1970s Popular Female Teen Idols
Lovely Ladies, Talented Actresses and Female Teen Idols!
We watched their shows faithfully, read all about them in the gossip and teen magazines, plastered their pin-up photos all over our bedroom walls and school lockers! Who am I talking about? Well, teen idols, if you haven't figured it out by now. This is a small listing of 70's television actresses who became some of the 70's most popular female teen idols!
Please note, that a page this size can not list all of the actresses who fall into this category and not listing your favorite is not meant as a slight in any way. In fact, they might be listed on the companion page of sorts to this, Popular 70's TV Actresses.
As a child she enjoyed playing dress up and soon developed an interest in acting and often appeared in school plays. At age 14, she began to enter beauty contests and in 1964, at the age of 18, she entered the Miss Minnesota pageant and came in second place. While she didn't win the title, she did meet the man she would marry, who just happened to be the brother of the winner. The marriage was short lived, though, lasting just three months. Loni also found herself pregnant at this time, with her first child, daughter Deidra.
She married again, in 1973, to another actor, Ross Bickell and the family left Minnesota for California in 1975. Once getting settled in, they began to actively pursue acting roles in television and films. Loni began getting small roles in popular shows of the day, S.W.A.T, Police Woman, Barnaby Jones and Three's Company.
In 1978, she would pose for a poster that caught the attention of Hugh Wilson, a television producer who was looking for an actress to play Jennifer Marlowe on his new sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Wilson said he hired Loni because she had a playful innocence like that of Marilyn Monroe and the body of Jayne Mansfield. The series ran for four years, with Loni being the breakout star of the series. She began to get write-ups in teen and gossip magazines.
When the series ended in 1982, she went on to star in a variety of television movies as well as several more series, Partners in Crime (1984) with Lynda Carter and Easy Street (1986-87). She would marry Burt Reynolds in 1988 and the couple would divorce in 1993 with their divorce often making tabloid headlines.
Melissa Sue Anderson
Melissa began her career on television by doing commercials. Soon, she was making appearances on television shows with her first being on an episode of the series Bewitched. Her next role was in The Brady Bunch episode You're Never Too Young as Millicent, a young girl who gave Bobby Brady his first kiss.
In 1974, when she was 11 years old she was cast a Mary Ingalls (after trying out for the role of Laura Ingalls which went to Melissa Gilbert). She left the series just two episodes into the eighth season in 1981.
After leaving the series, she continued to work in episodic television and even starred as Virginia "Ginny" Wainwright in the 1981 cult classic Canadian slasher flick Happy Birthday to Me.
In 2010 she released her autobiography The Way I See It - A Look Back at My Life on Little House. She and her husband and their two children live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Catherine is probably best remembered for her role ass Daisy Duke on the CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard that ran on CBS from 1979 to 1985. Her career began in 1973 when she starred in the Burt Lancaster feature film The Midnight Man and in 1974, she played Melody in Clint Eastwood's Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
When she heard that producers were looking to cast the role of Daisy Duke for a new television series, she decided to go in for an audition, even though she in no way resembled their ideal for the character. They wanted a Dolly Parton type actress. Catherine was able to get them to agree to allow her to bring in her own costume, which consisted of a T-shirt, pair of high heel shoes and a pair of cut off denim shorts which would eventually become known as "Daisy Dukes". She was cast on the spot when the producers saw her in costume.
Catherine also became a poster queen, releasing a pose of her as her character. The poster sold several million copies and is highly sought after collector's item.
Valerie had always wanted to be an actress and when her father's job transferred him from Delaware to California, it looked as though fate might have stepped in. Her mother decided to enroll her in the Tami Lynn School of Arts .
Valerie auditioned for the role of Barbara Cooper in what was to be a new CBS sitcom called One Day at a Time. She won the role, and played it for the entire run of the series which lasted from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984 with a total of 209 episodes. Valerie would star in 207 of them. There was talk of a spin off from the series to stare just Bonnie Franklin and Valerie, but nothing ever came of it.
Lynda's first television appearance was in 1974 on an episode of Nakia. She then went on to make appearances on Starsky and Hutch and Matt Helm before she was cast in the role that made her a star, Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman on the hit series that started out life on ABC and ran from December of 1976 to July 1977. The network lost interest in the series which then found a new home and new title, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman as well as a new setting. The series, originally set during the time of World War II, was updated to present day. The series lasted on CBS from September 1977 to September of 1979.
During her run as Wonder Woman, she released an album titled Portrait, which sold poorly, but in all honesty wasn't all that bad.
Pam began her career as a model in New York City and eventually moved into acting and while waiting for her big break, she did television commercials.
Without having much acting experience, she was cast, by Gary Marshall, in the sitcom Mork and Mindy as Mindy McConnell, a young woman who discovers that she has befriended a space alien named Mork (Robin Williams in his breakout role) from the planet Ork. The show ran from 1978 to 82.
In 1986 she was back in My Sister Sam, a series that star Pam as Samantha "Sam" Russell and Rebecca Schaeffer as Patricia "Patti" Russell, her younger sister who comes to live with her out of the blue. The series was cancelled after two seasons and sadly, a little over a year after it's cancellation, on July 19, 1989, Rebecca was fatally shot by an obsessive fan who had been stalking her for 3 years.
On March 21, 1987, Pam married actor Mark Harmon and the couple have two children, Sean and Ty.
Susan worked as a model before giving acting a try. When she was just 17 years old, she won the role of Laurie Partridge on the family sitcom The Partridge Family, starring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy. The show would last from 1970 to 1974 and made a singing sensation out of David.
In 1972, she starred in her first feature film, the Charlton Heston disaster film Skyjacked as Elly Brewster, a passenger on Global Airways Flight 502 who discovers a bomb threat written on a mirror in the first class ladies room of the plane.
When The Partridge Family ended, she went on to film a few television movies as well as made appearances on episodic television.
In 1986 and lasting until 1992, she did fine work in the series L.A. Law as attorney Grace Van Owen. The role would earn her a Golden Globe in 1987 as Best Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Series. She would be nominated four more times for a Golden Globe. She also was nominated for an Emmy for role, too in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
After graduating from school in the mid 1960s, Farrah decided that she wanted to try her luck in Hollywood. Her natural good looks proved to be her greatest asset and she quickly found parts in such shows as The Flying Nun, I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family and of course, The Six Million Dollar Man which starred her husband Lee Majors.
She then got a semi regular role on the series Harry-O which starred David Jansen. But, it was her mega selling red swimsuit poster from Pro Arts that really caught people's attention including producer Aaron Spelling who cast her in the role of Jill Monroe in the series Charlies Angels. Farrah was a sensation and stayed with the series for one season before deciding to try for a movie career which didn't pan out as hoped.
Sadly, our golden angel passed away at age 62, on June 25, 2009.
From 1970-71, Kate had a role on the popular soap Dark Shadows as silent ghost Daphne. She then went on to star in a variety of made for television movies that became fan favorites including Satan's School For Girls, Killer Bees, and Death Scream and made appearances in popular series like Bonanza, Movin' On , and The Jimmy Stewart Show.
Kate came to be known to a much wider audience when Aaron Spelling cast her as Jill Danko in the popular police drama The Rookies. After that series ended, Spelling then offered her the role of Sabrina Duncan in a series that was originally titled The Alley Cats. Clever Kate came up with an alternate title and Charlie's Angels was born.
She left the popular series after three seasons, explaining that she wanted to branch out and work on other projects. Insiders said that the real reason was she had become disheartened with the series when she had to pass on the lead role in the feature film Kramer Vs. Kramer which eventually went to Meryl Streep.
Jackson added directing and producing to her resume when she produced TV movies with her own production company, Shoot The Moon Enterprises.
While in college, Jensen began modeling and appeared on the covers of Mademoiselle and Vogue.
In 1977 she landed a role on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which lead to her being cast, a year later, on the short-lived sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica where she played Athena, the only daughter of Commander Adama. Her last appearance on the show was in the episode Greetings From Earth but her name continued to appear in the credits of the last four episodes of the show.
In 1981 she played her last role in Wes Craven's Deadly Blessings. Her career was cut short when she was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Syndrome, but she did make a recovery.
Maren is an intensely private individual, and has stayed out of the public eye for many years.
Cheryl, using the name Cherie Moor came to Hollywood with the desire to become a singer. She was the singing voice of Melody in the cartoon series Josie and the Pussycats. She worked in commercials as well and began to get small parts in episodic television as well as a small role in a much forgotten feature film Chrome and Hot Leather.
Her small screen debut was in an episode of The Rookies (which starred one of her future co stars, Kate Jackson) in the first season episode The Good Die Young. She would make another appearance in the series as a different character in episode 20 of season one titled The Wheel of Death.
More television work came along and she made appearances episodes of The Partridge Family, Happy Days, Switch, Police Woman and more.
In 1977, when Farrah Fawcett decided to leave her role as Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels Cheryl was cast as Chris Munro, the little sister of Farrah's character, Jill. Cheryl would stay with the series until its cancellation in 1981.
She remained a familiar face on television doing over thirty television movies as well as trying out her hand as an author. In 1996, she wrote a children's book The Adventures of Little Nettie Windship.
She continues to work in television with one of her most recent roles in the 2014 series Anger Management as Joanne in the episode Charlie Gets Tied Up with a Catholic Girl.
In 1964, Peggy signed a contract with Universal which lead to her making her television debut in 1965 on the The John Forsythe Show. For the next several years she would make appearances on a variety of shows like Bewitched, The F.B.I., The Virginian and more.
In 1968, she would be cast in the role that she is best remembered for, that of flower child and undercover cop, Julie Barnes, on The Mod Squad. The show ran until 1973, and earned Peggy four Golden Globe nominations and in 1971 she would win a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Drama Series.
She decided to take time off from her career when she married music producer Quincy Jones in 1974, so she could spend time being a wife and raising their two daughters, Kidada and Rashida. She and Jones would divorce in 1990 after 16 years of marriage. She then restarted her acting career.
Just as a bit of trivia for you, in 1968 Peggy recorded an album and released two singles, Stoney End and Wear Your Love Like Heaven, but neither of them was able to make it into the Top 100. In 2014 Real Gone Records re-released her album that includes additional bonus songs.
Sadly, Peggy passed away at age 72 on May 11, 2019.
Pamela Sue Martin
When Pamela was still in high school, a friend told her of the high earning potential to be had modeling. Being up for an adventure, she signed with a New York modeling agency and soon was doing print ads and commercials.
Acting seemed to be the next logical step and although she had no formal acting training, it didn't stop her from getting the lead role in the 1972 feature film To Find a Man.
Producer Irwin Allen saw her work in the film and liked it enough to cast her in his classic movie The Poseidon Adventure, where she was able to hold her own against experienced actors like Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters.
Work in the television films The Girls of Huntington House in 1973 and The Gun and the Pulpit in 1974 lead to two more feature film appearances co starring with Jan-Michael Vincent in Buster and Billie and Parker Stevenson Our Time both from 1974.
In 1977, she was cast as Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries. The show alternated episodes, with one week being a Hardy Boys episode and the next being a Nancy Drew episode. During the second season, it was decided that Nancy and the Hardy Boys would join forces, much to Pamela's disapproval and only three episodes of the second season gave Nancy a solo adventure. Pamela would leave the series and Nancy Drew was recast with Janet Louise Johnson taking over the role for the remainder of the season. Nancy Drew was phased out of the series altogether in the third and final season of the show.
Pamela would gain more fame for playing spoiled daughter, Fallon Carrington on the nighttime soap Dynasty from 1981 to 84.
Kristy began her career working in commercials with her brother Jimmy. She began to get acting roles in popular 70s TV series such as The Bionic Woman, Love American Style and Starsky and Hutch. Her first TV series was the short-lived CBS series Apple's Way in 1974.
Her popularity soared when she was cast on the ABC drama, Family as Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence that ran from 1976 to 80. It was considered a break through in drama series because it dealt with many "real life" issues. Kristy won two Emmy awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series (1977 and 1979) for her work on the series.
In 1977, after she appeared on the The Carpenters at Christmas, special, where she performed several songs with Karen, she caught the singing bug and soon was in the recording studio putting together an album with her brother, Jimmy, eventually released as Kristy & Jimmy McNichol. It included the song He's So Fine which was released as a single but peaked at Number 70 on the Billboard chart.
Her feature film career began in 1978 when she starred in the Burt Reynolds comedy The End.
She finished out the 70s one of the most popular teen idols ever, making appearances on talk shows as well as acting in TV movies.
She retired from acting in 2001.
In 1973, Marie came to the public's attention when her debut single, Paper Roses, hit the top of the country charts. The song earned a Gold record as did the album of the same name.
In 1974, she recorded another album In My Little Corner of the World and the title track from it was released as a single. Her next single Who's Sorry Now, off of an album of the same name, was released in 1975 and it didn't have quite the success of her other efforts.
In 1977, Marie with her brother Donny, a 70s male teen idol in his own right, signed on to do a variety show for ABC which proved to be successful enough to run until 1979.
In 1978, Marie got her first job as an actress in a television movie on ABC titled The Gift of Love, based loosely on the O'Henry story The Gift of the Magi. Also, in 1978, Donny and Marie released the feature film Goin' Coconuts which proved to be a box office failure.
Jaclyn acted in college and after graduating she played small roles in regional theater, eventually ending up in New York City on Broadway getting parts in productions of Bye, Bye Birdie, Gentleman Prefer Blonds and West Side Story. She was spotted by an agent who suggested she try out for commercials and in 1974 she found herself the spokes model for Breck shampoo. By 1975, she decided to head to Hollywood and try her luck there. Soon she was making appearances on The Partridge Family, The Rookies, Switch and more. In 1976, she landed the role of Kelly Garrett on Charlie's Angels and stayed with the show for its entire run.
She, along with Kate and Farrah (who can forget her mega selling swimsuit pose) became poster queens, each having a multitude of poses on the market.
She continues to act on a sporadic basis.
In the 1973 film, American Graffiti, Suzanne had a small role that attracted a lot of attention, as the pretty blonde in the T-Bird that kept attracting the attention of Richard Dreyfus' character. After that appearance she soon found herself in demand as an actress and started to get larger roles in films like Magnum Force. She also found work on television making appearances on The Love Boat, One Day at a Time, The Rockford Files and more.
In 1977 she won the role of dimwitted blond, Chrissy Snow, on the sitcom Three's Company which was a ratings hit and made her a star. At the beginning of the 1980-81 season, Suzanne demanded a large pay increase, from $30,000 per episode to $150,000, plus 10% ownership in the show. She believed that viewers were tuning in to see her and she deserved a bigger piece of the pie. The producers didn't share her opinion and refused and responded by greatly reducing her time on screen. When her contract ran out, she was promptly fired.
Being a survivor, she continued to earn money doing night club acts in Las Vegas (even being named Las Vegas' Female Entertainer of the Year) and appearing on popular shows of the time. She even managed to star in a few new series in the 1980s, too.
In 1986, she added author to her list of accomplishments writing her biography, Keeping Secrets, which was eventually made into a television movie.
Not bad for a dumb blond, eh?
In 1971, Lindsay signed a contract with Universal Studios as a contract player and her prime time network debut would be in Adam 12 as Jenny Carson in the episode Million Dollar Bluff. From there, she would do guest appearances on a variety of Universal television series such as The Night Gallery, Sarge, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Marcus Welby, M.D. and more.
In 1973, she did two feature films one for Universal, Two People, her first lead role as well as her first feature film and The Paper Chase for 20th Century Fox.
Universal gave her the role of Jaime Sommers, tennis pro turned teacher and childhood sweetheart of Steve Austin (Lee Majors) on The Six Million Dollar Man. After a parachuting accident, she is given bionic limb replacements which she rejects and dies. Viewer disapproval of her death was so loud that producers brought her back to life (having never really died at all) and given her own series which debuted on ABC in 1976 and finished it's run on NBC in 1978.
Lindsay would go on to have a very busy and successful career in television and she would add being an author to her resume, too.
Thanks for sharing some of your time with me, today. As you can see, the decade of the 70s had many lovely ladies who made it to teen idol status. Are there more who could find their place on this listing, well, yes I am sure, but I only have space for so many. Your favorite not being listed on this page, but you might find her on the companion page of sorts Popular 70s TV Actresses.
For your convenience, you might notice there is a guestbook below. There, if you so desire, you can leave comments (please keep them on topic), ask questions (which I will try to answer to the best of my ability) or even share the names of other 70s female teen idols that I have omitted from the listing. All comments are moderated and must be approved before appearing. I do this to keep this page as reader friendly as possible. I hope you understand.
© 2014 Glory Miller