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29 Celebrities Who Ruled the 1970s

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore got her first taste of Hollywood fame in the 60s for her portrayal of Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. However, she really hit her stride in the 70s with her own hit sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also received an Emmy nomination in 1978 for her role in the film First, You Cry. In the 1970s she was a true TV titan to reckoned with, and few people since have been able to match her wit and charm. 

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John Travolta

For many years, John Travolta was not a household name. But that all changed in the 1970s! A string of roles in hit films during the decade propelled him to full-blown stardom. These included Grease, Carrie, and Saturday Night Fever. In addition to film roles, he was also well-known during the 70s for his role on the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter

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Carol Burnett

For most of the 70s, Carol Burnett dominated the comedy world with her hilarious sketch comedy/variety program, The Carol Burnett Show. From movie parodies to musical numbers, there wasn’t much that Burnett and her talented castmates couldn’t turn into comedy gold. 

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Faye Dunaway

Faye Dunaway got her start in the 60s as a Broadway actress, but in the 70s she set her sights on Hollywood and landed a number of roles in high-profile films. These included Chinatown, The Towering Inferno, and Network, for which she won the Academy Award for best actress. 

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Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John’s most iconic work during the 70s may have been her role as Sandy in the movie adaptation of the musical Grease. However, she was also dominating the airwaves of the decade, with a music career that included three Grammy wins and being named female vocalist of the year by the Country Music Association. 

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Barbra Streisand

Let’s be honest--Barbra Streisand hasn’t had a bad decade. But the 70s may have been one of her best! She was on the radio nationwide with chart-topping hits like “The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, and “No More Tears”. She also starred in several hit films of the decade, including The Way We Were and A Star Is Born

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Jodie Foster

During the early 70s, a young Jodie Foster landed several supporting roles in films, including the award-winning hit Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. However, in 1976 she really rose to stardom with her controversial portrayal of a teenage prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver

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Alan Alda

Alan Alda is probably most well-known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the hit 70s show M*A*S*H. And if that’s all he did during the decade, it would have been more than enough to count him a superstar. But it wasn’t! Alda also starred in several films during the 70s, including Same Time, Next Year, which netted him a Golden Globe nomination for best actor. 

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Sonny Bono and Cher

After a successful run in the 60s as musicians, Sonny Bono and Cher used the 70s to rebrand themselves as well-rounded celebrities with not one but two variety shows—The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and The Sonny & Cher Show. 

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Diane Keaton

The hits just kept rolling in during the 70s for Diane Keaton! After her first major role as Kay Corleone in The Godfather, she landed subsequent roles in Play It Again, Sam, Sleeper, and Love and Death. Her most iconic role came next when she starred as the title character in Annie Hall. For her performance she won an Academy Award for best actress. 

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Ellen Burstyn

Linda Blair might be the actress most associated with 1973’s The Exorcist, but Ellen Burstyn played a big role in this iconic hit as well--and she was even nominated for an Academy Award for her role. The next year Burstyn nabbed an Oscar for herself for her role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Sounds like a successful decade to me! 

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Sissy Spacek

Sissy Spacek started the 70s with several minor roles in television in film, but it was in 1976 when she got her big break. Her role as the title character in the horror hit Carrie was all it took to propel her to superstardom. She even received an Oscar nomination for her performance—which was all but unheard of for horror films at the time. 

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Robert Redford

Robert Redford was doing just fine for himself before the 1970s, but it was during this decade that he became a household name. His roles in popular films of the decade, such as The Great Gatsby, The Way We Were, and The Sting all contributed to his superstardom. 

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Erik Estrada

You’d be hard-pressed to find a 70s teenage girl who didn’t dig Erik Estrada’s dreamy looks and feathery hair! While he had several minor roles in the early 70s, he really found fame in 1976, when he began his role as Frank Poncharello on the hit cop drama, CHiPs

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Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds rose to fame in the 60s thanks to his role on the Western drama Gunsmoke, and by the 1970s there was no holding him back! He landed major roles in hit films of the decade, such as Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit

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Harrison Ford

Let’s face it, if you had any role in the original Star Wars film, you had a pretty good 1970s. And that goes doubly for one of its most iconic stars—Harrison Ford! During the decade he also had small roles in the hit comedy-drama American Graffiti and Apocalypse Now

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George Carlin

George Carlin spent the 70s making audiences laugh and gasp with his hilariously controversial stand-up routines. He’s probably most famous for “seven dirty words” bit which premiered in 1972—it was so controversial for the time that it became the subject of a Supreme Court case in 1978. 

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Lynda Carter

Gal Gadot may be America’s favorite superhero these days, but as good as she is, no one can play Wonder Woman like Lynda Carter did in the 70s! She portrayed the iconic character, as well as her alter ego, Diana Prince, from 1975 to 1979. 

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Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett absolutely dominated the last half of the 1970s. Her most iconic role was in the TV series Charlie’s Angels, but she also had a supporting role in the hit sci-fi film Logan’s Run

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Gilda Radner

No one had a knack for funny business in the 1970s like Gilda Radner! As one of the original cast members on Saturday Night Live (which began airing in 1975), she cemented herself as a true titan of comedy. 

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Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban got into some real monkey business in the 1970s—namely, The Planet of the Apes franchise. He starred in the original film (1968), as well as two sequels: Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). 

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was a comedic titan in the 70s that wasn’t afraid to court controversy. His mix of profanity and race-based humor made him quite the controversial figure. However, that didn’t stop his success—he released no less than five comedy albums during the decade! 

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John Belushi

John Belushi dominated both television and film in the 1970s. He was an original cast member for Saturday Night Live, but he was also recognizable for his role as frat boy John Blutarsky in National Lampoon’s Animal House, which was released in 1978. 

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Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson only had one major role in the 70s, but it sure was a doozy! She’s most famous for portraying lovable mom Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. 

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Donny and Marie Osmond

Singing siblings Donny and Marie Osmond were true teen icons in the 1970s. Their hit variety show Donny & Marie ran from 1976 to 1979 and had them bumping elbows with some truly iconic guest stars, including Lucille Ball, Glen Campbell, and Don Knotts. 

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Steve Martin

Banjo-playing funnyman Steve Martin had a great run during the 1970s. In addition to stand up and movie roles, he also famously hosted Saturday Night Live numerous times during the 70s, making him almost as beloved by audiences as the cast themselves! 

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Michael Landon

In the early 70s, Michael Landon was wrapping up his role as “Little Joe” on the TV show Bonanza—which ended in 1973. However, he would find fame again during the decade for his role as Charles Ingalls in the TV adaptation of Little House on the Prairie

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Gene Wilder

Youngsters of the 70s may have best known Gene Wilder as the delightfully eccentric Willy Wonka in the film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971). However, their parents might recognize from the hit comedy-horror film from 1974, Young Frankenstein

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Charo

Charo is the undisputed queen of guest star spots! During the 70s, she had memorable guest roles on shows such as The Love Boat, Donny & Marie, and The Captain and Tennille TV show. 

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