From protests to flower power to the trending hairstyles, the ‘70s were truly “far out.” These leading ladies of 1970s Hollywood were some of the most influential trendsetters, activists, and artists of the era – let’s see if you recognize them now!
Actress Goldie Hawn started her career as a go-go dancer until she was discovered by an agent in 1967. She took on smaller parts until landing her breakout role in the popular NBC comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Just one year after making it big on the small screen, Hawn won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for best-supporting actress in the 1969 film Catcus Flower.
In 1976, Hawn married her second husband Bill Hudson. The couple had two children together, including actress Kate Hudson! Following her divorce from Hudson in 1982, Hawn reconnected with previous co-star Kurt Russell. The pair met while filming The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band in the 1960s and were reunited on the set of Swing Shift in 1983. Hawn and Russell have been inseparable ever since!
More recently, Hawn has appeared alongside younger comedic actresses like Amy Schumer in the 2017 movie Snatched (her first time back on screen since 2002!)
Before she was the iconic raven-haired songstress Cher, she was Cherilyn Sarkisian. At just 16 years old, Cher moved to Los Angeles where she first met Salvatore Bono (AKA Sonny). They married in 1964 and began touring the United States as a musical act. Their song “I Got You Babe” was their first hit, selling over three million copies!
In 1971, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted on television and continued until Sonny and Cher‘s divorce in 1974. Cher used this time to develop a successful nightclub performance and tried her hand at acting. In 1988 she won an Academy Award for her role in the 1987 film Moonstruck. Even with a successful acting career, Cher never gave up on music. She release two hit albums Cher (1987) and Heart of Stone (1989), she also won a Grammy award for her 2000 hit single “Believe.”
Recently, Cher has continued to appear in TV and popular musical films like Burlesque and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She also performed for not one, but two concert residencies in Las Vegas! Cher continues to be a social figure and her many philanthropic endeavors have raised awareness for LGBTQIA+ issues and HIV/AIDS.
Diane Keaton was born in 1946 in Los Angeles, California. After studying acting in college, Keaton’s first roles were in Broadway plays – including landing the leading role in Woody Allen’s 1969 play Play It Again, Sam which she later reprised for the film version of the play. Her first film debut in Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) highlighted her signature skills in comedic acting.
In 1977, Keaton played the leading role in the Acadamy Award-winning film Annie Hall. The film, which was written by Woody Allen, was actually based on the real-life relationship between Keaton and Allen!
More recently, Keaton has appeared in romantic comedies like Something’s Gotta Give (2003), The Family Stone (2005); Because I Said So (2007); The Big Wedding (2013), And So It Goes (2014), and Love the Coopers (2015). Keaton has also become a fashion icon known for her classic, menswear-inspired looks.
British-Australian singer, songwriter, actress, and activist Olivia Newton-John is best known for her role as Sandy in the 1978 musical classic Grease. Newton-John’s early success began in 1971 when her cover of Bob Dylan’s song “All Things Must Pass” landed on the US and UK pop charts. Her next single, “Banks of the Ohio” was a top 10 hit in Australia and the UK.
Throughout the 1970s Olivia Newton-John continued to make music. Her 1974 album If You Love Me, Let Me Know featured several singles that topped the US pop and country charts. Just 154 days later her next album, Have You Never Been Mellow, held the Guinness World Record for the shortest gap by a female between new Number 1 albums on the US Billboard 200 album charts, until Taylor Swift beat the record in 2020.
When Grease hit box offices in 1978, Olivia Newton-John’s popularity took off, and the Grease soundtrack remains one of the most successful albums of all time. Newton-John continued to make music until the early 2000s, her most recent releases include several Christmas albums.
In 1992, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer the same weekend her father died after his own battle with cancer. After undergoing a mastectomy, Newton-John fully recovered from cancer. She continues to raise awareness for cancer and cancer research, which is memorialized in the newly-named Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Victoria, Australia.
Actress and political activist Jane Fonda was born into a talented family. The daughter of actor Henry Fonda, Jane began her career on Broadway in the 1960 production of the play There Was A Little Girl. The same year, Fonda appeared in her first film Tall Story. Throughout the 1960s, she continued to act in comedies like Barefoot in the Park (1967).
Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Jane Fonda was also extremely active in political justice movements like the Civil Rights Movement and the opposition to the Vietnam War. She is also a lifelong feminist, environmental activist, and ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the 1980s Jane Fonda was featured on screen in a whole new light as her career as a fitness star took off. Her first workout tape released in 1982, Jane Fonda’s Workout, was a huge success – launching an aerobics craze that continued well into the late 1990s and early 2000s. Another 23 workout videos would follow, with Fonda clad in her iconic high-cut leotard and leg warmers.
Even though she is in her 80s, Jane Fonda continues to work in television, movies, and her many philanthropic endeavors. The hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, starring Fonda and another ’70s starlet, Lily Tomlin, has introduced Jane Fonda to a newer generation of viewers.
Stevie Nicks, born Stephanie Lee Nicks, rose to stardom in the early 1970s as a singer-songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. Many of the group’s greatest hits, like “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” were written shortly after Nicks joined Mick Fleetwood and his band. Prior to joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks recorded and performed with her high school sweetheart and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.
Practically overnight, Stevie Nicks became a rock and roll sensation. Despite their newfound fame, the relationships that held Fleetwood Mac together began to disintegrate. John and Christine McVie filed for divorce in 1976, Mick Fleetwood left his wife, while Nicks and Buckingham were in the midst of a nasty split.
All the drama culminated in the 1977 hit album, Rumours, which was the number one album on the Billboard 200 charts for over 30 weeks! By 1981, Nicks decided to pursue a solo career. Throughout the 1980s the singer produced several successful albums. However, a growing problem with drug abuse continued until finally, Nicks detoxed from drugs in 1987.
After their reunion in 1997 and the release of a new album, Fleetwood Mac seem to be on good terms. In 2019, Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.
’70s actress and sex symbol B0 Derek was born in 1956 as Mary Cathleen Collins. The California native met her first husband, 46-year-old filmmaker John Derek, when she was just 16 years old. The couple ran away to Germany to avoid criminal charges because of the young girl’s age. In 1976 John Derek and Mary Collins were married. The 19-year-old took her former stage name Bo and her married name to create her new name, Bo Derek.
After starring in Orca – The Killer Whale, Derek landed the leading role in the 1979 film 10. Her braided hair and tan swimsuit made her a sensation with audiences. Her newfound fame as a sex symbol helped launch Derek’s career in more risque media, including several Playboy covers and even an X-rated film directed by her husband John Derek.
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Bo Derek is also passionate about wildlife and animal welfare, especially her horses. In 2020 she married her second husband John Corbett, and the couple lives together at their ranch in Santa Barbara, California.