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These TV Stars Ruled the 70s

For anyone that grew up watching Good Times, Charlie’s Angels, and MASH we have some great content in store for you today. We’re looking back at some of the hottest stars of the seventies and the television shows they starred in that turned them into household names. Make sure you stick around to the end: we have some juicy details about the lives and careers of these iconic television stars.

First up on our list is Alan Alda. He is best known for playing the fun-loving Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce, one of the lead characters on the show MASH which lasted for eleven seasons. Alan got his start early and spent much of his childhood traveling with and watching his father who worked in the movie industry. Robert Alda was an actor known for movies like Rhapsody in Blue, Cinderella Jones, and several Broadway productions.

Before the 1970s, Alda acted in plays and some movies but it was MASH that made certain everyone knew who he was and this kickstarted his career as a director and writer. The show quickly became a breakout hit with its ensemble cast of brilliant actors as well as a perfect balance of humor and tragedy. Not only did Alda play the handsome and high-spirited Chief Surgeon of the 4077th, and he also went on to write and direct episodes of the show including co-writing the series finale, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen”. For his work on the show, Alda won Emmy’s for writing, directing, and acting. No other actor in history had succeeded in winning all three of those nominations for the same television series. Alda has gone on to become a six-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner.

In addition to his work behind the camera, he was also an active proponent of women’s rights and was vocally supportive of changing legislation to support women. His views helped bring a new voice to the fight against everyday sexism that was prevalent in the seventies. He worked to raise awareness about feminist causes and was featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine that featured one of his essays that spoke on the prevailing toxicity against women. He made use of the term “testosterone poison” to describe male violence and disregard of women. Alda used his status as a Hollywood star to fight for women’s rights and backed the ultimately unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment in 1972.

While Alan Alda worked hard to bring to light the struggles of women in the seventies, actresses like Mary Taylor Moore were being cast in roles that would be remembered for decades for changing the way the audience approached complex subjects.

Mary Tyler Moore achieved her first big starring role-playing the headstrong Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She went on to play the lead on The Mary Tyler Moore Show which began airing in 1970. This show made history by having more women on the writing staff than any other television show of the time. It was able to show a point of view not normally seen within the television industry at that point in time. They tackled sensitive subjects that most other shows avoided including homosexuality, racism, birth control, and everyday sexism. This set it apart from most other shows which leaned towards more light-hearted content. For her work as the titular character in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she won Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Over the course of her career, she went on to win seven Emmy awards and three Golden Globes.

Our next seventies star had a contentious relationship with her fame despite being known as one of the hottest stars in the 1970s. If you have enjoyed this video so far make sure you like this video and subscribe to our channel for even more great content!

Farrah Fawcett is perhaps best known as being one of the three leading ladies in the 1976 to 1981 run of the television show, Charlie’s Angels. Despite being thrust into the limelight thanks to the smart, evocative show content, Fawcett ended up losing some of her professional credibility when she broke her contract with the show in 1977 with the stipulation of guest-starring on six episodes.

Breaking the contract made her an unknown factor that many studios were unwilling to bet one. This left her starring in Off-Broadway plays and small on-screen guest roles for several years before her career began to pick back up. Fawcett was able to recover from this initial setback. She went on to be nominated for four Emmy awards and six Golden Globe awards. Fawcett was 62 when she passed away in 2009. She will always be remembered as a classic Hollywood star.

The next seventies star started out on the small screen in a support role that made them into a star. Jimmie Walker played JJ on Good Times where his catchphrase “Dyn-o-mite!” became famous. Audiences loved his ability to turn JJ into a strong comedic character and so did the studio. He was given an increasing amount of air time with each episode and his talent was able to shine. While working on Good Times, Jimmie Walker spent his time off-set honing his comedic chops and worked with future celebrity comedy writers David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Behind the scenes of Good Times, things were not quite so happy. In an interview with Television Academy, Walker talked about the close-knit cast members and revealed that there was a gulf between supporting actors and the main couple and they rarely shared any words when not reading off the script. Despite the lack of a strong backstage relationship with co-stars on the show, Jimmie did not let anything hold him back from pursuing success. He went on to be nominated for two Golden Globes in the 1970s and won TV Land Awards Impact Award in 2006. He is still entertaining and charming audiences with his stand-up routines.

You will know our next seventies celebrity for his roles in The Greatest Story Ever Told, Cape Fear, and Kojak. Telly Savalas started acting later in life than most. He was in his thirties when he first began auditioning for roles in films. Savalas was featured on the cover of People magazine in 1974 to the delight of women all over the country. It was the first issue of People that sold over a million copies and readers were demanding more of Savalas.

 He had a unique look in the 70s. For his role as Pontius Pilot in The Greatest Story Ever Told he needed to shave his head and he chose to keep that style which worked in his favor. The shaved head and deep voice gave him a unique appearance on screen and lent gravitas to his characters like Lt. Theo Kojak and Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Off-screen Savalas had spent quite a bit of time developing hobbies and skills before he turned to acting. He was a top-rated poker player and golfer. Savalas also had a degree in psychology. He was an actor with depth and his talent made it easy for peers and the television audience to fall in love with his characters. He went on to win two Golden Globes an Emmy and got a star on the Walk of Fame. Sadly, Savalas passed away from cancer in 1994 but his iconic roles continue to entertain audiences.

For a change of pace, our next seventies stars started out as knockout singers before they moved to television. Husband and wife team Sonny Bono and Cher have been household names for decades because of their talent and range both on the band stage and onscreen. Originally, they were back-up singers for Phil Specter before bursting into the spotlight with their twin hits “I Got You Babe” and”Baby Don’t Go.” They first got a number one hit on the Billboard 100 in 1965. From there they rocketed into superstardom and branched out into multiple areas including television. They have been called the greatest duet acts in history by Rolling Stone and Billboard.

Sonny and Cher moved to the small screen in the 1970s and this increased their brand awareness exponentially. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour ended up gaining fifteen Emmy nominations over the years and held a slot in the top ten shows for four years. It finally ended when they divorced in 1974. Each went on to star in their own individual shows and Cher was able to make some success with this but it never quite achieved the same acclaim as their original show so two years later in 1976 they came back together in the Sonny & Cher Show. Their personal relationship never quite settled and tension remained between them. Though the show had excellent ratings and good numbers they ended after only two seasons due to personal conflicts.

After leaving to pursue their separate careers Sonny and Cher both continued to find success. Sonny went into politics and became the mayor of Palm Springs. He died tragically in an accident in 1998. Cher continues to be one of the biggest stars on the planet and has won a Grammy, Emmy, multiple Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. Despite their contentious relationship over the years Sonny and Cher will always be one of the most iconic couples of the seventies.

We all know Khan from Star Trek fame. Ricardo Montalban is one of the most loved celebrities to start out in the seventies. He is well known for many characters that he has brought to life over the years including Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island, Armando in The Planet of the Apes, and his Emmy award-winning role in How the West Was Won. Montalban was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild in 1993 for his outstanding abilities. In his personal life, he kept a strict diet and training regime which kept him in top shape which was evident when he played the iconic anti-hero, Khan in Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek series.

Well, that is it for this video! We hope you enjoyed learning more about the stars of the seventies. Which actors did you prefer, dedicated television stars like Alan Alda or the broad range of Sonny and Cher who took to singing and acting throughout their career? Tell us in the comments below. And if you liked this video do not forget to hit the like button and subscribe to Fact Verse for more great content!

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