Is it still a hard-knock life… or a stroll down Easy Street? As musical movie Annie celebrates its 40TH anniversary, what happened to its cast – from young stars who quit Hollywood to leading lights who STILL enjoy enduring fame
- Annie premiered on May 21, 1982, having been inspired by the 1930s comic strip Little Orphan Annie and the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name
- The movie follows the story of a 10-year-old, redheaded orphan – played by then-nine-year-old actress Aileen Quinn – who aspires to find her biological parents and escape from evil orphanage owner Miss Hannigan
- Aileen, now 50, recently opened up about why she ‘quit Hollywood’ for theater, while Toni Ann Gisondi, now 47, who played Molly, and Roseanne Sorrentino, now 54, who played Pepper, stopped acting professionally
- Albert Finney was one of the most established names to star in the movie, in which he played the role of Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks at the age of 46; the actor had a long and successful career before passing away in 2019
- Tim Curry, now 76, who played Rooster, had a stroke in 2012 but is still acting in voiceover roles, having spent many years after the movie enjoying a series of big on-screen parts
- Carol Burnett, now 89, who played Miss Hannigan, is still going strong with live standup comedy shows, while Bernadette Peters, mow 74, who played Lily St. Regis, is set to star in upcoming Apple TV+ series High Desert
Annie is still revered as one of the best movie musicals 40 years after its 1982 premiere.
Even though it received mixed reviews from critics, it made an impressive $57 million at box office on a $35 million budget. It also was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Production Design and Best Song Score.
The movie was inspired by the 1930s comic strip Little Orphan Annie and the Broadway musical Annie, which premiered in 1977.
Annie follows the story of a 10-year-old, redheaded orphan, played by a then-nine-year-old Aileen Quinn, who aspires to find her biological parents.
The hit movie directed by John Huston and written by Carol Sobieski has remained a classic and inspired the 1999 TV film, 2012 Broadway revival and 2014 movie remake.
Annie made an impressive $57 million at box office when it first released in theaters in 1982
The cast of the 1982 film included a mix of child actors like Aileen, Toni Ann Gisondi, who played the youngest orphan Molly, and Roseanne Sorrentino, who played Pepper.
There were also some star-studded adult actors in the cast including whose characters bonded with the orphans like Albert Finney who played Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks and Ann Reinking who played Grace.
Meanwhile, some of the other famous adults in the film showed off their evil sides like Carol Burnett who embodied the evil Miss Hannigan, Tim Curry who played her sinister brother Rooster and Bernadette Peters who was his sidekick Lily St Regis.
Some of the adult actors, like Carol, Tim and Bernadette Peters, are still acting, while others, including Ann and Albert, have passed away.
Most of the child actors quit Hollywood shortly after the film, as Aileen recently spoke out about during an interview with Fox News from April 2022. While Aileen continued to act on the stage, Toni Ann and Roseann have left the world of acting entirely.
Here is what the cast of Annie is up to now.
Annie played by Aileen Quinn
Aileen Quinn, pictured right, played Annie in the 1982 film when she was nine years old, pictured left
Aileen played the curly red-headed orphan Annie who sang the film’s hit songs Maybe and Tomorrow. The now-50-year-old actress was just nine years old.
Getting the role wasn’t easy; the actress told Fox News that she beat out 8,000 other girls for the part after going through a lengthy process that saw her going through a staggering eight callbacks in addition to her original audition.
She described the audition process as ‘long – very long,’ adding, ‘There were several times that I just assumed it wasn’t going to happen.’
Luckily for Aileen, it did, and she made ‘so many’ fond memories while filming the 1982 movie musical.
She shared: ‘From Bernadette Peters giving me a beautiful potpourri pillow that I still have to this day, to [spending time with] Albert and Ann Reinking in the car. And then, of course, playing Speak & Spell with Carol on set.’
‘It was like a real family and they were all my aunts and uncles. John Huston was like a grandfather. He would always call me, “Aileen darling.”‘
‘It was such a family-oriented, happy set. Everyone, from the cast and crew, just made me smile. They still do.’
She also says some of her favorite moments on set involved the dog who played Sandy.
Aileen played Annie when she was just nine years old in 1982
Aileen shares that she saw the cast of Annie as a ‘real family’ and considered the adults her ‘aunts and uncles’
The former child actress explained the vibe on set as ‘family-oriented’ and ‘happy’
After landing her breaking role, she continued her career as a child star and landed a number of projects including The Frog Prince, the 1982 animated version of The Wizard of Oz and singing on the Bobby’s Girl album.
Aileen went on to do more projects after Annie including the animated version of The Wizard of Oz and The Frog Prince, and even attended the Golden Globes in 1983 as seen above
She struggled balancing work and school, especially since her mom was a teacher and valued education.
‘When I came back from filming, my teachers didn’t cut me any breaks,’ she explained. ‘Don’t get me wrong, they loved it, they were happy for me, and they wanted my autograph too, but they were like, “Welcome back to test-taking. Be your usual A+ student.”‘
She ultimately decided to walk away from Hollywood when she turned 18.
‘I wanted to get back to some normalcy. I wanted to go to college and explore my other options. I wanted to learn about the world,’ she explained.
‘I lived in a foreign country and got to experience that for a while. I got to learn a different language and explore another part of the world that was different.’
‘So in a way, it was a blessing in disguise. I was able to grow up, have a normal life, date and see the world, which felt right to me.’
She couldn’t stay away from performing and returned to acting on the stage after she graduated from Drew University in 1994.
‘The great thing about theater is I got to play everything… Luckily, theater kept me growing and I was never pigeonholed,’ she explained.
Aileen turned to theatre so that she wouldn’t feel ‘pigeon-holed’ after playing Annie
Aileen plans on returning to film and TV and moved out to LA, as pictured here in 2022
Even though she looked young and so well-known for playing Annie, she was able to book a wide range of roles in theater.
‘That’s why I did that for 25 years straight. They embraced me. When I was 17, the first thing I auditioned for was a role that was a little more womanly,’ she explained.
‘It took them a moment to hear the audition song, which was very grown-up and soulful. But once they heard it and liked it, the rest is history.’
She even played Lily St Regis in a stage production of Annie as an adult.
After years off of the big screen, Aileen’s ready to make a return.
‘I’m getting back into film and TV. That’s why I’m living in Los Angeles. I also run my band,’ she shared on what she’s up to these days.
She also has a band called Aileen Quinn and the Leapin’ Lizards that plays on the weekends. She aspires to go on tour with her band someday.
Molly played by Toni Ann Gisondi
Toni Ann Gisondi, now 47, played youngest orphan Molly in the 1982 film (left) and she continues to perform in 2022 (right)
Toni Ann played the sweet, adorable and ever-loyal Molly. Annie saw Molly as not only her best friend but a younger sister and even though she frequently had nightmares and was a victim of Pepper’s bullying, her bravery shined through when she lead the charge to warn Annie about Rooster and Lily’s evil schemes.
The now-47-year-old former child star found her passion for performing early on in life.
During the YouTube series Just Talkin’, Toni Ann revealed that she started dancing when she was three, taking singing lessons when she was five and landed the role of Molly at just five years old.
‘My singing teacher actually told my mom that she really thought I should get an agent,’ she explained. ‘So one thing lead to another, I tried out for an agent and about a year later there were auditions for the role of Annie. I was too young for that.’
She added: ‘But a couple weeks later, they were looking for principle roles and I wound up getting the youngest, Molly.’
She shared that she had ‘such a fun time’ filming and that the set felt like a ‘playground.’
Even though Hollywood kept calling, Toni Ann moved back to New Jersey with her family once filming wrapped.
‘I had so much support,’ she said of adjusting back to he old life. She also shared that she had the ‘best principal’ who took the whole first and second grade to the premiere and bought her a bouquet of flowers.
Toni Ann initially wanted to audition for Annie but she was too short, as can be seen in this picture from 1982, so she came back and landed the role of Molly
Toni Ann moved back to New Jersey with her family once filming wrapped to live a ‘normal life,’ pictured with her husband Theodore Pugliese
Even though she didn’t stay in Hollywood, performing continued to be and still is an important part of her life.
‘I did continue to sing, she explained. ‘I went back to school to be a “normal kid” and I continued for years of doing drama, local theater, singing, acting and dancing. Once you do those things and love it as much as I have, you can’t stop doing it. It’s in my soul.’
She has since gotten married and has had two daughters, one of which she named Molly after her signature role, who both perform. In fact, she and her daughters have done community theater shows together.
On top of that, Toni Ann does wedding singing and has performed club music in a number of east coast hotspots.
She also has stayed connected to her Annie roots, posting throwback pics and even attending events to meet fans. She has also stayed in touch with Aileen and Roseanne Sorrentino, who played Pepper.
‘I saw Aileen a few years back when we did a little reunion. It was me, Roseanne and Aileen at Monmouth on the steps which was so cool since I hadn’t seen them since,’ she shared.
Both she and Roseanne also starred in an independent film called Wings of the Wasp together.
Pepper payed by Rosanne Sorrentino
Roseanne Sorrentino, pictured right, saw the Broadway production of Annie as a child which lead her to landing the role of Pepper, as pictured left
Roseanne Sorrentino, 54, played the tough-spirited and feisty Pepper in the movie. Pepper was the oldest and therefore the bossiest of the group and bullied the younger orphans like Molly.
Even though she played Pepper in the movie, Roseanne she got her start with Annie playing the title role on stage.
‘My mother took me to see it [on Broadway] and the whole time I was in the theater, I just kept saying to her, “I wanna be Annie,”‘ she shared on Just Talkin’. ‘She took me to a recording studio and had me record my voice singing Tomorrow over Andrea McArdle’s.’
Her mom shared the song with someone she knew who had loose ties to Hollywood and surely enough, she was called in to audition for Annie and booked the role in the third national tour cast.
She almost landed the role in the film, she shared that the timing didn’t work out, sharing, ‘When I was touring, I met the casting director [for the 1982 movie] who actually thought I’d be a good fit for the role of Annie but by the time filming started and I was finished with the show, I was actually too tall.’
‘I just wasn’t small enough to play Annie so I never actually auditioned for the role but my agent then got me an audition for the role of Pepper.’
She shared that while she had a stronger bond with the girls in the national tour, she still enjoyed filming the movie and added that she still stays in touch with Toni Ann.
Roseanne played Annie in the national tour of Annie, pictured above in 1981
She was too tall to play Annie by the time filming for the 1982 movie started so she was cast as Pepper, the height difference can be seen here in this picture of Aileen and Roseanne
Roseanne gave up acting when she turned 16 and says that in present time, as pictured above, that she doesn’t regret her decision
Instead of leading a life in the limelight, she went on to get married and have two daughters
After filming for the movie wrapped, she continued to pursue acting and landed a role in the Off-Broadway play Sacraments when she was 15.
However, she struggled with the competitive natured of the field and by the time she turned 16, she decided to leave her acting career behind.
‘My parents were going through a divorce and I said, “You know? I think I just want to high school and finish school” And that’s what I did,’ she shared.
‘And sometimes I go, “Ugh, I wish I would’ve kept at it.” But I don’t have any regrets. I’m glad I did what I did.’
Instead of leading a life in the limelight, she went on to get married and have two daughters.
‘I always knew I wanted to have a family. And I knew that if you choose the life of an actor, you have to really sacrifice a lot,’ she explained. ‘I guess at 16 I just wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment.’
She still frequents the stage every now and then though as she performs standup comedy. She also has a weekly web show titled Brace Yourself.
Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks played by Albert Finney
Albert Finney played Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks when he was 46 years old (left) and went on to have an extensive career. The actor (pictured right in 2001) passed away in 2019 at the age of 82
Albert played the lovable, mega-wealthy Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks when he was 46 years old. Warbucks initially had a steely disposition towards children when he first took Annie in but the redheaded orphan opened up his heart and he went on to adopt her in the end.
Prior to landing the role, he starred as Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1970 film Scrooge, Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and Tom Jones in the self-titled film.
Known for playing his more brooding roles, Daddy Warbucks’ character arc ended up being a nice reversal for the actor and opened up the door for a wider range of roles.
He still had a long career of him after Annie. During an 1988 interview with The Observer (as per The Guardian), he how he has developed as an actor and the mindset that he has taken with him throughout his career.
‘Perhaps I was a bit earnest about being an actor,’ he told the outlet. “Perhaps I am more able now to be simply me.’
‘All a performance needs, after all, is to make people believe. We are just jugglers on the side of the road. Why worry about being serious?’
One of his earliest roles was Arthur Seaton in the 1960 film Saturday Night and Sunday, as seen above
He stepped away from more of his more brooding roles and melted hearts as Daddy Warbucks in 1982, as pictured above
Albert continued to have a long career after Annie and played roles like Uncle Henry in the 2006 film A Good Year
Albert passed away in 2019 at 82 years old from a chest infection after a long battle with cancer
He also proved that he’s dedicated to the craft, which only aided the longevity of his career.
‘I like researching and reading around a part, getting into an area of life that you wouldn’t normally know about,’ he shared. ‘You half learn to ride a horse or get to know a bit about archery,’
His next gig after Annie was The Dresser and consistently booked roles thereafter.
He then went on to play some of the most iconic roles of his career including Ed Masry in Erin Brockovich, Ed Bloom in Big Fish and Uncle Henry in A Good Year.
His most recent acting credit is Kincade in the James Bond film Skyfall which was released in 2012.
Unfortunately, Albert passed away in 2019 at 82 years old. He died from a chest infection after a long battle with cancer.
Miss Hannigan played by Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett played Miss Hannigan when she was 49 years old in 1982 (left) and the actress (pictured right in 2020) has continued to enjoy a very varied career in the four decades since the movie premiered
Carol took on the great villain of Annie, the mean and alcoholic orphanage operator, Miss Hannigan, when she was 49 years old.
Miss Hannigan, who despised the children of her orphanage, was enraged when Warbucks took Annie to spend the holidays with him and had her brother Rooster and his sidekick Lily pretend to be her parents to get the reward money. After finding out Rooster actually wants to kill Annie, Miss Hannigan surprisingly works to save Annie’s life.
At that point, she was well-established in her career. The now-89-year-old actress made a name for herself appearing on a number of episodes of The Lucy Show and eventually launched her own variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for eight years from 1970 to 1978.
Just a few years later, she got the gig as Miss Hannigan and was thrilled to play the villain.
‘I like playing villains. Miss Hannigan was a villain,’ she told PEOPLE in 2017. ‘The thing about playing a villain is they never think they’re villains. They think they’re right. They have a reason for everything. It’s justified.’
‘Miss Hannigan was surrounded by those horrible little children. So it was justified, the way she felt.’
Even though she her character was mean, Carol has shared that she actually loves little girls and the girls on set have attested that she was nice between takes and would play games with them on set.
‘I like playing villains,’ she said of playing Miss Hannigan as pictured above from the 1982 film
‘I think it was well cast and directed, it’s a wonderful, timeless story,’ Carol said of working on Annie with stars like Albert Finney and Geoffrey Holder, as pictured above
Carol, who is now 89, is still active in the showbiz industry, as pictured above in 2020
Carol still performs live comedy in concert and still makes appearances on the red carpet, as pictured in 2022 with Bob Odenkirk
When reflecting on her time working on Annie in 2020, Carol had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.
‘I think it was well cast and directed, it’s a wonderful, timeless story and Aileen Quinn was the perfect Annie,’ she told Forbes.
‘It’s about love, it’s exciting, it’s a fairytale, and it’s a little scary too, so it has it all. Plus, I think it comes across that we all had so much fun doing it.’
After Annie, Carol continued her career in showbiz and comedy.
Carol starred in the TV series Mama’s Family the following year in 1983 as Eunice Higgins.
She launched another comedy series, Carol & Company, in 1990 but that only lasted until 1991.
The comedic actress also landed a number of reoccurring roles on hit shows like Mad About You, All My Children and Glee.
Her most recent film credit is All Together in 2020 and she doesn’t plan to put the brakes on her career anytime soon.
Currently, she’s on tour, performing comedy in front of live audiences.
Grace Farrell played by Ann Reinking
Before landing the role of Grace Farrell in Annie (left) Ann Reinking was a Broadway star and continued a career in Broadway after (pictured right in 2018). She passed away in 2020
Ann played Grace Farell in the 1982 version of Annie. Grace is Warbucks’ assistant and is the one who chooses Annie to be the orphan that spends the holidays at the mansion. While Warbucks took a while to warm up to Annie, Grace was immediately affectionate and Annie looked up to her as a mother figure.
Before landing the role of Grace Farrell in Annie at 33 years old, Ann was a Broadway star.
She worked closely with the renowned choreographer Bob Fosse in musicals like Cabaret and Pippin. She filled in as Roxie Hart in Chicago during its first run in 1977.
Her success of Broadway lead to booking the role of Grace in the 1982 film Annie.
Since she was notorious for dancing, they showcased her skills in the show-stopping number We Got Annie.
‘We shot it all in one day, the scene and the number. It was like an easy birth. It couldn’t have been more ideal,’ she told BroadwayBox of filming the number in 2017.
She continued: ‘It really was spring, and it was a gorgeous day, and it really was snowing cherry blossom peddles. It was actually unreal in a very positive way. They were kind to [give me the opportunity to dance in the film] and have that one moment for myself.’
Ann starred in Broadway musical Chicago as Roxie Hart in 1979, before landing the role in Annie
The actress (seen in 1982) was a renowned dancer, who worked closely with Fosse throughout her career. She showed off her skills with a dance break set the the song We Got Annie in the film
The actress returned to Chicago in 1996 as Roxie Hart and as a choreographer, for which she won a Tony in 1997 (left). Ann (seen right in 2019) passed away in 2020 at the age of 71
After Annie, she continued her career on the stage. She starred in the musical Sweet Charity and reprised her role as Roxie in the 1996 revival of Chicago.
She also choregraphed, in the style of Bob Fosse, and won a Tony Award for her work.
In addition to continuing his legacy, she also served as a consultant on the 2019 FX series Fosse/Verdon.
‘Bob was beloved by people, very intelligent people, for their entire lives, and he had tremendous loyalty from everyone,” she told The New Yorker after working on the series.
Even though she was involved with the project, she had her reservations about it.
‘I know he has a reputation for being abusive, but he’s not. That’s the thing that bothers me, is that I fear that they might make him abusive,’ she shared.
Not only did she work closely with Fosse, but she had a romantic relationship with him while he he was married to Gwen Verdon.
She revealed that he had asked her out during Pippin auditions and even though she turned him down at first, she not only got the role but ended up falling in love with him.
‘Gwen and Bob had been legally separated for close to three years, and they had both gone on with their lives with other people, so I wasn’t an intruder,’ she said.
‘I never had an altercation with Gwen. She respected me. And I trusted her. I trusted Bob. I trusted Gwen.’
Ann passed away in 2020 at 71 years old, just one year after the premiere of Fosse/Verdon. The dancer died in her sleep while visiting her brother in Washington.
Rooster played by Tim Curry
Tim Curry played the villainous character Rooster when he was 36 years old, pictured left, and suffered from a stroke in 2012 which left him in a wheelchair, pictured right in 2021
Tim played one other big character role before landing Rooster in Annie at 36 years old. Rooster is Miss Hannigan’s even eviler brother and former convict. While he is enlisted by his sister to pretend to be Annie’s parents to get the reward money, he attempts to kill Annie instead but is stopped by his sister.
He played the sensational Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975.
Not too long after that, he found himself playing the shady character, Rooster.
‘Rooster was a hustler, and people love that kind of character,’ he said of the role when speaking to Forbes in 2020.
‘He was a lot of fun. I approached it very much in my way, but the three of us were very close. We were like The Three Musketeers.’
Tim was blown away by the success of Annie and loved seeing how much people fell in love with the movie musical.
‘They really dug it,’ he added. ‘That was an amazing thing to see. It’s always a relief to see audiences enjoy things you have made as much as you enjoyed making them.’
After Annie, he went on to play some of his biggest roles including Wadsworth in the 1985 film Clue, Herkermer Homolka in Congo and Pennywise in the short-lived IT TV series.
He also had a career on the stage. He starred as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year but is better known for playing King Arthur in the Broadway production of Spamalot in 2005.
Tim played the sensational Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975, as seen above
Tim said he had ‘a lot of fun’ playing Rooster and was honored by the success of the movie, as pictured in 1984
After Annie, he went on to play some of his biggest roles including Wadsworth in the 1985 film Clue
Tim also starred on Broadway as King Arthur in the production of Spamalot in 2005
Tim, unfortunately, suffered a major stroke in 2012, which left him in a wheel chair
Tim, unfortunately, suffered a major stroke in 2012, which left him in a wheel chair.
Once DailyMail.com broke the news in 2013, his agent Marcia Hurwitz confirmed that he was recovering well.
‘Tim is doing great. He absolutely can speak and is recovering at this time and in great humor’ she told us.
‘He has been going to physical therapy doing very well and still has his great sense of humor. He thanks everyone for sending good wishes.’
This didn’t stop him from performing though. Instead, the actor stuck to voiceover roles.
He has leant his voice to a number of projects including Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Young Justice and Transformers: Rescue Bots.
He did appear on screen as The Criminologist in the Fox production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Wrap Again in 2016.
His most recent credit is Narrator in Fork from 2022 and has another film, Dagon: Troll World Chronicles, in pre-production.
Lily St Regis played by Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters, pictured at 74 on the right, booked her first film role as Lily St. Regis in 1982 when she was 34, pictured left
Bernadette played Lily St Regis, Rooster’s girlfriend and partner of crime. Lily is characterized as whiny and the stereotypical blonde and is also enlisted by Miss Hannigan to pretend to be Annie’s parents.
She booked her first Broadway show, The Most Happy Fella, in 1959, and starred in a number of shows after including On the Town and Mack & Mabel.
However, she also had a career on the big screen and was known for her role as Marie in The Jerk and acted alongside Steve Martin.
She booked the role of Lily St. Regis in 1982 when she was 34 years old.
After Annie, she continued to have a career in film, booking the Pink Cadillac in 1989.
Bernadette considered her else a theatrical actress but took the big screen by storm in Annie in 1982, pictured above
After Annie, she continued to have a career in film, booking the Pink Cadillac in 1989, as seen above
Bernadette has played countless roles on Broadway as seen here playing Mama Rose in Gypsy in 2003
Her most recent acting gig is in the upcoming Apple TV+ series High Desert
She also had a career on the small screen voicing Rita on Animaniacs in the 90s.
Along the years, she has booked guest roles on a number of TV series like Ally McBeal and Frasier.
However, it wasn’t until her later years that she landed consistent roles on TV shows including Smash, Mozart in the Jungle and The Good Fight.
She played leading roles in a number of Broadway musicals after Annie including Into The Woods, Gypsy, A Little Night Music and Follies.
Most recently, she took the stage as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! in 2017.
Her most recent acting gig is in the upcoming Apple TV+ series High Desert.
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