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Where Are They Now? Child Stars of the 70s

Celebs October 3, 2016 By Vincent

Being a child star may bring in fame and fortune from a young age but it also has its perils. Frew are able to maintain their career for too long as fans ditch them as they too grow older whilst they lose the cute factor or often just fall out of love with what they are doing after working in the industry from such a young age.


Others continue and upward career trajectory whilst dealing with those wanting to latch onto their coattails or make money out of them. Here we look at some of the child stars of the 70s to see where they are now.

1. David Cassidy
Then: Hired to Play Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family, it was his good looks that won him the role on the show that ran from 1970 to 1974 where the whole family would sing and dance. David became a teen idol of the 70s because of the role and made 10 albums with the other cast members all of which sold in excess of 1 million records.


Now: Despite battling an alcohol addiction, which has led to a DUI's,  David has managed to have a  successful career in both acting and music with many films, TV shows and albums to his name and he continues to tour and work to this day.


2. Helen Hunt

Then: With an acting career that spanned right back to the age of 8, Helen Hunt, made a name for herself in her teenage years with roles on TV shows Amy Prentiss, Swiss Family Robinson and The Fitzpatricks which also landed her parts in films such as Rollercoaster.  One of the most recognizable faces of the 70s, she carried her TV success into the 80s.


Now: In the 90s Hunt starred on the TV series Mad About You  which garnered her several Emmy award wins. Later she carved out a bigger film career for herself and even won herself the Best Actress Oscar for her role in As Good As It Gets. Also working on stage as well as trying her hand at directing, Helen is still a massive name in the entertainment industry.


3. The Jackson 5

Then: Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael, and Tito were the five brothers who made up the pop group that brought us I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save and  I’ll Be There   and would launch successful solo careers for Michael and Jermaine. Most of the band left Motown records in the late 70s with the exception of Jermaine, whose solo career was also with Motown, so he was replaced with brother Randy. The band kept going until 1989 when Michael solidified himself as a superstar through his own music.


Now: Michael's death in 2009 led the band to be reformed for a memorial in 2011, bar Randy who had retired some time before that, and now they tour as The Jacksons throughout the world although not nearly as popular as they once were.


4. Janet Jackson

Then: The younger sister to the Jackson 5, Janet was seen occasionally seen performing with her brothers but focussed more on her acting career as she appeared in TV shows Good Times, Fame and Different Strokes although she did find time to launch her own solo music career which led her to become a massive recording artist in her own right.


Now: With several multi-platinum albums, and a few hit films under her belt, Janet is now known more for her music as she continues to tour although has recently taken time out to start a family.


5. Johnny Whitaker

Then: Appearing on TV shows such as Family Affair and General Hospital, Johnny also landed a role on the film Tom Sawyer next to Jodie Foster it all seemed so rosy for a young Johnny but when his good friend Anissa Jones, who played his on-screen sister in Family Affair, dies he struggled and retired from acting for a period.


Now: The death badly affected Whitaker and he spiraled into substance abuse after his divorce in 1984 until his family intervened. After undertaking a twelve-step program, he has been clean for the last 12 years. Undertaking several other jobs including missionary work and computer consultancy, he still occasionally acts.


6. Kim Richards

Then: One of the most popular child actors of the 70s, Kim Richards could be seen in several projects throughout the decade with regular work on TV shows Nanny and the Professor and James at Sixteen, she also had roles in hit films such as Escape to Witch Mountain and its sequel Return from Witch Mountain.


Now: No longer doing acting work, Richards went through three marriages in the 1980s and 90s but in 2010 she returned to television on the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but was removed from being a regular on the show due to personal struggles that arrested for trespassing, public intoxication, resisting an officer, and battery on a police officer at the Beverly Hills Hotel with unsubstantiated rumors of substance abuse involved. She now only makes occasional appearances with her going into rehab in 2015.


7. Mindy Cohn

Then: The irrepressible star of the TV show Facts of Life for 9 years between 1979 and 1988, Mindy played Natalie Green on the show but failed to pick up much work after it came to the end. Still working but in smaller parts, Mindy went on to get a degree in cultural anthropology from  Loyola Marymount University.


Now: Returning to the role that made her famous in the 2001 reunion movie, Mindy would then be offered voiceover work for the character Velma Dinkley in the Scooby-Doo franchise, which she still does today as well as picking up other acting jobs here and there.


8. Mike Lookinland

Then: Appearing as Bobby Brady on TV's The Brady Bunch, Mike was known for his energetic portrayal of the youngest family member. He went on to get roles in Little House on The Prairie, The Secrets of Isis as well as several Brady Bunch specials and movies like the Towering Inferno.


Now: Although making a few cameo appearances here and there, Mike has all but retired from showbusiness and lives happily in Utah where he has a decorative concrete business in Salt Lake City.


9. Robbie Rist

Then: Playing cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch at the age of just 9 He later went to appear on the Sanford and Son spin-off Grady as well as sci-fi show Galactica 1980 as well as having several guest appearances on other shows of the era.


Now: By the  late 80s, Robbie had moved more toward voiceover work as he played the role of Michaelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films of the time and then went on to do many voice acting parts after that in TV film and video games. Also a music producer he created the theme tunes for Sharknado and Sharknado 2 films in which he also had a bit part ad Robbie the bus driver.


10. Robby Benson

Then: Appearing in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, Robby is best known for his work on the silver screen for his roles in JoryJeremy, Ice Castles and the hit Ode to Billy Joe. His best-known role to date, however, remains the voice of Beast in the 1991 Disney animation film, Beauty and The Beast but he also went on to direct and dabble in photography.


Now: With a 2007 novel Who Stole The Funny? as well as a memoir landing him on the LA Times bestseller list, Robby also now teaches and has been a professor New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, the University of Utah and the University of South Carolina before becoming the professor at practice at Indiana University.


11. Ron Howard

Then: Playing mild-mannered roles in both The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, Howard shot to fame off the back of these prominent parts and went on to star in many major motion pictures thanks to his launch pad on television. In 1977 he directed his first feature film and by 1980 he had left television to focus on directing.


Now: A hugely in demand director and producer of movies, Howard is extremely successful and also came up with the idea for cult TV show Arrested Development. In 2001 =, he won a Best Director Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, which also won Best Picture that year.


12. Karen Carpenter

Then: Drummer and singer, her skill with her instrument received her much praise within the musical community but she also had some massive hit singles as she performed as part of a duo with her brother Richard with songs (They Long to Be) Close to You and We’ve Only Just Begun reaching number one and number two on the Hot 100 chart.


Now: Sadly, Karen passed away in 1983 due to cardiac arrest caused by her eating disorder anorexia nervosa. So bad was it that it caused The Carpenters to cancel several tours and prominent performances but Karen performed right up until her death.


13. Danny Bonaduce

Then: Another star of The Partridge Family, Danny played Danny Partridge and became close friends with on-screen brother David Cassidy, to whom he is still in contact with to this day. He made several movies during the run of The Partridge Family including Corvette Summer and he would later release a solo LP.


Now: Danny has done many things since then like hosting his own radio shows and his own reality show Breaking Bonaduce. A regular morning talk/ and music show host at Seattle radio station KZOK-FM since November 2011 , he was also a professional wrestler and comedian for a time.



14. Ron Paolillo

Then: Playing the class clown, Arnold Horshack in the hit TV series Welcome Back Kotter, before then going on to do voice-over work on animated shows such as  Laverne & Shirley in the ArmyDarkwing Duck, and Rubik, the Amazing Cube.


Now: In the 90s, Paolillo played a fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom Ellen  and then spent a year on the popular daytime show One Life to Live before having some minor film roles. He later theater to theater with stints on and off broadway before making a successful move to theater direction. Unfortunately, Ron died of a heart attack in 2012 at the age of 63.


15. Scott Baio

Then: Playing the lead role in the feature film Bugsy Malone, Baio beat out over 2,000 other kids to get the role before then moving into television, where he starred alongside Ron Howard in Happy Days as Chachi. A part that would make him a teen heartthrob.


Now: The spin-off show from Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi  kept Baio in his iconic roles for a few more years as he also went on to star in films such as  Skatetown USAFoxes, Zapped and a few more. Recently starring in his own reality show, he is also a registered Republican and appears at many political events and rallies.


16. Richard Thomas

Then: Shooting to fame after playing aspiring author John-Boy Walton in the tv series The Waltons, Thomas played the role for six years from 1971 until 1977 when he left the show only to be replaced by another actor, although he would later come back for TV movies and reunions.


Now: Working in TV and film from the 1980s onward, Thomas also has published books of poetry and starred on Broadway and the West End. He returned to TV screens in the role of Frank Gaad, an FBI counterintelligence supervisor helping to investigate KGB sleeper agents in early 1980s America., on the show The Americans.


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