Sitcoms in the 1970s were varied in style and content. On the one hand, there were nostalgia-tinged shows like Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley that transported the audience back to the 1950s - although in a much gentler way than M*A*S*H (another show set in that decade) did. On the other hand, there were many sitcoms that weren't afraid to tackle current social issues like racism, equal rights, and poverty. In past decades, sitcoms generally centered around white, middle-class suburban families - but in the '70s, we saw sitcoms where the main character could be a white, working-class bigot (All in the Family), an upwardly mobile Black couple (The Jeffersons), or a single woman in her 30s who might want to get married but also wanted to have a career (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). Instead of being set mainly in the home, many of the sitcoms were set in the workplace, whether that was a police department, the garage where cab drivers picked up their taxis, a newsroom, a school, or a mobile Army hospital in South Korea.
Some of the shows starred actors who already had found fame in previous series (Mary Tyler Moore, Ron Howard), while others made new stars out of children (Gary Coleman), stand-up comedians (Redd Foxx, Bob Newhart), or working actors who had spent years looking for a big break.
Below are behind-the-scenes stories about some of the actors who found fame on 1970s sitcoms.
- Photo: NBC
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