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Kristy McNichol is an Emmy award-winning actress and singer, active on film and television during the 1970s-1980s.
Kristy McNichol - Full Biography (45:05)
Kristy McNichol - Teen Star (1:01)
Kristy McNichol - Family (1:10)
She first captured hearts as a fresh-faced teen actress in the TV drama Family, a role for which she earned two Emmy Awards. Inside, though, Kristy McNichol was battling a debilitating bipolar disorder.
Kristy McNichol was a teen idol and superstar back in the late 70's. Here, look at her life when the cameras were off.
Kristy McNichol's ABC television show "Family" was a huge hit and its release on DVD enabled a new generation to enjoy Kristy as the spunky tomboy, Letiticia "Buddy" Lawrence.
Growing up, Kristy McNichol wasn't alway the happiest little girl.
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Born on September 11, 1962, in Los Angeles, California, Kristy McNichol got her start in commercials as a child actress. She acted in the television drama Family, for which she won two Emmy Awards, and started a singing career. She starred in several films over the next decade, but an on-going battle with bipolar disorder harmed her productivity. She retired from acting in the late 1990s.
Born Christina Ann McNichol on September 11, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. Kristy McNichol was one of the most popular young actresses during the 1970s and 1980s. When she was three, her parents divorced. Kristy and her brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, were raised by their mother.
At the age of 6, McNichol shot her first commercial. Both she and her brother, Jimmy, were trying to make it as performers, with their mother Carollyne serving as their manager. In 1974, McNichol made her television debut in the short-lived drama Apple's Way. She played Patricia Apple, a young city girl who moves to her father's small hometown in Iowa along with her parents and three other siblings. Much of the drama centered on the clash between the family's urban ways and their new rural community. Unfortunately, the series failed to find much of an audience.
McNichol fared much better with her next television series, Family. As teenager Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence, she was the youngest member of the Lawrence family. Sada Thompson and James Broderick played her parents on the series. Meredith Baxter-Birney appeared as her older sister, Nancy, who left her husband while she was pregnant, and Gary Frank was cast as her older brother, Willie, who was in his late teens. Quinn Cummings later joined the family as Annie Cooper, their adopted daughter.
During its four-year run, the characters of Family faced many different kinds of hardships, from cancer to alcoholism. McNichol's Buddy character often had to grapple with many teen-related issues, such as dating and sexuality. For her work on the series, McNichol received four Emmy Award nominations and two Emmy Award wins. She received the Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Award in 1977, and the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Award in 1979.
In addition to her work on the series, McNichol started a film career. She made her film debut in the dark comedy The End (1978) with Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. On the small screen, McNichol made a number of popular television movies, including Like Mom, Like Me (1978) and Summer of My German Soldier (1978). She also starred in Blinded by the Light (1980), with her brother Jimmy.
Besides acting, McNichol enjoyed some popularity as a singer. She performed on a number of television variety shows and specials, including The Donny and Marie Show and The Carpenters Christmas Special. She and her brother, Jimmy, recorded an album of disco songs in 1978, and had a minor hit with the single "He's So Fine."
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