The 1970s was a bit of a tumultuous time, but it was also a time of togetherness across the United States. Minority groups continued their fight for equal rights, and this included women. During this time, movies and TV shows saw an increase in women focused roles, and some of the largest productions were filmed during the 1970s.
Between Star Wars and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the 1970’s had awesome actresses who women everywhere could look up to. Many of these actresses continued their rise to popularity after the 1970s. We’ve gathered an entire list of influential 1970s actresses who climbed their way to the top of the fame ladder.
Click ‘Start Slideshow’ to view the most popular women in the 1970s and where they are now.
In the 1970s Goldie Hawn was all the rage. She starred in multiple comedies like There’s a Girl in My Soup and Butterflies are Free. Goldie didn’t stop there. She was also known for The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox. This woman was no stranger to the TV and film spotlight, but her career really took off in the 1970s.
During this time, Goldie focused on her marriage and the birth of her son Oliver. The younger crowd may know her as being Kate Hudson’s mom, but the rest of us know her for her beloved movies of the 1970s. Nowadays, Goldie Hawn continues to star in film and TV specials. Her latest film was Snatched, where she acted side by side with Amy Schumer.
Click ‘Next’ to reveal one of the most popular actresses of all time.
You can’t mention the 1970s without mentioning Carrie Fisher. This time period was when Carrie Fisher really made a name for herself. At just 18 years old, Carrie played a role in the movie Shampoo. It was her debut movie, and she did very well.
Most people know Carrie Fisher for her character of Princess Leia in Star Wars. The 1970s saw the debut of this movie franchise, and Carrie Fisher blew up in popularity. She believed the movie was going to do very well, but many disagreed with her. Thankfully, Star Wars became one of the most popular franchises in the world, and Carrie Fisher rode on the success of that for much of her career. She recently passed away in December of 2016, but the world still remembers her fondly.
Can you guess who’s next? Click ‘Next’ to see whose breakout role in Grease made this list!
Olivia Newton-John may just be the most noteworthy actress of all time. Everyone loves her, and the younger generation knows her solely based on her role of Sandy in Grease. It should come as no surprise that Olivia Newton-John got her success from the Grease movie in 1978. This was really her breakout role, and she soon became a household name for her role in one of the most popular movies of all time.
Throughout the 70s, Olivia Newton-John appeared on many TV shows as herself. She had a show called A Special Olivia Newton-John, which premiered as a special TV show in 1976. She had two more specials throughout the decade and appeared on two other shows in addition to these. Now, Olivia Newton-John is battling breast cancer once again. It metastasized to her back, but her fight continues. Because of this, Olivia Newton-John hasn’t appeared on TV for a few years.
This fashion icon was very hip in the 1970s. Click ‘Next’ to find out whom!
Raquel Welch continued to gain popularity throughout the 1970s, and she was known as a fashion icon to many young women. She made the choice to only appear in movies that would paint her as a strong female character, and she was always fighting against the male-dominated film industry. Her fight paid off in 1974 when she received a Golden Globe Award for her role in the movie The Three Musketeers.
Raquel went far in her roles to be taken seriously as an actress. She even played a transgender woman in a movie in the 1970s. Her breakout acting carried over to guest appearances on TV shows, and she starred in 13 movies and three TV shows over the 10 year period. Just recently she starred in How to Be a Latin Lover.
Click ‘Next’ to reveal the star who obliterated the sexist norms of Hollywood.
Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore was easily the most popular actress of the 1970s. While she played her fair share of characters in the 1960s, Mary Tyler Moore saw her biggest success from 1970-1977 when she had her show The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show was about a 30-year-old woman who had just broken off her engagement. While critics originally thought the show was going to be a failure, it turned out to be one of the most popular shows of the century.
It was uncommon at the time for women to be so independent, so Mary Tyler Moore was a breakout star in her own show that depicted a strong and single woman. This show was the most notable of her career, but she later went on to become an advocate for animal rights. She died in January of 2017 due to pneumonia, but she is still remembered as one of the most influential women in the 1970s.
Click ‘Next’ to reveal the youngest star on our list! You won’t believe who it is.
Most of the women so far have garnered fame in the 1970s in their twenties or thirties, but Jodie Foster has never been one to fit the mold. Born in 1962, Jodie Foster got her breakout role playing a teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie Taxi Driver. In the 1970s alone, Jodie Foster starred in musicals, thrillers, and a Disney movie.
The Disney film, Freaky Friday, portrayed Jodie Foster as a young character who switches bodies with her mother. She states that this movie was very in line with her feelings about her acting career, and she poured her heart and soul into the movie because of it. Jodie Foster received her first Golden Globe nomination for this role. Nowadays, Jodie is focusing mostly on directing. Her most recent film she directed was Money Monster, which had both George Clooney and Julia Roberts in it.
This model turned actress saved her career with one film in the 1970s. Click ‘Next’ to see whom!
Faye Dunaway started out her career as a model, but she transitioned to film in the late 1960s. Her life was tumultuous throughout the 1970s, and she suffered through a large divorce. Faye Dunaway didn’t have many roles in the first few years, only getting to play a complex character in Chinatown. However, this film ended up being very notable, and it is known as her best acting job in her career.
Chinatown became a huge hit, receiving 11 Academy Award nominations. She won a Golden Globe for her role, and the movie soon became a classic for all. There was said to be a confrontation on the set with Faye Dunaway and the producer. He plucked a hair out of her head that was catching the light, and the story stuck with her name for quite some time. She continued to star in many independent films over the years, and she recently starred in a film called The Bye Bye Man. Faye Dunaway often speaks out against Hollywood’s sexist ageism, and she recently was presented with the Dallas Star Award.
She still reigns today! Click ‘Next’ to see who started out in the 1970s.
While many of us know Sigourney from her roles in Avatar and Ghostbusters, she has starred in far more movies than that. She was also a young star, garnering her debut in the 1970s. Her three movies released in the 70s were Annie Hall, Madman, and Alien.
Alien was by far the most popular movie that she starred in for her early career, and most people know that Sigourney Weaver was the true star of this movie. It became a huge blockbuster film, and she was extremely lucky to get the role. She played this role again when the movies were remade. Today, Sigourney continues to act. The long-awaited Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are going to be released in 2020, and she plays a large role in both of them.
You won’t believe this next actress! Click ‘Next’ to find out who it is!
Keaton is forever a star, and she has managed to remain popular is many decades. The 1970s were no exception for her, and she debuted in her first film Lovers and Other Strangers. Her most famous role in the movie Annie Hall also came in the 1970s. People have always loved her, and her character in this film was based a little bit on her.
Diane Keaton hasn’t fallen off the map just yet. She continues to act in large TV and film releases. Her aging has been graceful, and she is currently in the production stages of many different films.
Where has this mysterious actress gone? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
Anjelica Huston’s unique looks have given her a beautiful career. She starred in one large film in the 1970s, but that didn’t stop her from being one of the most watched actresses of all time. In 1973, Anjelica Huston met Jack Nicholson. They were together for 27 years. Her film, The Last Tycoon, was well received by audiences, and it blew up her popularity even more so.
Since 1990, Anjelica Huston had been married to Robert Graham, a sculptor. They remained married until his death in 2008. She has managed to stay out of the spotlight since then, with the only news about her being the sale of her home.
This actress starred in 13 films in the 1970s. Click ‘Next’ to see who it is!
Liv Ullmann was very busy in the 1970s. She starred in 13 different films, and many of them were very popular. The most well received one was The Emigrants, in which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She speaks four different languages, and she’s been nominated for over 40 awards throughout the world.
Her most recent award was in 2012, which was for an outstanding contribution to international cinema. Lately, Liv Ullmann has been starring in many Swedish films. She has focused on directing films in later years, and she lives in Boston with her spouse Donald Saunders.
This megastar started out in the 1970s. Click ‘Next’ to see whom it is!
It should come as no surprise that the legend, Meryl Streep, is on this list. Meryl Streep is known for her movies throughout the decade, and she is still going strong at the age of 68. However, she wasn’t always as popular as she is now. She really hit her breakout role in the 1970s when she starred in the movie Julia.
In 1978, Meryl Streep starred alongside two big actors in the movie The Deer Hunter. While she was mildly popular before, this movie was what gave her the career she currently has. Her role earned her an Academy Award nomination, so the whole world was watching her after that. Meryl Streep continues her successful acting career today. She has three new movies in production, and two movies releasing later this year.
She’s the most iconic woman on our list. Click ‘Next’ to find out whom!
You can’t talk about the 1970s without mentioning Lynda Carter. Lynda Carter broke into acting a bit differently than the average person. In 1972, Lynda Carter was crowned Miss World America. She started out as a model and pageant holder, but she decided she wanted to dabble in acting.
It is a good thing for all of us that Lynda Carter dabbled in acting because she became one of the most popular actresses in the 1970s. She got the role of Wonder Woman in the TV adaptation. Lynda Carter played both Wonder Woman and the secret identity Diana Prince. The show lasted from 1975 to 1979 on CBS. It was wildly popular, and people everywhere fell in love with Lynda Carter. She went on to play a few roles after the TV show Wonder Woman. Her most recent role was on the TV show Supergirl, which is a DC Comics show. Lynda Carter plays the president on this show and has become a small recurring character.
This woman’s success is unheard of. Click ‘Next’ to see whom it is!
Jane Fonda was popular in both the 1960s and 1970s. but she really gained popularity throughout the 1970s. There isn’t a character Jane Fonda cannot play, and she has shown that through her diverse acting career. In the 1970s alone, Jane won two Oscars. She was nominated for four Oscars.
This kind of success is unheard of, and it all happened to Jane Fonda in the 1970s. She won Best Actress for the movies Klute and Coming Home. The movies Julia and The China Syndrome got her Oscar nominations. Because of these wildly popular films, Jane Fonda became a big household name. Her career continued to blossom, and she had one of the most popular exercise videos released in all time. Today, Jane Fonda stars on a Netflix original series called Grace and Frankie. For an almost 80-year-old woman, she is still as stunning as ever.
One film gave this woman the push her career needed. Click ‘Next’ to see whom it is!
When King Kong was in production, all of the biggest stars tried out for the role of damsel in distress. However, only Jessica Lange got the role. She beat both Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn for the role, and they were very popular actresses at the time. This was Jessica Lange’s breakout role, and thank goodness she got it. Her career blew up with the movie, and she was suddenly the hottest new celebrity around.
Jessica Lange ended up winning a Golden Globe for her King Kong role in 1976. Today, Jessica remains as beautiful as ever. She has had a very successful acting career, and she has a large film currently in the works. The Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award was given to her earlier this year by the Trinity Repertory Company.
Click ‘Next’ to reveal the actress that many people still watch today.
A personal favorite, Mia Farrow is a beautiful actress who became even more popular in the 1970s. This woman didn’t stop once she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA in the late 1960s, she took it as an opportunity to get even better! Mia Farrow starred in many notable films throughout the 1970s, but you may recognize her from her role as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.
While her acting career has seen her in over 50 movies with countless awards, her true calling in life is her activism. Mia Farrow was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. She works with UNICEF throughout Africa. She is still doing well at age 72, and her ability to remain so humble through her success is amazing.
This actress comes with a crazy story. Click ‘Next’ to find it out!
If you don’t know who Barbara Hershey is, you may know her more by the stage name she used throughout the early 1970s, which was Seagull. Rumor has it that while she was filming a scene in a movie, the bird died as she threw it in the air. She felt so bad that she changed her stage name to Seagull in honor of the bird. Many saw her as a bit of a hippy through this time period.
In the 1970s, Barbara Hershey starred in a lot of different movies. Boxcar Bertha was probably her most popular movie of this time period, but she also starred in You and Me and Americana.
You can’t guess who is next on the list. Click ‘Next’ to see our most popular actress yet!
The 1970s saw the rise of another notable actress, the one and only Jane Seymour. Jane is incredibly successful, and much of it has to do with the roles she played during the 1970s. Her first major film role was in The Only Way. In this movie, Jane Seymour played a Jewish woman in Nazi times.
She then went on to star in the TV show The Onedin Line. Jane continued acting in big blockbuster hits throughout the 1970s, and she now has a jewelry line at Kay’s Jewelers. She is easily one of the most successful individuals of all time.
She tore through racist ideals. Click ‘Next’ to see whom it is!
Diahann Carroll might just be the most important woman on this list. She mowed down the obstacles that women of color would run into throughout film and TV during the 1970s. Her role in the TV show Julia won her a Golden Globe award and an Emmy nomination.
Her role in the movie Claudine got her the Academy Award nomination in 1974. She even had her own show, which was unheard of for a woman of color. Diahann Carroll has slowed down on her acting in recent years due to her age, but rumor has it that she has a role in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid.