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Popular '70s TV Actresses

Glory loves 70s TV entertainment and many of these actresses starred in some of the 70s most popular shows and movies.

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Talented and lovely to look at, what a winning combination. This is a listing of some of the 70s most popular and busy television actresses. Some of these ladies entertained us each week working on shows like M.A.S.H, Maude, The Rockford Files and Police Woman to just name a few.

Others you may best remember as character actresses, who played a wide range of roles in made for television movies as well as appearances in our favorite TV series. How many of these ladies do you recall? Who is your favorite?

I would like you to note that this page has undergone a bit of a change. I have moved some information from here to its companion page, 70's Popular Female Teen Idols (you can find the link below) in an effort to not have over lapping material and to make this page a little more manageable.

Now, on with the show, so to speak, enjoy your visit!

Susan Anton

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Born Susan Ellen Anton on October 12, 1950 (Libra). She graduated from Yucaipa High School in Yucaipa, California in 1968 and then attended San Bernardino Valley College.

She began entering beauty contests and won the title Miss California in 1969 and tied as second runner up in the 1970 Miss American contest.

Her first appearance on television was in the TV movie The Great American Beauty Contest (a young Farrah Fawcett also had a role in this movie). Other appearances in popular shows of the day followed.

In the early 70s she found work as the spokesperson for Muriel cigars and Serta mattresses. Her work in the commercials allowed her to gain a following and in 1978, ABC gave her a summer variety series, Mel and Susan Together costarring Mel Tillis. This four week venture allowed her to showcase her singing and comedic talents. Viewers did, though, find that pairing odd as she was a relative unknown while Tillis was a popular country singer.

In 1979, she landed she won the role of Susan Williams in a clever, but short-lived series called Cliffhangers which was NBC’s attempt to bring back to old-time movie serial genre (stories told in short segments over a period of weeks). Susan’s segment was Stop Susan Williams, and sadly, the series ended before her story line was finished, but her segments were made into a television movie, The Girl Who Saved the World that aired later in the year and offered up a satisfactory conclusion.

Also in 1979, she won her first leading role in a feature film Goldengirl which paired her with veteran actor James Coburn, but, sadly did poorly at the box office.

Around this time, the Pro Arts poster company (that’s right, the same company responsible for Farrah’s mega selling swimsuit pose) took an interest in Susan and released several posters that proved to be very popular.

When Time magazine named Susan one of the Most Promising Stars of 1979, NBC took another look at her and starred her in her own series Presenting Susan Anton, another variety series along the same lines as her 1978 venture, sans Mel Tillis, of course.

Today she is as busy as ever still active in the entertainment field, acting, singing, and even producing. She also donates a lot of her time and attention to a variety of charitable causes.

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Susan with Fred Knoblock both Killin Time

Adrienne Barbeau

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Adrienne’s career began in 1968 on the Broadway stage with her debut in the classic play Fiddler on the Roof. A few years later, in 1972 she won the role of bad girl Betty Rizzo in the original Broadway production of Grease (which would earn her a Tony award nomination for Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical).

The 70s saw Adrienne winning the role of Carol Traynor in the classic sitcom Maude starring Bea Arthur running on CBS from 1972-1978. The role propelled her to stardom and opened the door to appearances on other popular shows of the day including Eight is Enough, Qunicy M.E. and The Love Boat.

In 1978, she joined the ranks of poster queen, when a cheesecake photo of her wearing a tight purple lingerie outfit became a best seller. It also adorns the front cover of her well received autobiography There Are Worst Things I Could Do released in 2006.

Barbeau's career moved from TV to the big screen in the 1980s, when she became a "scream queen" in horror films like The Fog (directed by her husband at the time, John Carpenter), Swamp Thing, Creepshow and others.

She is still a busy actress, working in both film and television.

Chelsea Brown

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Actress, singer and comedian Chelsea Brown was a regular on the classic Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In the sketch comedy show that ran from 1968 to 1973 on NBC. She was one of the first (along with Diahann Carroll in Julia) black women to have a regular role on a television series. She was often seen sporting a bikini wearing body paint all the while dancing and or exchanging one liners with Ruth Buzzi, Goldie Hawn and Jo Anne Worley.

After her departure from the series she kept busy making appearances in Ironside, Matt Lincoln, Police Story and more. She eventually married Australian actor Vic Rooney and she moved permanently to Australia where she worked in film, television, stage and even recording a few albums. When her husband passed away in 2002, she came back to the US and lived in Chicago, Illinois until her death from pneumonia March 28, 2017.

Charo

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Her Platinum blonde hair, buxom figure and memorable catch phrase of cuchi-chuchi made María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez, better known as Charo a house hold name.

This Spanish American actress, singer, comedian, and flamenco guitarist was discovered by bandleader Xavier Cugat and the two would marry on August 1, 1966 in Las Vegas. Cugat eager to show off his wife’s talents would regularly feature her in his shows in Las Vegas and New York. Between 1965 to 1967, she would make four appearances, along with her husband, on The Ed Sullivan Show, this coverage brought her to wider audience and by the early 70’s she was headlining in Las Vegas reportedly able to command fees that rivaled those of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

While not busy with her music career, Charo found time to make appearances on 70s favorites The Love Boat, Chico and the Man, Ironside and more.

In 1976 she starred in an unsold pilot episode of a series called Charo and the Sergeant. The episodes that were taped were only broadcast on the American Armed Forces Network overseas.

She would divorce Cugat in 1978 and then remarry to Kjell Rasten. The couple moved to Hawaii and lived for a number of years before returning to California in 2015. Charo still makes an occasional appearance on TV with her most recent being March 13, 2020 on Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Charo's Dance A Little Bit Closer

Gretchen Corbett

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

It was a short-lived series in 1968, N.Y.P.D that got Gretchen her start on television. When the 70s rolled around, she found herself being cast in the Jon Voight comedy film Out Of It. The small screen called once again seeing her cast in a classic made for television movie, that has since become a cult favorite, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death in which she played a mute girl, simply known as The Girl.

She signed a contract with Universal Studios and soon found herself working in the pilot episode for the series Kojak. This allowed for other appearances in Ironside, Columbo, Hawaii Five-O and more.

Her career really took off when she was cast as lawyer Beth Davenport on The Rockford Files. She left the show after four years due to a contract dispute between Universal, which owned her contract, and the show's producers. That didn't slow her down, however, and she continued to make appearances in a variety of series over the years including some of her most recent work in the comedy series Portlandia that aired from 2011 to 2018.

Cathy Lee Crosby

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Cathy Lee is a multi talented individual; actress, writer, producer, and professional tennis player.

Her first screen appearance was in 1968 in an episode of It Takes a Thief. When the 70s dawned, it wasn’t uncommon to find her guest starring in a variety of popular shows of the day like Marcus Welby, M.D., Canon, and Barnaby Jones to just name a few.

In 1974, she was cast as Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman in a made for television movie of the same name that was to be the pilot for a potential series. While the movie did well in the ratings, ABC wasn’t happy and wanted a bit of a revamp which is how, a year later, Lynda Carter would be cast as the popular comic book heroine.

Cathy kept busy during the 70s and by the beginning of the 80s found herself in the role that most remember her for, being co host for the That’s Incredible, a reality show of sorts that ran on ABC from 1980-84.

Crosby still works in front of and behind the camera. Look for an old copy of One Woman magazine from 1984. She was featured in the magazine's second edition, which includes beautiful, full-color photos of Crosby taken by six different photographers, quite the collector’s edition.

Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman

Phyllis Davis

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

In the mid 1960s, Phyllis went to California in order to pursue an acting career. She attended acting classes and managed to get very small parts in several films in 1966; Lord Love a Duck, Spinout with Elvis Presley and The Swinger with Ann-Margret. She was regarded as a promising up and coming star and continued to find work, though small roles until 1970 when she was cast as Susan Lake in the feature film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a film that is regarded today as both a cult favorite and one of the worst films ever made.

The 70s saw Phyllis getting more television roles, among them a seven episode stint on Love, American Style between 1970 and 1973. She would continue to make guest appearances on popular 70s shows including The Odd Couple, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman and the role that she is probably best remembered for that of Beatrice Travis on the popular Robert Urich series Vega$ which ran from 1978 to 1981.

She continued to work sporadically into the 1990s. Sadly this lovely lady died of cancer on September 27, 2013, at age 73 in Henderson, Nevada.

Angie Dickinson

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Angie Dickinson has had a long career in films and television beginning back in the 1950s with bit parts on various television shows and feature films.

In 1974, she became a house hold name when she starred as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson in Police Woman, a series that broke new ground with its portrayal of a woman as not only a police officer, but the focal point of the show. This series would open the door to other shows that had a female lead including The Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman.

In 1999, Playboy Magazine listed Angie as number 42 on their "100 Sexiest Stars of the Century" list and in 2002, TV Guide would ran her as number three on their “50 Sexiest TV Stars of All Time." Not bad for a woman who once considered a career in journalism.

Lola Falana

1975 vintage publicity photo

1975 vintage publicity photo

Lola was discovered by singer Sammy Davis, Jr., who became her friend and mentor and gave her a role in his 1964 Broadway show Golden Boy.

A talented singer, she recorded first single in 1965, My Baby released on Mercury Records. In 1966, she was cast in her first feature film, A Man Called Adam, opposite Sammy Davis Jr. The movie was a musical drams about the life of self destructive jazz musician played by Davis.

Falana's career took off in the '70s with guest-starring roles in TV series including The New Cosby Show and The Streets of San Francisco. She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work in the feature film The Liberation of L.B. Jones.

In 1970, she posed for Playboy magazine and was hired by Fabergé to advertise their line of cosmetics and perfumes under the Tigress brand.

The 70s also saw Lana have a lucrative career in Las Vegas being awarded the title of "Queen of Las Vegas" as her numerous shows at The Riveria, The Sands, and the MGM Grand hotels always sold out. At that time she was the highest paid female performer in Las Vegas earning up to $100,000 per show with her show running twenty weeks a year. She never failed to dazzle and entertain her audiences.

In 1980, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but continued to work until the summer of 1987 when the disease came to a crest and brought her career to a halt. By the fall of that year, the disease had paralyzed the left side of her body and she was unable to move her arm or leg and she found it difficult to talk as well. While her doctors offered her little hope, she was determined to over come and she turned to God, becoming a Catholic. Armed with faith and prayer as well as physical therapy, she was up and walking within five months.

Falana no longer performs and spends much of her time involved with the Lambs of God Ministry, which helps orphan children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lynda Day George

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Lynda began modeling at age 12 and in the 1960's she started to get work in television by making appearances on popular shows of the day.

In 1966, she met actor Christoper George when they worked in the film The Gentle Rain. They worked together again in the 1970 John Wayne film, Chisum. They eventually fell in love and married on May 15, 1970.

In a magazine article interview done in 1971, she had three goals: She wanted to be the best wife and mother she could possibly be. She wanted to fulfill what the rest of her family, friends and pets needed of her. She wanted her career to continue.

In 1970-71, she starred as Amber Cole in the short-lived series, The Silent Force. She was then cast as Lisa Casey an expert in makeup and disguise in Mission:Impossible. Her work in the series garnered her a Golden Globe nomination in 1972 and an Emmy nomination in 1973.

Sadly, her husband, Christopher died of a heart attack at age 52 (some sources state age 54) on November 28, 1983. Lynda worked only sporadically after his death.

Erin Gray

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Erin Gray's modeling career began at age 15, but TV viewers got their first glimpse of this beautiful lady when she appeared in commercials for Camay soap, Breck shampoo, and RC Cola. It wasn't long until Gray was making guest appearances on TV shows like Police Story and the short-lived Gibbsville.

In 1978 she took a role in Evening in Byzantium, which led to the role of Colonel Wilma Deering on the series Buck Rogers in The 25th Century. Her role in the series was an important one, because she was TV's first female colonel who showed that women could be strong and in charge. Back in the 70s this was a fairly new concept.

After appearing in the Buck Rogers, she made an appearance on Magnum P.I. starring Tom Selleck. Her character, Joy 'Digger' Doyle was a security expert and rumor had it that she was to star in a spin-off series that never materialized.

Gray is still active in the business and some of her most recent work was a role on the web series Star Trek Continues as Commodore Gray.

Shelley Hack

70s-sexiest-tv-actresses

Shelley Hack began her career as a teen fashion model and becoming the face associated with the Revlon perfume Charlie.

It was when she replaced Kate Jackson, in the fourth season of Charlie's Angels, that Hack got her big break. She was Tiffany Welles, a beautiful young woman who hailed from Boston. She was tall, educated, and refined. She stood out from the other angels and some fans felt that she simply didn't fit in. She left the series, but not before being blamed publicly for the series falling ratings. She was replaced by another lovely lady, Tanya Roberts, but ratings didn't improve and the show was cancelled.

Hack went on to work in a variety of television movies and stared in two short-lived comedy series, Cutter to Houston (1983) and Jack and Mike (1986-87). Both series received positive reviews from critics, but simply couldn't find their audience.

Hack continues to be involved in the world of entertainment as she and her husband produce content for television and film and new media through their production company Smash Media.

Charlie's Angels: Shelley Hack's Tiffany Character