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70s Child Stars Then and Now

Child stardom isn’t easy, even today. While being a child star in the 1970s wasn’t nearly as troublesome as earlier decades, stardom was still tough on 70s television and film kids. Some celebrity tweens and teens went on to become famous. Think Brooke Shields, who rose to fame in the controversial Pretty Baby, fellow Oscar-nominated actor Jodie Foster, and singing teen heartthrob Donny Osmond.

Others, however, were so traumatized by their appearances they swore never to work in the entertainment industry again–ending up in completely different careers. Mike Lookinland of The Brady Bunch fame went into the concrete business while Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket in the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, became a vet. And that’s just a few examples!

Keen to know where your favorite stars from top shows like Three for the Road, Happy Days, and The Partridge Family are today? Then don’t take your eyes off the screen until the end of this video! Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 70s Child Stars Then and Now.

Jodi Foster

While Jodie Foster started acting in the 1960s, her portrayal of an underage prostitute in Taxi Driver really propelled her into the spotlight. She was only 12 when she was cast, which created some controversy. But later, Foster’s performance in the role landed her an Academy Award nomination in 1976. That same year, she appeared in the now cult classic film Freaky Friday and another popular 70s movie, Candleshoe. Her dedication in these early years paid off, and now Jodie Foster is a Hollywood legend. She was even awarded the coveted Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2013 Golden Globes. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 70s Child Stars Then and Now.

Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond rose to fame as a teen idol in the 1970s. In 1971, at 14-years-old, he released two solo albums: The Donny Osmond Album and To You with Love, Donny. They later went gold, reaching 12 and 13 on the Billboard 200. Just one year later, he released two more chart-topping albums. His runaway success as a teenager set him up for a career on stage, starring in everything from reality TV hits like The Masked Singer in 2019 to playing the lead role of Joseph in the Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through the 90s. He also voiced the singing of Li Shang in Disney’s Mulan.

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Marie Osmond

Marie Osmond is the sister of singer Donny Osmond. However, unlike her brother, she was more of a country idol than a pop singer, though equally as famous. She released her first chart-topping single, Paper Roses, in 1973 and followed that success with a solo album by the same name. The fantastic thing about all this was that Osmond was just 13 years old at the time! Later in life, she teamed up with her brother for a successful Las Vegas show that ran for nearly a decade. Even at 60, Osmond was not done with the entertainment biz. In late 2019, she landed a spot as the co-host of The Talk.

Mike Lookinland

Mike Lookinland was just 9 when he appeared on the premiere episode of hit sitcom The Brady Bunch. He played the role of Bobby Brady, the second youngest child in the Brady tribe. He stayed on the show throughout its five seasons, basically growing up on the set. After a few TV specials and a part in the 1974 film The Towering Inferno, Lookinland decided he was done with the entertainment industry for good. He moved to Utah, where he started a successful decorative concrete business–which he still runs today. In 2019, he appeared in the 2019 reality television show, A Very Brady Renovation, where, befitting his concrete career, he helped renovate the original Brady home. Lookinland is married with two children.

Brooke Shields

When the film Pretty Baby came out in 1978, staring a 12-year-old Brooke Shields, it stirred up a lot of controversy due to its depiction of child prostitution and scenes involving nudity. Brooke Shields, however, was no stranger to the limelight. She’d started working as a model since she was just 11 months old. A year later, Shields cast in a Western called Wanda Nevada, and she’s remained an A-list celebrity since then. She’s performed in films and sitcoms, written a book about her experiences with postpartum depression, and even married to tennis star Andre Agassi for a few years in the 1990s. Today, Shields and her husband, screenwriter Chris Henchy, have two daughters together. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 70s Child Stars Then and Now.

Susan Olsen

Sarah Olsen was just eight years old when she first appeared on The Brady Bunch as the youngest Brady sibling, Cindy. She stayed on the show until its end in 1974 and appeared in all the follow-ups and specials except one: 1988’s A Very Brady Christmas. And that’s only because Olsen on her honeymoon when it filmed! She didn’t act much after relinquishing her Brady role and, in the 1990s, went into graphic design. Now in her late 50s, she’s a passionate animal rights activist. Olsen co-hosted a popular radio show called Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics but later fired because she made homophobic remarks about actor Leon Acord-Whiting.

Leif Garrett

In the 1970s, teen idol Leif Garrett had three hit albums, despite having no musical training whatsoever. He also starred in a bunch of popular television shows and movies, including a breakthrough role in Three for the Road when he was just 14 years old. By the time the fast-paced early 80s rolled around, Garrett had four more albums to his name and starring roles in classic films like The Outsiders and Thunder Alley. Later in life, Garrett opened up about his ongoing struggles with drug addiction, including writing about his numerous possessions arrests in his 2019 memoir titled Idol Truth.

Peter Ostrum

Peter Ostrum burped his way down from the ceiling of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory as Charlie Bucket when he was just 12 years old. The 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was Ostrum’s first experience acting, and it was soon to be his last. Not because the studios didn’t want him, but because he didn’t want to be an actor. He even turned away a lucrative three-movie deal to head back to his everyday kid life. Instead, Ostrum grew up to be a veterinarian, keeping his role as Charlie secret from as many people as possible. Nowadays, however, he’s less shy about his golden ticket win and speaks at schools about his time on set and his work as a vet. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 70s Child Stars Then and Now.

Quinn Cummings

Quinn Cummings rose to fame in 1977’s The Goodbye Girl, bagging an Academy Award and Oscar nomination at just ten years old. In fact, she remains today one of the youngest Oscar nominees of all time. In the late 70s, Cummings landed a role in Family, playing an orphaned girl adopted by the Lawrence family. She gave up acting in 1991, settling down to write books about everything from homeschooling and pets to her life story instead. Cummings was an avid supporter of the #MeToo movement and spoke openly about her sexual assault experiences in Hollywood.

Valerie Bertinelli

You might remember teenage Valerie Bertinelli from her role on One Day at a Time, an American sitcom that premiered in 1975. She appeared in all but one of the 209 episodes of the long-running show while also taking roles on other popular shows of the decade like The Hardy Boys and Battle of the Network Stars. In the early 2000s, Bertinelli became a passionate advocate for Jenny Craig, losing a whopping 40 pounds on the diet program. In the 2010s, she married now-husband Tom Vitale and took home two Daytime Emmy Awards as host of the popular cooking shows Kids Baking Championship and Valerie’s Home Cooking.

Eve Plumb

Eve Plumb was yet another Brady sibling… There were a lot of them, okay! She played Jan, best known for the annoying iconic catchphrase: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” (That’s stuck in your head now, right?) In 1969, when she was just 11 years old, she bought a mansion for herself in Malibu, which she only sold in 2016. Plumb was a passionate, versatile actor, and in between filming for The Brady Bunch, she took on roles in other 70s hits like Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and its sequel, Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn. Now in her 60s, she’s still a star of the silver screen, appearing in HBO’s Crashing, CBS’ Bull, and Law and Order: SVU. It seems you can’t keep a good Brady down!

Danny Bonaduce

Danny Bonaduce started acting at the tender age of 11. His first role was as Danny Partridge on the oh-so-wholesome TV series, The Partridge Family. It’s no surprise he started in show business young, he came from a seasoned family of screen darlings. For instance, his father, Joseph Bonaduce, was a writer for One Day at a Time and The Dick Van Dyke Show. After his Partridge Family success, he starred in a few movies, including Corvette Summer with Mark Hamill, and even released a hit album in 1973. In later years, Bonaduce opened up about his troubled childhood, lack of support and homelessness after The Partridge Family canceled, and addiction to performance-enhancing drugs, so much so that it destroyed his first and second marriages. In 2010, the 63-year-old cleaned-up actor married his third wife, manager Amy Railsback.

Is there a 70s child actor you thought would go on and do big things but didn’t? Or are you pretty confident the success, or not, of all these stars turned out the way it was meant to? Head to the comments section to hash it out passionately with other long-time fans. While you’re there, pop over to the Facts Verse channel and subscribe. We upload regularly, so if you hit that notification bell, you’ll get the latest videos in your feed. And don’t forget to like and share this video, too.

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