For some, the 1970s seems like it passed in the blink of an eye, but it’s been actually decades and looking back on the on screen idols of the times and what became of them can be fun...
Many of them are still working today and have reached levels of fame no one could have seen coming back in the 70s. Others switched professions or retired altogether. Names like Jane Fonda and Sean Connery remain big, but then you realize you haven’t seen them in awhile. Come take a look at what some of your favorite stars of the 1970s have been up to since then.
Child actress Melissa Gilbert won the hearts of many playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on the show Little House on the Prairie. She also starred in many other things while working on the show, she was a very busy popular actress at a young age. Since then, she has taken to writing, producing, and even politics. In 2016, she ran for U.S. Congress in Michigan's 8th congressional district and she won the Democratic primary but was forced to drop out due to health issues.
Pam Dawber spent the early portion of her career modeling and doing commercials for Nair and Underalls. Her most memorable role didn’t occur until the late 1970s when she co-starred alongside Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy. After that, she played the title role in the My Sister Sam. She went on to star in several movies over the years but pulled back when she married actor Mark Harmon (who currently stars in CBS’ No.1 rated drama, NCIS). They’ve been together for 30-years and have two sons.
Anthony Hopkins needs very little embellishment, he has been considered one of the world’s greatest actors since he began. His most known role is Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, but his resume contains far more impressive performances (both before and after Lecter). He graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, he was spotted by Laurence Olivier and invited to train with him at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London–and he hasn’t stopped since.
John Travolta first became very well-known in the 1970s, first with his role in the hit television series Welcome Back, Kotter, then starring in (now classics), Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease in 1978, put him over the top–he was huge. Strangely his career declined a bit in the 1980s but saw a resurgence in the 1990s. He’s been steady ever since, his most recent role was in 2016, in the first season of the compelling new anthology series American Crime Story. The first season was titled: The People v. O. J. Simpson and Travolta portrayed one of O.J.'s lawyers, Robert Shapiro.
While most people know Quinn as Lucy in The Goodbye Girl and the brightest child stars of the times, she stepped out of the acting game pretty early. Her last acting gig was in 1991, since then she’s become a writer, she has a few novels and a book full of essays under her belt. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, People magazine, The Atlantic, Salon, Los Angeles magazine, The Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping to name a few.
Now aged 64, Beverly D’Angelo has made a big name for herself. The role of Ellen Griswold from the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise credited with propelling her fame. Comedic dramas may have launched her career but she’s also handled herself beautifully taking on more serious projects like American History X. She has a handful of films coming out this year and already has one slated for 2018.
Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit...the list of films featuring the legendary Burt Reynolds goes on and on. And it’s still going as Burt Reynolds still steadily starring in films and training young actors through The Burt Reynolds Institute in North Palm Beach Florida.
Aside from modeling, Brooke Shields acting career also began to take off in the 1970s with the cult classic Alice, Sweet Alice, and Pretty Baby, where she portrayed a child prostitute and gained notoriety both for her talent and the scandal surrounding the role. Her career continued on an upward trajectory since the 1970s and she’s still acting today. She also launched a clothing line and a furniture collection.
Model turned actress Candice Bergen, took on a number of high-profile roles in the 1970s, including starred in the highly controversial Western Soldier Blue and the Burt Reynolds romantic comedy Starting Over in 1979, which earned her an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best-supporting actress. She took on the world of television as Murphy Brown from 1988-98 and scored another successful series, Boston Legal from 2005–08. As for the present, she has two films coming out this year, and two already in progress and slated for a 2018 release.
Robert Redford began professional acting in the early 1960s but many consider his landmark film to be the acclaimed All the President's Men which came out back in 1976. He continued acting but took on directing in the 1980s, with his directorial debut, Ordinary People. It was a sweeping success, both publicly and critically acclaimed and taking home four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Redford. Now 81-years old, Redford has had continued success over the years and is credited with being the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.
With hits like Hester Street, Annie Hall, and later Scrooged it’s no wonder Carol Kane has been such a success, even in her early years. She’s been featured in popular television shows like Cheers, Two and a Half Men. She also had a recurring role in Gotham as Gertrude Kapelput. Since 2015, she has been Lillian Kaushtupper in the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The Scottish actor, Sir Sean Connery, is best known for the iconic role of James Bond between the 60s and 80s. He retired from acting back in 2006 but has picked up a few parts here and there – including voice acting roles.
The beautiful Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde was always impressive to watch. Faye Dunaway has been in so many classic films and cast in iconic roles–even in the beginning of her career. There was just no way she couldn’t achieve greatness. Now at 75-years old, she’s still going strong, having already wrapped up four films so far this year.
Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining will probably remain Jack Nicholson's most famous role. But he already had quite a bit of acting, screenwriting, and even some movie scoring and animation experience under his belt before he ever made it big.
He moved out to Hollywood in 1954 and his acting career didn’t start take off until 1969, when he got a part in Easy Rider. This is the part that Stanley Kubrick first saw him in and was the catalyst for his future success. Things picked up for him throughout the 1970s, one of his most iconic roles was Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski's 1974 noir thriller, Chinatown. Then he did One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 (another classic). Now he’s a legend, one of the most in-demand and award nominated actors in history for over 60 years now.
Maureen McCormick will forever be known as Marcia Brady of the Brady Bunch. She was a teen icon from the late 60s into the early 70s. After the show went off the air in 1974, she made guest appearances and eventually made her way onto the reality TV circuit popular today. She’s also published “Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice” in 2008.
Back in the 1970s, Miss World America Lynda Carter scored the role of the great Wonder Woman herself. She was the first mainstream female superhero and she quickly became a household name. From there, her fame skyrocketed to pop icon status. Lynda has kept busy since then. Still acting, in addition to singing and songwriting. Last year she wrote original songs for the Fallout games and she’s currently on tour.
Actor, filmmaker, and screenwriter Al Pacino wasn’t always the brilliant, award winning, creative genius everyone knows him as today. Once he was just getting his feet wet in the world of Hollywood and it was a role as a heroin addict in the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, that caught the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola passed up actors Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and Warren Beatty and cast new comer Al Pacino in 1972 as Michael Corleone in the The Godfather (much to the dismay of studio heads). And a star was born.
Star Wars, Witness, Patriot Games, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, American Graffiti…. Harrison Ford has landed far cooler roles than most throughout his extensive career and he’s still going. Having just finished up with Blade Runner 2049 and yet another Indiana Jones project the future of Ford is looking action packed.
American actress, singer, and former model, Cybill Shepherd landed some of her better-known roles in the 1970s. She was Jacy in The Last Picture Show, she played Kelly in The Heartbreak Kid, and then she got the role of Betsy in Taxi Driver. From there her popularity continued to bloom, she spent a chunk of the 1980s as Maddie Hayes in Moonlighting, before landing her own show Cybill which ran from 1995–1998.
Actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood achieved success in the Western TV series Rawhide. He quickly rose to international fame with throughout the 1970s with various Western roles and then later played anti-hero cop Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films. His tendency to stick to ‘tough guy’ roles, sealed his fate as a cultural icon of masculinity.
Jodie Foster worked in several prime time television series in the early 1970s but her breakthrough role (which garnered her an Academy Award nomination) was a teenage prostitute in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver in 1976. She was in the musical Bugsy Malone, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, and then became a teen idol after starring in Disney's Freaky Friday. All of these roles were in 1976. Foster has many critically acclaimed roles under her belt but around 2010 she began taking fewer roles and shifted her focus to directing.
Meryl Streep is one of those blessed actresses who never seem to have a bad performance. She made her film and stage debut back in the 1970s and she’s been stunning audiences ever since. In recent years she’s had numerous hits on her hands. The Devil Wears Prada, Into the Woods, and she currently has three films in the works: The Papers, currently in post-production and being released this year. Mary Poppins Returns is also in post-production, but not coming out until 2018. And Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! Which will also be released in 2018.
De Niro's first film was Brian De Palma's The Wedding Party, which was shot in 1963 and released in 1969. It got his face out and helped secure the collaboration with Martin Scorsese, which is what really launched his career. In 1973 he was playing the small-time criminal Johnny Boy in Scorsese’s Mean Streets and by 1974 he landed a pivotal role of young Vito Corleone in the Francis Ford Coppola film The Godfather Part II. His performance earned him his first Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actor. De Niro is still out there acting at an impressive rate, proving he can kill it in any genre.
Hollywood badass Harvey Keitel, has a long list of impressive titles on his resume. He got in on the ground floor with filmmaker Martin Scorsese, playing the starring role of "J.R.", in Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door. It was all good stuff from there. He starred in Scorsese films throughout the 1970s such as Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), and Taxi Driver (1976), where he played the role of Jodie Foster's pimp.
At the moment, he has three films coming out this year and four more slated to release in 2018. One of which, looks like another classic in the making. It’s a crime drama by Scorsese titled The Irishman. The storyline centers on the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa and also stars Robert De Niro (as the Irishman) and Al Pacino (as Hoffa), with a little Joe Pesci thrown into the mix so... it’s probably gonna be amazing.
The 1970s was a busy time for actor Gene Hackman. He was upgraded to “leading man” status with his role as New York City Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection and won an Academy Award for Best Actor. He was nominated Best Supporting Actor again for I Never Sang for My Father. He had leading roles in The Poseidon Adventure and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. One of his most famous comedic roles, the blind hermit in Young Frankenstein also came out of the 1970s.
Hackman retired from acting back in 2004 and was solely an author. Hackman has written three historical fiction novels, a police thriller, a Depression-era tale of murder, a Civil War-era prison escape novel, and a story of love and revenge set in the Old West.
Widely considered one of the best actors in history, Hoffman began acting in the 1960s with his breakthrough film coming towards the end of the decade, 1967 film The Graduate. This film set him up for a whirlwind of success throughout the 1970s and beyond. Little Big Man (1970), Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971), Straw Dogs (1971), and Papillon (1973). Hoffman next starred in Lenny (1974), and All the President's Men (1976)... the great roles and award nominations just kept coming–and still are.
The 1970s were kind to the budding acting career of actor Jeff Bridges. He was finally cast in his first major role in 1971, The Last Picture Show. In 1972 he co-starred in the critically acclaimed boxing film Fat City, and played opposite Clint Eastwood in the film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974.Then he landed the role of protagonist Jack Prescott in the first remake of King Kong in 1976, co-starring alongside the iconic Jessica Lange. His onscreen success followed him into the following decades, and has continued–he just wrapped three more films this year.
Back in the 70s, Dyan Cannon was one of the biggest stars of the era. She did it all, performing in numerous musicals, television series, and movies all of which served to boost her fame. However, her debut was actually back in 1960. She’s taken on directing, producing, writing, and even editing over the years. Her last acting role, however, was in 2008 when she played Kay Flowers in TV movie A Kiss At Midnight.
After conquering the stage, Jane Fonda made her way into film. The 1970s brought a stream of award winning performances from Fonda, with her first in 1972 an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as prostitute Bree Daniels, in Klute. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for Klute as well, then another in 1978 for Coming Home.
She then went on to dominate the fitness industry–which she did. Nowadays she’s still classy, fit, and remains quite the activist and philanthropist. Most recently her focus has been on a human rights campaign. She released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting.