Even if you weren’t alive during the ’70s, you probably know that back in that decade everything was groovy. TV was just becoming a thing, rock bands were as good as they’ve ever been, the fashion was unparalleled, and who can forget all of that shag carpeting?
We’ve come a long way since then, and so have the people who were famous in the ’70s. Keep reading to see what some of your favorite stars from back in the day look like now.
Ron Howard In The ’70s
Back in the day, Ron Howard was just a freckle-faced kid with a lot of talent. Ron has been in the public eye since the ’60s when he landed a major role on The Andy Griffith Show. After that, he got a part in Happy Days playing Richie Cunningham.
Richie was the calm amongst the chaos. He was the kid who seemed to have it all together when the rest of his friends were running wild.
Ron Howard Today
Very few child actors have been able to find stable work as adults. Many of them get caught up in the many temptations associated with Hollywood and end up with drug addictions and other such afflictions. That wasn’t the case with Ron Howard, though.
Howard transitioned to a career behind the camera and became one of the most successful directors in Hollywood. Howard has directed close to 30 movies at this point and produced 20 others.
Jodie Foster In The ’70s
Jodie Foster quickly proved to everybody that she had the acting talent to make it in Hollywood. She started out as a child model but then she landed an acting role on the TC series Mayberry R.F.D. Pretty soon, she was stealing scenes in movies such as Taxi Driver, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Disney’s Freaky Friday, and Candleshoe.
Hollywood couldn’t get enough of this little girl with big talent. It was clear to everybody that Jodie was a star.
Jodie Foster Today
Jodie continued staring in movies throughout her teen years, but she decided to take a break from acting and attend Yale University for a bit. Then she got right back on the acting train and blew us all away with her stellar performances in movies such as The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs. Foster won Oscars for both of those performances.
Jodie has been in this industry for over 50 years and she’s still making people marvel at her talent.
Helen Hunt In The ’70s
Helen Hunt has been acting since she was eight years old. She started out in teen television shows such as Amy Prentiss, which ran from 1974 to 1975, and Swiss Family Robinson which ran from ’75 to ’76. That show followed survivors of a shipwreck as they attempted to find food, shelter, and safety on a deserted island.
She also appeared in the film Rollercoaster in 1977. This woman was shaping up to be a real presence in Hollywood.
Helen Hunt Today
Just like Ron Howard and Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt is still going strong today. She’s been able to maintain an acting career full of Oscar-winning performances, which is no easy feat. In 2014, Hunt starred in As Good As It Gets and she won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Carol Connelly, a single mother with a chronically ill son.
Hunt also starred in the television show Mad About You which was a sitcom about a married couple living in New York City.
David Cassidy – Then
Look at that shaggy hair! David played Keith Partridge on the hit show The Partridge Family. The show was about a family band and Cassidy’s character was the band’s lead singer. When David Cassidy was first hired, he was selected soley based off of his good looks. The producers of the show didn’t even care if he could sing or not.
Luckily for the show, Cassidy could sing very well. His talent made the whole show a success.
David Cassidy Today
Once David showed the producers of The Partridge Family that he could really sing, he and his castmates recorded ten studio albums. Each of those albums sold over one million copies. David quickly became a superstar and a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Sadly, David passed away on November 21, 2017, from liver failure.
Cassidy was also suffering from dementia which forced him to retire from singing shortly before he passed away. He said, “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”
The Jacksons In The ’70s
Back in the ’70s, the world was introduced to the Jackson Five: Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael, and Tito. Their first four singles made music history by soaring to the top of the Billboard charts.
These siblings were managed by their father, Joe Jackson. They all had amazing voices, but the world was captivated by young Michael who could hit those high notes like nobody’s business. As we all know, Michael would later go on to become the king of pop.
The Jacksons Today
The Jacksons went their separate ways after Michael and Janet’s solo careers took off. Of course, they were still related, but these siblings never really performed together on stage again after the ’80s. Many of them are now retired. Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, and Marlon are still touring and performing, and of course, Janet Jackson is still performing as a solo act.
The Jacksons released their last original collection of songs in 1989. The album was called 23000 Jackson Street.
Janet Jackson In The ’70s
Janet Jackson is the youngest of all the Jackson siblings. Back in the ’70s, she performed with her older brothers when they appeared on various variety shows. Back in the day, Janet was more interested in acting than in singing. When she was just a kid, she landed the role of Penny on the show Good Times.
Janet also appeared in hit shows Fame and Diff’rent Strokes. She never fully gave up on her singing career, though.
Janet Jackson Today
Since the ’70s, Janet Jackson has become one of the most celebrated pop musicians of all time. She’s sold millions of albums and she’s performed the Super Bowl Halftime Show (we all remember how that went).
Janet is now married to billionaire Wissam Al Mana. Jackson gave birth to the couple’s son, Eissa Al Mana, in 2017. It is now being reported that she and Al Mana are no longer together. Apparently, Jackson filed for divorce and the two have been separated for some time.
Kim Richards In The ’70s
Kim Richards was a child actor back in the 1970s. She appeared in a television commercial for Firth Carpet when she was just a few months old. She starred in shows such as Nanny and the Professor and James at Sixteen. She also starred in films such as Escape to Witch Mountain and its sequel Return from Witch Mountain.
Richards was able to find acting work all throughout the ’70s. It seemed like her face was popping up everywhere.
Kim Richards Today
Kim Richards stayed out of the spotlight for a long time after her time as a child actor came to an end. She ventured back into the public eye in 2010 when she became a cast member on the hit reality TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kim’s sister Kyle Richards is also a cast member on the show.
There have been rumors circulating about Kim’s drug abuse for a while. She spent some time in rehab and in 2015, she was arrested for trespassing, public intoxication, resisting an officer, and battery on a police officer at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Erin Murphy In The ’70s
In the ’70s, Erin Margaret Murphy played Tabitha Stephens on the show Bewitched. She shared the role with her twin sister, Diane. Diane and Erin are fraternal twins, and as they grew older, they started to look less alike. When Diane and Erin got older, Erin took over the role by herself because producers realized that they now looked too different to pass as the same person.
Erin quickly became one of the most famous young actresses in America.
Erin Murphy Today
It’s been a long time since Erin Murphy played that adorable little girl on Bewitched. After the show ended, Erin took on a few more acting gigs and appeared in a few commercials. Eventually, her family moved to Orange County and she pretty much left the business behind. She got married when she was 21 and had her first child while she was living in Arizona.
Erin has had a lot of jobs since then. She’s been an acting coach, a stunt double, a TV host, a celebrity judge, and a makeup artist. She is now the mother of six boys and she’s been married three times.
Mindy Cohn In The ’70s
Mindy Cohn is best known for playing Natalie on the hit show Facts of Life which ran from 1979 to 1988. Mindy Cohn is a huge part of why that show was as successful as it was. Natalie was a nice girl who young girls everywhere could relate to.
Since playing Natalie, Mindy hasn’t been able to find much work in Hollywood. Casting directors kept expecting her to play sweet characters when she wanted to branch out and do something different.
Mindy Cohn Today
Mindy realised that she needed to supplement her acting career with something else, so she went to school and got a degree in cultural anthropology. She later helped to form the weSPARK cancer support center. She sometimes makes guest appearances on television shows, but nowadays most of her acting work consists of voiceover work.
Mindy Cohn provided the voice of Velma on the Scooby-Do television series for many years. She is also a staunch supporter of the LGBT community.
Johnny Whitaker In The ’70s
Johnny Whitaker was a successful child actor in the ’70s. He was in numerous television series including Family Affair and General Hospital. He even gave Jodie Foster her first kiss when he played Tom Sawyer and she played Becky Thatcher.
Johnny had an adorable face and it seemed like every casting director wanted to hire him. Unfortunately, Johnny went through a tough time when his on-screen sister and real-life friend Anissa Jones died unexpectedly. He quit acting for a long time after that.
Johnny Whitaker Today
Whitacker’s experience in Hollywood, as well as the death of his close friend, left him with several issues including some substance abuse issues. His friends and family stepped in and staged an intervention and Johnny agreed to go to rehab. Thankfully, he has been clean and sober for the past 13 years.
His acting career never really picked up again though. Johnny actually knows several languages and he’s very bright. He stays away from Hollywood now because he doesn’t want to risk relapsing.
Mike Lookinland In The ’70s
You Know Mike Lookinland best as Bobby Brady on the show The Brady Bunch. Bobby was the youngest boy in the Bunch and he was always full of energy. Lookinland was able to bring a real sense of life and fun to the character.
Mike actually had to dye his hair blonde so he could play Bobby on the show. He naturally has brown curly hair. Sometimes when the lights were too hot on set, Mike’s hair dye would start running down his face.
Mike Lookinland Today
Since appearing on The Brady Bunch, Mike has landed several parts in shows such as Little House on the Prairie. He also acted in the movie Towering Inferno. Pretty soon, Mike decided that the acting life wasn’t for him, and he decided to leave the business altogether.
Mike now lives life as a normal citizen in Utah. He has a concrete business and he is married with two children. Mike managed to make it out of Hollywood without suffering the same fate as so many child actors.
Robbie Rist In The ’70s
Robbie Rist is another actor who got his start on The Brady Bunch. He joined the show as cousin Oliver during the show’s last six episodes. The older Brady kids were growing up, and the show decided that they needed a new young face to keep their ratings up.
Unfortunately, the producers’ plan didn’t work and the show got canceled anyway. Rist was nine years old at the time even though Cousin Oliver was supposed to be eight.
Robbie Rist Today
Today, Robbie Rist doesn’t look anything like that little blonde boy who closed out The Brady Bunch. Now, he mostly makes his living as a voice actor. He’s done voice work in productions such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman: The Animated Series.
Rist has also produced music for movies such as Sharknado and Sharknado 2. He also performs as the lead singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer for several Los Angeles rock bands.
Robby Benson In The ’70s
Robby Benson is an actor and television star who got his start in the 1970s. He appeared in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow and in the films Jory, Jeremy, and Ode to Billy Joe.
One of his biggest films was Ice Castles in which he played Nick Peterson, a boy who dreamed of becoming a hockey player. Benson had to learn how to skate for the part. Back in the day, Robby Benson auditioned to play Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but as we all know, that part went to Mark Hammil.
Robby Benson Today
Robby Benson hasn’t done much acting since his heyday in the ’70s. He did provide the voice of the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He now makes a living by working as a professor. He teaches at universities in New York, Utah, South Carolina, and Indiana. Robby has been married since 1982.
Robby also has a lot of heart issues and he’s been through heart surgeries in the past. When he was a working actor, he didn’t mention his heart issues to directors because he thought they might not want to hire him if they knew.
Ron Paolillo In The ’70s
Ron Paolilo played Arnold Horshack on the hit ’70s show Welcome Back Kotter. Horshack was the class clown and the funnyman in his friend group. Somehow, Ron Paolilo perfectly mastered that hyena laugh that his character did all the time.
Horshack was something of a caricature, and nobody was really sure how Paolilo would transition into more serious roles so he could have a long and prosperous acting career. Even Paolilo thought that he might get typecast forever.
Ron Paolillo At The End
Ron Paolilo managed to find work as an actor for the rest of his life. He played a whole bunch of different characters and appeared on TV shows such as Laverne and Shirley. He appeared in the movie Laverne and Shirley in the Army and in the film Friday the Thirteenth.
Paolilo was also something of a theatre buff. He directed several Broadway plays. He also found work as a fashion designer and as a children’s book author. Sadly, Paolilo died on August 14, 2012, from a heart attack.
Scott Baio In The ’70s
Scott Baio was known as a teen heartthrob back in the ’70s. He’s best known for playing Chachi on the show Happy Days. Chachi was the love interest of Joanie Cunningham. Before appearing on Happy Days, Baio landed the lead role in a musical gangster film called Bugsy Malone.
Bugsy Malone only featured child actors. Jodie Foster also appeared in that movie. Baio had to audition for that role and he got the part over thousands of other young hopefuls.
Scott Baio Today
We all know that after Happy Days ended, Baio went on to star in the spin-off show, Joanie Loves Chachi. After that, he appeared in several films such as Skatetown USA, Foxes, Zapped and others. Scott mostly works as a producer now, and he’s been in the limelight as an ally of President Trump.
Baio is a registered Republican and he’s been outspoken about his support of the current U.S. president. He also supported Trump during his campaign.
Susan Dey In The ’70s
Like some of the other actors we’ve already seen on this list, Susan Dey was a cast member on the hit ’70s show The Partridge Family. She played Laurie Partridge on the show. Before landing this role, Susan worked as a fashion model. She had zero acting experience when she started playing Laurie and she was only 17 years old at the time.
Casting directors saw something in her that they knew would be perfect for their production.
Susan Dey Today
Towards the end of The Partridge Family‘s run, Susan began a relationship with her costar David Cassidy. Unfortunately, their relationship didn’t end well and these two still do not speak to this day. Susan won’t even attend Partridge Family reunion shows because she knows that David will be there.
Susan went on to act in several movies including Skyjacked, Little Women and Disappearance. She has also taken on some television roles. She also appeared on the very popular show L.A. Law.
Karen Carpenter In The ’70s
Karen Anne Carpenter is emblematic of the 1970s. She was the drummer and singer in the band The Carpenters which also featured her brother, Richard Carpenter. Audiences quickly realized that Karen’s voice was unparalleled. People all over the world admired her for her talent.
In 1970 her album Close to You featured two massive hit singles: “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.” The Carpenters’ music defined an entire decade.
Karen Carpenter Passed Away In 1983
Karen Carpenter didn’t live very long past the ’70s. She died in 1983 when she was just 32 years old after a long battle with several eating disorders. She collapsed in her home and she was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. Karen had suffered a massive heart attack because of her disease.
She and her brother were supposed to perform for Queen Elizabeth in 1975, but they had to cancel their performance because of Karen’s anorexia.
Barry Williams In The ’70s
Meet the next Brady Bunch cast member on this list, Barry Williams. Williams was only 14 years old when he started playing the eldest Brady child, Greg Brady, on The Brady Bunch. Williams grew up on the show and he quickly attracted the attention of teenage girls all over the country.
Back in the day, Williams recorded four music albums with his TV siblings, which only made him seem even more attractive to young women. To say that Williams was a teen heartthrob would be an understatement.
Barry Williams Today
Most of Williams’ acting roles post Brady Bunch have had something to do with The BradyBunch. He’s appeared on several Brady Bunch specials and as a guest star on That ’70s Show and Three’s Company.
In 1989, Williams took home the Young Artist Foundation Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992 by releasing his autobiography, Growing Up Brady … I Was A Teenage Greg. That book was eventually turned into a TV movie. Williams still looks as handsome as he did back in the day.
Maureen McCormick In The ’70s
We’ve already heard from several of the boys in the Brady Bunch, but what about one of the show’s leading ladies? Maureen McCormick played Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974.
Marcia was the oldest Brady lady. She was smart, confident, beautiful, popular, and basically everything every little girl wanted to be. Maureen was only 12 years old in 1969 when she first started playing Marcia. She literally grew up on this show.
Maureen McCormick Today
Unfortunately, Maureen McCormick became addicted to drugs after The Brady Bunch ended. She was able to overcome her addiction and lead a normal life post-Brady though. She married Michael Cummings in 1985 and had her first child in 1989.
Maureen has made a few TV appearances in recent years. In 2016 she was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars on ABC. She made it pretty far in the competition and ended up finishing in eighth place.
Danny Bonaduce In The ’70s
Danny Bonaduce played Danny Partridge on The Partridge Family. He stood out from the rest of the cast because of his bright red hair. He was the middle child of the Partridge Family, and in many ways, he was the black sheep. He always kept everybody laughing with his jokes and wisecracks.
Danny played the bass guitar in the family band but he didn’t play the bass in real life when he got the part.
Danny Bonaduce Today
Danny Bonaduce is still very close friends with his Partridge Family costar David Cassidy. After the show ended, he made a career for himself as a radio host, a television personality, a comedian, and a professional wrestler.
Bonaduce has also starred in several TV series including the reality show Breaking Bonaduce which aired in 2005. Clearly, Danny Bonaduce is a jack of all trades and he’s been able to thrive in this industry even after surviving life as a child star.