Kristy McNichol is an American actress and singer known for such roles as Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence on the TV series Family, Angel in the film Little Darlings, and Barbara Weston on the sitcom Empty Nest.
In 1976, McNichol was cast as Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence in the television drama series Family (1976–80), for which she earned two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series (1977 and 1979).
In 1977, McNichol appeared on The Carpenters at Christmas TV special, performing several musical numbers with the duo. In 1978, she and Jimmy made their own foray into music, recording the album Kristy & Jimmy McNichol for RCA Records. It included the single "He's So Fine" (a cover of The Chiffons' 1963 hit), which peaked at #70 on the Billboard chart. The McNichols promoted the album at New York's Studio 54 discothèque with other celebrities, such as Brooke Shields. In 1978, McNichol performed with Jimmy in a second Carpenters' holiday special, The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait.
McNichol was one of the biggest teen stars of that era. She appeared on talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show and Dinah!, and made several appearances on Battle of the Network Stars and other celebrity-based sports shows. In 1978, she starred in the acclaimed TV movie, Summer of My German Soldier.
McNichol began her film career in 1977, in Black Sunday, but her scenes were cut during editing. In 1978, she starred with Burt Reynolds in the comedy The End. In 1980, she played the leading role in the hit coming of age movie Little Darlings, which co starred Tatum O'Neal, Matt Dillon, and Cynthia Nixon. Her performance was acclaimed by many reviewers, including those who disliked the film itself. In 1980, she appeared with Dennis Quaid and Mark Hamill in The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, for which she received a six-figure salary—unprecedented for a teenager. The same year, she co starred in Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1986, McNichol appeared in Women of Valor, a TV movie about American nurses in a World War II Japanese POW camp. In 1988, she made two theatrical films, You Can't Hurry Love and Two Moon Junction. In the same year, McNichol played Barbara Weston on the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, a spin-off of The Golden Girls.