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7 child stars of the 1970s: Where are they now?

Here's what happened to Cindy, Buddy and more of your favorites.

Image credit: (top row) CBS, (bottom row from left) CBS, Sony, Warner Bros. 

Sometimes, the best parts of a television show are the cute child actors who always steal the scenes. Sometimes they play roles that are integral to the plot; other times they're used for comic relief during serious moments. 

While child actors are cute, the lives they face after the cameras stop rolling are anything but that. Hollywood almost always typecasts them as child stars, making it difficult to find more adult roles.  

Some of these former child stars of the 1970s found the transition to adulthood easier than others. Here's a look back at some of our favorites, and what they've been up to since they last appeared onscreen. 

Melissa Gilbert 

CBS, AP Photo/Matt Sayles

We all remember Gilbert as the precocious Laura Ingalls Wilder on the hit series Little House on the Prairie, appearing for all nine seasons and over 200 episodes. Since then, the former child star has grown up to become a formidable actor, continuing to appear in TV shows and films since the 1980s. Most recently, Gilbert competed on Dancing with the Stars, where she received a concussion but ended up in fifth place. This year, she ran for Congress in Michigan and won the Democratic Primary, only to drop out due to medical reasons.  

Kristy McNichol

Sony Pictures Television, Robert Gallagher/People

After a string of Afterschool Specials and guest appearances, McNichol won over audiences as Buddy on the drama series Family. The role earned her two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress, along with two more nominations. With so much success at such a young age, the pressure was on for McNichol to keep it up. After Family, McNichol appeared in films like Little Darlings and Only When I Laugh as well as the popular sitcom Empty Nest. However, in 2001, McNichol announced she had retired from acting. Today, McNichol teaches acting at a private school in Los Angeles and is heavily involved in charity work. 

Mike Lookinland

Lookinland appeared in several TV commercials before landing the role of Bobby Brady on The Brady Bunch in 1969. After the show wrapped in the mid-'70s, Lookinland reprised his most famous role in various TV specials and spinoffs, including the 1990 series The Bradys, in which Bobby is a racecar driver who uses a wheelchair after an accident. While still involved with the series, Lookinland retired from acting and now owns a business in Salt Lake City making decorative concrete. 

Susan Olsen

We couldn't include Bobby in this list and leave out Cindy! Similar to Lookinland, Olsen also had smaller roles before landing a part on The Brady Bunch. After the series wrapped, Olsen also reprised her role for the various spin-offs and specials. Today, she works as an artist and is also a passionate animal welfare advocate, serving on the board of directors of Precious Paws

Kathy Coleman

Aside from the cult classic Land of the Lost, which ran for two years, Coleman has only one other acting credit to her name. After the series, Coleman married young and moved to Nevada with her husband to raise her two sons. The couple divorced in 1987, and Coleman now lives north of Los Angeles. She told the TODAY show in 2009 she's still very close with her former castmates. 

Buddy Foster

For a brief moment in time, Buddy Foster was more famous than his sister, Jodie. He had several guest starring roles on television, including regular appearances on Mayberry, R.F.D. He also lives in infamy as the voice behind the kid in the famous Tootsie Pop commercial. However, the acting roles dried up in the early 1970s and his sister became the bigger star. In 1997, Foster released a tell-all book about his and his famous sister's childhood, much to her dismay. With no recent acting gigs, he's more famous today for being Jodie Foster's brother than as a former child star. 

Brian Forster

Forster joined The Partridge Family during the show's second season, replacing Jeremy Gelbwaks as Chris Partridge. After the show wrapped, Forster quit acting but continued to appear in specials and documentaries about the series that made him a child star. In 2003, Forster became a racecar driver in Northern California. Fun fact: Forster is the step-grandson of Alfred the Butler on the 1960s series Batman.

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