Where you came from ?! The '70s and '80s TV Stars We Grew Up On and Love
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The ’70s and ’80s TV Stars We Grew Up On and Love


1. Farrah Fawcett

To many, Farrah Fawcett was the “It girl” of the 70s and even years later. Many might know her best as the vivacious blonde who dazzled in Charlie’s Angels. However, she had plenty of other notable accomplishments to her name. You might also recognize her as that stunning woman who rocked the red swimsuit on a particularly popular pin-up poster.

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Beyond these things, she racked up numerous award nominations. These included six Golden Globe nominations and four Emmy Awards nominations. You likely also rejoiced when you spotted her guest-starring on such shows as I Dream of Jeannie and The Partridge Family.

2. Jodie Foster

Alicia Christian Foster, much better known to us as Jodie Foster, first rose to prominence in the mid-’60s and 70s when she appeared in a myriad of classic sitcoms of the time. In fact, she made her debut on television. Her most notable shows included Paper Moon and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Although her roles in these projects were relatively small, they helped her develop into the extraordinary actress many see her as today.

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After aging out of many of these childhood roles, Jodie Foster went on to attend Yale University and succeeded academically and socially. However, adjusting to the actress’s life after graduation was not easy for her. Fortunately, she persevered and eventually landed the role that solidified her place as a top-tier actress in the film Taxi Driver.

3. Mary Tyler Moore

Throughout the ’60s, Mary Tyler Moore captivated audiences as Laura Petrie in the beloved Dick Van Dyke Show. She was so well-received as an actress that she eventually scored a show of her own, aptly called The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show proved to be a huge success.

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Moore was such a pervasive television icon throughout the ’60s and ’70s that many critics pointed to her as an example of breaking the typical stereotypes surrounding a woman’s role both at home and at work. She also managed to dabble successfully in film, starring in such movies as Thoroughly Modern Millie and Ordinary People. Her work in the latter scored her an Oscar nomination.

4. Jane Seymour

Throughout the ’70s, Jane Seymour was the ultimate Bond girl. You can see her shine in the James Bond classic Live and Let Die. Beyond this, she has performed in a number of other critically acclaimed films including War and Remembrance, East of Eden, and Somewhere in Time.

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Her career only reached its peak in the ’90s when she starred as the titular character in the television drama series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She also has the awards to back up her long career such as two Golden Globes and an Emmy.

5. Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn has been a shining beacon of the entertainment industry since 1967, and she is still going strong today. Her first big break was the NBC sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-ins, which lasted six seasons.

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After that, Hawn went on to perform in the film that defined who she became as an actress: the 1969 comedy Cactus Flowers. The film earned her both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, both for Best Supporting Actress. After that, she appeared in film after film, all of which aimed to highlight both her charisma as an actress and her physical beauty. Her role in the 1980 film Private Benjamin scored her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

6. Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald gained recognition after starring as the adorable star in a production of the play Annie. Little did she know that one role would help catapult her to fame. To be specific, that part landed her the role of Molly Parker in the sitcom The Facts of Life.

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However, that was not the only part that helped solidify Molly Ringwald’s reputation as a serious stress. She also starred in the independent drama film Tempest in 1982 and was nominated for a Golden Globe as a result. Moreover, she has starred in such films as Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club.

7. Catherine Bach

Yes, Catherine Bach is the one and only Daisy Duke! She certainly rocked those short shorts, so much so, that they were named after her in the classic ’80s comedy show The Dukes of Hazzard. The actress really popularized that look because the costume choice was really left up to her discretion.

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Some might also recognize Bach from the lesser known television series African Skies as the character Margo Dutton. Since 2012, Bach has taken on the role of Anita Lawson in the popular CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.

8. Lynda Carter

Before Gal Gadot became the star in the 2017 blockbuster film Wonder Woman, there was Lynda Carter in the who played the vivacious Wonder Woman in the 1970s television series. Sure, it could get campy at times, but that it what most fans grew to love about it. Plus, Carter played the perfect Wonder Woman.

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But Wonder Woman was not the only highlight of Lynda Carter’s career. Prior to that, she reigned as the Miss World America 1972 winner. Today, she continues to act pretty prolifically today; you might recognize her from such shows as Supergirl and Smallville.

9. Cathy Lee Crosby

Cathy Lee Crosby has enjoyed a career as both a tennis player and an actress, which already helps her stand out among so many television stars of her time. Fortunately, she did not have to rely on that one bit of fascinating trivia to keep her career alive; she did that herself with her charisma and beauty.

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Throughout the ’70s,  Crosby could be spotted on a myriad of well-watched television shows. These included such programs as Barnaby Jones and Cannon. She was also the host of the ’80s reality show That’s Incredible!.

10. Jessica Lange

Those who got their first dose of Jessica Lange by watching her in the first several seasons of American Horror Story have probably come to know her as that woman with the gentle exterior who can get really, really scary when the situation calls for it.  As it turns out, Lange is a versatile actress who can master just about any role, and her legacy spans several decades.

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As for Lange’s accolades, that list is quite extensive. After all, how many actresses can boast five Golden Globes, two Oscars, three Emmys, AND a Tony Award? Not many. Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that Entertainment Weekly named her one of the 25 Greatest Actresses of the ’90s.

11. Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson has since retired from the limelight. Nonetheless, her legacy as a television star and actress endures and will likely endure for years to come. After all, her career spanned about half a century. It all started in the ’50s when she starred in the western films Gun Man Down and Rio Bravo, the latter of which earned her a Golden Globe.

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Throughout the ’70s, she blossomed in her role as Sergeant Leann “Pepper” Anderson in the television series Police Woman. This role brought her a lot of recognition and awards, perhaps most notably a Golden Globe and several Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

12. Cybill Shepherd

Throughout the entirety of the ’70s, Cybill Shepherd had an impressively consistent career that never seemed to wane at any point during her heyday. Even today, she is going strong, both as an actress and as an advocate for several noble causes.

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As for her films, there are probably several you would instantly recognize her in, perhaps most notably Taxi Driver and The Last Picture Show. Moreover, she also appeared on all five seasons of the ’80s television series Moonlighting. She has been nominated for several Emmys and has won three Golden Globes.

13. Gretchen Corbett

If there was ever a woman who seemed to be everywhere on television in the ’70s, that woman was certainly Gretchen Corbett. Most people probably know her as Beth Davenport from The Rockford Files. However, her career has been much more extensive than just that one show.

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Chances are high that if you had a favorite show in the ’70s and ’80s, you probably saw Gretchen Corbett on it. She has appeared in the television series Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, Emergency!, and Cheers. Continue reading to discover which other gorgeous stars made this list.

14. Lynda Day George

Lynda Day George knew what it meant to have all eyes on her from a young age as she started taking modeling gigs prolifically at the age of 12. By the ’70s, she was ready to embark on a fruitful career that span three decades.

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George is probably best known for her role on the ’70s television series Mission: Impossible, but she kicked off her acting career with guest roles on several series in the ’60s, namely: Route 66Here Come the BridesFlipperBonanza, and The Green Hornet, just to mention a few. Her character on Mission: Impossible scored her a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy Awards nomination.

15. Alan Alda

Alan Alda has enjoyed a career that has lasted for nearly half a century. Fans of the show M*A*S*H will instantly recognize him as the wonderful Captain Hawkeye Pierce. That is certainly understandable, as that role alone garnered him a lot of positive critical attention. He won a total of seven Emmys and several Golden Globe Awards.

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This memorable role was not the only thing that kept audiences engrossed with him, however. If you were a fan of game shows, you might also recall seeing him on such programs as What’s My Line? and To Tell the Truth. Additionally, Alan Alda has always been very vocal about what he believes in. In fact, some might know him best for being a leading advocate for women throughout the ’70s. He even appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine.

16. Deidre Hall

Plenty of the stars on this list played recurring roles that lasted quite a while, maybe even a decade. However, Deidre Hall takes her dedication to a certain television role to a whole new level. For over four decades, she has portrayed Dr. Marlena Evans on the popular soap opera Days of Our Lives. She was even prepared to turn into a demon for a good few episodes – that’s real dedication!

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As you can imagine, Hall has no shortage of awards for her portrayal of Dr. Marlena Evans. Such was awarded three Soap Opera Digest Awards and two Best Actress Soapy Awards. Additionally, she has earned three Daytime Emmy Award nominations. Her classic beauty never fades, which makes sense they’d keep her as an iconic figure on the soapie.

17. Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson can be seen in action in several well-regarded television series. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Sabrina Duncan in the 1970s television drama Charlie’s Angels. In the ’80s, she went on to portray character Amanda King in the show Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

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Jackson was so well-received as Sabrina Duncan that her character was plastered just about everywhere. She even appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Her performance in Scarecrow and Mrs. King was also well-received and landed her three Bravo Golden Otto Awards. So which 70s and ’80s stars are next? Read on to find out.

18. Sonny and Cher

Whether you know Cher best for her acting or for her music career, it is clear that she was a pop culture icon for several decades. In fact, she has since been christened the Goddess of Pop and is often hailed for standing out and daring to shine at a point in time when mostly men ruled the entertainment industry. Perhaps the most notable thing about Cher is how she emerged on the scene in the first place.

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She and her husband formed a melodious duo aptly named Sonny and Cher. In fact, their presence was so pervasive in music that many regarded them as the ultimate couple in rock. Plus, who can forget their wonderful ’70s The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour? The show earned over a dozen Emmy nominations.

19. Carol Kane

With a solid theater background, Carol Kane ventured into Hollywood ready to tackle just about anything thrown her way. As a result, she has enjoyed a career that first dawned in the early 1970s and continues to blossom today. From the start, she showed promise in such films as Annie Hall and Hester Street, the latter of which landed her an Oscar nomination.

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Kane succeeded on television as well, particularly in the 1980s sitcom Taxi. This role scored her two Emmy Awards. Today, she continues to dazzle audiences in shows such as the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

20. Shelley Hack

Once Kate Jackson had had her run on Charlie’s Angels, another beautiful actress took her place. That actress was Shelley Hack, and she entered the show’s universe starting in season four. Sadly, she did not stay long. Even so, she has enjoyed plenty of other career successes.

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For years after her stint on Charlie’s Angels, Hack found consistent television gigs, usually parts in made-for-television movies. She did land parts in two other television series: Cutter to Houston and Jack Mike. They were relatively short-lived, but hey did get her quite a bit of positive attention from critics. Continue reading to be wowed by your childhood stars.

21. Erin Gray

Erin Gray is one of those incredibly talented ’70s television actresses who go overlooked, which is a shame, as she thrived in the roles she took on. However, those who tuned in for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in the ’80s probably remember her fondly as Colonel Wilma Deering.

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Colonel Wilma Deering is not the only highly nuanced character that Erin Gray brought to life, however. She also portrayed Kate Summers-Stratton in the ’80s sitcom Silver Spoons. In any case, Erin Gray’s portrayal of Deering was revolutionary in its own right, as never before had anyone seen a female colonel on television.

22. Pamela Hensley

If you recognize Erin Gray from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, then you will probably remember Pamela Hensley as well. She portrayed the character Princess Ardala in the show which lasted two seasons before ending in 1981.

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Hensley was still going strong after the show’s end, however. Just a year later, she took on the role of C.J. Parsons in the ABC drama Matt Houston. Additionally, you might have seen her as a guest star on such shows as The Rockford Files and Ironside.

23. Shelley Long

Cheers was one of those shows that has definitely gone done in history as one of the classics of the ’80s. After all, it did last a healthy 11 seasons. One actress we can thank for the show’s success in Shelley Long.

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As fans know, Long played character Diane Chambers, and fans and critics alike fell in love with her. The role scored her five Emmy Award nominations, one of which she won in 1983, as well as two Golden Globe Award wins for the role. Long reprised her role as Chambers in four episodes of the spin-off show Frasier, for which she bagged another guest star Emmy nomination.

24. Lara Jill Miller

Can you think of a show more shamelessly ’80s than the sitcom Gimme a Break! ? The NBC sitcom lasted six seasons and garnered quite the devout following. One actress who helped make the show a favorite of the decade was Lara Jill Miller.

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In the show, Miller portrays the character Sam Kanisky. Once the show came to an end, she returned to college before reemerging as a television star once more in the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show The Amanda Show. Continue reading for more surprises on the list.

25. Nancy McKeon

In the ’80s, The Facts of Life triumphed as the longest running sitcom of the time. Needless to say, the actors and actresses who made the show possible enjoyed pretty consistent critical attention and praise, as well as a big milestone in their respective acting careers.

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One of the actresses to hail from the show was Nancy McKeon. She portrayed the character Jo Polniaczek. Of course, McKeon was no stranger to the spotlight. Long before appearing on the show, she appeared in several commercials alongside her brother Philip.

26. Susan Clark

Hailing from Canada, Susan Clark has been at it since the early 1960s until she retired as an actress in 2000. Nonetheless, many fondly remember her for the smiles and entertainment she provided; not to mention her good looks.

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Clark is probably most renowned for playing Katherine in the 1980s sitcom Webster. The most adorable part? She acted alongside her husband, Alex Karras, who portrayed the character George Papadopoulos. She is also known for her roles in the movies Colossus: The Forbin Project and Coogan’s Bluff.

27. Loni Anderson

Loni Anderson was the kind of blonde-haired beauty with a certain charm that was hard to pin down but was all too real. Her career has had its highs and lows, but she has always managed to land on her feet.

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She is probably best known for playing a curvaceous receptionist named Jennifer Marlowe in the show WKRP in Cincinnati. In 1984, she and Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter joined forces and aced together in the short-lived series Partners in Crime.

28. Adrienne Barbeau

Like many fine actresses, Adrienne Barbeau made her start on Broadway. She portrayed Rizzo in the popular musical Grease and was even nominated for a Tony for her performance.

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In the early ’70s, she ventured into the world of television and took on the role of Carol Taylor in the sitcom Maude. Beyond this, many hailed her as the ultimate sex icon of her time, and she could be found posing on a number of pin-up posters.

29. Phyllis Davis

Sadly, Phyllis Davis died in 2013. Nonetheless, she is still regarded as one of the finest television stars to emerge in the ’70s and ’80s for her appearances in numerous films.

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However, it was toward the end of the decade that her career took off. In 1978, Davis landed the role of Beatrice Travis in the ABC drama Vega$. She also made appearances on such shows as The Love Boat, Magnum P.I., and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

30. Cheryl Ladd

Cheryl Ladd had some pretty big shoes to fill after Farrah Fawcett left the hit ABC series Charlie’s Angels. Nonetheless, she rose to the occasion and fit snugly into the role of her character Kris Monroe.

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Once Ladd took the part, she remained with the show until its glorious end in 1981. Additionally, the beautiful actress appeared in such shows as The Partridge Family and Happy Days. The next two stars also appeared in the show Happy Days. Read on to find out who.

31. Cathy Silvers

The daughter of comedian Phil Silvers, Cathy Silvers followed her father’s footsteps and ventured into the entertainment industry. And indeed, she succeeded and enjoyed the life of an actress for over a decade.

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Most likely know her as the flirtatious Jenny Piccalo from the famed ABC sitcom Happy Days. However, she also acted in the short-lived series Foley Square. Perhaps most intriguing, she voiced Marie Dodo in Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird.

32. Penny Marshall

Carole Penny Marshall, usually known more simply as Penny Marshall, has enjoyed a steady career as an actress since 1968. In the mid-’70s, she appeared briefly on the show Happy Days as character Laverne DeFazio whoch garnered her overwhelming enthusiasm from fans.

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In fact, the character was so well-received that Marshall landed a spin-off show aptly called Laverne & Shirley. Her notable performance resulted in three Golden Globe nominations. In 1988,her first attempt at directing a film was a success . She became the first female director to release a film that brought in more than $100 million at the box office.

33. Cindy Williams

What would Laverne & Shirley be without Shirley? Cindy Williams portrayed Feeney in the beloved sitcom, alongside Penny Marshall. Even today, critics often refer to the duo and the show to illustrate what physical comedy looks like when done right.

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But her unforgettable role in Laverne & Shirley is not all Cindy Williams has is known for. She also starred in the 1973 film American Graffiti as Laurie Henderson and then later as Ann in the 1974 film The Conversation.

34. Kirstie Alley

There is little that Kirstie Alley can’t do, as she has so aptly demonstrated over the course of several decades as an actress. In 1982, she became an instant favorite among Star Trek fans after portraying Lieutenant JG Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Khan.

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Several years later, she went on to become just as big a name in television when she starred on Cheers as Rebecca Howe. This role brought with it endless critical acclaim and accolades. She even managed to win both a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award.

35. Alley Mills

Alley Mills has been going strong as a television actress since the late 1960s. Fans of The Wonder Years might remember her fondly as nurturing mother Norma Arnold. She later played Marjorie Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

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Today, Alley Mills has managed to find steady work on the set of the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. On the show, she portrays Pamela Douglas alongside actress Susan Flannery, who plays Stephanie Forrester. So,who’s next?

36. Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler portrayed the one character who is arguably one of the most beloved to come out of any 70s or ’80s sitcom: Arthur Fonzarelli, better known as “The Fonz” or Fonzie.” His character really helped popularize the distinct greaser style.

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Henry Winkler won Golden Globes for his performance in Happy Days two years in a row. Additionally, he was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, none of which he won. He would go on to be nominated for two other Primetime Emmys, but for different projects.

37. John Ritter

John Ritter comes from a family of performers. His father, Tex Ritter, was a well-respected country singer whose work is still thought very highly of. Even his sons have gone on to become actors themselves. As for John Ritter himself, he has his own impressive resume to boast.

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Ritter is probably best remembered for playing Jack Tripper in the late ’70s/early ’80s sitcom Three’s Company. His performance yielded both a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe. Continue reading; there’s still many more TV stars from the ’70s and ’80s worth reminiscing over.

38. Audrey Landers

Audrey Landers knew that she was meant to be a performer at a young age. When she was just 12, she wrote a song good enough to land her a recording contract and the opportunity to perform live on The Merv Griffin Show.

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As she aged, Audrey Landers started leaning more toward acting than singing. She landed the role of Afton Cooper on the late ’70s soap opera Dallas. Some years later, she starred in the 1985 musical film A Chorus Line.

39. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox has had an illustrious career since the early ’90s. When most people hear his name, the first thing to come to mind is often Back to the Future and his character Marty McFly. However, Michael J. Fox’s career entailed much more than that.

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In the ’80s, Fox portrayed the intelligent and highly motivated Alex P. Keaton. Later, he went on to star in the ABC show Spin City, which brought him numerous awards. These awards included four Golden Globes and five Emmys.

40. Carol Lynley

Carol Lynley accomplished a lot over the course of her career that has spanned several decades. She first got a taste of stardom on Broadway. Soon after, she starred in the controversial film Blue Denim and was subsequently nominated for a Golden a Globe.

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As for Lynley’s television work, it is also quite extensive. However, it is worth noting that Lynley never really stuck to a single show as much as she made appearances on some of the most popular series of her time. These shows included Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, and Charlie’s Angels.

41. Telly Savalas

Telly Savalas excelled in multiple arenas and saw a career that lasted up until his death in 1994. He had a brief stint as a singer after releasing his hit single “If” in 1975.

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However, Savalas’s found the majority of his fame in television. He is probably best known for mastering the starring role of the ’70s television drama Kojak. However, in 1962, he proved to be a talented film actor when he earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film Birdman of Alcatraz.

42. Betty White

Now 95, it is safe to say that Betty White has had quite the full and wonderful life as an actress, and it goes well beyond just playing lovable Rose in The Golden Girls. While many of the actors and actresses have been in the business since the ’60s, Betty White can boast a much longer career. She has been at it since 1939.

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As you can imagine, White is also much more than a television actress. She is considered a leading woman in the entertainment industry and is the first woman to have produced a sitcom. Needless to say, she has no shortage of awards to her name. Some of her most notable include a Grammy and eight Emmy Awards.

43. Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman had a pretty hectic life, to say the least, and that entails everything from his childhood up to his death. Nonetheless, he was at one point considered to be one of television’s most promising rising stars.

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From the late ’70s until well into the ‘80s, Coleman charmed audiences as Arnold Jackson in the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. Sadly, he died unexpectedly in 2010. Still, he managed to work up until his death and did so prolifically.

44. Pamela Sue Martin

It is no mystery why Pamela Sue Martin has been going strong since 1970. The actress debuted as a model before starring in the 1972 film The Poseidon Adventures. She went on to star in several other films after that.

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However, Martin has become most renowned for her portrayal of Nancy Drew on the ’70s television series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. She also portrayed the character Fallon Carrington Colby on the soap opera Dynasty. So, which other stars are worth mentioning?

45. Catherine Schell

Born in Hungary, Catherine Schell launched her career in Great Britain, where she starred in various films before hitting her stride in 1975 when she landed the part of Maya in the British series Space: 1999.

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Schell never really stuck with one name, at least not early in her career. If you ever heard her other names “Catherine von Schell” and “Katherina von Schell,” don’t worry, you definitely were not imagining things. Schell played around with her identity before settling on Catherine Schell.

46. Tony Danza

First stepping into the spotlight in the late ’70s, Tony Danza has enjoyed careers as both an actor and as a professional boxer. Over the years, his legacy lies in what he contributed to television in the ’70s and ’80s.

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Danza captivated audiences with mainly two roles:  as Tony Micelli in Who’s the Boss?  and as Tony Banta in the sitcom Taxi. In total, he has scored four Golden Globe Awards nominations and one Emmy Award nomination.

47. Carol Wayne

Carol Wayne could be found starring in any number of shows back in the ’60s and ’70s. Such shows included classics like I Dream of Jeannie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, and Emergency!.

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However, it was Wayne’s heavy involvement with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that really thrust her into the spotlight. Over the course of over 100 episodes, she portrayed the sultry Matinee Lady. These last three stars surely made a lasting impression on audiences, young and old. Read on to see who they are.

48. Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad first rose to prominence on Broadway, where she portrayed Deena Jones in the musical Dreamgirls. In 2004, she returned to Broadway as Lorraine Hansberry in A Raisin in the Sun. She won a Tony Award for her performance and thus became the first black woman to receive the award for Best Actress in a Play.

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Of course, many will probably recognize her as Clair Huxtable from the timeless sitcom The Cosby Show. She was so influential in her role that she earned the title of “The Mother of the African American community.” She also earned two Emmy Award nominations for her performance as Clair.

49. Jimmie Walker

“Dy-no-mite!” Jimmie Walker’s character James Evans Jr. would often exclaim that line in the popular ’70s CBS sitcom Good Times. And indeed, he has enjoyed quite a dy-no-mite career over the course of several decades. For his performance in Good Times alone, he scored two Golden Globe nominations.

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Even Time Magazine recognized Walker as The Comedian of the Century in 1972. In addition to Good Times, Jimmie Walker also made appearances on such shows as The Drew Carey Show, The Love Boat, and Scrubs. The best news? If you really could never stop laughing at his antics as James Evans Jr. on Good Times, you can find him still working as a comedian today.

50. Pam Dawber

Pam Dawber first rose to fame in 1978 when she starred as titular character Mindy McConnell in the thoroughly enjoyable sitcom Mork & Mindy. She played Mindy along with Mork, portrayed by Robin Williams, and they formed the ultimate television duo.

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Before this, Pam Dawber worked as a model for Wilhelmina International Inc. In the late 1980s, she went on to star in the CBS  show My Sister Sam, which did not fare well even though many critics enjoyed it.

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