The decade opened with Hollywood facing a financial slump, reflecting the monetary woes of the nation as a whole during the first half of the decade. Despite this, the 1970’s proved to be a benchmark decade in the development of cinema, both as an art form and a business.
With young filmmakers taking greater risks and restrictions regarding language and sexuality lifting, Hollywood produced some of its most critically acclaimed and financially successful films since its supposed “golden era.”
Ladd, initially came to Hollywood in 1970 to begin a career in music (she was known as “Cherie Moor” when she was the singing voice of Melody on Hanna-Barbera’s, Josie and the Pussycats animated series).She soon began to land non-singing roles in commercials and episodic television—including guest appearances on shows such as The Rookies, The Partridge Family and Happy Days.
The Charlie’s Angels series made her an overnight star, and Ladd, took the opportunity of her sudden popularity to further pursue her musical interests, guest-starring in musical-comedy variety series and specials, performing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl XIV in January 1980, and releasing three albums, enjoying a Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 single and a Gold record. In September 2000, Ladd, starred on Broadway, taking over the title role from Bernadette Peters in a revival of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. She played the role until January 2001, when Reba McEntire took over
Streep, made her professional stage debut in The Playboy of Seville in 1971, and went on to receive a 1976 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton. She made her screen debut in the 1977 television film The Deadliest Season, and made her film debut later that same year in Julia.
Dunaway’s career began in the early 1960’s on Broadway. She made her screen debut in the 1967 film The Happening, and rose to fame that same year with the gangster film Bonnie and Clyde, for which she received her first Academy Award nomination.
Her most notable films include the crime caper The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), the neo-noir mystery Chinatown (1974), for which she earned her second Oscar nomination, the action-drama disaster The Towering Inferno (1974), the political thriller Three Days of the Condor (1975) and the satirical Network (1976), for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress.
The quirky tomboy began her career on stage and made her screen debut in 1970. Her first major film role was as Kay Adams-Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but the films that shaped her early career were those with director and co-star Woody Allen, beginning with Play It Again, Sam in 1972. Her next two films with Allen, Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975), established her as a comic actor. Her fourth, Annie Hall (1977), won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Keaton subsequently expanded her range to avoid becoming typecast as her Annie Hall persona. She became an accomplished dramatic performer, starring in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) and received Academy Award nominations for Reds (1981), Marvin’s Room (1996) and Something’s Gotta Give (2003).
Foster began her career at the age of three as a child model in 1965, and two years later moved to acting in television series with an appearance in the sitcom Mayberry R.F.D.. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, she worked in several prime-time television series and starred in children’s films.
Foster’s breakthrough came in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976), in which she played a teenage prostitute; the role garnered her a nomination for an Academy Award. Her other critically acclaimed roles as a teenager were in the musical Bugsy Malone (1976) and the thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), and she became a popular teen idol by starring in Disney’s Freaky Friday (1976), Candleshoe (1977) and Foxes (1980).
In 1973, Fisher enrolled at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, which she attended for eighteen months.
She made her film debut in the Columbia comedy Shampoo (1975) starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, with Lee Grant and Jack Warden as her character’s parents. In 1977, Fisher starred as Princess Leia, in George Lucas’s science-fiction film Star Wars (later re-titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) opposite Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
At the time, she believed the script for Star Wars was fantastic, but did not expect many people to agree with her, and though her fellow actors were not close at the time, they bonded after the commercial success of the film.The huge success of Star Wars made her internationally famous.
Newton-John’s career soared after she starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease in 1978. She was offered the lead role of Sandy after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party at Helen Reddy’s home.
Burned by her Toomorrow experience and concerned that she was too old to play a high school senior (she turned 29 during the Grease’s 1977 filming), Newton-John insisted on a screen test with the film’s co-star, John Travolta.
The film accommodated Newton-John’s Australian accent by recasting her character from the play’s original American Sandy Dumbrowski to Sandy Olson, an Australian who holidays and then moves with her family to the U.S. Newton-John previewed some of the film’s soundtrack during her second American network television special, Olivia, featuring guests ABBA and Andy Gibb.
Her Laugh-In persona was parlayed into three popular film appearances in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s: Cactus Flower, There’s a Girl in My Soup, and Butterflies Are Free. Hawn, had made her feature film debut in a bit role as a giggling dancer in the 1968 film The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, in which she was billed as “Goldie Jeanne”, but in her first major film role, in Cactus Flower (1969), she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Walter Matthau’s suicidal fiancée.
After Hawn’s Academy Award win, her film career took off. She starred in a string of above average and successful comedies starting with There’s a Girl in My Soup (1970), $ (1971), and Butterflies Are Free (1972). She continued proving herself in the dramatic league with the 1974 satirical dramas, The Girl from Petrovka and The Sugarland Express, and Shampoo in 1975. She also hosted two television specials: Pure Goldie in 1971 and The Goldie Hawn Special in 1978. The latter was a sort of comeback for Hawn, who had been out of the spotlight for two years since the 1976 release of The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, while she was focusing on her marriage and the birth of her son.
In 1972, Carter won a local Arizona beauty contest and gained national attention in the United States by winning Miss World USA, representing Arizona.In the international 1972 Miss World Pageant, representing the United States, she reached the semi-finals.
After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she made her first acting appearance, in an episode of the 1974 police drama Nakia entitled “Roots of Anger”. She then began making appearances on such TV shows as Starsky and Hutch and Cos, and in several “B” movies.
Carter’s acting career took off when she landed the starring role on Wonder Woman as the title character and her secret identity, Diana Prince. The savings her parents had set aside for her to pursue acting in Los Angeles were almost depleted, and she was close to returning to Arizona, when Carter’s manager informed her that Joanna Cassidy lost the part to her. Carter’s earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, such that Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman.
Fawcett, rose to international fame when she posed for her iconic red swimsuit poster – which became the best selling pin-up poster in history – and starred as private investigator Jill Munroe, in the first season of the television series Charlie’s Angels (1976–77). In 1996, she was ranked No. 26 on TV Guide‘s “50 Greatest TV stars of All-Time”.
Fawcett began her career in 1968 in commercials and guest roles on television. During the 1970’s, she appeared in numerous television series, including recurring roles on Harry O (1974–76), and The Six Million Dollar Man (1974–78) with then husband, film and television star Lee Majors. Her breakthrough role came in 1976, when she was cast as Jill Munroe in the ABC series Charlie’s Angels, alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
The show propelled all three to stardom, but especially Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors). After appearing in only the first season, Fawcett decided to leave the show, which led to legal disputes. Eventually she signed a contract requiring her to make six guest appearances in the show’s third and fourth seasons (1978–80). For her role in Charlie’s Angels she received her first Golden Globe nomination.