One of the coolest things to examine is how different the world used to look in decades past. It might not seem like it, but the ’70s were almost 50 years ago, and a lot can change in that time. It can be jarring to immediately think “wait, where are their cellphones?”, but as you’re going to find out, many of these stars are going to be glad you are looking at photos of them when they were in their prime. Not everyone on this list aged gracefully, and our number one entry has been very up front about the amount of plastic surgery she has undergone.
Other stars on this list had big films in the ’70s, like Star Wars, and The Godfather, but there are some fun and candid photos from behind the scenes that may paint your favorite stars in a whole new light.
When it comes to being a celebrity, I suppose it is only natural that your public image is captured throughout the decades. Many of the people on this list are still incredibly relevant to the industry today, they just happened to be doing some pretty cool things (or looked fantastic) back in the ’70s as well.
Unfortunately, two fantastic performers who are on this list have passed away, proving that even some of the best performers of all time are not immortal. Included on the list is even a fantastic story about a musician who smoked some marijuana on the roof of the White House. If that’s not a story to tell at parties, I’m not sure what is!
Many of these photos may also be ones that you have never seen before. You may know what Robin Williams looks like, but did you know what he looked like in a Denver Broncos cheerleading outfit? Something tells me no! Though, if you need to know about the context of that photo (because who wouldn’t?) rest easy, because that too, is detailed below.
Sit back, relax, travel to a different era and check out these 20 celebrities from the 1970s.
20. Robin Williams
Robin Williams was one of the funniest actors of all time, but on top of that, he was absolutely hilarious as a person. The above photo is proof enough of that, as Robin took spent a day being a Denver Broncos cheerleader back in 1979. The incident was later used as a plot-point on Robin’s television show, Mork and Mindy.
While I cannot imagine he was the stereotypical view of “sexy” that the fans were expecting to see on that day, how do you not get excited to see Robin, even if it is on a football field? The above photo was shared by his daughter, Zelda, on her Instagram in the week leading up to Super Bowl 50 which was won by the Denver Broncos.
Williams also spent part of the ’70s falling in love, as he met his wife Valerie in 1976 and married her in 1978. Unfortunately, in 1988 the two got divorced and Robin married his Nanny who was pregnant with his child (Zelda).
19. John Travolta
When I think of John Travolta I think of a big, lumbering man. Especially because you definitely do not want to mess with his Pulp Fiction character. Perhaps that mental image will make it all the more shocking to see this photo of him on the set of the hit film Grease, which came out in 1978. It looks like a big breeze could knock him over, but I suppose he didn’t have to be huge to hit those high notes!
Travolta recently appeared in the TV series The People V O.J Simpson: American Crime Story, but does not have any future projects planned for now. Though, when you have had a storied career that is as long as Travolta’s, there is no doubt that he does not have to work if he doesn’t want to!
18. Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange is one of the most successful actresses of all time. Whether you know her from her soap opera days, her various films or her outstanding job on American Horror Story, it is clear she has talent. Talent that she has sustained since her debut in King Kong back in 1976. Lange was able to beat out Meryl Streep (who you’ll see below!) and Goldie Hawn for the role, but when you consider how gorgeous Lange looked back in the ’70s, it is easy to see why the directors considered her. Lange was also the recipient of the Academy Awards’ Best Actress back in 1994 for her role in the film Blue Sky.
17. Hugh Hefner
By the time the ’70s had rolled around, Hugh Hefner was on top of the world, and it is evident when you look at the swagger he has in the above photo. Hugh has always been known to have multiple partners, so I can only imagine what these 3 had planned for the rest of the afternoon. Hugh also was known for having all-night parties back in those days, but cut back on the party lifestyle after suffering a minor stroke in 1985. The photo is also a great reminder of how often you would see guys wearing shorts that are showing off far too much upper thigh. Maybe that’s why Hugh is the one with the ladies? In a fun twist it seems like the main thing that has changed for Hugh in the time that has passed is that he’s added more women to his side.
16. Mary Tyler Moore
When you have a show that is literally named after you, you better believe you’re a big enough ’70s star to land on this list. The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired from 1970-1977, and was the first show to feature a single, independent woman as a role model. The photo gets extra ’70s points for the lovely macaroni necklace that Mary is wearing in the photo shoot. While she appears to have lost her looks due to aging, nobody can argue that she was not one of the most beautiful women in the ’70s. Mary is not active in the industry anymore, but she is also 79, so nobody is going to blame her for wanting to relax in her retirement.
15. Burt Reynolds
Burt appeared on the legendary Johnny Carson Show back in 1978, only instead of Johnny as host, Steve Martin was filling in. The two started a discussion about mustaches, which led Burt to saying that he had his iconic ‘stach since 1973. As you can see from the above photo, Burt ends up shaving off half of his mustache, amidst the shouts of “no!” from the audience as their sexiest man was about to alter his face.
Burt’s best role in the ’70s was in Smoky and the Bandit, which also spawned a sequel in 1980 and a third one in 1983. Burt is still acting, most prominently in the television show Hitting The Breaks which aired this year. Burt also has a film coming out in 2017, And Then There Was Light, which tells the story of a young girl who loses her eyesight after a tragic horse-riding accident.
I am sure if Cher could really turn back time, she would spend a lot of time living it up in the 1970s. As well as singing, Cher was apart of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour which aired for 63 episodes in the ’70s. The most recent thing that we have heard from Cher was that she wanted to help put together a Broadway musical that was to be based on the different eras of her life. While Cher, like others on this list, relied on plastic surgery to try and look young, there is no doubting that she is still one of the most talented and recognizable musical artists of all time.
13. Robert Duvall
Robert may have been known for saying that he loves the smell of napalm in the morning, but at age 85, he is probably more used to the smell of Bengay! Like another actor on this list, Robert was fortunate enough to appear in The Godfather in the ’70s (which ended up being reasonably popular). The above photo shows Duvall actually wearing the lines for Marlon Brando, who would struggle to remember them!
Duvall’s most recent film The Judge, came out in 2014 and starred Robert Downey Jr. While he did not win, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film. Clearly he still has the talent, and as a result, he was also cast in the upcoming film In Dubious Battle which is being directed by James Franco.
12. Al Pacino
There are a lot of actors on this list that were pretty successful during the ’70s, but there is no doubt that anyone who appeared in The Godfather is well deserving of being included. The above photo also shows Diane Keaton (who you’ll see again) and Pacino back on set of the original film that came out in 1972. As well as this, Pacino kept busy in the ’70s staring in Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico. Pacino stars in Where The White Man Runs Away that comes out later this year. Also in the film is Evan Peters, who you may know from American Horror Story (shoutout to Lange!) and X-Men: Apocalypse.
11. Clint Eastwood
When it comes to badasses in the 1970s, look no further than Clint Eastwood. Dirty Harry himself had no shortage of roles in which he let his gun do the talking – which makes it all the more shocking to see him smiling! Not to mention that the man standing beside him is Paul Newman, legendary actor/director/philanthropist (and so much more). While Clint has not acted since 2012, he has directed several pictures including Sully, which tells the tale of Chelsey Sullenberger who successfully landed his plane in the Hudson River and comes out later this year.
10. Lynda Carter
She might just be lounging out on the bed, but when you’re Lynda Carter, you could be doing anything and still be looking good. Carter was not only gorgeous in the ’70s, it was her most prominent time as an actress. She portrayed the character of Wonder Woman from 1975 to 1979 and in 1972 was crowned Miss World America. I guess that means she already had experience wearing a tiara by the time she got the Wonder Woman role! While not much could knock off Wonder Woman, Carter is no stranger to her battles outside of the screen. She has entered rehab in the past for a battle with alcoholism, but was 10 years sober as of 2008.
9. David Bowie
David Bowie is one of the most unique musicians of all time. Adopting several personas throughout his on-stage career, fans never knew quite what to expect when Bowie was going to step on stage. It was in 1972 that Bowie introduced the world to the character Ziggy Stardust which helped catapult him to fame. Bowie also began his acting career in the ’70s, debuting with the film The Man Who Fell To Earth in 1976. The above photo was popular enough to be selected for the cover of Rolling Stone; perhaps it’s that cool bad-guy look! While he has unfortunately passed away in this past year, his musical legacy will live on forever.
8. David Gilmore and Paul McCartney
Depending on your musical tastes, you may recognize David Gilmour or Paul McCartney first, but either way, you’re looking at a musical legend. Gilmour is the guitarist and co-lead singer of Pink Floyd, and you may have heard of McCartney’s band, as The Beatles ended up being a pretty significant group!
Also pictured is Linda McCartney. The three of them are smoking some substance (unconfirmed if it was green) while taking in a Led Zeppelin concert. Gilmour recently released a solo album Rattle That Lock, back in September 2015 and McCartney is still going out on tours. Gilmour is now 70, and McCartney is 73.
7. Harrison Ford
He might have had a little bit of acting under his belt, but everyone knows Harrison‘s career took off in 1977 when he landed the role of Han Solo. A role that he recently re-played to a payday of over 15 million. While he may not have been a star in the above photo, you can still tell that he’s got the good looks to woo over an entire galaxy. While there is not a ton of context about the above photo, Harrison still gets extra bonus points for those blueish-white jeans, and that sweet looking beard. Apparently he isn’t afraid to re-tackle old roles, as it picking up the whip once again for another Indiana Jones that will come out in the summer of 2019.
6. Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson is an outstanding musician who is also no stranger to marijuana, so you can imagine they are going to get combined for his image. Willie was invited to the White House in 1977, when Jimmy Carter, was in office. Willie had just been released from jail in the Bahamas where he spent time for marijuana possession. Nelson admitted in an interview in 2015 that during the trip, a “White House insider” invited him to the roof to look at Washington at night — and brought out a joint.
“Getting stoned on the roof of the White House, you can’t help but turn inward…Certain philosophical questions come to mind, like… how the f–k did I get here?”
My only question is, who has the courage to work in the White House and bring marijuana with them to work?! I mean sure, you knew Willie was coming, but that just seems like it could have backfired in far too many ways.
5. Diane Keaton
As you saw above with the Al Pacino photo, Diane was absolutely gorgeous back in the ’70s. While she is still one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, I think most people would ogle her from the ’70s before checking her out with her silver fox hair. The above photo is taken from the movie Annie Hall which came out in 1977 and helped further establish Keaton as one of the best actresses out there. Keaton was fortunate enough to be offered the chance to lend her voice to the upcoming film Finding Dory. I suppose the bonus of being in an animated movie is it doesn’t matter how old you look!
4. Meryl Streep
Streep was one of the biggest actresses in the ’70s and ’80s, and given how incredibly talented and beautiful she is, it’s easy to see why. Streep won an award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the role Kramer Vs. Kramer. The above photo is taken at the 1979 Academy Awards. Streep has won two other Academy Awards in her career, including one for Best Actress in the role The Iron Lady (2014).
3. Jack Nicholson
Want to know a really fun fact about Jack? He’s one of two actors who has been nominated for a Best Actor award in each decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. So as you can imagine by the time the ’70s rolled around, Jack had every reason to be swagging out of his mind in the above picture. While it loses a few points for being black and white, it’s hard not to love the confidence that it must have taken for Jack to say “Oh yeah, I’m going to wear an entirely white suit and people are still going to be all over me.” Jack was married during the ’60s, but got divorced in 1968.
2. Jerry Stiller
This one is extra fun for myself to do because I can’t see the name Jerry Stiller and not think of his role on Seinfeld. I half expect him to crack open that beer and start yelling at George, but instead he just looks genuinely happy! Stiller has clearly had himself a long career, and was 47 at the time of this above photo back in 1974. Let’s just hope that Ben Stiller is going to have an equally successful time keeping his career relevant as he gets up there in age. In the ’70s, Jerry only appeared in 3 films, but his children Ben and Amy were 9 and 14, so at least you can hope he got to spend a lot of time with them.
1. Dolly Parton
Dolly is one of the biggest country music stars of all time, having sales that have topped over $100 million worldwide. On top of this, Parton has been nominated for an astounding 46 Grammy nominations. While she repeatedly turned down offers to pose for Playboy, she did agree to pose for the cover wearing the bunny outfit. Clearly her career paid her a solid sum of money, because 2016 Dolly is definitely altered by all kinds of plastic surgery.
She once joked on Oprah that “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!” It’s easy to see how naturally beautiful she looked back in the ’70s, so can you really blame her for trying to re-create that image? (Yes…yes you can). The most recent news that came from Parton was that she and her husband were going to renew their wedding vows because they have been together 50 years. At least that’s very sweet!