Before video stores were popular, people were still flocking to the movies or turning on the TV to see their favorite actors.
In the 1970s, there were several actors that dominated the big screen and some that were quite popular on television as well.
They would emerge during that decade and many would go on to achieve fame for many years to come.
Box office favorites of the 70s included:
Jack Nicholson – Nicholson truly had one of the most well-known faces in 70s cinema. He starred in several top movies of the decade including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown, and a long list of lesser known flicks such as Carnal Knowledge, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and The Last Tycoon. Nicholson was known for playing rather wacky characters, a stereotype that would stay with him for decades.
Robert DeNiro – This was DeNiro’s decade as well. During the 70s, he was lauded for his roles in Taxi Driver, Bang the Drum Slowly, The Dear Hunter, and The Godfather II. This New Yorker is still considered one of the best actors of all time and still makes at least 2-3 movies a year.
Dustin Hoffman – Known for his role in the 60s hit, The Graduate, Hoffman really hit pay dirt in the 70s with roles in blockbuster films such as Lenny, Papillon, All the President’s Men, and Kramer vs. Kramer. He won the Best Actor Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer.
Al Pacino – Before he did the 70s Godfather movies, Pacino had done little work. But after his work in these flicks about the Mafia, he was a household name. Other notable 70s movies for Pacino included Serpico, Scarecrow, and Dog Day Afternoon.
Favorite television actors of the 1970s included:
Lee Majors – Though Majors did television in the 60s, starring in shows like Big Valley, it was the 70s that really launched his career. Specifically, in 1974, he became The Six Million Dollar Man and found himself in one of the most-watched shows on the 70s. The fact that he was married to Farrah Fawcett also helped his career!
James Brolin – Though most people today know Mr. Brolin as Barbra Streisand’s husband, in the 70s he was the very adorable Dr. Steven Kiley on TV’s Marcus Welby, MD. He did a number of films in the 70s as well, but none cemented his career like Welby did.
Bill Bixby – Women everywhere fell in love with Bill Bixby when he played the charming single father in the 70s show, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. However, a different group of people became Bixby fans later in the decade when he assumed the role of that great green mutant, The Incredible Hulk.
John Ritter – Towards the end of the decade, the show Three’s Company was responsible for the popularity of John Ritter, a 20-something year old who had previously played the shy pastor on TV’s The Waltons. But on his new show, Ritter had an opportunity to show his tremendous comedic talents when he starred as Jack Tripper, the supposedly-gay roommate of two female friends.