In 1982, a curly red-haired orphan named Annie charmed audiences everywhere and launched young actress Aileen Quinn into the spotlight. Quinn was only 10 years old when she landed the iconic role of Annie in John Huston’s film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical. With her powerful singing voice and plucky charm, Quinn endeared herself to millions and epitomized the irrepressible optimism of the little orphan Annie.
But what happened to Aileen Quinn after her big breakout role?
Aileen Marie Quinn, born on June 28, 1971, in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Her foray into the world of entertainment began at a young age. She started dance lessons at the age of four, learning ballet and tap at Knecht Dance Academy.
Her mother, a TV, radio, and stage singer/actress, introduced her to show business. Quinn’s first taste of acting came when she auditioned for a local community theater production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” securing a role that kickstarted her journey in theater.
She attended Grey Nun Academy and Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, balancing her education with her growing interest in acting. After obtaining an agent, Quinn landed small roles in films and commercials, including appearances in Planters Cheez Balls, Shake ‘n Bake, and Northern Bathroom Tissue commercials. Her big break came at age 8 when she was cast as a “swing orphan” in the Broadway production of “Annie.”
Quinn’s portrayal of Annie in the 1982 movie, directed by John Huston, is her most iconic role. After a rigorous audition process, competing against over 8,000 aspirants, she landed the title role.
The film earned her two Golden Globe nominations and a win for “Best Actress” from the Youth in Film Awards, alongside a Razzie for “Worst New Star.” Despite the mixed critical reception, her performance as Annie became a defining moment in her career.
Following “Annie,” Quinn was under contract with Columbia Pictures for potential sequels, which never materialized. She continued to perform in lead roles in regional theater productions and lent her voice to animated specials. Quinn took a break from acting to focus on her education, graduating from Drew University in 1994 with a major in language and a minor in political science.
Resuming her acting career post-graduation, Quinn appeared in various stage productions, including “Oliver!,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Peter Pan.” She also ventured into independent films, most notably in “Multiple Sarcasms” (2009). Quinn served as an adjunct theater professor at Monmouth University and taught Spanish, drama, and dance at Hudson Catholic Regional High School.
What is Aileen Quinn Doing Now?
Currently, Quinn leads her own band, Aileen Quinn and The Leapin’ Lizards. The band, formed after a neighbor introduced her to fellow musicians, has released albums like “Spin Me” (2015) and “Lightning and Thunder” (2019).
Fluent in Spanish and an avid traveler, Quinn has embraced her life experiences, including a six-month stay in Chile, to enrich her artistic journey.