Kristy McNichol (born September 11, 1962) is an American actress and singer.
McNichol is known for her roles as Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence on the television drama series Family and as Barbara Weston on the sitcom Empty Nest.
Early life and career
McNichol was born in Los Angeles, California,
Kristy appeared with her brother Jimmy in commercials and later, on her own, in guest appearances on such other series asStarsky and Hutch, The Bionic Woman, Love American Style and The Love Boat, thanks to family friend Desi Arnaz. Her first stint as a series regular came in the role of Patricia Apple in the short-lived CBS television series Apple’s Way (1974).
In 1976, McNichol was cast as Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence in the television drama series Family (1976–80), for which she earned two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series (1977 and 1979). Many actors and actresses guest-starred on the show, including Helen Hunt, Michael J. Fox and Leif Garrett. Family, produced by Aaron Spelling, was considered a breakthrough for television drama that dealt with “real life” issues.
In December 1977, Kristy appeared on The Carpenters at Christmas TV special, performing several musical numbers with the duo. In 1978, McNichol and her brother Jimmy made their own foray into music, recording an album, Kristy & Jimmy McNichol, for RCA Records. The album included the single “He’s So Fine” (a cover of The Chiffons‘ 1963 hit), which peaked at #70 on the Billboard chart. The McNichols promoted the album at New York’s Studio 54 discotech, with such other big-name celebrities in attendance as Brooke Shields. In December 1978, McNichol would appear in another Carpenters‘ holiday special, The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait, this time with Jimmy.
By this time, McNichol was one of the biggest teen stars of the era and appeared on various talk shows, including The Mike Douglas Show and Dinah!, as well as making several appearances on Battle of the Network Stars and other celebrity-based shows. Also in 1978, she starred in the acclaimed made-for-television film adaptation of Bette Greene’s Summer of My German Soldier.
McNichol began her feature film career in the Burt Reynolds comedy The End in 1978. She later co-starred with Tatum O’Neal, Matt Dillon, and Cynthia Nixon in the hitcoming of age movie, Little Darlings, in 1980. Her performance in that film was acclaimed by many reviewers. She appeared with Dennis Quaid and Mark Hamill in The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981), for which, at age 19, she received an unprecedented six-figure salary. The same year, she co-starred in Neil Simon’s Only When I Laugh, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In the 1986 TV movie Women of Valor, about American nurses incarcerated in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II, and also appeared in two theatrical films in 1988: You Can’t Hurry Love and Two Moon Junction.
In 1988, McNichol played Barbara Weston on the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, a spin-off of The Golden Girls, alongside Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff. Kristy left the series in 1992 when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She returned to the series for its final episode in 1995, her last screen appearance as an actress to date, though she went on to voice characters in the animated TV series Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) and Invasion America (1998).
In June 2001, she stated:
“A lot of people have wondered what I’ve been up to. I retired from my career after 24 years. My feeling was that it was time to play my biggest part – myself! I must say that it has been the best thing that ever happened to me. So many fans are disappointed that I’m not currently acting; however, some may not realize that the process I’m in at this time is necessary and vital for my personal happiness and well-being.”
After her retirement from the screen, McNichol taught acting at a private school in Los Angeles and devoted much of her time to charity work. In 2012, McNichol came out as a lesbian, in the hopes that her openness would help young people who are bullied because of their sexuality.
|1977||The Love Boat||Linda Morley||Television movie|
|1977||Black Sunday||Unknown||Scenes deleted|
|1978||The End||Julie Lawson|
|1978||Like Mom, Like Me||Jennifer Gruen||Television movie|
|1978||Summer of My German Soldier||Patty Bergen||Television movie|
|1979||My Old Man||Jo Butler||Television movie|
|1980||Blinded by the Light||Janet Bowers|
|1981||The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia||Amanda Child|
|1981||Only When I Laugh||Polly||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|1982||White Dog||Julie Sawyer|
|1982||The Pirate Movie||Mabel|
|1982||Aladdin and the Magic Lamp||The Princess||Voice|
|1984||Just the Way You Are||Susan Berlanger|
|1985||Love, Mary||Mary Groda-Lewis||Television movie|
|1986||Dream Lover||Kathy Gardner|
|1986||Women of Valor||T.J. Nolan||Television movie|
|1988||You Can’t Hurry Love||Rhonda|
|1988||Two Moon Junction||Patti Jean|
|1989||The Forgotten One||Barbara Stupple|
|1990||Children of the Bride||Mary||Television movie|
|1991||Baby of the Bride||Mary||Television movie|
|1993||Mother of the Bride||Mary||Television movie|
|1973||Love, American Style||Steffi||Episode: “Love and the Unsteady Steady”|
|1974||Apple’s Way||Rachel||Episode: “The Lamb”|
|1974–1975||Apple’s Way||Patricia Apple||14 episodes|
|1975||ABC Afterschool Special||Jenna McPhail||Episode: “Fawn Story“|
|1976||ABC Afterschool Special||Nina Beckwith||Episode: “Me and Dad’s New Wife“|
|1976||Starsky and Hutch||Meg||Episode: “The Hostages”|
|1976||Sara||Unknown||Episode: “Grandpa’s Girl”|
|1976||The Bionic Woman||Amanda Cory||Episode: “The Ghost Hunter”|
|1976||Starsky and Hutch||Molly Edwards||Episode: “Little Lost Girl”|
|1976–1980||Family||Lilitia ‘Buddy’ Lawrence||86 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1977, 1979)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
|1977||The Love Boat||Kelly||Episode: “Graham and Kelly”|
|1977||ABC Afterschool Special||Carlie Higgins||Episode: “The Pinballs“|
|1978||Starsky and Hutch||Joey Carston||Episode: “The Trap”|
|1988||Murder, She Wrote||Jill Morton||Episode: “Showdown in Saskatchewan”|
|1988–1995||Empty Nest||Barbara Weston||100 episodes|
|1985–1992||The Golden Girls||Barbara Weston||2 episodes|
|1997||Extreme Ghostbusters||Girl in Sub (voice)||Episode: “Dry Spell”|
|1998||Invasion America||Sgt. Angela ‘Angie’ Romar||13 episodes|
- Jump up^ “The New York Times”. Movies.nytimes.com. 2007-01-18. Retrieved2014-06-29.
- Jump up^ Bloch, Jon P.; Naser, Jeffrey (2006). The Everything Health Guide To Adult Bipolar Disorder: Reassuring Advice to Help You Cope. Everything Books. p. 47.ISBN 9781605503417. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- Jump up^ “Family (1976),” The Internet Movie Database
- Jump up^ Ebert, Roger. “Review of “Little Darlings””. RogerEbert.com. Retrieved May 26,2015.
- Jump up^ “Kristy McNichol”. vh1.com. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- Jump up^ “Where Are They Now? Kristy McNichol”. Tv.msn.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Jump up^ “Movies: Biography forKristy McNichol”. The New York Times.
- Jump up^ Anonymous. “Kristy McNichol, ‘Empty Nest’ And ‘Family’ Actress, Comes Out As Lesbian In People Magazine”. Huffington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2015.