Question: Representing the “Finicky Party”, who ran for president for the first time in 1988?
Last Question: On Empty Nest, what ’70s child star played Officer Barbara Weston?
Answer: Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol was one of the biggest teen stars of the late ’70s when she was playing Leticia “Buddy” Lawrence on the Aaron Spelling drama series Family (1976-1980). She earned two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series (1977 and 1979) for the show. During this time, she and her brother Jimmy made their own foray into music, recording an album, Kristy & Jimmy McNichol. The album included the single “He’s So Fine” (a cover of The Chiffons’ 1963 hit), which peaked at #70 on the Billboard chart.
Critics say that around 1982, Kristy’s career started to decline. This was actually the time when I saw Kristy McNichol for the first time, and developed a little crush on her. As many of us recall, the summer of 1982 was when E.T. came out. We went to go see the movie. Oops! It was sold out. Instead, we saw the other movie that was playing at that theater – the multi-million-dollar-budget musical spoof, The Pirate Movie! It starred Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. Here are a couple of musical numbers from the movie:
Even though I saw the movie in the theater, it flopped. I was always looking forward to seeing McNichol in more movies, but her roles were becoming more few-and-far-between.
There were rumors that Kristy’s behavior was becoming problematic, and that she was developing a drug problem. It turns out that she did not have a drug problem after all. She was suffering from bipolar disorder.
However in 1988, she landed the role of Barbara Weston on The Golden Girls’ spinoff, Empty Nest. She starred along side Soap vets Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff. Kristy left the series in 1992 when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She would return for the show’s final episode in 1995, her last screen appearance as an actress to date.
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.”
Since retiring from the screen, she has taught acting at a private school in Los Angeles and devoted much of her time to charity work.Follow @returntothe80s