Jodie Foster's first role ever was on The Doris Day Show at 6 years old
Jodie Foster has stood out as an award-winning actress for decades, nominated for Oscars for both comedy (Freaky Friday) and drama (Taxi Driver) before the '70s concluded and the actress even had a chance to turn 18. That's a stunning start to a career, but what many people tend to forget is that we definitely first met Foster on TV, through a series of TV appearances on a wide range of classic shows that in itself suggests what a multifaceted talent the young child actress would grow up to become.
Foster landed her first role ever as an actress at the age of 6 on The Doris Day Show in 1969. The episode was called "The Baby Sitter" and in it, Foster is one of four kids who live next door to Doris Day's character Doris Martin. In the episode, their mother is pregnant and their father is dealing with car trouble, and Doris just wants to make sure everyone's taken care of in the chaos.
We first see Foster in the episode in profile, as Doris talks concernedly to her neighbor on the phone, and the audience can clearly see the neighbor's busy with a litter of kids, Foster among them. But we get our first glimpse of little Jodie Foster's face at a dinner table scene where she's smack dab in the center of Doris' frantic attempts to be the Good Samaritan neighbor savior.
After The Doris Day Show, Foster appeared on TV in a string of roles through the mid-1970s, including memorable guest spots on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color ("Menace on the Mountain"), Daniel Boone, Adam-12, Gunsmoke, Ironside, Bonanza, The Partridge Family, The New Perry Mason and three of those ABC Afterschool Specials. She also took on recurring roles on series like My Three Sons, voiced cartoons (The New Scooby-Doo Movies and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan) and starred in her own short-lived series, Paper Moon.
Her success in Hollywood following these experiences suggests TV was in many ways her acting training camp, but recently, it was announced that Foster will receive an honorary degree from the American Film Institute that cements the value of her time spent both in front of and behind the camera in her incredibly diverse and impressive career. AFI has granted honorary degrees to a select class of dynamic performers like Foster in the past, including Carol Burnett and Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).