As Laurie, the pretty, sensible, eldest daughter and keyboardist of the traveling musical clan, she exuded an earnest, slightly gawky charm, even when her braces were wreaking havoc with the group's electrical equipment in a memorable episode.
After the show went off the air, Dey tried her luck on the big screen playing opposite William Katt in the bland teen romance "First Love" (1977), played the tomboyish Jo March in a TV adaptation of "Little Women" (NBC, 1978) and kept reasonably busy in a series of modest TV-movies, failed sitcom pilots and several other features. The best of the latter was the "Echo Park" (1985), with Dey as a single mother with show business aspirations who rents a room to a writer (Tom Hulce). Released several years before the boom in independent films, it went practically unnoticed by mainstream Hollywood, despite earning good reviews. A dutiful daughter role on the naval drama series "Emerald Point N.A.S." (CBS, 1983-84) failed to turn Dey's career around, but the role of Grace Van Owen, one of many high-powered attorneys peopling NBC's "L.A. Law", thrust her back into the spotlight. The long, straight hair of Laurie Partridge had been cut to a stylish bob, her alto voice a trifle deeper than before, Dey proved one of the series' main attractions over a six year run (1986-92). She ventured back to sitcoms as co-star of CBS' "Love and War" in 1992, but her return to comedy was short-lived. Citing "creative differences" with the series' producers, Dey opted out after one season. She continued working in TV-movies of varying quality, some of which were executive produced by her husband, Bernard Sofronski. (Dey had co-producer credit on others.) Among the more notable were "Bed of Lies" (ABC, 1992), wherein she was a woman who killed her politician husband, "Lies and Lullabies" (ABC, 1993), as a drug addict, "Blue River" (Fox, 1995), as an emotionally-repressed mother, and "Bridge of Time" (Fox, 1997), as a UN worker, one of the passengers of a plane which crashes into a Shangri-la-like preserve.