The musical favorite Annie began as a 1924 comic strip. Since then it has been serialized as a radio production, running for over a decade, turned into multiple films in the early ’30s, the 80s, and most recently in 2014. The 1982 production directed by John Huston starred Albert Finney, Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, all well-known actors and actresses. Aileen Quinn, newcomer and star of the movie Annie was the curly-headed redhead that everyone fell in love with. But where did she come from, and more importantly, where has she gone?
A Young Starlet:
American Actress Aileen Quinn was born in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Before she was the world’s favorite tiny redheaded star of Annie, she was working towards her big break. She started off in commercials for varying products including Mattel dolls and Planters cheese snacks. To land the role of Annie, she auditioned against 8,000 hopefuls.
After Annie, the young actress was in high demand. From Tv shows spots to advertisements and endorsements, she was booked and busy. Commercials included Minute Maid orange juice, Northern bathroom tissue, and others. Annie was not Quinn’s only film, she also starred in The Frog King, The Frog Prince, and voiced Dorothy Gale in an animated rendition of The Wizard of Oz. In the way of tv shows, Quinn appeared in the Great Space Coaster. She also lent her voice to the Addams Family Values soundtrack.
In an interview after Annie was released, Aileen stated that she was just a normal girl and that loved that about her anti-hard-knock life. Quinn said that if no more roles came her way, she would just go back to being herself and playing with friends in Pennsylvania. She must have had a gut feeling, because that’s sort of what happened. Even though Annie was under a 7-year contract, meant to be a larger movie franchise, none of the other movies were ever made. When the contract expired she was nearing 18 years old. Quinn went to Drew University and became a language student. Being the daughter or a teacher it was her natural inclination to get her education when her big Hollywood time had come to an end. Once she graduated she got back into theatre and toured in productions of Shakespeare with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, as well as Fiddler on the Roof and even Peter Pan.
Takin a page from her mother’s book, she has begun teaching. In 2012 she was an adjunct professor at Monmouth University. Overall, she ha lead many a course in Spanish, dance, and drama.
Aileen Quinn isn’t letting any of her talents going to waste. Since 2011 she has been a frontwoman for The Leapin’ Lizards, a rockabilly group. Yes, their name is a Little Orphan Annie (the comic strip) reference. The album entitled ‘Spin Me” was released in 2015. Her band is so cool, they’ve played all over Los Angeles, including Disneyland. Whoa, right???!