Hunt began working as a child actress in the 1970s. Her early roles included an appearance as Murray Slaughter's daughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, alongside Lindsay Wagner in an episode of The Bionic Woman, an appearance in an episode of Ark II called "Omega", and a regular role in the television series The Swiss Family Robinson. She appeared as a marijuana-smoking classmate on an episode of The Facts of Life. In 1982, Hunt played a young woman who, while on PCP, jumps out of a second-story window, in a made-for-television film called Desperate Lives (a scene which she mocked during a Saturday Night Live monologue in 1994), and she was cast on the ABC sitcom It Takes Two, which lasted only one season. In 1983, she starred in Bill: On His Own, with Mickey Rooney and played Tami Maida in the fact-based production Quarterback Princess; both were made-for television films. She also had a recurring role on St. Elsewhere as Clancy Williams, the girlfriend of Jack "Boomer" Morrison, and had a notable guest appearance as a cancer-stricken mother-to-be in a two-part episode of Highway to Heaven.