‘Annie’ Star Aileen Quinn Calls Giving Hollywood a Break After Massive Success a ‘Blessing in Disguise’

by Caitlin Berard

At just 10 years old, Aileen Quinn captured the hearts of people all over the world with her breakout role in the iconic musical drama Annie. Just four years later, however, she would step away from Hollywood for more than two decades. That said, Quinn doesn’t consider her stunted acting career a negative. On the contrary, she calls it “a blessing in disguise.”

In celebration of the 13th annual TCM Classic Film Festival honoring Annie this year, Quinn sat down with Fox News to discuss her role as the curly-haired orphan. In the interview, the Annie star described one of the downsides to being a child in the spotlight.

“My mom was a school teacher for many years,” Quinn said. “So education was always very important. They were very strict on the set about me getting my three hours of school a day. And when I came back from filming, my teachers didn’t cut me any breaks.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Quinn added. “They loved it, they were happy for me, and they wanted my autograph too, but they were like, ‘Welcome back to test-taking. Be your usual A+ student.'”

‘Annie’ Star Alieen Quinn Talks Leaving Hollywood

Aileen Quinn thoroughly enjoyed her time as Annie, referring to the cast of the musical as “a real family” to this day. Even as a child, however, the actress felt that experiencing a normal childhood was more important than fame.

“I had been under contract,” Quinn recalled. “But I was still able to work in theater and do another Columbia project, the Bobby’s Girl album. But after that, I wanted to get back to some normalcy. I wanted to go to college and explore my other options. I wanted to learn about the world.”

Traveling the world isn’t exactly what most would consider a normal childhood. But when you’re the lead actress of a hit film, you have a bit more freedom to work with. With her newfound “normalcy,” a young Aileen Quinn decided it was time to hit the road.

“I lived in a foreign country and got to experience that for a while,” Quinn said. “I got to learn a different language and explore another part of the world that was different. So in a way, it was a blessing in disguise. I was able to grow up, have a normal life, date and see the world, which felt right to me.”