Here's what your favorite stars from the 70's are up to
By Lyra Radford | August 11, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert De Niro
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.
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.