These are people you will know if you were alive in the ‘70s. You might even say that they helped raise kids back then! These stars are now all grown up, although some of their life choices might come as a surprise to you. Here is what happened to the young people we knew and loved in that decade.
Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls)
Melissa Gilbert captivated all of us playing Laura “Half-Pint” Ingalls. She evolved and was cast in The Diary of Anne Frank and The Miracle Worker. Melissa has still got it appearing in Dancing with the Stars, playing Caroline “Ma” Ingalls during a touring production of Little House on the Prairie, the Musical. Oh, and she lent her voice for Batman: The Animated Series!
Helen Hunt was clearly born to be on TV, but she decided to take acting seriously at the age of 8. That was when she started to study with her father, a director and acting coach by the name of Gordon Hunt. She made her debut at 9 years old. Perhaps you remember her from Amy Prentiss, The Bionic Woman, The Facts of Life, The Fitzpatricks, Swiss Family Robinson, and Rollercoaster. She has a Blockbuster Award, an Oscar, 2 SAGs, 4 Emmys, 4 American Comedy Awards, and 4 Golden Globes to her name. She is still going strong today!
Johnny Whitaker (Jody Davis)
John Orson Whitaker, Jr. started his career when he was only 3 years old by appearing in a local car dealership TV commercial. After that, he went on to appear in General Hospital, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Family Affair, Disney’s Snowball Express, The Magic Pony, and more. He took a detour after his graduation from Sylmar High School by going on a mission trip and later earned a degree from Brigham Young University. Did you know that he was also given the Young Artist Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999? We are glad to hear that he chose to take the path of recovery after everything he went through.
Brooke Shields has always been lovely! At only 5 days old, her mom said, “She’s the most beautiful child and I’m going to help her with her career.” Her first role was in the controversial film Pretty Baby, although she went on to star in The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love as well. She also did TV work and appeared in Suddenly Susan, ER, and Seinfeld. Aside from acting, she also wrote a book called Down Came The Rain. When she spoke to the New York Times, she said, “Since writing about my experiences with the disease, I have been approached by many women who have told me their stories and thanked me for opening up about a topic that is often not discussed because of fear, shame or lack of support and information.”
Danny Bonaduce (Danny Partridge)
Dante Daniel “Danny” Bonaduce is famous for his winning smile and bright red hair. This is what people also associate with Danny Partridge from The Partridge Family. As the son of a writer-producer, it was like he was destined for fame. He starred in projects such as Corvette Summer, CHiPs, Married… with Children, CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, Space Ghost Coast To Coast, and The Drew Carey Show. He has tried his hand at professional wrestling, comedy, and radio as well! He has been a host for the Seattle radio station KZOK-FM ever since November 2011. How cool is that?
Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady)
Maureen McCormick is most famous for playing Marcia in Brady Bunch, but she was also in Camp Runamuck, Bewitched, and My Three Sons. Did you know she did commercials for Kool Aid and Barbie too? She was also in Dogtown, The Million Dollar Kid, and Baby Huey’s Great Easter Adventure. When she appeared in VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, she was a popular contestant. You should check out her book, which is called Here’s The Story: Surviving Marcia Brady And Finding My True Voice.
Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady)
Mike Lookinland is yet another alumnus of Brady Bunch. We are sure true fans have never forgotten the actor! Aside from that, he also worked on Towering Inferno, Little House On The Prairie, and some Brady Bunch specials. He decided to leave the industry completely. He is now happily married, runs a decorative concrete business, and has two kids.
Quinn Cummings (Lucy McFadden)
Quinn Cummings got her start in commercials but got her big break by appearing in The Goodbye Girl. She impressed everyone with her acting chops and got Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for it! She was also in Family and Hail to the Chief. She has worked as a blogger, business owner, and casting director in the past. She also penned a number of books such as Notes From The Underwire: Adventures From My Awkward And Lovely Life, Pet Sounds, and The Year Of Learning Dangerously. She has also written for People, Time, Salon, and more.
Robby Benson is best known for his work in Search for Tomorrow, but he was also in Jeremy, Jory, and Ode to Billy Joe. He kicked off his career with The Rothschilds and Wait Until Dark. However, members of the younger generation might recognize him better for lending his voice to Beast in Beauty and The Beast. He has also written a bestselling novel called Who Stole The Funny? in 2007.
Erin Murphy (Tabitha)
Erin Murphy played Tabitha Stephens in Bewitched. She used to share this role with Diane, her twin sister, but took over when they started to have a different “look.” Even though she got some time off to be a “normal” child, she did not ever lose her passion for acting. She has been involved in production, make-up, stunt work, and teaching in the past! She now runs her own business and works on commercials and reality TV shows.
Scott Baio (Chachi Arcola)
Scott Baio is an award-winning child actor best known for playing Chachi Arcola in Happy Days as well as Joanie Loves Chachi. He was also in Charles in Charge, Diagnosis Murder, Very Mean Men, and more. It is interesting to hear that his daughter Bailey got diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, which was the reason he founded the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation. She later got diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor, however.
Scott Baio returned to the headlines during the 2017 presidential election. He made an appearance at the Republican National Convention and supported Donald Trump. He also used Twitter to attack Hilary Clinton multiple times. Many mocked him because the Democratic National Convention was supported by A-listers, while the Republicans only had him. However, Republicans said that the “Hollywood elite” did not know the struggles of ordinary people.
Alison “Nellie” Arngrim
Alison Arngrim is also known for starring in Little House on the Prairie. However, she is still haunted by her role, Nellie Olson. She was one of the most despised characters on TV, after all. She later said that the experience felt “like having PMS for seven years.” She made guest appearances in various TV shows and went on to be an author. She wrote and performed her book on stage as well!
Justin Henry (Billy Kramer)
You probably remember Justin Henry for his role in Kramer Vs Kramer. As a young boy, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar. “I don’t remember too much of the Oscars,” he admitted. “It was one of five separate awards shows we went to.” He later appeared in Fantasy Island, Sixteen Candles, Tiger Town, Andersonville, and Chasing Home. After college, he moved to Los Angeles to launch a distribution company called Slamdunk. He explained, “We helped small independent filmmakers get distribution through larger channels. Microsoft became our biggest partner.”
Valerie Bertinelli made her debut in One Day at a Time and took a Golden Globe home for it in 1981. She was also in Café Americain, Sydney, and Touched by an Angel. Recently, she became a Jenny Craig spokesperson and shared her struggle with weight loss and body image. She was recently in the hit TV show called Hot in Cleveland.
Barry Williams (Greg Brady)
At the age of 14, Barry Williams landed the role of a lifetime. He brought Greg to life in The Brady Bunch. In 1989, he won the Young Artist Foundation Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also in That 70’s Show and Three’s Company on top of appearing in music theater productions. He also wrote a bestselling autobiography called Growing Up Brady… I Was A Teenage Greg, which got turned into a TV movie on NBC.
Kristy McNichol got her start with commercials and started to make guest appearances in Starsky & Hutch, Love American Style, The Love Boat, and The Bionic Woman. She was also twice nominated for the Emmys for her performance in family. She later went into singing and released the “Kristy & Jimmy McNichol” album.
Kristy McNichol went on to appear on The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia as well as Only When I Laugh. She took home a Golden Globe Award for the latter! She was on Empty Nest for a couple of seasons, left, and returned for the finale in 1995. She has remained active in the industry and has done voice acting for a number of animated TV shows.
David Cassidy (Keith Partridge)
David Cassidy was a teen heartthrob material, so it makes sense that he was hired to play Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family. He became a celebrated teen idol and singer in the ‘70s as well. He appeared in Bonanza, Ironside, Adam-12, and Marcus Welby, M.D. as well. He ended up making 10 albums with The Partridge Family and 5 solo ones. He had tours and enjoyed Cassidymania! In 2015, however, he filed for bankruptcy.
David’s Diagnosis And Death
In 2017, he made headlines after appearing at shows looking disoriented and maybe even drunk. It was different, however, as he revealed that he just got diagnosed with dementia. Now 66 years, he said he expected this since his mother suffered from this affliction and succumbed to it at the age of 89. However, he later said that it was not true. He said, “[it] was complete alcohol poisoning – and the fact is, I lied about my drinking.” Unfortunately, the actor died of liver failure in November 2017 at 67 years old.
Tatum O’Neal (Addie Loggins)
Tatum O’Neal brought home an Oscar for her performance in Paper Moon. She was only 10 years old then! This early success did not slow her down as she also appeared in Nickelodeon and The Bad News Bears. After the ‘70s, she only starred in 5 films in the next 15 years. She later went back to acting by appearing in various TV shows like Sex and the City, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Rescue Me, and more.
Tatum And Her Rocky Path
Tatum O’Neal had to deal with a lot of things after experiencing early fame. She might hold the record as the youngest person to win an Oscar, but she also dealt with substance abuse problems at about the same time. She later got sober but then relapsed and developed a heroin addiction after she and John McEnroe got a divorce. Because of her drug problems, John got custody of their kids in the late ‘90s. It was only after she was arrested in 2008 that she became sober.
Tatum And Her Dad
She also had to deal with a difficult relationship with her dad in the past. She is now a published writer with two books to her name. The first one was an autobiography called A Paper Life. Her father Ryan was a great actor in his own right who also had his struggles with addiction. Tatum claimed that the physical and emotional abuse he inflicted on her triggered her own issues. In 2011, she talked about their relationship some more in her book, Found: A Daughter’s Journey Home.
Mindy Cohn (Natalie Green)
Mindy Cohn is famous for playing Natalie from Facts of Life. This role was integral to the success of the show, although she got typecast. This made it difficult for the actress to get different roles. She continued to act and then earned her cultural anthropology degree. She helped found a cancer support center called weSPARK as well. You might recognize her voice because she also voiced Velma in the Scooby-Doo animated show.
Mindy And Her Advocacy
For the most part, she has stayed out of the spotlight after her success with Facts of Life. She never got married nor had children. She does, however, support the LGBTQ community a lot. When she was interviewed by The Advocate, she said that her family is very progressive and that she grew up surrounded by gay people. This is the reason she is so supportive of this community!
To this day, there is no one quite like Michael Jackson. He got his start by performing with his brothers in The Jackson 5. People noticed his talent from the very beginning. However, he made it even bigger when he went solo. He struggled with a secret drug addiction and passed away in 2009 at only 50 years old. His kids are now on their way to making names for themselves. Paris, his daughter, is now a model. Meanwhile, his son Prince has launched a charity foundation for kids.
Michael Jackson And His Dad
Joe Jackson had a difficult relationship with most of his kids. He beat them up and admitted to this when he was interviewed by Oprah. He made the kids work hard, especially back when the Jackson 5 was starting out. He basically stripped the boys of their childhood. There is a theory that this is why Michael Jackson was so fascinated by Peter Pan and “never growing up.” Although some find it odd, people understand that he is “weird” because of the abuse he experienced as a child.
Michael Jackson And His Children
Michael Jackson was the father of three kids. According to them, his relationship was very different from what he had with his own dad. Some people believe that the kids are not the true biological kids of the King of Pop. TMZ said that his eldest son Michael Joseph Jr. conceded that it does not matter to him if he was not. The young man said that MJ thought him to be a man and wants to look after his own kids the same way that he did.
Michael Jackson And His Other Kids
Paris Jackson, meanwhile, believes that he is her biological father. She has signed with a big modeling agency years after her dad’s death. She has stayed close with Debbie Rowe, her biological mother. Debbie recently got diagnosed with breast cancer, and her daughter was there to support her through this ordeal. The youngest child, Blanket, is only a teenager and stays out of the spotlight. He is now in the custody of Katherine Jackson, his grandmother.
Michael Jackson And Substance Use
After the first allegations of misbehavior with kids came out, Michael Jackson went to rehab for his prescription medication dependency in 1993. Some people put the blame on the scalp burn that he got while working on a Pepsi commercial. People who were close to MJ, such as ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, claimed that he was already dealing with addiction issues when they were still together. When he passed away, it came to light that he had been using very strong anesthesia to sleep.
Ron Howard (Opie Taylor)
Ron Howard might be better known as Opie Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show, but the actor has appeared in other great roles as well. He was born to actor parents, with a father who was a director on top of that. He made his debut in Frontier Woman at the tender age of 18 months! He went on to make more TV and stage appearances after that. He also got to play Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. Overall, he has acted in over 27 films, directed 28 films, and produced over 20 more projects. With his talents, it is not shocking to hear that he is a huge film legend!