Kristy McNichol Biography: Why Did She Quit Acting?

After she played the character Buddy in the TV drama series Family, famous actress Kristy McNichol, a sensational celebrity seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth.

The actress was one of the top personalities in show business and the movie industry, reigning big in the 1970s, but her long and unending break has us wondering, what happened to Kristy McNichol after she left show business?

When she was still acting prominently, millions of fans followed her success story and popularity, but after Kristy took a step back from the big screen, the questions, why did kristy mcnichol stop acting? And what is she doing now? Is on the minds of all of her fans.

Just like Mor Shapiro, on this article, you will learn about Kristy McNichol biography, why she quit acting her net worth, her partner, her movies, other TV shows she’s been in besides Family, her awards and what her life is like after acting.

Profile Summary

Full Name Christina Ann McNichol
Nickname Kristy McNichol
Age 60 years
Gender Female
Date of Birth  Born September 11, 1962
Place of Birth Los Angeles, California
Nationality  USA
Profession Actress, Singer, Comedian
Partner Martie Allen
Estimated Net Worth  > 7 Million USD
Relationship Status  In a relationship with Martie Allen

Kristy McNichol Biography

Actress and Singer Kristy McNichol, was born Christina Ann McNichol on the 11th of September 1962 in Los Angeles, California, USA to James and Carolyn McNichol, the actress is half-Irish on her father’s side and her mother is Lebanese.

After Kristy’s parents got divorced, she and her brother Jimmy McNichol struggled to make it in the movie industry as performers, while her mother Carolyn played the role of a manager to them.


Why Did Kristy McNichol Quit Acting?

A career as long running as Kristy’s lives quite the legacy and most performers after they’ve been in Hollywood for that long, never want to leave, but this was not the case for Kristy, who decided to retire from acting.

This is why Kristy McNichol Quit acting:

In 1982, Kristy suffered an emotional breakdown in France, while acting for Just The Way You Are, it was at this time she told People Magazine that she didn’t sleep and cried the whole time she was in France.

Near the end of filming, the cast and crew took a two-week break for the Christmas holiday. But McNichol went back to  California instead of going back to France, it was during this time that rumors began to circulate that she had probably had a substance abuse problem. She didn’t return to the movie production after Christmas to finish it and filming was interrupted for a year for McNichol to recover.

In 1992 during Empty Nest, a spin-off of The Golden Girls, Kristy left the show in 1992 after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although she returned in 1995 for the final season.

In her interview with People Magazine, Kristy said that her breakdown was as a result of the pressures she faced during her childhood career and the pressure to hide her sexuality from the public.

Since she started acting at a young age, Kristy McNichol worked in movies and TV shows steadily and all the pressure and stress could have gotten to her. She lived and was treated as an adult even when she was 14 and she struggled mentally, being pulled into the spotlights never getting the opportunity to be a regular teen.

Kristy McNichol Biography: Why Did She Quit Acting?
Kristy McNichol – Source: Google Image

Pressure from the movie industry wasn’t the only thing Kristy faced, she also did most of what she did to please her mother who wanted to be an actress so she chose to live vicariously through Kristy. While she was the responsible one, her mother got to be carefree.

Eventually, making her mother happy came at a cost as Kristy was almost seduced by a director in his trailer on a movie set.

Kristy McNichol seemed to have been cast aside as quickly as she was booked for roles as rumours of her being a lesbian, an addict, and mentally ill began to circulate.

The public scrutiny she faced in 1982 while filming Just the Way You Are took a toll on her, during her break down she begged her manager to pull her from the movie, but he refused.

When McNichol became aware of her poor and inconsistent mental state, she became depressed and emotionally drained, this reflected in her work and she became erratic and unreliable and studios stopped hiring her and her finances dwindled due to it.

McNichol underwent extensive psychotherapy and she was lucky to have her brother Jimmy McNichol provide her the emotional support that she needed.

Towards the end of her career, Kristy McNichol finally got cast in the “Golden Girls” spinoff, “Empty Nest,” making a comeback on her own terms against all odds.


Kristy Mcnichol Movies and Tv Shows

Right from childhood, Kristy showed signs that she was indeed going to be a name Hollywood wouldn’t forget so easily, by booking her first commercial when she was only six years old.

Below is a run down of some of Kristy’s most prominent roles throughout her career:

She and her brother, Jimmy, appeared together in commercials and later she appeared with the help of Desi Arnaz, as a guest star in the series Starsky and Hutch, The Bionic Woman, Love, American Style, and The Love Boat.

In 1974, Kristy found her footing by acting as a series regular in Apple’s Way playing Patricia Apple, although the series ended quickly. 1976 she played  the iconic Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence in the series Family. In 1977 she appeared in The Carpenters a Christmas TV special where she performed several musical numbers with the duo.

Kristy early career life, didn’t just consist of her doing TV shows, she also had a musical stint with her brother Jimmy where they co-wrote and album Kristy and Jimmy McNichol for RCA Records – He’s So Fine (a cover of The 1963 hit by the Chiffons) which peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Chat, and “Page by Page”.

In 1978 she and her brother did another performance in a second Carpenters’ holiday special, The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait; the 1970s trailblazer Kristy, starred in the TV movie Summer of My German Soldier.

Kristy McNichol Biography
Kristy McNichol @ Monroeville Convention Centre. Image Source: Steelcitycon.

Kristy McNichol made her debut acting for the big screen in 1977, when she starred in Black Sunday but her scenes got cut, in 1978 she acted with Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in black comedy The End and was also in Like Mom, Like Me.

In 1980, she played the leading lady in Little Darlings, she appeared in The Nights the Lights Went Out in Georgia, she also starred with her brother in Blinded by the Light. In 1981, she co-starred on Only When I Laugh, in 1982 she was in The Pirate Movie. 1986 Kristy McNichol was in Women of Valor, 1988 she made two theatre films You Can’t Hurry Love and Two Moon Junction, and took on the role of Barbara Weston on Empty Nest, a spin-off of the Golden Girls but she left in 1922 and only returned in 1995 for it’s final episode.

Kristy McNichol’s last recorded performance was for voicing characters in the animated series Extreme Ghostbusters 1997 and Invasion America 1998.


Kristy Mcnichol Awards

Kristy McNichol during her time, was unarguably one of the hardest working actresses around and when someone has given the type of unforgettable performances she has, it’s only right she receives accolades for it.

Notable awards Kristy received include – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in Neil Simon’s Only When I Laugh,  Favorite Motion Actress Young Picture, 1980.

Other not so desirable awards she got was a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance in The Pirate Movie.


When Did Kristy McNichol Retire?

Kristy McNichol officially retired from acting in June 2001, she released a statement saying:

“A lot of people have wondered what I’ve been up to. I retired from my career after 24 years. My feeling was that it was time to play my biggest part – myself! I must say that it has been the best thing that ever happened to me. So many fans are disappointed that I’m not currently acting; however, some may not realize that the process I’m in at this time is necessary and vital for my personal happiness and well-being.”


Where Is Kristy McNichol Now?

After Kristy McNichol quit acting, she kept her personal life private until it became known that she was in a relationship with her girlfriend Martie Allen.

She lives in Los Angeles where she commits her time to more favorable activities like Yoga and Tennis, she also teaches acting at a private school in Los Angeles, Kristy is also invested in charity.

Who Is Kristy McNichols Partner?

Currently, Kristy McNichol’s partner is Martie Allen. Kristy and Martie had been living together since the 1990s, but she officially came out as a lesbian in an interview in 2012.

She stated that she chose to come out of the closet, to encourage those bullied for their sexual orientation.

Kristy admitted that before then, she was in a relationship with actress Elisabeth Brooks until Brook’s death in 1997.


What is Kristy McNichol’s Net Worth

Kristy McNichol current net worth is about $7 million.



Kristy Mchnichol was one of the buzzing stars in the late 90’s but her reign was short lived as rumours of her being a lesbian, an addict, and mentally ill began to circulate.

McNichol underwent extensive psychotherapy over the issues she was facing but couldn’t make it back to stardom afterwards

That wraps up this article on Kristy Mcnichol biography and lifestyle.

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