BetteBack: Which Of The Following Will Become The Big Stars Of Tomorrow? ~ January 1, 1973

Press Telegram
‘Nobodies’ became’somebodies’ in ’72
By Earl Wilson
January 1, 1973

NEW YORK – Who will make it in’73?

There are 15 or 20 people .today who are unknowns who a year from today will be famous, You could be one of them.
I am not joking. As I thumb back through ’72, I realize that the cliche about this being the land of opportunity is still resoundingly true.

One year ago as I sat at this typewriter, the name of Burt Reynolds didn’t mean much. He was a good-looking, witty TV fellow breaking into movies. Along came that Cosmo centerspread, and Dinah Shore, and six months later they were offering him $35,000 a week to act on the stage in Toledo.

We hadn’t heard much about’ Cicely Tyson (whom they’re talking about now for an Oscar for “Sounder”), nor comedienne Bette Midler, (of whom some people are passionately fond). Tom Eagleton
wasn’t a household word on Jan. 1, 1972, except in his own household, and come to think of it, Scoop Jackson and Ed Muskie were much more prominent in many areas than George MeGovern.

Last year Jason Miller, a struggling young actor from Scranton, Pa., was on the unemployment insurance line wondering
if he’d made a mistake trying to cling to the theater.

He tore a few months off the calendar and he’s acclaimed as the brightest new playwright in years for “That Championship Season” – and he’s also been given a good movie acting role in “The Exorcist.” It all happened in a few weeks.

Diana Ross left The Supremes and went out on her own in ’71 Last April 3, she opened at the Waldorf Empire Room with a
flock of celebrities there applauding and giving her a standing ovation. It’s doubtful if any of them suspected she’d get a cover on Life magazine about being a potential Oscar winner for “Lady Sings the Blues.” And it’s almost certain that nobody guessed that it would be one of the last
issues of Life Magazine.

…Alice Cooper – David Cassidy – Mark’Spitz – AI Pacino – James Caan – these are all names that weren’t big a year
ago today.

It would seem that these are all youngsters who made it big just on this past year’s calendar but that isn’t quite true. Along came the one they called “Granny” in the Beverly Hillbillies, Irene Ryan by name, over 65, who they’re talking about now for her show-st6pping song in “Pippin.” In fact, I think they’re talking more about her around Broadway than they’re talking about any of the kids.

So who’ll be the new big ones when I write my column for Jan. 1, 1974?

That’s part of the fascination of Show Business – wondering who.

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