Who is Kristy McNichol?

Two-time Primetime Emmy-awarded actress Kristy McNichol, is probably still known best for her role as Letitia Lawrence in the series “Family” which earned her this prestigious television award. She has nearly 40 acting credits to her name, and when she announced her retirement, her admirers were disappointed. However, Kristy wanted a ‘normal life’, being tired of acting and all that popularity brings, so they respected her decision.

More about her life, her career, and what happened to her after she quit acting, you’ll find in this article. So, keep on reading.

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Early life, family, and education

Born Christina Ann McNichol under the zodiac sign of Virgo on 11 September 1962, and is today aged 60 (as of June 2023), Kristy is a native of Los Angeles, California USA, holds American nationality, and comes from a family of Lebanese, Scottish, English, and Irish descent, raised in her hometown by her parents James, a carpenter, and Carolyn who worked odd jobs, including a movie extra.

Kristy has an elder brother, also an actor and a singer, James Vincent ‘Jimmy’ McNichol III, perhaps known best for his portrayal of Jack in the series “The Fitzpatricks”. They have a younger brother, Timmy, who was born in 1965. Soon after Timmy’s birth, their father left the family, and the children were raised by their single mother.

Kristy and Timmy released a joint album in 1978, and it spawned one hit song, “He’s so Fine”, the cover of The Chiffons’ song from 1963. The two often performed across the US and Europe until Kristy has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder after having a manic breakdown while they were touring across France. Soon after, she stepped away from her music career, preferring to focus on acting.

When it comes to Kristy’s educational background, she attended a local high school, the upon matriculating in 1980 she didn’t go to college, but concentrated on her career.

Roles in series

Kristy made her acting debut as Steffi in an episode of the series “Love, America Style” in 1973, followed with her role as Patricia Apple in the drama series “Apple’s Way”, which depicted the story of the Apple family trying to adjust to life in a small town in Iowa. The show aired during 1974 and 1975, and Kristy made an appearance in 16 episodes.

In the following year, Kristy was cast to play her most notable role, as Letitia ‘Buddy’ Lawrence in the series “Family”, also starring Sada Thompson, Gary Frank, and James Broderick. The series followed the lives of the Lawrence family from Pasadena, their joys and heartaches; it had 25 award nominations and nine wins, including four Primetime Emmys. As mentioned, Kristy won two Primetime Emmys (Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1977, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1979). She was also nominated for another two Primetime Emmys, and for the Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama in 1979. Kristy’s performance also brought her a nomination for the Young Artist Award for Best Juvenile Actress in a TV Series or Special. The series aired from 1976 through 1980, and Kristy was seen in all 86 episodes.

Between 1988 and 1995, Kristy was seen as Barbara Weston in 119 episodes of the series “Empty Nest”, a family comedy-drama about Harry, a widower, and his two divorced daughters, Barbara and Carol, who come back to live with him after their marriages failed. Kristy starred opposite Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff, and the show had 17 award nominations and nine wins, including the ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top TV Series in 1991.

Her last TV series role was her voicing of Angie Romar in the animated series “Invasion America” in 1998.

Roles in movies

Kristy made her first movie appearance as Linda Morley in the TV romantic drama “The Love Boat II” in 1977. In the following year, she made her big screen debut as Julie Lawson in the comedy-drama “The End”, written, directed, and starred by Burt Reynolds.

Later that year, Kristy was seen in the movies made for television such as “Like Mom, Like Me” and “Summer of My German Soldier” before she returned on the big screen as Angel in the 1980 comedy-drama “Little Darlings”, which was her first lead role. She starred opposite Tatum O’Neal and Armand Assante in this story of two teenage girls who competed to see who will be the first to lose their virginity. For her performance, Kristy was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Major Motion Picture, and Jupiter Award for Best International Actress.

Another of Kristy’s notable movie roles came in 1981 when she was cast to play Polly in the comedy “Only When I Laugh”, also starring Marsha Mason, James Coco and Joan Hackett, all nominated for Oscars, with Kristy being nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture, and winning the Young Artist Award for Best Young Motion Picture Actress.

In the following years, Kristy co-starred in “White Dog” (1982), “Just the Way You Are” (1984), “Dream Lover” (1986), and “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1988), however, in 1988, Kristy was cast to play Patti Jean in the romantic drama “Two Moon Junction”, and received the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress.

The early ‘90s saw Kristy in several movies made for television, which didn’t achieve much success, and her most recent movie role was her portrayal of Mary Becker in the 1993 drama “Mother of the Bride”, which had no nominations and was poorly rated by the audience and critics.

In 2001, Kristy announced her retirement from acting.Love life and relationships

Kristy has been the subject of various speculations concerning both her sexual orientation and her love life. In her 2012 interview for People Magazine, Kristy came out as lesbian, saying that she chose to do that since she wanted to help young people who are being bullied because of their sexuality. She revealed that since the early ‘90s, she’s been in a romantic relationship with her partner Martie Allen, a non-celebrity who worked as a teacher.

As of June 2023, Kristy and Martie live together in Los Angeles.

What is she doing today?

After she quit acting, Kristy enrolled at a local hair-style school, wanting to have an average life, away from the limelight. Kristy also devoted most of her time to charity work, and taught acting at a private acting school, but making it clear that she will never return to acting. Kristy has no social media accounts, and it seems that since her most recent interview in 2012, she’s completely withdrawn from public life.

Net worth

During her nearly 25-year-long career, Kristy showed her acting talent, and her numerous awards and accolades  contribute to the opinion of her fans that she was one of the most talented actresses in the early ’80s. According to sources, as of June 2023, her net worth has been estimated at over $4 million.

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