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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Who is Christina Ann McNichol?

Who is Christina Ann McNichol? The entertainment and acting world know her as Kristy McNichol is an American actress. She is best known for her roles as Leticia “Buddy” Lawrence on the television drama series Family and as Barbara Weston on the sitcom Empty Nest.[1] She is also the sister of former child actor Jimmy McNichol. McNichol retired from acting when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992.[2]

Early life and career

McNichol was born September 11, 1962 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Carolyn McNichol Lucas, a business manager and actress, and Jim McNichol, a carpenter.[3] She has two brothers from that marriage: Thomas and Jimmy McNichol. Her parents divorced when she was six years old. When McNichol was 19 her mother married Siegfried Lucas. In the same year Lucas and McNichol's mother adopted McNichol's sister Jennifer Lucas.
McNichol appeared with her brother Jimmy in commercials and later, on her own, in guest appearances on such other series as Starsky 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 Buddy 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, McNichol 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 discothèque, 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 chat 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 hit coming of age movie, Little Darlings, in 1980. Her critically acclaimed performance in that film was considered to be of Academy Award caliber 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.
By 1982 McNichol's fortunes began to decline. She starred in the multi-million-dollar-budget musical spoof The Pirate Movie alongside Christopher Atkins, but the film flopped at the box office. Later that year, McNichol failed to return to the set of Just The Way You Are after the production had halted for Christmas vacation. By this time, unfounded rumors of McNichol's alleged drug use were rife and it was often speculated to be the cause of her increasingly problematic behavior later attributed to bipolar disorder. Although McNichol eventually completed the film, her reputation was severely damaged by the incident. Just the Way You Are underperformed at the box office, despite a healthy opening weekend. After one more unsuccessful starring vehicle, 1986's Dream Lover, McNichol was subsequently offered only B-film titles and television movies. She supported lead actress Susan Sarandon 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 cameo roles in two theatrical films of 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, along with Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff. But McNichol's attendance once again became a problem, and she left the series in 1992 when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[4] 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).

Post-acting life

Elisabeth Brooks
The untimely death from cancer of her long-time friend Elisabeth Brooks in 1997 was a great blow to McNichol, who had a near-death experience herself while scuba-diving in Hawaii in 1992.
In March 1999, McNichol was the subject of an edition of E! True Hollywood Story, in which she spoke candidly about her career, alleged drug problems, and her mental health problems. McNichol's last public statement was in June 2001, when she said:
"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."[5]
McNichol resides in Los Angeles, California. 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.[6]

Filmography

Year↓ Title↓ Role↓ Notes
1973 Love, American Style Steffi Segment: "Love and the Unsteady Steady"
1974 Apple's Way Rachel Episode: "The Lamb"
1974-1975 Apple's Way Patricia Apple 12 episodes
1975 ABC Afterschool Specials Jenna McPhail Episode: "Fawn Story"
1976 ABC Afterschool Specials Nina Beckwith Episode: "Me and Dad's New Wife"
1976 Starsky and Hutch Meg
Molly Edwards
Episode: "The Hostages"
Episode: "Little Girl Lost"
1976 Sara
Episode: "Grandpa's Girl"
1976 The Bionic Woman Amanda Cory Episode: "The Ghost Hunter"
1976-1980 Family Letitia 'Buddy' Lawrence 86 episodes
1977 The Love Boat II Linda Morley TV movie
1977 Black Sunday (scenes deleted)
1977 The Love Boat Kelly Episode: "Graham and Kelly"
1977 ABC Afterschool Specials Carlie Higgins Episode: "The Pinballs"
1978 Starsky and Hutch Joey Carston Episode: "The Trap"
1978 The End Julie Lawson
1978 Like Mom, Like Me Jennifer Gruen TV movie
1978 Summer of My German Soldier Patty Bergen TV movie
1979 My Old Man Jo Butler TV movie
1980 Little Darlings Angel
1980 Blinded by the Light Janet Bowers
1981 The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia Amanda Child
1981 Only When I Laugh Polly
1982 White Dog Julie Sawyer
1982 The Pirate Movie Mabel
1984 Just the Way You Are Susan Berlanger
1985 Love, Mary Mary Groda-Lewis TV movie
1986 Dream Lover Kathy Gardner
1986 Women of Valor T.J. Nolan TV movie
1988 You Can't Hurry Love Rhonda
1988 Murder, She Wrote Jill Morton Episode: "Showdown in Saskatchewan"
1988 Two Moon Junction Patti Jean
1988-1995 Empty Nest Barbara Weston 100 episodes
1989 The Forgotten One Barbara Stupple
1990 Children of the Bride Mary TV movie
1991 Baby of the Bride Mary TV movie
1991 The Golden Girls Barbara Weston Episode: "Witness"
1992 The Golden Girls Barbara Weston Episode: "A Midwinter Night's Dream: Part 2"
1993 Mother of the Bride Mary TV movie
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Girl in Sub (voice) Episode: "Dry Spell"
1998 Invasion America Sgt. Angela 'Angie' Romar (voice) 13 episodes

Awards

Wins

1977 
Emmy, for Family
1979 
Emmy, for Family
1980 
People's Choice Award for "Favorite Young Motion Picture Actress"
1982 
Young Artist Award, for Only When I Laugh
1989 
Razzie Award, for Two Moon Junction

Nominations

1978 
Emmy, for Family
1979 
Golden Globe, for Family
1980 
Emmy, for Family
Young Artist Award, for Family
1981 
Young Artist Award, for My Old Man and Little Darlings
1982 
Golden Globe, for Only When I Laugh
1983 
Razzie Award, for The Pirate Movie

 

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