The Wonderful TV And Movie Screen Kids From 1970

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Movie: Two for the Road

Many remember the wonderful TV and movie screen kids in the 1970s.

While some coped well with their fame, others did not. Let’s look at some of the child stars of the 70s to see how well they have fared – then and now! Have a look at our list then.

1. Robbie Rist

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Robbie Rist – Then

Robert Anthony Rist made it good in TV and film. He had a major role at age 9 in The Brady Bunch followed by a Saturday morning situation comedy, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Robbie Rist – Now

Robbie was in Sharknado as the bus driver? He also created the theme music for all the Sharknado series. Today, Robbie is a voice-over actor. He is a writer, producer, and recording musician.

2. Mason Reese

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Mason Reese – Then

This 70s curly hair bob is well recognized. He made numerous appearances in commercials and celebrity talk shows. He graced the covers of entertainment magazines.

Mason Reese – Now

Mason is one of the more popular “where is he now” requests. He retired from TV. He owns successful restaurants in New York City.

3. David Cassidy

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David Cassidy – Then

David was a 70s teen heartthrob. He played a musical leading character on The Partridge Family. Cassidy temporarily left TV and music after the death of a fan at one of his concerts.

David Cassidy – Now

He admitted to an addiction to alcohol and drugs. He passed away from liver disease at age 67.

4. Helen Hunt

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Helen Hunt – Then

Helen Elizabeth Hunt was a child actor in the 70s. As young as she was her roles were as a lead. She starred next to leading celebrities like Mary Tyler Moore, Mickey Rooney, and many others.

Helen Hunt – Now

Helen continues working today. She has received Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Currently, she is producing, directing, and writing projects.

5. The Jacksons (Jackson Five) The Jacksons

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The Jacksons – Then

Dad took his sons from Gary, Indiana to international fame as the first boy band in the world – Michael, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon. The Jackson Five danced and sang their hit tunes to world acclaim.

The Jacksons – Now

Now called the Jacksons, the brothers continue to perform. Michael is now deceased, but his memory is forever.

6. Janet Jackson

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Janet – Then

Baby sister Janet Damita Jo of the Jackson Five began performing in variety shows with her brothers at age 5. In 1977 she starred in TVs popular sitcom, Good Times, followed by Diff’rent Strokes and Fame.

Janet – Now

Janet had planned to tour but due to the pandemic, her plans were canceled. Now at age 55 and looking fabulous, post-COVID Janet is writing music, and enjoying her son.

7. Mindy Cohn

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Mindy Cohn – Then

Mindy was the darling on the popular TV comedy series “Facts of Life” which began in 1979 and ran for nine years.

She has made many appearances in leading films and TV shows like “Charles in Charge” and in “21 Jump Street.”

Mindy Cohn – Now

Mindy performs voice-overs in videos, animated shows, and supporting roles.

8. Erin Murphy

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Erin Murphy – Then

Erin Margaret Murphy was the baby girl on the popular “Bewitched” tv program from 1966 to 1977. She was two years old. Erin briefly shared the screen with her twin sister. This was Erin’s first and last big child star break.

Erin Murphy – Now

Today, Erin is a mother and a successful entrepreneur. She is a published writer in beauty, fashion, and luxury lifestyles.

9. Kim Richards

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Kim Richards – Then

Kim Erica Richards was a 70s child star appearing in roles like Nanny and the Professor and the Witch Mountain episodes.

Kim continued working in Disney films, movies, popular tv shows for most of her childhood and teen years.

Kim Richards – Now

Today, Kim is a regular on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Even though she has wealth, she has also experienced personal ups and downs. However, she has left the RHBH franchise and is concentrating on her health and her family.

10. Johnny Whitaker

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Johnny Whitaker – Then

John Orson Whitaker, Jr. started acting at age 3 and has acted regularly since.

When he read for the part on Family Affair and met with the young actress who would play his sister, they looked so much alike that they gave him the role immediately.

Johnny Whitaker – Now

He has appeared in movies, tv, and on Broadway all his life. Currently, he is a writer, director, and producer, a far cry from days of addiction.

Johnny is the CEO and Founder of Paso por Paso that helps Hispanics going through recovery. He can always be seen at fan-sponsored events.

11. Mike Lookinland

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Mike Lookinland – Then

Michael Paul Lookinland began acting at age 8 when he landed the role of Bobby on the 70s Brady Bunch tv series. He also acted in several shows, movies, and in over 30 commercials.

Mike Lookinland – Now

In 2019 Mike left show business to start his own company with his family in his hometown in Utah. Mike rarely attends any of the fan events regarding the Brady Bunch.

12. Robby Benson

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Robby Benson – Then

The camera loved child star Robby Benson. He became a teen idol in the 70s. Born Robin David Segal, he worked in popular soap opera series, movies, and films. As a professional actor, Robby has spent over 50 years in the industry.

Robby Benson – Now

His career slowed down in 1984 due to heart surgery. Upon his recovery, Robby found success as a director, a film professor at several state universities, and a busy voice-over actor which he continues today.

13. Ron Howard

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Ron Howard – Then

Ronald William Howard was born in 1954. People remember Opie from The Andy Griffith Show, but Ron Howard has also worked in many successful movies and other tv series like Happy Days.

Ron Howard – Now

Ron Howard is now an acclaimed director, producer, and writer. When Ron wants to take a script and bring it to film it is bound to be a success. He is still creating films and we can’t wait for his next project.

14. Ron Palillo

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Ron Palillo – Then

The 70s Welcome Back Kotter tv series featured Ron playing a dim-witted comic relief. Ronald Gabriel Paolillo worked continually as a voice-over actor, in leading and supporting roles, as well as Broadway.

Ron Palilo – Now

Ron wrote and directed many musical productions. As a talented artist, he provided artwork for many popular children’s books. Unfortunately, Ron Palilo suffered a heart attack and passed away in 2012.

15. Scott Baio

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Scott Baio – Then

Scott was another 70s heart-throb. He starred in the “Happy Days” tv series. Scott Vincent James began his acting career at age 9.

Scott played in countless tv series, animated films, successful movies, and reality shows. He also produced the popular Nick at Nite.

Scott Baio – Now

Scott’s personal life was filled with tragedy. He lost his wife and a child to a brain disorder.

Scott is a political junkie. He has been critical of past Presidents and politicians. An actor and actress accused him of abuse. No, not everyone loves Chachi!

16. Susan Dey

Image: IMAGO / EntertainmentPictures
Movie: 1981 – Looker

Susan Dey – Then

Susan Hallock Dey is known for her role on the 70s hit show “The Partridge Family.” Additional fame was on the successful drama “L.A. Law.”

Susan was a successful model in her earlier career until her acting took off. She played in many popular movies, films, and sitcoms.

Susan Dey – Now

Susan has produced several movies and is a published writer. Today, Susan has retired from show business. She is a wife and a mother. She works tirelessly with community programs especially eating disorders because she too suffered from anorexia.

17. Karen Carpenter

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Karen Carpenter – Then

What an amazing voice Karen shared with the world. Karen Anne Carpenter wrote, sang, and played drums always next to her elder brother Richard.

The “Carpenters” performed on national and international musical stages, tv talk shows, and many other musical venues.

Karen Carpenter – Now

Karen suffered and battled anorexia nervosa. At age 32 the health complications of anorexia took her life as the result of a heart attack.

She is a legacy that is still felt today as many of her songs continue to be played in movies, films, and on DJ music venues.

18. Barry Williams

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Barry Williams – Then

Barry became the curly-haired heart-throb on the “The Brady Bunch.” Barry William Blenkhorn knew as a child he wanted to act.

After the cancellation of the show, Barry continued work in Broadway musicals and in guest roles in television.

Barry Williams – Now

Barry is the oldest surviving cast member from The Brady Bunch. He continues to write and play cabaret musicals, including hosting a satellite radio program.

He turned his autobiography into a film. He is the leader of a musical group called Barry Williams and the Travellers, touring around the U.S.

19. Maureen McCormick

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Maureen McCormick – Then

The Brady Bunch helped launch the career of its cast members. Maureen starred as the elder daughter. She and the cast members collaborated on four albums which they toured on.

Her acting career included many supporting roles in other tv-series and stage performances.

Maureen McCormick – Now

Maureen suffered from drugs and depression which she overcame. Her autobiography was on the New York Times bestseller list.

Did you watch her dance on “Dancing With the Stars” four years ago?

Currently, she loves renovating homes, and she had input on the renovation of the Brady Bunch home.

20. Danny Bonaduce

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Danny Bonaduce – Then

The red-haired kid of the 70s Partridge Family was a hit! He played the family’s bass guitarist which he was proficient at.

Before and after The Partridge Family Dante Daniel Bonaduce acted in movies, radio host and DJ, made appearances on talk shows, and several national and international reality shows.

Danny Bonaduce – Now

Currently, Danny is an outspoken political advocate on a variety of subjects. In the early 1990s, he had a couple of run-ins with the law. Now in his early 60s, Danny hosts a website with radio broadcasts, Hollywood news, and videos.

21. Tatum O’Neal

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Tatum O’Neal – Then

Tatum Beatrice O’Neal inherited her acting genes. She was the youngest person to win an Academy Award at age 10.

She appeared in award-winning movies and TV dramas. In the late 1980s, Tatum left show business but returned in the year 2000.

Tatum O’Neal – Now

In 2008 Tatum was arrested for drugs but she has been rehabilitated. In 2021 Tatum starred in a film about Alzheimer’s. Today, she accepts guest roles on TV shows and movies.

22. Linda Blair

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Linda Blair – Then

Linda Denise Blair is the girl on the 70s occult classic, The Exorcist.

Linda began acting at age 5 where she modeled on clothing catalogs, performed in commercials, and has appeared in television films, and B-rated films.

At age 18 she was arrested for drugs but was placed on probation.

Linda Blair – Now

Linda continues acting in supporting roles. She loves community activism on a variety of causes.

She appears on talk shows regarding her community work with HIV/Aids, Feed the Children, PETA, and her heart foundation.

Linda’s awards include being the best actress, a scream queen, and best-supporting actress.

23. Melissa Gilbert

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Melissa Gilbert – Then

Melissa Ellen Gilbert had a prominent role on Little House on the Prairie, the Diary of Anne Frank, and the acclaimed Miracle Worker.

Melissa has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is a talented singer and dancer and has appeared in several Broadway plays.

Melissa Gilbert – Now

Melissa became the President of the Screens Actor Guild from 2001 to 2005. Ms. Gilbert ran for Congress in 2016 but dropped out due to health issues.

Her 2009 autobiography stated that she battled drugs and alcohol in 2019. She continues to make appearances in guest TV roles.

24. Jodie Foster

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Jodie Foster – Then

Alicia Christian “Jodie” Foster is gifted. She began reading at age 3 and studied in France at prestigious French academies and then at Yale University, all while working. Jodie has appeared in TV series, award-winning movies both nationally and internationally.

Jodie Foster – Now

Today, she directs, produces, and continues acting in movies. Unfortunately, Jodie’s name has been associated with John Hinkley as he professed his love for her.

Jodie is highly respected by her peers, as she was voted #23 in the Greatest Movie Stars of all Time.

25. Valerie Bertinelli

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Valerie Bertinelli – Then

In the 1970s, Valerie was the “it” girl appearing in award-winning TV series like “One Day at A Time.”

Before and during her role on One Day at a Time, Valerie was making cameos on several TV series and guest roles on sitcoms.

Valerie Bertinelli – Now

Currently, she hosts cooking shows, has written her autobiography, and a book. Valerie is married with four stepchildren.

Valerie discovered that she comes from royalty in the “Who do You think You Are” program where her relative is King Edward I of England.

26. Mackenzie Phillips

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Mackenzie Phillips – Then

Laura Mackenzie Phillips at the age of 12 landed a starring role in the classic “American Graffiti.”

In the 70s Mackenzie played in a variety of wild teen movies. This role may have depicted her real life, as she was arrested for drugs.

Mackenzie Phillips – Now

Mackenzie is divorced with a son who is a musician.

Mackenzie has had family problems with her father. She continues to work through this trauma. She is currently a Pasadena drug rehab counselor.

27. Kristy McNichol

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Kristy McNichol – Then

Christina Ann McNichol started her 70s career with commercials. Most of Kristy’s acting roles were in adult drama series, as well as comedy series.

She is a talented singer and has appeared with The Carpenters. Kristy has appeared on sitcoms and has performed voice-over roles in animated films.

Kristy McNichol – Now

Kristy retired from acting and began teaching at a private school. She devoted most of her time to charity works.

Kristy received many awards for her acting abilities: Emmys, the People’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe, and a Young Artist Award.

28. Adam Rich

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Adam Rich – Then

Adam was the youngest on the popular TV sitcom “Eight Is Enough.” His pageboy haircut was a favorite with American families – he was dubbed the “America’s little brother.”

Adam also acted in several popular television series, did voice-over work in animated TV shows, and appeared in television commercials.

Adam Rich – Now

Since his roles on TV Adam has not worked. He has been arrested for drunk driving and drugs.

He can be visited on Twitter and Facebook.

Adam lets everyone know that he is available for talk shows, guest appearances, and more.

29. Tanya Tucker

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Tanya Tucker – Then

Yes, the country music icon had her start in the 1970s with “Delta Dawn” recorded at age 13. Whenever she picked up her guitar and sang, it became a hit!

She made many albums and records. For one heartbeat she took a break from performing but she did return.

Tanya Tucker – Now

Tanya created a record label. She was once labeled part of the country Outlaw member because she has always gone her own way.

She has three children and has a significant other. She remains involved in the country music scene.

30. Danielle Spencer

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Danielle Spencer – Then

Danielle starred in “What’s Happening” during the 1970s. Following a car crash where her father died protecting her, she and her mother moved to Africa.

When Danielle returned, she decided to become a veterinarian. Danielle says that she is semi-retired from show business.

Danielle Spencer – Now

Danielle has battled health problems from the car crash. However, she remains a working veterinarian. She is the only child star to have been inducted into the National Museum of AA History and Culture.

Today, she makes appearances as a motivational speaker on topics of health and family.

31. Erin Moran

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Erin Moran – Then

Erin Marie Moran-Fleischmann was 13 when she played Joannie Cunningham in Happy Days and Joannie Loves Chachi.

She began acting at age 5 and for the next 10 years played roles in feature films, TV series, and guest appearances on sitcoms.

Erin Moran – Now

In 2017 Erin suffered depression and stopped acting, thus she fell on homeless hard times.

In that same year, Erin’s body was discovered dead at age 65. The autopsy noted that she died from a throat carcinoma.

32. Lance Kerwin

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Lance Kerwin – Then

Lance was a popular child star during the 1970s.

Lance was a serious young actor whose talent landed him many made-for-TV movies and series.

He was most notable in the TV series “James at 15.”

Lance Kerwin – Now

In the mid-1990s, Lance retired from acting.

He moved to Hawaii and became a minister.

In 2010 Lance was arrested for fraud. Lance Kerwin is currently selling Hawaiian timeshares with a leading resort company.

33. Leif Garrett

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Leif Garrett – Then

Leif Per Nervik was a kid actor and teen music idol in the 70s. Throughout the 1970s Leif starred in movies and television series.

He wrote, performed, and released albums and recorded singles. From the 1990s to 2006 Leif has had many financial problems and drug arrests.

Leif Garett – Now

Leif released his autobiography. He is semi-retired from acting.

Currently, at age 50, he is still working on his music career. He promises some new music post-COVID.

34. Mark Lester

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Mark Lester – Then

Born Mark A. Letzer in England, Mark worked continuously from age 5 throughout his career. He appeared in award-winning English musicals like Oliver and others.

He also made his mark in U.S. award-winning movies and films. At age 18 he went a little wild for two years.

Mark Lester – Now

When he came back down to earth, he received a black belt in karate. He became interested in sports injuries.

He received an osteopathy degree and is currently running a osteopath clinic in England.

Mark is the godfather to Michael Jackson’s three children. Lester is married and has four children.

35. Haywood Nelson

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Haywood Nelson – Then

Dwayne was one of the funniest characters in “What’s Happening.” Haywood Knowles Nelson, Jr., worked on this popular TV series plus its spin-off from 1976 to 1988.

Haywood worked in a variety of commercials, movies, and Broadway plays in New York. Haywood was the first black teen idol.

Haywood Nelson – Now

Haywood is seen occasionally so we know he is alive and well. He is married to an oil company expert, where he is titled “the main point advisor.”

36. Gary Coleman

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Gary Coleman – Then

The world fell in love with “what chu talkin bout Willis.” This line was often heard in his sitcom appearance in “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Gary Wayne Coleman was the highest-paid child actor in the 70s. Gary was often asked to star in television series, movies, Broadway, and voice-over roles.

Gary Coleman – Now

Gary’s life was fraught with arrests and financial troubles.

In 2003 Gary attempted to run for the California Governor but changed his mind.

In 2010 Coleman was admitted to a hospital after suffering a seizure and he passed away.

37. Chris Knight

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Chris Knight – Then

Christopher Anton Knight had a successful run on the Brady Bunch. He also appeared in the 70s hit shows The Love Boat and Happy Days.

Chris was always working. He made guest appearances in a variety of movies, reality shows, music videos, miniseries, and game shows.

Chris Knight – Now

Proclaiming to be a computer geek, Chris worked for several computer software, graphics, and video hardware companies. He founded his own TV tuner company.

Chris occasionally appears on talk and game shows. He is currently a successful businessman with a winning smile just like he had in the 70s.

38. Lisa Whelchel

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Lisa Whelchel – Then

Lisa Diane Whelchel began her child star career because a Disney talent scout spotted her at age 12.

From Disney’s Mouseketeer Club to the TV series “The Facts of Life” and its reunion, Lisa also created inspirational music and appeared in music videos.

Lisa Whelchel – Now

Lisa is an inspirational speaker at conferences around the country. She has written books based on faith, family, homeschooling, and child discipline.

Lisa not only appeared on the TV adventure show “Survivor” but she has also co-hosted several episodes. Lisa is married with three adult children.

39. Quinn Cummings

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Quinn Cummings – Then

Quinn landed many roles as a child in the 70s. Her fame was a role in “The Goodbye Girl” at age 10 where she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Quinn worked on successful drama series and a sitcom.

In 1991 “Blossom” was her last acting gig.

Quinn Cummings – Now

Quinn is a prolific writer. Her topics include mothers with careers, homeschooling, kid stories about animals and their owners.

Today, she has a successful podcast. In 2004 she created a new type of baby sling which she sold to a company in 2006.

40. Susan Olsen

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Susan Olsen – Then

Susan Marie Olsen was the loveable Cindy on the Brady Bunch sitcom.

She appeared in several television shows in a supporting role.

She loves science, music, and art. Susan created a statute in honor of a homeless man that is displayed in a California art gallery.

Susan Olsen – Now

Susan started a graphic design company and works as a talk show host at radio stations in Los Angeles.

Susan has created an art collection dedicated to animal welfare.

Susan has received all the awards given to each cast member of the Brady Bunch.