Can You Spot These Former Teen Stars?

The constant media coverage. Paparazzi. Overly dedicated fanbases. Teen stars of today are all too familiar with these things. But the teen idols who came before them can definitely relate, even though their fans didn’t carry their camera phones with them everywhere. Some might argue that the buzz around Beyonce is not so different from The Beatles in their heyday.

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Whatever happened to those stars that captivated teens everywhere? Over the years, their lives have changed considerably since they made it big. Check to see your favorite teen idols and discover how their stardom forever altered their lives.

Paul Anka Sang Into Our Hearts

Back in the 1950s, Paul Anka was one of the most famous singer/songwriters around. Hailing from Canada, he had the Elvis look down-pat, and his soulful voice captivated fans worldwide. Possibly his most famous hit was “Put Your Head on my Shoulder.”

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Anka was lucky with his breakthrough to fame, and he can thank his uncle. He needed $100 to record his first track, which his uncle lent him at the tender age of just 14. The rest, it seems, is history and the hits kept on coming.

Shelley Fabares’ Early Breakthrough

Did you know that Shelley Fabares started acting at just ten years old? Bagging a spot on The Donna Reed Show, Fabares went from strength to strength and charmed fans on the small screen for years. From there, she decided to start singing.

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Of course, acting was always her first love, and she became a producer in her later years. From 2004 to 2011, she produced the hugely popular SAG Awards, putting the glitz into the show’s production. She’s now happily married to her husband, Mike Farrel.

Happy Days for Ron Howard

Ron Howard’s career began at a very young age. He found fame on The Andy Griffith Show, starring as fan-favorite Opie Taylor. Howard then went on to join one of the most famous shows of the ‘70s, Happy Days.

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Taking on the role of Richie Cunningham, Howard found even bigger fame and became a household name. He moved into directing, including notable fantastic movies such as Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. Presently, he continues to direct and his movies that are enjoyed by all.

Lesley Gore Will Cry if She Wants To

Everyone has heard the song “It’s My Party.” You know the one – “it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to …”. For many years, and even now, it’s a staple on retro radio stations and TV streaming shows. Many people don’t realize that Lesley Gore was only 18 when she recorded that iconic track.

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It wasn’t a one-hit-wonder, as Gore’s music career spanned for over two decades, and she went on to contribute to many movie soundtracks, including “Fame.” Unfortunately, Lesley Gore sadly passed away in 2015 after a long battle with lung cancer. Her music lives on.

The Breakout Star, Peter Barton

With his brooding good looks, it’s no surprise that the big star of the brief hit show, Shirley, was Peter Barton. The show didn’t have the success many predicted, but that didn’t stop Barton from breaking out and heading towards bigger things. This was cemented when he landed a leading role in The Powers of Matthew Star.

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Regularly followed by fans with posters on their bedroom walls, Barton continued to find acting success throughout his career. The ‘80s were his most successful years. However, Barton sadly passed away. What made the news was the fact that one of his most dedicated fans appeared in his will!

The Ever-Popular Robby Benson

You won’t struggle when looking for a movie that stars Robby Benson, especially in the ‘70s. This was his golden time, with countless movies on his hit list, ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Rothchild’s’ were just two of them. He also leaped to the small screen, starring in Search for Tomorrow.

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With his good looks and talent, Benson was always going to be a star. However, many are unaware that he was the voice of ‘The Beast’ in the animated version of Beauty and The Beast! These days, he sticks to voice-overs and directing yet still works regularly.

Marie Osmond Was the Lesser-Known Sister

We all know The Osmonds were a family band, but Marie didn’t sing alongside her siblings. Instead, she chose to go solo and was quite successful during the ‘70s. Perhaps you have heard her most notable track, a cover of Paper Roses.

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As you might know, Marie hosted a hit show with her brother, Donny, finding greater fame from there. These days, her list of appearances covers Dancing With the Stars, all the way up to being a regular panelist on The Talk, alongside Sharon Osbourne.

Who Didn’t Know Bobby Darin?

Bobby Darin was everywhere during the ‘60s, and it was impossible to avoid him! If you were a girl, you screamed his name and wanted to meet him. If you were a guy, you styled your hair in his same slick style and tried to be him.

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Hailing from New York, Darin found fame as the singer of ‘Mack the Knife’ and ‘Beyond the Sea.’ His songs are just as iconic today! Unfortunately, Darin died at the very young age of 37 due to a heart problem. Despite his passing, his music lives on.

The Oscar-Winning Sally Field

Anyone who has ever seen iconic movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire or Forrest Gump will have seen Sally Field in action. This seriously talented actress found fame at a very early age, starting in the ‘70s. From there, it’s gone from strength to strength!

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When talent is this high in quality, nothing can stop it. That’s why winning an Oscar wasn’t enough, and she went on to perform to live crowds on Broadway. That’s true talent! If that wasn’t enough, Field decided to tell her story in person and wrote her memoir too.

The Multi-Talented Pat Boone

Everyone has heard the hit song, Ain’t That a Shame. While many have covered the original by Fats Domino, the likelihood is that the one you’ve heard is by none other than Pat Boone. He was one of the most popular musicians of his time during the ‘50s and ‘60s.

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At the height of his success, Bonne was compared to Elvis, thanks to the number of fans he had, but these days he lives a quieter life. Nowadays, Boone acts, writes, and organizes fundraisers for charities close to his heart.

Leif Garrett Moved From Acting to Music

During the ’70s, Leif Garrett made his money from acting, and he was pretty successful. However, his major fame came from music, which he branched out into after finding fame on several TV shows. Of course, when a teen star starts to sing, his fans will buy his music!

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The first album Garrett released was a cover album named after himself. This gained notoriety for his talent and earned him cult status among teen fans. He couldn’t go anywhere without being spotted! Legal problems have followed him throughout his career, but he still managed to hit the high notes.

Tab Hunter, The Heartthrob!

Most teen stars attract a fair amount of attention from the opposite sex, but Tab Hunter managed to amass 62,000 Valentine’s Day cards in 1956 – that’s one popular guy! Of course, he found attention thanks to his talent. Starting his career as a coastguard, he moved into acting.

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Little did he know that he would become one of the most successful actors of his generation, starring in several top names from Warner Bros. From there, he decided to try out his luck in singing. Hunter, unfortunately, passed away in 2018, leaving a huge legacy behind him.

David Cassidy, Star of The Partridge Family

A big smile and trendsetting hair grabbed the attention of The Partridge Family fans and gave David Cassidy cult status. It wasn’t long before he became a teen heartthrob in his own right. He was one of the biggest names in the ‘70s.

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Whether he was singing pop music or his beloved rock ’n roll, Cassidy was a hit. Fans followed him everywhere, and his shows were always sold out. It became so crazy that he had to stop touring! However, Cassidy, unfortunately, passed away in 2017 due to liver failure.

Handsome Paul Newman and His Many Trades

The rugged good looks of actor Paul Newman won him an army of female fans during the ‘60s. Starring in popular movies such as The Hustler and Cool Hand Luck, the latter is where he found his biggest break in the movie world.

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Becoming a little bored of acting, Newman decided to move into the world of race car driving, and he was pretty good at it too! He won a few titles and made a name for himself in the racing world. However, Newman, unfortunately, passed away in 2008.

Frankie Avalon Was a Reluctant Teen Idol

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Frankie Avalon was catching fans left, right, and center. His biggest hit was one of his earliest, named Venus. His success didn’t stop there, and he moved into a more mature type of music, trying to appeal to different age groups.

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Avalon didn’t want to be typecast as another teen icon. However, in the ‘70s, he became widely known for contributing songs to the Grease soundtrack, Beauty School Dropout. Nowadays, he lives a quiet life with just a few appearances here and there.

Annette Funicello Has Mickey Mouse to Thank

We know that many stars have found fame thanks to the Mickey Mouse Club, but we tend to think of modern-day stars. However, long before Britney Spears was born, the club was helping stars like Annette Funicello make it big time.

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She quickly landed a role in the Disney film Zorro. From there, her acting career skyrocketed, and she also tried her luck in music. However, Funicello, unfortunately, passed away in 2013, having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis earlier.

Luke Halpin Almost Outshined Flipper!

Flipper was one of the most famous movies of the ‘60s, and it wasn’t just the dolphin that stole the show, but Luke Halpin did as well! With his youthful looks and wide smile, Halpin starred in all the Flipper movies and TV shows.

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In the ‘80s, Halpin decided to try his luck at stunt work for a change and found a lot of success in his new endeavor. Nowadays, Halpin has retired from work and lives in Florida with his family. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Jack Wild Couldn’t Dodge Fame

Not many teenagers can say that they were nominated for an Oscar at just 16 years of age! Jack Wild can, thanks to his standout performance as the Dodger in Oliver, back in 1968. His charm and wit shined through, and he was one of the most memorable performances of the iconic movie.

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Unfortunately, personal problems plagued Wild. At just 24 years old, he could no longer act due to excessive smoking and drinking problems. He went through rehab but died in 2006 due to cancer. Even today, he will be remembered for that iconic early role.

Scott Baio’s TV Success

Happy Days gave us many top-quality actors, and Scott Baio was one of them. However, that wasn’t where his fame ended as he went on to have large spots on Joanie Loves Chachi and Charles in Charge. From there, his career gravitated towards the silver screen.

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Following a personal issue, Baio moved his attention to philanthropy work. The Bailey Baio Angel Foundation was founded after his daughter was found to have health issues. The foundation now raises money for families in need. Baio continues to act, even to this day, although the bulk of his success remains in his younger days.

Mark Lester is Another Oliver Breakout

We’ve already talked about the Dodger, but what about Oliver himself? Who can forget the vulnerable young boy asking for more food in the 1968 movie? That role made him a star and quickly led to international recognition on the acting stage.

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However, as with many child stars, Lester found fame too quickly and fell into drugs. After struggling with substance abuse, he decided that acting was no longer for him and became an osteopath instead, alongside an interest in martial arts.

Connie Francis Isn’t Sorry!

Connie Francis’ most famous song, Who’s Sorry Now, came after she almost decided to give up on music at a very young age. Her father requested that she cover the famous song, and it catapulted her into the spotlight in the heart of the ‘60s.

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Her fame, unfortunately, didn’t last, and she struggled with personal problems as a result of an assault in a hotel. Thankfully, Francis has managed to overcome her demons, and now aged 82, she still makes the odd appearance on red carpets and at events.

American Bandstand Winner, Fabian Forte

Back in the ‘50s, American Bandstand was the show everyone watched. A little like American Idol nowadays, Bandstand brought new artists into the public domain, and everyone voted on who they wanted to win. That’s how Fabian Forte found fame.

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Forte quickly won over the masses with Elvis-esque looks and a fantastic voice and found huge fame very quickly. Some of his biggest singles include Tiger and Turn Me Loose. Forte still sings occasionally now and then, although far less than he did before. Looking back on his youth, he can be proud of the fame he achieved.

Davy Jones Hit Gold with the Monkees

The Monkees were huge in the ‘60s, and Davy Jones was the frontman that made all the girls scream! Many people don’t know that before he went into music, Jones was an actor, and he played the Artful Dodger on the West End.

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Inspired by The Beatles, Jones moved into music and originally wanted to be a solo singer but found himself on board with The Monkees. The band went their separate ways in 1971, which upset a lot of fans. Nonetheless, Jones returned to his acting roots.

Who Doesn’t Know James Dean?

Even if they can’t remember seeing him in action, James Dean is one of those actors that everyone knows. In the ‘50s, Dean won the hearts of many and wowed the world with his acting talent. His big break came when he starred in East of Eden, back in 1953.

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Rebel Without a Cause was another huge movie to add to his growing list, but tragically, Dean died at just 24 years old after a racing crash. Movie fans across the world mourned his passing, and his talent is still recognized today.

The Skyrocketing Popularity of Neil Sedaka

The ‘60s saw an influx of singers and songwriters that everyone went crazy for. Many were young, good-looking, and seriously talented. This included Neil Sedaka. Having left his original band, Sedaka decided to try his luck as a solo singer and won big time.

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Sedaka still releases music to this day. His genre has changed slightly while performing diverse styles. His last album was released in 2016, and who knows if another will come along shortly. He doesn’t seem to have lost his passion for music, that’s for sure!

THE Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond is someone you know the moment you hear his name. You might not have been around when he was originally famous back in the ‘70s, but he remains to be a living legend. Having found fame as part of The Osmonds, Donny recorded many solo albums of his own.

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Donny also proved to be very diverse in his talents, as he played the role of Gaston in Beauty and The Beast on Broadway. These days, Donny continues to wow crowds, both in solo concerts and on TV – he recently took part in Dancing with The Stars.

Johnny Crawford – One of The First Mickey Mouse Club Recruits

We know that Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling found fame on the Mickey Mouse Club, but Johnny Crawford was one of the first lots of recruits. With his wholesome good looks and talent, he won over many fans.

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As both a singer and actor, Crawford’s career has spanned decades. He has officially retired from entertainment, but he can still be seen occasionally at events or shows. The earliest fans of the Mickey Mouse Club will certainly remember him to this day.

Paul Petersen Was an Original Child Star

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Paul Petersen was one of the most famous child actors around. The Donna Reed Show was where it all began for him, and that’s where he found most of his fans. With good looks and acting talent, he turned the heads of many TV producers too.

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It didn’t end with acting either, as Petersen decided to move into singing. He sang a few songs on The Donna Reed Show, which gained him attention from record labels. He then moved to write books! This man’s talent knows no bounds.

Bye, Bye Ann Margaret? Not At All!

If you’ve ever heard that high-pitched voice singing Bye Bye Birdie, you’ve heard Ann Margaret. Her song was huge for many years, and it pushed her towards roles in movies and TV shows. During the ‘60s, she was everywhere you could imagine.

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Tragically, she was involved in a car accident in the ‘70s and required facial reconstruction surgery. Thankfully, she survived and continues to act to this day. Lately. she has been seen in mainstream TV shows, including CSI and Law & Order. That’s what you call longevity!

The Iconic Roy Orbison

The dulcet tones of Roy Orbison are iconic, even today. Songs Like Pretty Woman catapulted him into the spotlight, but he originally found fame with the song Ooby Dooby in 1956. The song may have been recorded unprofessionally, but it certainly showcased his amazing voice.

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During his career, Orbison toured with The Beatles and became close friends with other bands, such as the Rolling Stones. He continued to record music into the ‘80s but unfortunately died in 1988, at just 52 years old.

Veruca Salt Turned Julie Dawn Cole

The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released in the ‘70s, and who can forget the extremely spoiled Veruca Salt? Known for her petulance, the child was played by actress Julie Dawn Cole. The character seemed to influence her future roles too.

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These days, Cole has paid it forward and now owns a children’s drama school. She is also a psychotherapist and mother of two children. She has taken lessons from her role as Veruca Salt on how NOT to raise a child!

The Instant Success of Dwayne Hickman

Very few child actors can say that they achieved their fame almost instantly and found that their career from that point was relatively easy. Having won the title role from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Dwayne Hickman was a star instantly. He even went on to win roles based on that character!

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However, in his later career, Hickman decided to change tact a little and moved into production. He took a job at CBS and worked as a programming executive, working behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera. This proves that flexibility is the key to a long career.

The Many Stories of the Jackson Five

Michael Jackson may have been one of the world’s biggest stars ever, but did you know that he started his singing career as part of a family band? The Jackson Five hit it big time with their song; I Want You Back in the ‘70s. Many more hits followed along, and the band became huge stars.

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Of course, Michael Jackson was the standout star, but his siblings were famous for their rights. Controversy surrounded the band due to the harsh treatment the boys received from their father, Joe. With constant rehearsals and hardly any time to rest, he worked for the band hard.

Change Your Name Like Troy Donahue

Sometimes change is as good as taking a rest, and other times it can bring you fame and fortune. That’s certainly the case with one Merle Johnson Jr, now known as Troy Donahue. Having studied journalism, an agent advised him that his name needed to be changed if he wanted to star. So, he did, and it worked!

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He found his fame on A Summer Place, acting alongside the already established Sandra Dee. He was instantly famous, thanks to his talents and, in part, his boyish good looks. However, fame came a little too quickly as he struggled with a drug problem, ending in rehab. Donahue passed away in 2001.

Jay North Was the Original Dennis The Menace

The cartoon version of Dennis the Menace has always been popular, but the live-action version was even better. At that time, Jay North played the little menace for four years until 1963. Of course, such success led to many opportunities afterward, which North took with both hands.

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After a while, acting became less of a priority for Jay North, as he turned his attention to working as a voice actor instead. This brought great success before he decided to quit the showbiz world completely in 1977. He then joined the Navy and became an activist after that.

The Brady Bunch and Barry Williams

The Brady Bunch has long been a successful show, and it’s been repackaged several times over. One of the original stars was Barry Williams, back in the ‘70s. Having made his acting baby steps in Dragnet, he joined the cast of The Brady Bunch and played Greg Brady until 1974.

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The only problem with finding fame on such an iconic show is that you’ll always be offered similar roles in the future, and that’s exactly the problem that Williams encountered once the show ended. Since then, he has tried his hand at rapping and continues to act occasionally.

Play to Win Like Richard Thomas

The Waltons was a huge success, and Richard Thomas played Joh-Boy. However, his fame was cemented when he starred along with Paul Newman in 1969’s Winning. Before the age of 20, Thomas had already gathered some impressive acting credentials!

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Following his success on The Waltons, Thomas went into the theater, playing several top roles on Broadway. He continues to act and takes on large roles besides some of the modern-day’ biggest movie names, including Kerry Washington, to name just one.

The Wonder of Elvis Presley

This one needs no introduction and probably no information either! Elvis Presley is so famous he doesn’t need to use his surname. One of the world’s most famous and talented musicians and actors, this is a man known even by today’s children.

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Elvis’ big break came with Heartbreak Hotel, and he epitomized everything about rock ’n roll. Of course, his life wasn’t without drama, and unfortunately, The King passed away from a heart attack at just 42 years of age. His music and presence live on.

Ricky Nelson Was No Fool

Even though he found his big break in a show called Poor Little Fool, nobody could accuse Ricky Nelson of being a fool in his career. This is a child actor who worked for his fame and had great talent to prove his worth. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was where it all began.

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With his boyish good looks and talents in singing and dancing, Nelson’s career quickly took off but unfortunately started to dwindle as the ’60s and ‘70s moved on. Unfortunately, Nelson tragically died in a plane crash in 1985, as he attempted to revive his career with a comeback tour.

Running to Bobbie Vee

It may seem like young stars burst onto the scene and don’t have to try, but Bobbie Vee had been trying for many years before Rubber Ball hit the charts and made him a success. However, from there, he seemed to hit the high notes and had 10 UK number ones and several others across the world.

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Vee continued to perform as the years rolled by, and he struck up a particularly close friendship with Bob Dylan. In 2011, Vee was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and he stopped performing. He, unfortunately, passed away in 2016.

Sal Mineo Was a Rebel with a Cause!

James Dean was one of the silver screen’s biggest icons, and Sal Mineo became a hit when he played alongside Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Not only did Mineo turn heads, but he also bagged himself an Oscar nomination! From that moment, his star was on the ascent.

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Many other top movies followed, and a huge amount of success came his way, deservedly. Mineo was also one of the first high-profile stars to come out as gay, paving the way for many more. However, he was tragically stabbed to death at the young age of 37 during a robbery in Los Angeles.

Corey Feldman’s Slow Decline

Teen stars often grab attention quickly, and that’s exactly what happened to Corey Feldman. With his boyish charm and good lucks, Time After Time was his breakthrough in the late ‘70s. Unfortunately, this early fame pushed him towards negative habits, and he began taking drugs.

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Iconic roles in The Gremlins and ‘80s cult classic, The Goonies were part of Feldman’s resume. However, he decided to quit acting and turn to music. This wasn’t as much of a success, and although he continues to try, it doesn’t seem to be working out.

The Brady Bunch’s Christopher Knight

The Brady Bunch was responsible for helping many children and teen stars find fame, and Christopher Knight was one of them. Having played Peter Brady in the ‘70s, Knight moved into other TV shows and even a few movies after leaving the iconic show once it finished.

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Since then, Knight has moved into the world of tech startups, and he has had quite a lot of success in this endeavor. He continues to be the founder of several successful companies, which he has made large sums of money from. It seems he has left acting behind for the time being.

Our Own Luke Skywalker – Mark Hamill

Of course, Mark Hamill is famously known as Luke Skywalker, but that’s not where his fame began. He found fame on General Hospital in the ‘70s, and before that, he was a voice actor. It was after General Hospital that he landed the iconic Skywalker role.

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Of course, the role of Skywalker was what made Mark Hamill so famous, and he was nominated for countless awards. These days, he still acts and makes appearances for fans who still remember him for his most iconic role to date.

Bobby Rydell Was the Wild One

Setting many hearts aflutter, Bobby Rydell was a huge star in the ‘60s and found fame on TV Teen Club. He was a regular character on the show and was also one of the most popular amongst the show’s fans. From there, he decided to try his hand at music.

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His music career didn’t fare as well as his acting, and he returned to acting afterward. He found fame again in 1963 as part of Bye Bye Birdie. He still acts today, performing occasionally. However, he has suffered several health problems over the last few years.

Vincent Van Patten’s Family Connection

Vincent Van Patten is the son of Dick Van Patten, which may have helped him earn his acting stripes at the start. However, these were earned through hard work and talent too. He found his big break in the ‘70s, in the film Bonanza. Before that, he had been in many TV commercials too.

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Did you know that although Van Patten’s acting career was his starting point, he was a tennis player as well? He’s pretty good at it, having won several titles. He’s also a very good poker player. This is a man with many talents, and he uses them very well! He no longer acts and instead focuses upon his lucrative hobbies.

The Multitalented Bobby Sherman

Many young stars start in one career niche and move to another. It’s quite normal over time. Bobby Sherman began acting and found his big break on Shindig! However, he wanted to move into music and found that he was quite successful there too!

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However, boredom set in when a combination of music and acting wasn’t hitting the spot anymore. Sherman left the limelight altogether and retrained to work at a sheriff’s office and EMT. Quite the career change, but one that seemed to work well for him.

The King of Cool, Dean Martin

There’s a reason that Dean Martin was nicknamed the King of Cool – because he was super cool! His big break came when he formed a comedy duo alongside Jerry Lewis. After that, he decided to break into acting and music, both of which he had huge success. He was cool because he did everything so well!

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He focused more on music as time passed by and became quite the prolific recorder. The ‘70s was his golden time for music, and he released several albums over the decades. However, Martin passed away in 1995, suffering from lung cancer for several years.

The Super-Talented Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando is another name you know instantly, even if you haven’t seen any of his films. His big break came from On the Waterfront, and everything sped up from that moment. One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Brando was wanted for every major movie role for years.

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At the height of his success, he was the highest-paid actor on the planet, demanding paychecks worth millions for small parts. The Godfather will remain his most iconic piece of work. Brando passed away at the age of 80 in 2004 but will remain a legend forever.

The ‘60s Were About Connie Stevens

Connie Stevens was an iconic singer in the late ‘50s and into the ‘60s. She got her big break on the TV show 77 Sunset Strip, and from there, she started to release music. The first track was Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb. This gained attention and helped her music career skyrocket.

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The releases continued to fly in before she moved back into acting. She starred with Jerry Lewis and added a few other movie titles to her name. Stevens has recently moved into directing work, with her debut, Saving Grace B. Jones, being released in 2009.

James Darren’s Big Break

James Darren went from obscurity to huge fame in the blink of an eye. Having been noticed by a casting director, he was quickly thrust into the limelight and grabbed the attention of fans worldwide. Not only did he act, but he also sang—Starring in movies such as Gidget and releasing Goodbye Cruel World, the song.

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Trying to move away from his teen idol roots, Darren starred in The Guns of Navarone and then moved into TV, starring in The Time Tunnel in the mid-’60s. Darren is one of the few former teen idols who has moved from that iconic status into something more mature and accredited with success.

Singing With The Shangri-Las

The Leader of The Pack wasn’t just one of the ‘60s best songs around, but it was also a track that managed to surpass time and has stuck around even today! Made up of four female singers, the group became famous quickly and released song after song within a short period.

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Marguerite and Ann Ganser, unfortunately, passed away, and although the group found huge success, it didn’t seem to last that long. Their songs lasted longer than the group, and even today, we hear their music on retro radio shows.

Johnny Tillotson Was Poetry in Motion

Poetry in Motion is a song that most people can sing a few words of, even if they don’t know all the words. That’s how famous that track was and how it thrust Johnny Tillotson into the limelight almost overnight. However, his fame didn’t come quickly, and he had to work behind the scenes before that point.

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Famed for his ability to record different types of music, Tillotson recorded both rock and country music and found huge success. He was nominated for a Grammy and still performs occasionally to this day. His music is certainly going to stand the test of time.

The Fonz, AKA Henry Winkler

Come on, who doesn’t know The Fonz? Even if you have never watched Happy Days, you’ve heard of him! This iconic character was played by Henry Winkler, who found huge success in the ‘70s and ‘80s due to his role.

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Even though he doesn’t tend to take on many roles these days, he does find time to show up and pretends to be The Fonz in many shows or cameos as the actor who played The Fonz. That’s how iconic this character is! As for Winkler himself, he’s happy writing children’s books these days.

Night Fever with John Travolta

Perhaps the most famous of all the names on this list, except for Elvis, is John Travolta. Known for his wiggling hips in Night Fever, Travolta has had a career that has spanned decades and continues to grow. Of course, the ‘70s also included his iconic role in Grease.

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From Pulp Fiction onwards, Travolta has somehow managed to pass through the decades and remain relevant and able to play a wide range of different characters with ease. Travolta suffered a family tragedy in 2009, when his son, Jett, sadly passed away.

Shaun Cassidy Was More Than David’s Brother

The problem with being the sibling of someone already famous is that you’re typecast from the moment you start to branch out. That’s what happened with Shaun Cassidy. However, he showed his talent pretty quickly, playing Joe Hardy in the popular The Hardy Boys Mysteries.

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Cassidy has now settled for theater on Broadway and behind-the-scenes roles following the heady days of his teen icon status. He also does a fair amount of writing and has produced several high-profile shows, including American Gothic.

Dion DiMucci Gives us The Runaround

Hands up if you’ve heard the song, Runaround Sue. Hands up if you know who sang it. There probably aren’t that many hands up. That’s because this is one of those songs that transcends time. In the ‘60s, however, everyone knew who sang the song and Dion DiMucci, or Dion as he was known, was super-famous.

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Having hit number one with his breakthrough song, he went on to have countless other rock ’n roll genre hits and was inaugurated into the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a result. These days, Dion still produces music and plays shows – catch him if you can!

The ‘60s belonged to Mike Clifford

In 1962, Mike Clifford recorded Close to Cathy, and everything changed from that moment. From there, song after the song became a hit, and with a firm stage presence and a good-looking face to make the girls drool, Clifford owned the decade.

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These days, Clifford continues to perform his old songs to adoring fans and new audiences who have just discovered his sounds. He also hit the high notes when he toured in Grease- the Musical, alongside the iconic John Travolta himself. Despite his progressing age, Clifford doesn’t seem to want to stop!

Kenny Dino Was More Than a Second-Rate Elvis

Despite many similarities with The King himself, Kenny Dino never reached the same high points as Elvis. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t very popular in his own right. Having left the Navy, he decided to put his singing dreams into action and started recording and touring.

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He had one major success with Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night in 1961 and very little after that. However, this wasn’t about his lack of talent, but more down to poor decisions on collaborations. He regularly turned down collaborative efforts that could have brought him more success.

Success For 18-Year-Old Jimmy Elledge

Jimmy Elledge found fame when he sent a tape to Chet Atkins, a renowned music industry insider. He was quickly offered a recording contract with industry giants RCA at the tender age of just 18 years. His debut track, Funny How Time Slips Away, was a huge hit, written by Willie Nelson.

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Despite his initial success, further, huge hits never came to fruition for Elledge. Instead, he moved into producing, where he found more success and began to work in that niche. However, in 2005 he suffered a stroke, and his health continued to deteriorate until he died in 2012.

Successful Justice for Jimmy Justice

This is another example of an artist changing their name and suddenly finding fame. Originally James Anthony Bernard Little, he changed his name to Jimmy Justice, presumably to sound more audience-friendly. It seemed to work as he found success with Little Lonely One in 1962.

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Justice found a huge amount of attention in Sweden before the UK market caught up, but he struggled to repeat the success after his debut. He also found his style of music became less popular as rock ’n roll bands started to grab attention.

Brian Hyland’s More Than Itsy Bitsy Success

Novelty songs were all the rage in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so when Brian Hyland came out with Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini, of course, it was a success—hitting the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, the single sold millions.

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Further releases also did very well, and he continued to record for many years afterward. However, he wanted a change of scenery, and he started to change genres. This didn’t have the same success, and his star waned a little. Despite that, he still shows up in many appearances, even now.

Troy Shondell’s Big One Hit Wonder

In the ‘60s, many one-hit wonders reached major heights of success, only for the artist to disappear shortly afterward. That’s what happened to Troy Shondell. This Time was released in 1961 and was a major hit all over the world. He even managed to crack both the US and UK markets.

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Despite his original success, follow-up singles failed to show much sign of promise. Shondell carried on creating music and touring for fun until 2010. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2016 due to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Eurovision to Success for Mark Wynter

Often, artists who start their career via Eurovision don’t see a huge amount of mainstream success. However, Mark Wynter found a major hit when he released Venus in Blue Jeans in 1962. Incidentally, he came fourth in the contest, which isn’t a bad showing!

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His following releases didn’t replicate the same successful heights, but Wynter continued to record music and perform for many years afterward. In 1968, he decided to change careers and move into acting, which he found relative success in.

Surfin’ With The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys ruled the airwaves in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Their biggest hit was their breakthrough song, Surfin’ USA. The fun vibes and sing-along track they created helped them become very successful, and their songs became known worldwide.

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The band were also known for their harmonies while also existing within the rock genre. Good Vibrations was another standout single. The band continues to perform nowadays, although in a slightly different lineup due to members leaving and some, unfortunately, have passed away.

Razzle Dazzle with The Hudson Brothers

Having appeared on The Sonny & Cher Show, The Hudson Brothers (real-life brothers) shot to fame and were booked for countless other shows within a very short amount of time. They started The Hudson Brothers Show.

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Soon afterward, the brothers decided to change routes and created The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, aimed at children’s entertainment. It was a huge success. To switch things up even more, they released two songs that charted pretty high! It seems there’s nothing these brothers can’t do.

Andy Gibb – The Other Gibb Brother

Three of the Gibb brothers went on to form the iconic Bee Gees. However, there is another brother too! Andy Gibb wasn’t part of the family band, and instead, he chose to go his own way and perform solo. It worked out for him as his track Flowing Rivers was a hit in 1977.

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More number ones and high charting positions continued, proving that you don’t have to be part of the Bee Gees to do well! However, Gibb’s health deteriorated due to substance abuse. He died suddenly in his early ‘30s due to a heart problem brought on by former drug use.

Willie Aames, the Child Star

During the 1960s, Willie Aames found fame on the TV show Gunsmoke. It wasn’t a flash in the pan either, as further success came his way in the years following his departure from the show. Of course, Gunsmoke was known as one of the huge hits of the ‘60s.

Photo by Maureen Donaldson, Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images / Albert L. Ortega, Getty Images

Upon leaving the show, Aames had roles on The Waltons and Medical Center, to name just two. However, he gave up acting in the ‘80s and was ordained as a minister. He also appeared in video games such as Bibleman as a Christian superhero.

Another Baio, This Time Jimmy Baio

We have already talked about Scott Baio, the cousin of Jimmy Baio during the ‘50s and ‘60s, Jimmy had several roles on TV shows, but it wasn’t until the ‘70s when he earned his stripes with a part on the popular TV show, Soap.

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Having started acting at just 13 years old, he enjoyed continued success on the set of Soap, running until 1981. Very little is known about Jimmy Baio after this time, and we can only assume he quit acting for something else.

A Star at 5 – Lenny Bari

Lenny Bari started singing at just five years of age, but it took a few more years until he became a star. However, in 1973, Bari took on an acting role in Jeremy and didn’t look back. To add to his talents, Bari was on Broadway by 15.

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However, after his role in Jeremy, very few other roles appeared. Despite that, he earned a lot of attention from his part on the show, and he was a teen heartthrob for some time too! There is little information about Bari these days.

Rolling With the Bay City Rollers

Part of the huge British Invasion that hit the United States, the Bay City Rollers were a force to be reckoned with in the music world. Put together in 1967, the band hailed from Scotland and had a fun type of rock ’n roll music that grabbed the audience’s attention.

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Hits kept on coming, but over the years, members left and rejoined, which affected the overall success of the band. These days, a few members of the original lineup still perform, but the band is no longer.

Dirk Benedict’s Background

You probably knew Dirk Benedict from his starring role in Battlestar Galactica back in 1978. However, there was a story before that time. Benedict had several lesser-known roles, including Chopper One and in a horror movie, randomly called ‘Sssssss.’

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Of course, Benedict was also part of ‘The A-Team,’ where he also found a huge amount of his fame and a cult following, which added to the Battlestar Galactica. These days, Benedict still carries out appearances regularly.

Prior Success with Michael Biehn

You may know Michael Biehn from The Terminator and Aliens; however, his big break came in The Runaways, back in 1979. It’s easy to think that he simply stuck to sci-fi roles, but he took on many mainstream roles before his fame.

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The Runaways earned him teen icon status, and he adorned the walls of many teenage girls thanks to that role. He also had several smaller roles, allowing his talent to be showcased before taking on larger projects.

When Sandra Dee Was a Newcomer

Before being nominated for a Golden Globe Award and earning roles in many films, Sandra Dee was a child model and appeared in many TV adverts. Of course, she was also famous for her wholesome good looks. It was 1959’s Imitation of Life that helped her breakthrough.

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Dee continued to be successful throughout the ’60s, but the film roles started to dry up a little by the end of the decade, and she was struggling with personal issues, thanks to divorce. Unfortunately, Sandra Dee passed away in 2005.

Almost Miss Minnesota, Loni Anderson

A little-known fact about Loni Anderson is that she was runner up in Miss Minnesota at just 18 years of age. However, she wanted to be known for her acting; she found her breakthrough opportunity in 1978, in WKRP in Cincinnati.

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She also acted in several other shows, including Police Woman, S.W.A.T., and Barnaby Jones, all in smaller roles. Following WKRP in Cincinnati, many more acting jobs came her way, and she famously married Burt Reynolds.

Daisy Duke, AKA Catherine Bach

A pair of hot denim pants is probably what Catherine Bach is known for these days, but she is a very talented actress! Having earned her stripes in her younger years, she found her breakthrough role on The Dukes of Hazzard in 1979.

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Before playing the famous role of Daisy Duke, Bach also starred alongside Burt Lancaster and Clint Eastwood in various movie roles. However, her role as Duke gained her notoriety, and it’s what she is still known for today.

Charlie, It’s Farrah Fawcett

Charlie’s Angels is an iconic show that kickstarted many careers, including that of Farrah Fawcett. In 1976, Fawcett became a star overnight thanks to her beauty and her talent. Of course, the poster she posed for in just a bathing suit also didn’t hurt.

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Fawcett became an icon for both men and women who wanted to date her or be her. Her role on Charlie’s Angels was hugely successful, and it gained her huge notoriety as a result. Those hair flicks are also still pretty legendary, even today!

Down to Earth Pam Dawber

In the days before Robin Williams was super-famous, he played an alien on a TV Show, Mork, and Mindy. He was Mork, and Mindy was Pam Dawber. This proved to be her breakout role in 1978. She played the best friend of an alien visiting Earth.

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The show was hugely popular and continued for many years before calling it a day in 1982. Dawber will always be known for her time as Mindy, but she did have a few smaller roles afterward, most notably on My Sister Sam.

Another Partridge Family Star – Susan Dey

The Partridge Family was a cult classic and kickstarted the career of David Cassidy. However, it also did a lot for the rising star, Susan Dey, at just 17 years of age. Playing Laurie Partridge in the show, she gained huge fame and much attention for future acting roles.

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After the show ended, she went on to star in LA Law, which gained her a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Golden Globes. She won the award and continues to play in various TV shows to this day.