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Leapin’ Lizards! See the 1982 Cast of Annie Then And Now

Set during the Great Depression, the 1982 movie Annie uses an ensemble cast to tell the rags-to-riches story of a plucky 10-year-old living in a New York City orphanage with a mean-spirited, gin-swilling caretaker. But Annie gets a break from the “hard knock life” when she’s invited to spend a week at the mansion of Oliver Warbucks, a gruff billionaire trying to soften his public image.

The film adaptation was based on the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name — which, in turn, was based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip that first debuted in 1924. The heartwarming movie earned two Oscar nominations for art direction and music, and songs like “Maybe” and “Tomorrow” remain enduring classics.

Here, we take a stroll down Easy Street and catch up with the cast of Annie 1982 — then and now.

Aileen Quinn as Annie in the cast of Annie 1982

Aileen Quinn as Annie
1982/2023 Walter McBride / Contributor ; Steve Granitz / Contributor

When Aileen Quinn was 4 years old, her mom enrolled her in dance classes to help her meet other kids her age. Quinn fell in love with performing, and three years later, she begged her mom — a community theater actress — to let her audition for a part in a local production. She won the part, got an agent, and went on to appear in commercials for brands like Planter’s Cheez Balls, Crest toothpaste, and Jell-O.

Her big break came when she landed the role of “swing orphan” in the Broadway production of Annie — an understudy to all of the orphans except Annie. While working on the Broadway show, Quinn auditioned for the lead role in a movie adaptation of Annie. Casting directors loved her spunk, and she ultimately beat out thousands of other candidates for the role — including Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Annie in the Broadway version.

After Annie, Quinn continued to act in regional and college theater productions, along with a handful of independent films. But she eventually stepped back from show business, working as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey and a high school teacher in nearby Jersey City. The 52-year-old also performs with her own band, the aptly-named Aileen Quinn and the Leapin’ Lizards.

Did you know?

Aileen Quinn was given a “Razzie” for Worst Supporting Actress for her role as Annie — but she was also nominated for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year and won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Motion Picture Actress.

Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan in the cast of Annie 1982

Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan
1982/2023 Images Press / Contributor ; Steve Granitz / Contributor

Born in Texas and raised in Hollywood, Carol Burnett moved to New York City after college to pursue musical comedy, with the help of a mysterious benefactor who loaned her $1,000 to make the trip. While living in a boarding house for aspiring actresses and struggling to find work, Carol Burnett and her housemates made their own luck — they created The Rehearsal Club Revue and invited agents to attend.

This helped the now-legendary comedian, actress, and singer carve out a name for herself at cabarets and nightclubs around the city. She went on to appear in small television roles before landing a Tony Award-nominated role in the Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress. She also became a regular on The Garry Moore Show, winning an Emmy for her performance.

In 1967, Burnett debuted her own variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, which won 23 Emmy Awards over the course of 11 seasons. Three years after the show ended, Burnett landed the role of Miss Hannigan, the bawdy head of the orphanage, in Annie.

In recent years, Burnett has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, apart from guest appearances on shows like Glee and Better Call Saul. But her legacy continues — in 2013, she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. And in 2019, the Golden Globes introduced the Carol Burnett Award for achievement in television, with Burnett as the first recipient.

Did you know?

After filming Annie, Carol Burnett had corrective surgery that changed the shape of her chin. But post-surgery, she was called back to reshoot the “Easy Street” musical number. During the scene, Burnett goes into a closet to retrieve Annie’s locket — and comes back out with a different chin! (Watch Burnett tell the story with her signature humor here.)

Albert Finney as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks in the cast of Annie 1982

Albert Finney as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks
1982/ 2001 Archive Photos / Stringer ; UK Press / Contributor

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England, Albert Finney got his start as a stage actor before taking on small roles in movies and television. He was offered the lead role in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but turned it down because he didn’t want to be tied into a multi-picture contract.

In 1963, Finney starred in the British comedy Tom Jones, a role that catapulted him into stardom and earned him his first Oscar nod. While continuing to perform on stage, he also took on memorable roles in movies like Two for the Road, Scrooge, and Murder on the Orient Express. To play Daddy Warbucks in Annie, Finney shaved his head and reportedly modeled the character’s booming voice after the movie’s director, John Huston.

Finney’s prolific career continued for three more decades, including roles in Under the Volcano, Erin Brockovich, Big Fish, and The Bourne Ultimatum. He reportedly turned down knighthood in 2000, dismissing the honor as “snobbery.” Finney passed away from a chest infection in 2019, at the age of 82.

Did you know?

Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Daddy Warbucks, but turned it down because he didn’t want to shave his head.

Ann Reinking as Grace Farrell

Ann Reinking as Grace Farrell in the cast of Annie 1982
1983/ 2019 George Rose / Contributor ; Walter McBride / Contributor

Growing up in Washington, Ann Reinking studied ballet as a child before making her professional debut with the English Royal Ballet at 12 years old. She went on to study with the San Francisco Ballet and Joffrey Ballet before moving to New York City at age 18 to pursue a career on stage.

Reinking danced with the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall and joined the ensemble for a national touring production of Fiddler on the Roof. In 1969, she landed a role in a Broadway production of Cabaret, which kicked off a decades-long career on Broadway, including roles in Coco, Pippin, and A Chorus Line.

While performing in Pippin, Reinking became a muse for the show’s director and choreographer Bob Fosse. The pair went on to work together on the Broadway production of Chicago (for which Reinking won a Tony Award for choreography), the musical revue Dancin’, and the semi-autobiographical movie All That Jazz.

Reinking took on a handful of movie and TV roles in the ’70s and ’80s, including her turn as Grace, the chic and sensible secretary to Oliver Warbucks in Annie. She retired from movies after 1984, but continued to work as a choreographer through the early 2000s. Reinking passed away in her sleep at the age of 71 while visiting family in Seattle.

Did you know?

As a child, actress Margaret Qualley — who portrayed Reinking in the 2019 FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon — used to watch videos of Reinking dancing for inspiration on her way to dance classes! “I was really nervous because I wanted to do right by her,” Qualley told IndieWire.

Geoffrey Holder as Punjab

Geoffrey Holder as Punjab
1980/ 2006 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer ; Walter McBride / Contributor

Born in Trinidad, Geoffrey Holder was discovered by choreographer Agnes de Mille while performing in the Virgin Islands. He relocated to New York City, where he performed as a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet before making his Broadway debut in the musical House of Flowers.

From there, the wildly multitalented star built a successful career as an actor, director, dancer, and choreographer. He played a henchman in the Bond movie Live and Let Die, won two Tony Awards for direction and costume design for the Broadway production of The Wiz, and was a longtime spokesman for 7-Up. And, of course, he appeared in Annie as Punjab, the mystical Warbucks bodyguard who (spoiler alert!) saves the day.

Holder continued to make appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials over the next 30 years — including roles as Ray, the talking sun in the children’s show Bear in the Big Blue House and the narrator in the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He passed away from complication of pneumonia in 2014, at 84 years old.

Did you know?

Beyond his talents in the performing arts, Holder was also a prolific visual artist. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1956, and his work has been featured in various art shows and exhibitions. “Ironically, painting has always been how I earned my living,” he said in his artist bio.

Bernadette Peters as Lily in the cast of Annie 1982

Bernadette Peters as Lily in the cast of Annie 1982
1982/2023 Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer ; Dave Benett / Contributor

Born and raised in New York City, Bernadette Peters went into acting when she was nine years old, taking small roles in theater productions and TV shows. At age 13, she landed a role in a national tour of Gypsy, and went on to perform in a wide variety of plays and musicals, including Tony-nominated roles in On the Town and Mack and Mabel.

Peters rose to fame in Hollywood in the’70s, earning a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 1976 movie Silent Movie and starring alongside Steven Martin in The Jerk. She was also a staple on variety shows like The Muppet Show and The Carol Burnett show. She teamed up with Burnett again in Annie, where Peters played the materialistic Lily, who teams up with Miss Hannigan and her brother to scam Daddy Warbucks.

Peters is now six decades into her career and still going strong. Most recently, she starred in a 2018 Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! and played Gloria on the TV series Mozart in the Jungle. She’s also made appearances in shows like Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, released six solo albums, and authored three children’s books.

Did you know?

Peters and her longtime friend Mary Tyler Moore co-founded Broadway Barks, an annual event in NYC to promote the adoption of shelter animals.

Tim Curry as Rooster

Tim Curry as Rooster in the cast of Annie 1982
1982/ 2016 Archive Photos / Stringer ; Jason LaVeris / Contributor

After graduating from the University of Birmingham with degrees in English and drama, Tim Curry landed his first acting role in the original London cast of the musical Hair, where he performed alongside actor and writer Richard O’Brien.

A few years later, Curry — who had been performing in shows at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Royal Court Theatre in London’s West End — had a chance encounter with O’Brien at a gym. O’Brien told him about a campy horror musical he was working on called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Curry was cast as the gender-bending mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the original London production in 1973, and he reprised his iconic role two years later for the film adaptation.

The cult classic made Curry a household name, and he went on to enjoy a diverse, decades-long career on the stage and screen. In 1982, he landed the role of Miss Hannigan’s villainous brother, Rooster, in Annie.

Following that, some of Curry’s best-known roles include the butler Wadsworth in Clue, the evil clown Pennywise in the 1990 movie IT, and the Plaza Hotel concierge in Home Alone 2, along with stage roles in The Pirates of Penzance and Spamalot.

Curry suffered a stroke in 2012, which affected his mobility. Since then, he’s focused primarily on voice work and occasional media appearances.

Did you know?

Tim Curry originally intended for Dr. Frank-N-Furter to have a thick German accent. But after overhearing a fellow bus passenger speaking in a posh British accent, Curry decided to make his character sound like the Queen of England instead.

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