Remembering Buddy From 'Family': Kristy McNichol Is 58 And Retired From Acting Two Decades Ago

Jul 25, 2021 by apost team

Kristy McNichol is a retired actress best known for her roles in the film "Little Darlings" and in television series such as "Empty Nest" and "Family." Portraying Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence in the latter was one of the most notable roles in McNichol's career. Not only was the show a massive hit, but McNichol had also begun earning recognition in the acting industry. Along with her talent as an actress, McNichol had also proven herself to be a great musician and always had an abundance of charisma and personality to make her shine even more.

McNichol was born on Sept. 11, 1962, in Los Angeles. At a young age, she already discovered a passion for acting and worked hard at trying to make it big in Hollywood. Although the rising star did not always have it easy as her parents sometimes struggled to make ends meet, both she and her brother continued to pursue a career in acting. When she was only 6 years old, McNichol began landing jobs to appear in commercials before moving forward to star on the small screen.

The rising star quickly found success in the industry and had even won awards for her accomplishments as an actress, but McNichol had begun having some personal issues with her mental health. She had taken a backseat during some of her jobs, before finally stepping away from the spotlight altogether. Despite having such a pivotal role in the entertainment industry at a young age, McNichol later removed herself from the world of acting and retired in the late 1990s. She later made her decision public in 2001.

Kristy McNichol (1978), (Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

Her Outstanding Career

After finding some success in commercials and TV roles, McNichol landed one of her biggest roles to date, when she was cast as Buddy in the TV drama series "Family." The show aired from 1976 until 1980, and was a massive hit with fans and critics alike for showcasing the hardships that many families go through. McNichol was even nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series three years in a row, and took home the win in 1977 and 1979.

McNichol continued to act on television and appeared in the TV special "The Carpenters at Christmas" in 1977, where she performed several musical numbers with the Carpenters. The following year, she and her brother, Jimmy McNichol, ventured into the music industry together and recorded their RCA Records album called "Kristy and Jimmy McNichol." In 1978, McNichol once again performed at a Christmas special held by the Carpenters, but this time alongside her brother.

McNichol had also progressed to star in films alongside her work on television. In 1980, she landed the leading role in "Little Darlings," a coming-of-age film in which her performance was highly acclaimed. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Only When I Laugh" in 1982. McNichol continued to be successful as an actress, although the industry had begun to wear on her a bit. In 1988, she began playing the role of Barbara Weston on "Empty Nest," a spin-off show of "The Golden Girls." However, she left the show in 1992 after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She later returned for the final episode in 1995, marking her last on-screen performance.

Kristy McNichol (2016), (Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images)

Why She Retired From Acting

McNichol then shifted her career to voicing characters in animated series such as "Extreme Ghostbusters" and "Invasion America," but didn't stay in the industry for much longer. Biography reported that McNichol retired from acting in the late 1990s, with her ongoing battle with bipolar disorder being one of the reasons. People also reported that the former actress retired from her career to focus on her health. McNichol and her publicist later made the retired actress' decision public in 2001.

In January 2012, People reported that McNichol had decided to make a statement about her sexuality and come out to try to help kids who were being bullied. Despite not being in the public eye for many years, McNichol felt it was important to use her platform for the betterment of others. At the time, the retired actress and her partner, Martie Allen, were both 49 years old, and had been living together for the past 20 years. McNicol's publicist, Jeff Ballardtold People, "She is very sad about kids being bullied. She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different."

Even though she was a rising star back in the 1970s, McNichol has enjoyed living her life away from the spotlight. "She is very happy and healthy," Ballard said. "And she enjoys living a very private life." Even though she had stepped away from the spotlight all those years ago, McNichol hadn't forgotten about her love for acting and the talent she had in the field. Shortly after her retirement, she went on to teach acting at a private school in Los Angeles, and devoted much of her time to charity work.

Kristy McNichol (2019), (Bobby Bank/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Do you miss seeing Kristy McNichol on television? What do you think about her reason for leaving the spotlight? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your friends and family, too!

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