HOLLYWOOD -- Aileen Quinn, a pixie-faced 9-year-old who is the stand-in for Orphan Annie in the Broadway musical, was chosen over 20,000 other little girls Wednesday for the title role in the movie 'Annie.'
The blue-eyed, brown-haired Aileen, who lives in Yardley, Pa., applied a year ago for the starring role when Columbia Pictures first announced its nationwide search for the movie's star.
The list of applications was trimmed first to 8,000, then to 500.
Nine semi-finalists were flown to Beverly Hills for auditions before director John Huston and producer Ray Stark during the Thanksgiving weekend.
Three finalists -- Aileen, Robin Ignico, Clearwater, Fla., and Angela Lee, Los Angeles -- returned last weekend for screen tests with Albert Finney, who will play Daddy Warbucks.
The picture will also star Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry and Ann Reinking.
Filming is to start in May in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles. The film is scheduled to be released for the 1982 Easter season.
Aileen entered show business two years ago after her mother, a teacher, auditioned for a part in a community theater audition in Yardley.
Her daughter got a part instead, and started singing and dancing in productions of shows such as 'The King and I,' 'Carnival,' 'Gypsy,' 'Annie Get your Gun' and 'Carousel.'
Aileen later made television commercials and then won the stand-in role in the Broadway production of 'Annie' at the Alvin Theater.