Where the Little Girl From ‘Annie’ Is Now 》

There is no doubt that the 1982 musical movie Annie is a genuine cultural phenomenon. Even if you’ve never sat down and watched the whole thing, it’s a sure bet you can sing songs like “It’s a Hard Knock Life” with the best of them.

Considering how popular Annie was (and still is), it’s a little surprising that we haven’t seen more from the actor who brought her to life. Little orphan Annie was played by 11-year-old Aileen Quinn, and she quickly won us over with her earnest talent and adorable voice.

But even as the movie became the stuff of pop culture legend, Quinn seemed to fall off the radar. Whatever happened to the little girl from Annie? We’ve got the dish on everything you need to know!

She still loves the character

One of the reasons we didn’t see Aileen Quinn in many major roles after Annie is that she was typecast a bit as a child actor. Her portrayal of the title character was so iconic that it was difficult for audiences and casting directors alike to see the great actor behind that iconic face.

But now that she’s 50 years old, Quinn doesn’t mind being known primarily for Annie. In 2012, she told Entertainment Weekly, “[It] kind of blows my mind that it’s been 30 years, but I still get the whole, ‘You seem familiar… Did you date my brother? Did we go to high school [together]? What do I know you from?’” Cheekily, she added that “If they’re a little closer to guessing, I’ll give them a hint. Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don’t.” 

Why would Quinn not necessarily be more memorable? While Annie has now become a cult hit, it was something of a box office disappointment (it made $57 million but had a high production cost of $35 million) for Columbia Pictures. Therefore, she ended up being typecast while also being less famous around the world than fans might have expected.

RELATED: Where the Little Girl from ‘Matilda’ Is Now

Pivoting to commercials

We didn’t immediately see more of Quinn on the big screen because plans for Annie sequels fell through (more on this later). And when the world did see more of Quinn, it was actually on the small screen rather than the big screen. She became a commercial star!

If you watched TV in the 1980s, you may remember being bombarded by ads featuring Quinn. She starred in commercials for brands like Planter’s Cheese Balls, Shake and Bake, Northern Bathroom Tissue, and Crest.

And Quinn wasn’t afraid to channel Annie for these commercials. In fact, she donned her Annie costume for an old Minute Maid ad where she compares the joy of being adopted (which is “the best of everything, lots of love, lots of kisses”) with the joy of drinking orange juice.