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Iconic ’70s and ’80s TV stars, then and now

Iconic ’70s and ’80s TV stars, then and now

Culture

Ted Danson

Remember tuning into your favorite TV programs after work or school during your youth? Some ’70s and ’80s TV stars might have had a significant impact on your upbringing, shaping how you saw the world. Or maybe you just had a big ol’ crush on them … 😉

Either way, we’ve dug up what they’ve been up to lately and what they look like now. It might make you wonder how you ever crushed on them in the first place …

Pam Grier

Some TV shows they’re known for: Miami Vice, Roots: The Next Generations

Then … U.S. actress Pam Grier rose to fame with starring roles in ‘70s films focused on women in prison and blaxploitation, notably Coffy and Foxy Brown.

Grier regularly appeared on Miami Vice in the ‘80s — perhaps that’s where you know her from?

Pam Grier

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Now … Later on in her career, Grier appeared in The L Word. More recently appeared in Bless This Mess from 2019 to 2020 and in the heartbreaking This Is Us.

Grier had been diagnosed with cancer in 1988 and given 18 months to live. She’s clearly defied the odds!

Maureen McCormick

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Brady Bunch

Then … “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”

Blonde bombshell Maureen McCormick played the iconic character Marcia Brady of The Brady Bunch. A large family consisting of three boys and three girls, the Bradys were a mainstay on many families’ TV sets.

Maureen McCormick

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Now … McCormick unfortunately struggled a lot in her personal life. When The Brady Bunch ended, she went through depression, addiction, and bulimia. All of these contributed to her dwindling reputation.

However, McCormick took control of her medical issues, publishing a book and making TV appearances.

John Travolta

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Rookies, Emergency!

Then … John Travolta also played the hip swivelin’ bad boy Danny in the movie version of musical Grease opposite Olivia Newton-John.

As a young actor, Travolta also appeared in The Rookies, Emergency! and Medical Center.

John Travolta

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Now … Travolta has had a storied career past his youthful days, appearing in many films. As far as TV goes, he played one of OJ Simpson’s lawyers in the first American Crime Story Netflix series.

Though he often appears on the red carpet sans hair, we still think Travolta is charming as ever. What say you?

David Soul

Some TV shows they’re known for: Starsky and Hutch

Then … David Soul is known for his role as detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson in TV program Starsky and Hutch. Soul acted alongside Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky) from 1975 to 1979.

David Soul

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Now … He’s not as busy as say Brad Pitt or someone, but Soul has had consistent acting credits. There’s his recent portrayal of John Davis in TV mini-series Cine Chalom (2020) for example.

Apparently the question that has haunted Soul since the ‘70s is whether he’s Starsky or Hutch. (Get it right, people!)

Lynda Carter

Some TV shows they’re known for: Wonder Woman

Then … Before there was Gal Gadot, Lynda Carter was who audiences knew as superhero Wonder Woman. Dressed in an all-American themed superhero suit, Wonder Woman’s image was one of strength and patriotism.

Lynda Carter

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Now … The actress known for portraying a superhero appeared on a show called Supergirl from 2016 to 2018. Instead of donning a cape or spandex, she takes on the role of president Olivia Marsdin. Sounds like a promotion, no?

Dolly Parton

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Porter Wagoner Show

Then … Dolly Parton is mainly known for her contributions to the world of country music but first rose to fame on The Porter Wagoner Show. Starring Porter Wagoner, the variety show featured various performers and talents.

Dolly Parton

Cherie A. Thurlby/U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons; Harry Langdon/Archive Photos via Getty Images

Now … Parton is in her 70s but is just as active as ever! In addition to still performing her music, Parton appears in various shows and movies.

She was in Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings in 2019, Snug’s House in 2017, various TV movies, and more.

Barbi Benton

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Love Boat, Riptide, Murder, She Wrote

Then … Born Barbara Lynn Klein, actress Barbi Benton is best known for her roles in X-Ray, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island.

She was romantically involved with Playboy boss Hugh Heffner at one point. Benton was 18 and Heffner was 42 …

Barbi Benton

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Now … Benton doesn’t have any recent acting credits (the last was The Love Boat) but she’s made some appearances as herself in various TV series. You might have seen her in Q N’ A with Mikki and Shay or The Girls Next Door.

Benton and Heffner’s romance subsided and she married George Gradow in 1974.

Erik Estrada

Some TV shows they’re known for: CHiPs

Then … Actor Erik Estrada is best known for portraying California Highway Patrol officer Frank Poncherello in TV show CHiPs. The ‘70s TV star is also known for Sealab 2021 and Loaded Weapon 1.

Estrada later went on to act in a Mexican telenovela in the early ‘90s. He’s done it all!

Erik Estrada

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Now … Estrada’s role as a police officer must have made quite an impression on him as he became a deputy sheriff for Bedford County, Virginia in 2009. Eventually, Estrada went on to become a reserve police officer in St. Anthony, Idaho — a long way from a Hollywood sound stage.

Lee Majors

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Six Million Dollar Man, Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law

Then … Born Harvey Lee Yeary in Michigan, he’s best known for work on TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, Scrooged, and The Fall Guy.

He’d previously been married to blonde bombshell and Charlie’s Angels star Farah Fawcett.

Lee Majors

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Now … Majors has had a long, storied career and is still acting today. Most recently, he played Jeff Tracy in Thunderbirds Are Go from 2019 to 2020 and appeared in Magnum P.I. (2019) and Full House sequel Fuller House (2018).

He’s now married to Faith Majors as of November 2002.

Barbara Eden

Some TV shows they’re known for: I Dream of Jeannie

Then … Cute and endearing Barbara Eden is probably best known for her starring role in the NBC TV comedy I Dream of Jeannie from 1965 to 1970. She made her first featured appearance on the famous I Love Lucy show in 1957.

Barbara Eden

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Now … Eden’s most recent acting credits are in My Adventures with Santa (2019), Shimmer and Shine (2016), and Always and Forever (2009). She’s a hard working woman in Hollywood, and probably will be working for a lot longer like Dolly Parton and John Travolta!

Paul Michael Glaser

Some TV shows they’re known for: Starsky & Hutch, Ray Donovan

Then … You probably recognize the very handsome brunette actor Paul Michael Glaser from the buddy cop TV show, Starsky & Hutch. From 1975 to 1979, he played detective Dave Starsky.

Although that’s his most recognizable role, Glaser has had a busy career throughout the decades.

Paul Michael Glaser

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Now … Glaser made an appearance in the 2004 remake of Starsky & Hutch as the original Starsky.

That’s not the only acting gig Glaser has gotten, however. He appeared as Alan in TV series Ray Donovan, Leo in Grace and Frankie alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Walter Crew in The Mentalist, and a lot more.

Ted Danson

Some TV shows they’re known for: Cheers, The Good Place

Then … Handsome Ted Danson is likely best known to mature audiences for his role on sitcom Cheers. Alongside Shelley Long as Diane Chambers, Danson played bar owner Sam Malone. The pair was the classic will-they, won’t-they couple.

The high costs of the TV show Cheers were mostly due to Danson’ sky high salary. (Diva much, Ted?)

Ted Danson

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Now … Cheers ended when Danson quit but Danson’s career lived on.

Still handsome as a silver fox, he’s appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm as a fictionalized version of himself, and notably Michael in The Good Place opposite Kristen Bell. Still on point with his comedic timing, Danson’s character is a favorite among fans.

Catherine Bach

Some TV shows they’re known for: Dukes of Hazzard

Then … Who wears the short shorts? Catherine Bach wore the short shorts as sassy Daisy Duke in Dukes of Hazzard. Set in Northern Georgia, the show follows the Duke brothers as they get into shenanigans in their trusty car General Lee.

Catherine Bach

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Now … Jessica Simpson reprises Bach’s role as Daisy Duke in the Dukes of Hazzard remake but Bach has continued her acting career outside of the show that made her famous.

She played Anita Lawson from 2016 to 2019 in soap opera The Young and the Restless (how long has that show been going on? Too long you say?), played Margo Dutton in African Skies and more.

Gregory Harrison

Some TV shows they’re known for: Trapper John, M.D.

Then … Actor and producer Gregory Harrison is best known for portraying Dr. George Alonzo ‘Gonzo’ Gates in doctor drama Trapper John M.D. The show told the tale of M*A*S*H* character Trapper John acting as chief surgeon in a big city.

Gregory Harrison

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Now … Harrison is reprising his role as a doctor in Hour of Lead (2020) as Dr. Bradley. Other acting credits post-Trapper John, M.D. include Chesapeake Shores as Thomas O’Brien and Rizzoli & Isles as Ron Hanson.

He’s married to fellow actor Randi Oakes with whom he has four children.

Jimmie Walker

Some TV shows they’re known for: Good Times

Then … Actor Jimmie Walker is best known for playing J.J. Evans on Good Times. J.J. was always struttin’ and smiling a big gleamy smile.

Walker came from a rough background but was able to make it to stardom in Hollywood.

Jimmie Walker

CBS Photo Archive via IMDb; Monica Morgan/WireImage via Getty Images

Now … With the demise of Good Times, Walker didn’t get as many acting roles. However, his career didn’t implode like some former ‘70s TV stars.

His main focus after Good Times was stand up comedy. Walker tours many weeks of the year and works on TV and film scripts in his spare time.

Cherilyn “Cher” Sakisian

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour

Then … Of Armenian descent, Cher was born in the Southern California town of El Centro in 1946. Little did her family know, she’d make it big in another SoCal town — Hollywood.

Things changed for Cher when she met romantic partner Sonny Bono. Together, they created The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

Cher

CBS Photo Archive via IMDb; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Now … Cher’s career has thrived without Sonny Bono (the pair split and Bono later worked as a politician before dying in a skiing accident). The dark haired beauty has had an illustrious music career (“Do you believe in life after love????”) and appeared in various TV series and movies.

Some of the best known might be Moonstruck, Will & Grace, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Joan Collins

Some TV shows they’re known for: Dynasty, Arthur Hailey’s the Moneychangers

Then … Actress Joan Collins is likely best known for her role as Alexis Carrington Colby on the drama fueled TV series Dynasty. The program was about a ridiculously wealthy family in Denver, Colorado, and all the “catfights” and drama they got into.

Joan Collins

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Now … The CW has revived Dynasty with new, younger actors but whatever drama is happening on their set pales in comparison to the behind-the-scenes drama of Collins’ Dynasty.

Collins has moved on from the catfights to appear in The Royals, American Horror Story, Benidorm, and a couple features that are in pre-production.

Robert Conrad

Some TV shows they’re known for: Black Sheep Squadron

Then … It was fellow actor Nick Adams that helped Robert Conrad get some of his first Hollywood work. One of his first gigs included Tom Lopaka on Hawaiian Eye.

Eventually he scored a role on Black Sheep Squadron.

Robert Conrad

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Now … His most recent acting credits were in 2002, according to Conrad’s IMDb page. That was his portrayal as Reed Wilson in Dead Above Ground.

Conrad was more active in the ‘90s as far as acting goes, with credits in High Sierra Search and Rescue and Samurai Cowboy.

Charo

Some TV shows they’re known for: Chico and the Man

Then … Spanish actress and musician Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza — known professionally as Charo — is known for her humor and catchphrase “Cuchi cuchi!”

She’s appeared in many films and TV shows. Some TV series include Chico and the Man and Ironside.

Charo

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Now … Charo is 69 years old but still active! An accomplished flamenco guitar player, she’s appeared in various TV programs with and without her guitar.

Just some of the TV shows she’s appeared on: Dancing with the Stars, Jane the Virgin, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, and many more.

She’s been married twice and has a son with her late husband — he’s quite the looker if I do say so myself …

Randolph Mantooth

Some TV shows they’re known for: Emergency!

Then … Actor Randolph Mantooth made a name for himself in show business (he’s got quite an unforgettable name at that) with the medical drama Emergency! His tall, dark, and handsome looks made women and men swoon across the nation.

Randolph Mantooth

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Now … Unfortunately, Mantooth’s entertainment career slowed a bit in the ‘80s but IMDb says he found some success in soap operas and acting in theater productions.

Some of Mantooth’s most recent acting credits are in Truth… and everything else, Killer Holiday, Sons of Anarchy, and more.

Gil Gerard

Some TV shows they’re known for: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Then … This handsome devil is best known for his role as the famous Captain William “Buck” Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The show was what people in the late ‘70s early ‘80s thought the future was going to look like and, well, they’re wrong …

Gil Gerard

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Now … Little did fans know that the actor had struggled with weight issues for 40 years. (You can’t tell by his svelte physique in Buck Rogers’ space suit, no?) Rising to over 350 pounds, Gerard documented his gastric bypass surgery in a Discovery Health Channel documentary Action Hero Makeover in 2005.

Greg Evigan

Some TV shows they’re known for: B.J. and the Bear, My Two Dads

Then … Actor Greg Evigan played B.J. McKay in comedy series B.J. and the Bear from 1978 to 1981 and appeared in The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979). His second major leading role audiences know him for is Joey Harris in My Two Dads.

Greg Evigan

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Now … Evigan got married in 1979 to dancer Pamela C. Serpe with whom he had three children. Both of their daughters are actresses while his son is a musician in a band.

Evigan has stayed active in the entertainment industry just like his children have. His latest acting credits include the films Terror Birds and A Thousand Miles Behind.

John Scheider

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Dukes of Hazzard

Then … John Scheider played Bo Duke on popular comedy show The Dukes of Hazzard opposite Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke). As we mentioned in a previous slide, this show is about the Duke brothers driving around Northern Georgia getting into shenanigans.

John Scheider

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Now … Schneider continued working in the entertainment industry, appearing in TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and Glee and films like American Justice and Roe v. Wade.

Schneider got himself into a spot of trouble, however, in 2018 when he briefly went to jail for failing to pay alimony to his estranged wife.

Shaun Cassidy

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Hardy Boys Mysteries

Then … Shaun Cassidy played Joe Hardy, one of two Hardy boys, in The Hardy Boys Mysteries from 1977 to 1979. Based on the mystery book series, the TV program followed the Hardy brothers as they solved cases.

Shaun Cassidy

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Now … He no longer has that floppy hair or a lot of recent acting credits. Instead, Cassidy has more writing credits to his name as of late, including New Amsterdam, Emerald City 2, Hysteria, and more.

Like a lot of actors, Cassidy has been married three times. He has a whopping eight children!

Alan Alda

Some TV shows they’re known for: M*A*S*H

Then … The tall Alan Alda is known for his portrayal of Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce in TV show M*A*S*H from 1972 to 1983.

Perhaps Alda’s experience in the ROTC and the U.S. Army Reserve prepare him for M*A*S*H which is about soldiers.

Alan Alda

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Now … Beyond M*A*S*H, Alda had other recurring roles on TV shows The West Wing, 30 Rock, and many films.

In particular, Alda was in the much lauded Marriage Story on Netflix. Another notable role was Uncle Pete in Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete web series.

Susan Dey

Some TV shows they’re known for: The Partridge Family

Then … Laurie Partridge is the character that Susan Dey portrayed on TV show The Partridge Family from 1970 to 1974.

During filming, she had feelings for co-star David Cassidy. They dated but he broke it off.

Susan Dey

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Now … Dey doesn’t have very many recent acting credits — the last was in 2004 as Dr. Breene in the TV show Third Watch and Diane Davis in Rain.

Outside of acting, Dey is on the board of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center.

June Lockhart

Some TV shows they’re known for: Lassie, General Hospital

Then … Actress June Lockhart acted in several popular TV shows mostly as a maternal character. There was the Lassie TV series in which she played the mother Ruth Martin. Then, there was Maureen Robinson in Lost in Space.

June Lockhart

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Now … Lockhart is 94 years old right now, so as you can imagine, she’s slowed down a bit. But that didn’t stop her from appearing in Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm in 2019.

Some of her other recent acting credits include The Remake (2016), Tesla Effect (2014), and Zombie Hamlet (2012).

Loni Anderson

Some TV shows they’re known for: WKRP in Cincinnati

Then … This blonde bombshell and TV icon had her breakout hit as Jennifer Marlowe on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. The show earned her three Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy Award nominations.

Loni Anderson

ABC Photo Archives via IMDb; John Wolfsohn/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Now … Anderson’s recent acting credits are from 2018, according to her IMDb page. She’s appeared in the web series My Sister Is So Gay as Frances from 2016 to 2018.

Outside of acting, Anderson has been married four times. (Not uncommon for actors, no?)

Diahann Carroll

Some TV shows they’re known for: Dynasty, The Colbys

Then … Actress Diahann Carroll played the awesomely named character Dominique Deveraux in Dynasty. She was supposed to make cameos as Ms. Deveraux during season eight, says a report in Trend Chaser, but those plans were nixed due to the budget of the show. There were rumors about her joining the cast permanently.

Diahann Carroll

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Now … Carroll unfortunately passed very recently on October 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Carroll had plenty of roles post-famous ‘80s drama Dynasty. She’d been acting in the likes of Grey’s Anatomy in 2005 and White Collar in 2009. Her last acting credit on IMDb is The Masked Saint in 2016 in which she played Miss Edna.

Sources

Bale, Bernard. The Sunday Post. “Interview: Don’t give up on David Soul — just stop asking if he was Starsky or Hutch…” June 29, 2019.
DuBois, Stephanie. Tribune Media Services via The Spokesman Review. “Thinner Gerard back course.” March 8, 1999.
IMDb.com Accessed March 27, 2020 to April 7, 2020.