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There are few characters more iconic than Little Orphan Annie, with her curly, red locks and scruffy canine companion, Sandy. First a comic strip, next a Broadway musical, and in 1982, a Turner Classic Movie, the story has been told and told again—but it was the film version that proved most iconic, thanks in no small part to its star, Aileen Quinn.
At just eight years old, Quinn first entered the world of Annie when she became an understudy in the 1977 Broadway production of the show. She spent the year that followed (reportedly eight auditions in total) pursuing the title role in the film against over 8,000 competitors, ultimately winning the lead. Today, the child star is 49 years old and though her screen acting days seem to be behind her, she's still hitting the stage regularly. Read on to see what she looks like today, and for on your favorite celebrities, Julianne Moore's Daughter Is All Grown Up and Looks Just Like Her.
Read the original article on Best Life.
She continued acting after Annie—but also got to have a normal childhood.
After the film's premiere, the child star spent the next two years touring 13 countries on six continents to promote the film. "I was under contract for seven years to make more Annie movies, but they never materialized," she explained to Broadway Buzz in a 2012 interview. "I got to have a normal high school and a normal life outside of Hollywood. That's when I started to delve into theater because I was under contract and could only take regional theater gigs. It's when I got to really grow up as an actress," she said.
During that time, she performed leading roles in The Wizard of Oz, Bye Bye Birdie, Shenandoah, and more. She also worked in voice acting for cartoon specials, and in 2009 she starred as Princess Zora in Disney's The Frog Prince. Later, the actress found her way back to Broadway, reportedly acting in three national tours of Fiddler on the Roof, Peter Pan and Saturday Night Fever. In an interview with Playbill, she shared that Broadway would always be her "first love." And for more entertainment news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Quinn went to college and is now a teacher and adjunct professor.
After years on the stage, Quinn attended college at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. According to IMDB, she graduated with honors, receiving a bachelors in Spanish and a minor in Political Science. During that time, she studied abroad for six months in Chile, where she took all of her classes in Spanish and became fluent in the language. She later taught Spanish, drama, and dance at Hudson Catholic Regional High School in Jersey City.
In 2009, Quinn was also awarded an honorary doctorate of dramatic arts degree from Monmouth University in New Jersey, the location where much of the movie Annie was shot. She later returned to teach at Monmouth as an adjunct professor of theater. And for more on Hollywood's youngest performers, find out How Mary-Kate&Ashley Stopped Elizabeth Olsen From Being a Child Star.
She's now the lead singer in a band.
Having commanded the stage starting at such a young age, it's no surprise that Quinn now performs in her own band, Aileen Quinn and The Leapin' Lizards. The rock band has released two albums to date: Spin Me, released in 2015, and Lightning and Thunder, released in 2019. The group has most recently been touring in California.
"It's in the rockabilly style," Quinn says of the band. "We are a mix of Brian Setzer swing, with blues and country mixed in there…I love this style—it's like the rebellious side of the '50s and '60s. It's still sweet but with a little edge," she told Broadway Buzz.
She still has big Broadway dreams for the future.
Having grown up on Broadway, the seasoned stage actress hopes to someday return to her roots on the New York stage. "There are definitely roles I have in mind. One of these days in the next 10 years, I will play Evita. I don't know when or where, but I love Evita, especially with all my Latin and Spanish studies," she said. Well, that settles it—we're going to need an Evita revival! And for another Hollywood update, See Sean Penn and Robin Wright's Kids All Grown Up.