Famous 70s Child Stars – Then and Now

Back in the 1970s Netflix and DVR didn’t exist, and watching TV was a totally different experience. Pretty much every family would get together to enjoy their favorite TV show, whether it was The Brady Bunch, Happy Days or The Partridge Family. Let’s check out some of the most popular child stars from this period in time and see what they’re up to now.

Jodie Foster – Taxi Driver to critically acclaimed director

Jodie Foster young - 70's child star
Jodie Foster as a child star

Jodie Foster Then – Jodie was born in 1962 and her acting career began just three years later in an ad for Coppertone (a brand of sunscreen). However, it wasn’t until teens that she got breakout roles with movies like Taxi Driver, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, and Candleshoe.

Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster two years ago at age 55

Jodie Foster Now – Jodie is still successful in Hollywood, and has won an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for her 1988 film The Accused. Three years later, she took home another Oscar for her role in Silence of the Lambs.

Ron Howard – Andy Griffith & Happy Days to Academy Awards

Ron Howard Then – Ron’s first role was in The Andy Griffith Show, but he didn’t become super successful until he joined the cast of Happy Days, which is arguably his most successful acting role. He played the lead character Richie Cunningham in the popular TV show.

Ron Howard Now – Ron is still very successful in the movie industry, but he’s no longer just an actor. He also directs and produces films and TV shows. In total, he played in 27 films, directed 28, produced over 20 movies, and won an Academy Award for directing A Beautiful Mind . Simply amazing!

Jackson 5 – Superstar family group

Jackson 5 in the early days
Jackson 5 in the early days

Jackson Five Then – The famous group consisted of Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and Tito. They had several massive singles that dominated radio stations in the 70s.

Jackson Five on their reunion tour
Jackson Five on their reunion tour

Jackson Five Now – Back in 2011 the Jacksons decided to reunite after a seventeen-year hiatus in order to celebrate their late brother’s (Michael Jackson) solo career.

Tatum O’Neal – Youngest Oscar winner

Tatum O’Neal Then – Not only was Tatum a child star, but she also won an Academy Award in 1974. She was only 10 at the time and is still the youngest person to ever win a competitive Academy Award! It was her portrayal of Addie Loggins in Paper Moon that got her an Oscar.

Tatum O’Neal with her Oscar

Tatum O’Neal Now – After her initial success in the 70s, Tatum appeared in just five movies over the next 15 years. She made a full return to acting in the 2000s, and in 2005 she landed a recurring role on the hit TV show Rescue Me.

Tatum O’Neal in 2018

Erin Murphy Then – Erin got her start by starring in the hugely popular Bewitched TV show, which aired from 1964 to 1972. This role made her one of the most popular young actresses in the world.

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Erin Murphy Now – After Bewitched ended, Erin started living normal live and got married at 21. After spending some time in Arizona, she moved back to LA 10 years ago and has since slowly crawled her way back into the industry. She worked on reality TV shows, commercials, and as a celebrity judge.

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David Cassidy Then – You probably remember David for his role of Keith Partridge on the TV show The Partridge Family. His character was the family band’s lead singer. Apparently, the producers wanted to hire him for his looks and didn’t really care if he can sing or not.

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David Cassidy Now – However, David was actually an amazing singer and has actually worked on ten albums for the show. Each of them ended up selling upwards of million copies. To this day, David remains successful both in music and television.

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Danielle Spencer Then – You may know Danielle as Dee Thomas from the TV show What’s Happening. Danielle played the role of “annoying little sister,” and she got really popular for the sentence she kept on repeating on the show – “Oooohh, I’m telling’ Mama!.”

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Danielle Spencer Now – Danielle went on to became a doctor of veterinary medicine, and she doesn’t do any more acting these days.

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Scott Baio Then – Baio used to be a teen heartthrob during the time he played Chachi, Joanie Cunningham’s love interest on the popular TV show Happy Days.

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Scott Baio Now – Scott had a lot of success after Happy Days. He played in several popular movies including Skatetown USA, Zapped, and Foxes. He also starred in his own reality TV show and worked as a producer for several other series.

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Johnny Whitaker Then – Johnny starred in quite a few popular TV shows back in the day, from Family Affair to General Hospital. In case you didn’t know, he was also the first guy to give Jodie Foster an on-screen kiss in the movie Tom Sawyer.

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Johnny Whitaker Now – As he got older, Johnny started abusing substances more and more, and his family was forced to help him with an intervention. Thankfully, he went to a rehab facility, completed a twelve-step program, and has been clean for the past 12 years.

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Kim Richards Then – Kim was an extremely popular child stars back in the 70s. She starred in quite a few TV shows and films like James at 15, Nanny and the Professor, and Escape to Witch Mountain.

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Kim Richards Now – After disappearing from the public eye for a while, Kim returned to TV in 2010, when she decided to join the cast of the reality TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. A lot of people noticed her erratic behavior on the camera, and rumors of her alcohol and drug abuse started spreading. Not long after, she visited a couple of rehab facilities and was let go from the TV show.

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Lance Kerwin Then – Lance is another popular child star and Kim Richards’ co-star from James at 15. He also starred in movies like Salem’s Lot and popular TV shows like The Family Holvak.

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Lance Kerwin Now – Lance continued acting until 1995, which is when he decided to retire. Fast forward 10 years, Lance and his wife were arrested for trying to get food stamps by falsifying paperwork. Keep in mind that he wasn’t completely broke, as the investigators later discovered that he owns at least three homes in the US. What a weird guy!

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Leif Garrett Then – Just like David Cassidy, Garrett was a child actor and singer who got his start in the 70s with his role in the film Walking Tall. During this decade, he appeared in at least ten movies and TV shows.

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Leif Garrett Now – Like a lot of other child stars, Leif got involved in alcohol and drug abuse from an early age. He hasn’t led a very productive adult life, and has been arrested multiple time, mainly for drug possession. Let’s hope Leif can get his life together soon.

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Mark Lester Then – English child star is best known for his portrayal of Oliver in the popular Oliver Twist movie. After that, he continued acting for about 10 years and has since completely disappeared.

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Mark Lester Now – Although Mark completely left the public eye at the age of nineteen he still had some pretty powerful friends in the industry. For example, he was best friends with Michael Jackson, and they were even Godfathers to each other’s children.

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Mindy Cohn Then – Mindy is best known for her role of Natalie, the cheerful student from the TV show Facts of Life. She got somewhat typecast as the nice girl because of this role, which made getting different roles in the future rather difficult for Cohn.

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Mindy Cohn Now – Although she still works as an actor, Mindy also earned a degree in cultural anthropology along the way. These days, Mindy mostly does voiceover work.

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Mike Lookinland Then – Mike is best known for his portrayal of Bobby Brady on the show The Brady Bunch. Lookinland got a lot of praises for this role.

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Mike Lookinland Now – After The Brady Bunch ended, Mike appeared in several TV shows and movies, before leaving the industry entirely. He is now happily married, has two children, as well as a decorative concrete business in Utah.

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Suzanne Crough Then – Although it was a second time that she audition in her life, Suzanne got the role of Tracy on The Partridge Family. Unfortunately, her fame didn’t last that long.

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Suzanne Crough Now – Suzanne got a few additional roles after The Partridge Family ended, but that was about it for her acting career. She later gave birth to two daughters. Unfortunately, Suzanne tragically passed away in April of 2015.

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Barry Williams Then – Barry was only 14-year-old when he landed the role of Greg Brady on the hit TV show The Brady Bunch. It wasn’t long before he became a teen heartthrob with millions of female fans across the country. He also released four successful albums with his TV siblings.

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Barry Williams Now – In 1992, Barry released his autobiography titled Growing Up Brady… I Was A Teenage Greg, which quickly became a best-seller and was later turned into a TV movie. He continued to appear in numerous TV shows like Three’s Company and That 70’s Show from time to time.

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Maureen McCormick Then – Just like Barry, Maureen got famous for staring on The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. The actress was only 12-years-old when she took on the famous role.

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Maureen McCormick Now – After her TV show ended, McCormick battled through drug addiction, and was able to overcome it after a while. Back in 2007, she appeared on VH1’s reality TV show Celebrity Fit.

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Danny Bonaduce Then – Danny rose to fame in the 70s thanks to his role as Danny Partridge on The Partridge Family. You may remember him for the bright red hair he sported back in the day.

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Danny Bonaduce Now – His hair still hasn’t changed, although Danny is much older now. He’s currently a radio/TV personalty, but he also used to be a professional wrestler.

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Valerie Bertinelli Then – Valerie’s first breakthrough role was in 1975, when she got the role in a new sitcom called One Day at a Time. She would go on to appear in 208 episodes of the show. Valerie’s acting skills didn’t go unnoticed because she won a Golden Globe in 1981.

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Valerie Bertinelli Now – Following her success early on, Valerie continued to act in the 1990s. She later had some weight issues so she left the public eye for a while. Back in 2010, she joined Betty White on the hit TV show Hot in Cleveland that lasted for six seasons.

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Erin Moran Then – Erin got famous for playing the youngest kid in the Cunningham family on the popular TV show Happy Days. She played the part for ten years — from 1974 to 1984.

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Erin Moran Now – After Happy Days was over, Erin didn’t manage to land a lot of new gigs and she fell into financial hardship. It was reported that she was evicted from her house and was seen completely drunk in public on multiple occasions.

Author: Daily Ting