over the years, such as Sixteen Candles and ER. He isn’t a full time actor, however, and is working for AOL as a platform director.
33. Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol was only 4 years old when she got the role of Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence in the TV series Family. She appeared in several other 70’s classics, including Starsky & Hutch, The Bionic Woman and The Love Boat. She was huge star back in the day, and appeared in quite a few movies.
These days, McNicol is no longer acting. In facts, she quit acting altogether in 2001, and is mostly teaching and doing charity work since. In 2012, McNichol revealed that she was gay.
34. David Cassidy
Though David Cassidy is well into his 60’s now, he was a bonafide heartthrob back in the 1970’s and 80’s. He did a little bit of everything!
David Cassidy was a charming singer on shows like “The Partridge Family,” where he played Keith Partridge, though he also released 5 solo albums in time. He also appeared on television shows such as “Bonanza,” “The Love Boat,” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”
35. Danielle Spencer
Danielle Spencer is most famous for her role as Dee Thomas on the sitcom What’s Happening!!, which ran from 1976 to 1979. After the show was canceled, Spencer and her mother moved to Africa for a few years. She later returned to the States and became a veterinarian.
These days, Spencer is involved in the fashion industry as well as working as a veterinarian. She survived breast cancer, and is still acting from time to time.
36. Harvey Stephens
Remember the terrifying little Damien from The Omen? He’s not a little kid anymore! The English actor was only 4 years old when he was cast, after, according to Stephens, he punched the film’s director in the testicles for a lasting impression.
Stephens didn’t have any other major film roles since The Omen. In January. 2017, the former child star was given a suspended prison sentence for attacking two cyclists in a road rage fit.
37. Ron Palillo
Ron Palillo, also sometimes known as Ron Paolillo, first hit stardom in the beloved series, Welcome Back, Kotter that ran from 1975 to 1979.
Palillo was a voice actor at first in shows like “Darkwing Duck,” then moved on to physical acting. One of his most well-known roles is Mozart in the 1991 stage adaptation Amadeus and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?. Unfortunately, he passed away from a heart attack in 2012.
38. Scott Baio
Between 1977 and 1984, Scott Baio’s career began as Chachi on Happy Days. Who doesn’t love that? During the same time, he also starred in Joanie Loves Chachi from 1982 to 1983!
Baio’s intense acting schedule continued with the series Charles in Charge where he had the leading role until 1990. Most recently, he was in the series’ The Nanny, Touched by an Angel, and Full House. He has also appeared in the Nickelodeon sitcom See Dad Run!
39. Mason Reese
Mason Reese is a well-known child actor who became extremely recognizable for his unique traits and for his numerous television commercials.
You might recognize him for Underwood Deviled Ham, Post Raisin Bran, and Dunkin’ Donuts donut holes. He later resigned from acting and became a restaurateur in New York and is currently the owner of “The Luxury Box” in New York City.
40. Leif Garrett
Leif Garrett has had several big roles, though you probably know him for playing one of our favorite on-screen bullies in The Outsiders.
Unfortunately, that would be his last big role. After his popularity in the 1980’s, Garrett got into a slew of drug and legal troubles which eventually landed him on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Currently, he’s working on his music career!
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