Orphan Annie Is 50 Today & Looks As Gorgeous As Ever
Jun 22, 2021 by apost team
Aileen Quinn is best known for being a triple threat as she is an actress, singer, and dancer. She rose to fame early on with her most notable role ever as Annie Warbucks in the movie “Annie.” However, the multi-talented star persevered through her childhood and into early adulthood by furthering her studies in higher education and theatrical studies, as well as continuing her career as an actress both on stage and on the silver screen.
The star shot to fame after an incredible amount of hard work and dedication. Her passion for the arts has been seen time and time again through her many roles on the Broadway stage, in movies, and in television series. Quinn has showcased her voice in many ways due to her plenty of parts in theatrical productions and alongside her bandmates in Aileen Quinn and the Leapin’ Lizards.
While most children can only dream about becoming a superstar or famous actor one day, Quinn has been living out her own dreams since she was just a kid. She’s managed to overcome the curse that child stars seem to face as most of them don’t continue on with long-lasting, substantial careers after reaching their peak early on.
Quinn was best known for her vibrant red curls and freckled face while playing the role of Annie but has since blossomed into a beautiful, grown woman. She has remained a prominent figure in the public eye for the last four decades due to her refutable talent and relentlessness to push herself to continue keeping her passion as a career.
Quinn was born June 28, 1971, in the small town of Yardley, Pennsylvania. Despite not being raised in a typical show-business city, Quinn was able to develop and craft her many talents early on and began taking dance lessons in both ballet and tap dancing at the Knecht Ballet Academy in Levittown, Pennsylvania at the age of 4. She later auditioned for a part in a local theater production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” where she successfully earned herself a role and performed in many productions throughout the community.
As Quinn’s career was taking off, she needed someone to help her continue to find more auditions and land more roles, so she obtained an agent. Shortly afterward, she landed a small role in the film “Paternity,” which was released in 1981. Quinn also worked in a few commercials while she was in New York City. Some of her appearances include work for Planters Cheez Balls, Shake ‘n Bake and Quilted Northern Bathroom Tissue.
When Quinn was eight years old, she was cast as an understudy for all of the orphans in the Broadway production of “Annie,” except for the parts of Annie and Molly. She worked hard and persisted as she went through a lengthy audition process for the movie adaptation of the Broadway production.
After eight rounds of auditions that took around a year to get through, Quinn finally landed the role of a lifetime and was cast as the lead, Annie Warbucks, in the movie “Annie.” Quinn had beat out plenty of other young girls who hoped to land the dream role, such as Drew Barrymore and Kristin Chenoweth. According to IMDB, only nine actresses made it to the second round of auditions.
Role Of A Lifetime
Quinn was quickly loved with her bright red curly locks, sweet freckled face, and the voice of an angel. Quinn’s voice was remarkable, especially for a child, as she performed some of the classic songs from the film “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Fame and success came easy to Quinn as she mastered the role and earned herself two Golden Globe nominations, as well as a Youth in Film Award for Best Actress.
According to The List, Quinn also starred in a commercial for Minute Maid orange juice while decked out in her Annie costume. The commercial was aimed toward children and told kids that as long as they drank their orange juice, they would eventually be adopted.
Although many people were incredibly fond of the young actress, there were some spiteful critics in the mix. Publicist John J. B. Wilson created the Golden Raspberry Awards, better known as the Razzies, to celebrate and highlight the worst films, actors, and directors of the year. Quinn was nominated for Worst Supporting Actress at the award show in 1983 but didn’t win the cringe-worthy prize.
While she was under contract with Columbia Pictures with the prospect of more “Annie” movies to be made, Quinn continued to work and landed leading roles in theater productions. Some of the shows she starred in include “The Wizard of Oz,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “Shenandoah,” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.” Along with this, Quinn’s talent with her voice was used in a different way as she voiced two animated cartoon specials on national television, “The Charmkins” and as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Quinn was unstoppable as her career continued to escalate to new heights, and she earned the starring role as Princess Zora in “The Frog Prince,” which later aired on the Disney Channel. When she was 11 years old, Quinn talked more about her successful life during an interview in 1982. “It really hasn’t changed that much,” she admitted. “I’m still the Aileen Quinn I always was. I still live in Yardley, Pennsylvania.”
She continued and talked about how fun it was for her to work in the entertainment industry. “Filming to me is like playing with my friends,” Quinn said. Even though she was enjoying her life in the limelight, Quinn was realistic about the risks that come with being an actor and revealed what she planned to do if she was not successful moving forward. “If I don’t find any parts to play, then I’ll come back to Yardley, Pennsylvania, and be myself again,” she said.
Although she was quickly becoming a child star, Quinn did not let her studies go unnoticed as she traveled and worked in the United States northeast region. She graduated from Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, New Jersey, before moving on to attend college at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Quinn majored in language while also studying political science as a minor. The smart student also made time for extracurriculars as she was a member of the Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi before graduating from the university in 1994.
More Work Onstage
Quinn took a short break from acting while pursuing higher education but quickly returned after her graduation. In 1994, she performed in the production of “Oliver!” at Paper Mill Playhouse. She soon took on more parts in other shows, such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Peter Pan,” and “Saturday Night Fever.” The three Broadway shows accounted for more than the next five years of her career as she toured the country, portraying the respective roles in each production.
Combining school with a passion for acting, Quinn continued to grow as an actress when she began studying Shakespeare in London. Shortly after, the star was seen in more Broadway spectacles like “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night” at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Doing what she knew best, Quinn returned to her roots and once again appeared in a stage production of “Annie,” although this time it was as Lily. Quinn continued to land small roles in independent films throughout the late 2000s, such as a minor role in “Multiple Sarcasms” in 2009.
The actress has grown a nice following over the years and was able to show off her real personality by hosting the interactive sitcom “Generation Gap,” which aired on PBS in 2004. The show helped teach children how to resolve conflicts. While the world was able to witness her stunning singing voice and incredible talent early on due to her part in the movie adaptation of “Annie,” Quinn has continued to showcase her vocal abilities through her band, Aileen Quinn and The Leapin’ Lizards.
Reflecting On Her Career
The group released their first album titled “Spin Me” in 2015, and their second, “Lightning and Thunder,” was released a few years later in November 2019. Quinn described the band’s first album as “playful and fun” and the second one as “sophisticated.” According to the band’s official website, they have stuck to the state of California to showcase their music and tour in front of fans.
Quinn has kept much of her personal life pretty private as she currently has no large scandals in her resume. She is also single with no children, although she is an aunt and a godmother.
During an interview with Playbill in 2012, Quinn revealed that she was auditioning for the role of Annie in the film version while she was participating in the Broadway production of the same show. “I knew Annie backwards and forwards,” she said. “‘Annie’ played a big part in my life.” Although she performed in more stage productions than she landed roles in film and television, Quinn relished in the latter. “Film actually came much more naturally to me,” she said.
Quinn explained how the movies that were supposed to follow “Annie” were going to be based more so on the comic strips rather than the Broadway show. “As a matter of fact, they were supposed to make more “Annies” after that -- I was under contract for six years -- and the next one in the series was going to be her getting kidnapped and going through the swamps in New Orleans,” Quinn said. “It was going to be more of an adventure series.”
Using Her Talent For Good
The love for theater hasn’t left Quinn’s heart over her many years in the spotlight. “I got to tour the world -- 13 countries and six continents -- because of the movie, but I still have special memories of my days on Broadway and performing,” she said. “It will always be my first love.”
With so much experience and talent under her belt, it only made sense for Quinn to share her knowledge with others. She became an adjunct professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, where she taught for a couple of years. This is also the same location that Danny Warbucks’ mansion from “Annie” was filmed in. In 2009, the school awarded her with an honorary degree. Before her time with Monmouth University, Quinn also worked as a Spanish, drama, and dance teacher at Hudson Catholic Regional High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
During an interview with Just Talkin’ in December 2019, Quinn talked about what led her to her current position in life. “I keep thinking that I’m just going to settle down and have a normal life, and so I decided to teach,” she said. “But I really liked teaching the arts, so I might go back to that in the future.” Quinn also expressed the desire to write more creatively in the future, such as writing her own plays. She is also still active with her band, where she is able to express herself through singing and songwriting. “I’ve always liked roots-based music, even though I do a lot of Broadway musicals,” Quinn said.
What She’s Up To Today
“My soul is really in that kind of motown, that kind of R&B, that kind of roots music,” Quinn continued. When she moved to California, Quinn discovered a love for classic music and classic cars, which led her to the musical genre of rockabilly. Once she discovered the sound, she explained that it reminded her of her character from “Annie” since it was “sassy and feisty.”
The star explained how she moved to California to continue making music with her band as a side gig while she focused more on getting back to working on television series. By combining her love for acting and singing, she is able to keep “creatively, as an artist, growing,” as Quinn has explained it. While she has remained in the public eye, Quinn has grown from an adorable tiny tot into a stunning grown woman. Some of Quinn’s most recent work includes a role on “The Comeback Kids” in 2014 and a guest appearance on “Will & Grace” in 2020.
While many child stars seem to hit their peak early on before slowly fading away from the spotlight, Quinn has managed to remain in the entertainment industry for well over 40 years. She has pursued acting, singing, and dancing as she has continued her stardom while even taking breaks away from the industry every now and then to focus on school, whether it’s as a student or a teacher. Quinn’s career is far from being over as she is still very involved with her band and is keeping her presence in film and television relevant.Aileen Quinn (2015), (David Livingston/Getty Images)
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