Take a trip with us as we go back and examine some of the biggest stars of a wonderful decade for music, movies, and television. We’ll check out some of the greatest celebrities of the 1970s and see what they’ve been up to since their heyday. You’ll even get to see how they’ve changed and what they look like today! In many cases, you’ll be shocked to see the difference.
Early in her career, Goldie Hawn quickly gained a reputation for being able to make people laugh on shows like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She then broadened out to appear in There’s A Girl In My Soup and Butterflies are Free. In the 80s, she was seen in films such as Overboard, which paired her with longtime beau Kurt Russell. She returned to acting after a lengthy hiatus recently and starred in Snatched with Amy Schumer.
Michael Douglas started acting in the early 1970s on the show The Streets of San Francisco. He would go on to become one of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s, but he certainly hasn’t stopped there. In more recent years, his roles included that of Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He is also known for his lengthy relationship with Catherine Zeta-Jones.
When the blaxploitation era arrived, Pam Grier was unquestionably the first lady of the genre. Her credits during those days included Foxy Brown, Coffy, and Sheba, Baby. She has enjoyed a career resurgence since her role in Jackie Brown, appearing in movies such as The Man With the Iron Fists and shows such as The L Word.
Who can forget John Travolta in roles such as his character on Welcome Back, Kotter? By the time Travolta starred in Saturday Night Fever, he was a megastar already. He went on to star in Grease and Staying Alive as well as family fare such as Look Who’s Talking. He’s had some high profile flops like Battlefield Earth, but has also appeared in such screen classics as Pulp Fiction, which helped revitalize his career.
Ann-Margret was already a star when the 1970s began, having acted in movies such as Bye Bye Birdie. In the 1970s, she kept the momentum going in such films as Carnal Knowledge and The Cheap Detective. Later on, she would star as the object of every man’s affections in Grumpy Old Man and the 2017 film Going In Style. Not everyone knows that she’s also a singer that has released 14 albums!
Dustin Hoffman made a name for himself in The Graduate and kept up the momentum with Straw Dogs, Papillon, and other films. He won an Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1979. He now does a number of more comedic films, such as the Meet the Parents series and Kung Fu Panda. He also directed the film Quartet.
Angela Tremble is not someone most people would know of, but that’s the woman who would grow up and front the band Blondie under the name of Debbie Harry. In the late 1970s, Blondie had hits with songs such as “Rapture.” In the ensuing decades, Debbie has remained active in music, even releasing a new album in 2017, but has also spent a lot of time doing charity work for human rights causes.
Burt Reynolds was known as a mustachioed sex symbol in the 1970s, when he played a wide variety of roles that included films like Deliverance, White Lightning, and Smokey & the Bandit. Later on, he would continue to act in the remake of The Longest Yard and the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights. Best of all, he has kept the mustache after all these years.
In 1973, Sissy Spacek came out of nowhere to earn universal praise for her role in the film Badlands. Not long after, she earned an Academy Award nomination for the lead role in the Stephen King-authored film Carrie. She is the only person to act in Best Picture-nominated films in the 1980s (Missing), 1990s (JFK), 2000s (In the Bedroom), and 2010s (The Help).
Although he has been seen playing roles such as Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, in recent years, Michael Caine once made his living playing no-nonsense tough guys. He was in films such as Get Carter, Kidnapped, Pulp, and Sleuth. His acting career has been a testament to his ability to adjust to different roles as he’s aged.
If the name Catherine Bach doesn’t remind you of anyone, maybe the name “Daisy Duke” will. Catherine played the iconic female lead of the hit show The Dukes of Hazzard from 1979 to 1985. She continued to act in films afterward and more recently has been seen as Anita Lawson in The Young and the Restless. She also acted in the TV movie My Best Friend.
The Godfather and its sequels were some of the biggest films of the 20th century, and they gave Al Pacino instant stardom. He continued the trend with roles in Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, and other films. Like Robert De Niro, he has trended towards goofier roles in recent years, but nobody has forgotten that the star of Scent of a Woman can act.
In 1979, Michelle Pfeiffer got the first real break of her acting career with a small role in the TV show Delta House. She was briefly considered as a new cast member for Charlie’s Angels but didn’t get the role. She did, however, star in Grease 2 and her career really took off with Scarface. She continues to act to this day.
David Cassidy is a man that needs no introduction, especially for fans of The Partridge Family in the 1970s. He not only acted, but also made music during the decade. He continued to act for many years and performed live in front of thousands of crowds during the late 20th century and into the 2000s. However, he sadly died due to liver failure last year.
Nastassja Kinski is not a household name, but many fans of 1970s movies and films will remember her as Francesca in the 1978 movie Stay As You Are. She also appeared in Tess in 1979, for which she received a pair of Golden Globe nominations. Although she never quite became an A-list actress, she continues to appear in both American and German films to this day.
As the 1960s concluded, Donny Osmond was already a star for being the lead singer of The Osmonds. In the 1970s, he went solo and kept the hits coming. He also hosted a variety show with his sister, Marie Osmond. He had a tough time transitioning into the 80s and 90s, but he continues to act in stage productions and also hosts a radio show between performances with sister Marie.
The so-called “Bond girls” from the tremendously successful James Bond films were a huge part of the 1960s and 70s, and Jane Seymour was certainly one of the best of them. She was in the 007 film Live and Let Die and then appeared in shows and movies such as Battlestar Galactica and The Four Feathers. She has also shown an interest in writing and jewelry design.
Erik Estrada gained acclaim as Frank “Ponch” Poncharello in the TV series CHiPs, a role he played for six seasons starting in 1977. Since then he has led a full long career on television, appearing in many different soap operas and telenovelas. In addition, he established himself as a voice actor on the series Sealab 2021 and frequently appears as a guest star on My Name Is Earl and The King of Queens.
Duane “Dog” Chapman
Duane “Dog” Chapman has been a bounty hunter for over thirty years. He first came to attention when he was featured on the TV show Take This Job. This led to his own series Dog The Bounty Hunter. The show was incredibly successful and featured Chapman hunting fugitives alongside his son and wife. Such was the success that Chapman even wrote two books, both bestsellers! After 8 seasons, Dog The Bounty Hunter was cancelled, but viewers were so enamored with the Chapman family that he and his started a new show Dog And Beth: On The Hunt.
Robert Conrad’s star shone brightest when he portrayed Captain James T. West on the hit show Wild Wild West from 1965-1969. The show was a huge hit and, despite other roles on shows like Hawaiian Eye and Mission Impossible, remains the role he’s most identified with. Conrad transitioned to producing in the 80s and today hosts a weekly radio program.
With his tall thin frame and bushy mustache, Sam Elliot has always left an impression in movies. Ever since the late 60’s he has frequently taken roles as cowboys or army men, roles that impress you with the seriousness of the characters. He has worked regularly his whole career and can be most remembered from Roadhouse, Tombstone, and The Big Lebowski.
Kathy Ireland rose to fame in the 1980’s as one of the most successful models of the decade. She appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan, and is best known on appearing in 13 different editions of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. In the 90’s, Ireland moved into acting, appearing in such shows as Melrose Place and The Larry Sanders Show, but she most made her mark as a fashion designer. Starting in 1993, she began her own line of apparel that was bought by Kmart. Since then she has grown one line fashion into a multi-line $2.5 billion a year empire.
Long before Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman on the big screen, Lynda Carter immortalized the character on the 1970s TV series. A multi-talented performer, she also performed as a musician during that time, with some of her music even making it on to the show. More recently, she re-entered the world of superheroes with a role on Supergirl and filmed a role in the upcoming Super Troopers 2.
Jack Nicholson really became a huge star during the 1970s, starting the decade off with an Academy Award nomination for Five Easy Pieces and earning his first Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He has not acted in several years but has not officially retired, either. He does continue to make public appearances at L.A. Lakers games and other events.
Dolly Parton is a performer that needs no introduction, having been famous not only for her musical performances, but also her acting on television and movie screens. She first came to the public eye with her hit country singles in the 1970s before hosting a variety show later in the decade. These days, she not only has her own theme park, but also continues to tour and make new music.
Who can forget Clint Eastwood? Back in the 70s, Clint was still known for acting in a lot of Spaghetti Westerns, although he had already started to branch out with roles in the Dirty Harry series and Every Which Way But Loose. These days, Clint has moved on and concentrates a lot of his time to work behind the camera as a highly acclaimed director.
Julie Andrews was a star that could do it all: act, sing, and dance. This was never more evident than in her performances in the classic musicals Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. She also performed in numerous variety shows on TV during the 1970s. In recent years, she has broadened her horizons and done voice work in movies such as the hit Despicable Me 3.
Robert Redford has long been a popular name among movie and TV fans, especially due to his roles in such films as The Sting, The Great Gatsby, and The Candidate. He also has been a successful director, earning an Academy Award for Ordinary People. He founded the Sundance Film Festival to help young actors and filmmakers live their dreams.
Although Diane Lane really became a big star in the 80s and 90s, it was in 1979 that she made her on-screen debut in the film A Little Romance. She would go on to appear in films like The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. More recently, she appeared in films such as the steamy Unfaithful and Man of Steel as Martha Kent, mother of Superman himself.
Leif Garrett was one of the most popular teen idols of his time, despite never having a huge amount of chart-topping hits as a musician. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he had a difficult time keeping himself in the public eye as the years passed; at least, for the right reasons. He did made a number of headlines for drug arrests over the years and appeared on a number of reality TV shows.
Marilu Henner spent the first several years of the 1970s as an actress in the musical Grease. She eventually transitioned to the big screen, appearing in 1977’s Between the Lines. The next year, she got the role of Elaine Nardo in Taxi, one of the most popular sitcoms of the 20th century. One fun fact about Henner is she has one of just 12 people to have a highly superior autobiographical memory, which allows her to recall almost every minor detail of her life.
Bobby Sherman was not only a huge music star in the 1960s and 70s, but he was a very prolific artist, as well. Over a 14 year period, Sherman released 10 albums with 107 songs, including hits like the song “Little Woman.” He surprisingly left the public eye in the late 1970s, starting to work as a paramedic and police officer. He has made some acting and music performances throughout the years, too.
The Bee Gees were one of the most successful groups of the 1970s, even if the disco era did burn out very quickly in the early 80s. Andy was the youngest member of the group and also had a number of successful solo hits, too. Andy regularly tried to come back onto the scene and regain his musical relevance, but drug problems kept him from doing so and ultimately claimed his life at a relatively young age.
Jaclyn Smith has had a long career in show business, but it’s undeniable that her first big role was in the 1970s as part of the TV series Charlie’s Angels. She spent several seasons as part of the show, then went on to appear in TV shows and movies that included Christina Cromwell and The District. She also saw success off the screen as a fashion designer. Most recently, she starred in the TV movie Bridal Wave.
It may be surprising to most people to read this, but in the early 1970s Harrison Ford had given up on his acting dream momentarily, taking work as a carpenter to pay the bills. In 1977, he was cast in a sci-fi movie called Star Wars, which changed his luck altogether. Soon he was starring in the Indiana Jones series and movies such as Air Force One and What Lies Beneath. He recently came full circle with one last performance as Han Solo in The Force Awakens. In his spare time, Harrison enjoys flying planes.