The 1970s heralded an era where teenage actors flourished on both the big and small screens, starring in beloved sitcoms like “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family.” As we reminisce about the wholesome and humorous shows of that era, one can’t help but wonder: where are those child actors now? Some 70s child stars ascended to the pinnacle of Hollywood fame.
Jodie Foster, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, commenced her acting career in the 1960s. Her breakout role in “Taxi Driver” at the age of 12, portraying a provocative character, stunned audiences and propelled her into the spotlight, leading to her status as an A-list celebrity.
Similarly, Brooke Shields courted controversy early in her career. Her portrayal of a child prostitute in the film “Pretty Baby” in 1978 sparked shock among audiences. However, this infamy paved the way for Shields to thrive in Hollywood. Following this role, she secured notable parts, including in the Western film “Wanda Nevada,” ensuring her star continued to rise brightly in the industry.
However, not all 70s child stars encountered the same fortunes as Foster and Shields. Danny Bonaduce, known for portraying Danny Partridge in the wholesome TV series “The Partridge Family,” faced personal struggles post-fame. He battled drug abuse and underwent three failed marriages before finding lasting love in his early 60s, eventually achieving stability after overcoming numerous challenges.
Similarly, Leif Garrett, a teen idol of the 70s, achieved musical success and starred in popular TV shows and movies. However, later in life, Garrett battled drug addiction, resulting in legal issues and multiple arrests for drug possession. Despite his past struggles, Garrett continues to persevere in the entertainment industry, displaying resilience and determination in overcoming personal challenges.
Contrasting these stories are a few 70s child stars who chose a different path entirely. Peter Ostrum, known for his role as Charlie Bucket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” opted to depart from show business. Instead, he pursued a career as a veterinarian, deciding to leave the limelight behind for a fulfilling profession outside the entertainment industry. Have a look at the lives and careers of these tremendous child actors from the past:
Jodie Foster: Starting her career in the 1960s, Foster rose to fame with her role in “Taxi Driver” at just 12 years old, tackling a controversial character that earned her critical acclaim. Since then, Foster’s career has flourished, leading her to become an acclaimed actress and director. Her work spans decades, earning her prestigious awards like the Cecil B. DeMille Award and cementing her status as an A-list celebrity.
Brooke Shields: Shields courted controversy early in her career with roles like the child prostitute in “Pretty Baby” in 1978. Despite the initial shock, Shields transitioned into a successful career in both acting and modeling. She continued to shine in various films, TV shows, and even ventured into Broadway. Shields has maintained a prominent presence in the entertainment industry.
Danny Bonaduce: Known for his role as Danny Partridge on “The Partridge Family,” Bonaduce faced personal struggles post-fame, battling drug abuse and experiencing multiple divorces. However, in his later years, Bonaduce found stability, finding true love in his 60s after overcoming his challenges.
Leif Garrett: Garrett’s teen idol status in the 70s led to musical success and acting roles, but later in life, he battled drug addiction, facing legal issues due to possession charges. Despite these challenges, Garrett continues to work in the entertainment industry, showcasing resilience and determination in overcoming his past struggles.
Peter Ostrum: After portraying Charlie Bucket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Ostrum chose to leave acting behind and pursue a different path. He transitioned into a career as a veterinarian, stepping away from the limelight and finding fulfillment in a different profession.
Donny Osmond: As part of the Osmond family, Donny Osmond gained fame as a teen idol in the 1970s. His musical success extended beyond that era, with numerous hits and a successful career in entertainment. Post-70s, he continued to perform, both solo and alongside his sister Marie Osmond. Donny also ventured into television, Broadway, and various entertainment projects, maintaining his prominence in the industry.
Marie Osmond: Marie Osmond, renowned for her partnership with brother Donny in their musical career, found continued success post the 70s. She ventured into various realms of entertainment, including music, acting, and hosting. Marie’s multifaceted career spanned television, stage performances, and even dabbling in business endeavors, cementing her status as a versatile entertainer.
Mike Lookinland: Best remembered for portraying Bobby Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” Lookinland shifted his focus away from acting as he matured. He delved into the television industry, harnessing his passion for visuals and technology. Transitioning behind the scenes, Lookinland explored various roles, eventually finding his niche as a camera operator. His journey led to a fulfilling career capturing moments behind the camera, a departure from the on-screen limelight he once knew.
Susan Olsen: Recognized for her role as Cindy Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” Olsen diverged from acting as she matured. Embracing her creativity, Olsen embarked on a career in graphic design, channeling her artistic talents into various projects. By distancing herself from acting, she explored new avenues, working on diverse creative ventures. Olsen’s trajectory allowed her to flourish in the world of design, carving her own path beyond her childhood role in the entertainment industry.
Quinn Cummings: Cummings, recognized for her role in “The Goodbye Girl,” shifted focus away from acting as she grew older. Instead, she embarked on a writing career, authoring books and articles while also becoming an advocate for parenting and child welfare.
Valerie Bertinelli: Bertinelli, known for her role as Barbara Cooper in “One Day at a Time,” continued to thrive post the 70s. She pursued acting in television, appearing in various shows and movies. Additionally, Bertinelli delved into hosting, authoring books, and becoming a prominent figure in the culinary world, hosting cooking shows and authoring cookbooks.
Eve Plumb: Recognized for her role as Jan Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” Plumb diversified her career post the 70s. She continued acting in television and theater, exploring a variety of roles to avoid being typecast. Plumb also pursued her passion for painting, gaining recognition as an artist alongside her continued work in the entertainment industry.
The stories of these 70s child stars reflect the diverse paths and challenges encountered by former child actors as they transitioned into adulthood. Some found enduring success in the entertainment industry, others grappled with personal struggles, and a few opted for entirely different careers, showcasing the multifaceted nature of life beyond childhood fame in Hollywood.
These 70s child stars navigated diverse paths, displaying resilience and adaptability in their transitions from childhood fame to adulthood. From continued success in entertainment to branching into other industries, their journeys exemplify the multifaceted nature of life beyond the spotlight of 70s stardom.