The eighties defined a generation with energetic characters, vivid styles, and ever-changing comedic tastes. They permeated the entire decade, but how many can you remember, and how many have faded into the back of your memory?
ALF (Alien Life Force) was going to join his friends Skip and Rhonda in their newly established colony, New Melmac, but at the last minute, the government's Alien Task Force swooped in and captured ALF. The fourth season of “ALF” was always going to end on a cliffhanger, but NBC didn't renew it for a fifth season.
It left a lot of viewers confused and scared for the character they had come to love. Thankfully, “Project: ALF,” a 1996 TV movie, let us see ALF escaping from the Alien Task Force. Unfortunately, fans didn't really like the movie, and it's been more or less forgotten. This puppet star is still in the eighties.
Thanks to her hit “I Think We're Alone Now,” Tiffany – real name Tiffany Darwish – found immediate fame. The song was a cover of an original by Tommy James and the Shondells. However, Tiffany proved to be a one-hit-wonder, and she disappeared from the charts before too long.
She switched to reality television, appearing in shows based in both the United States and Australia, such as “Celebrity Fit Club” and “I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!” She also had a small role in a Syfy TV movie, “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.” It didn't exactly make a strong showing at the Academy Awards.
Rebecca De Mornay
Rebecca De Mornay had her first taste of fame as the character Lana in “Risky Business,” While she's never reached A-list status, she's been keeping busy since then. In the early nineties, she was engaged to Leonard Cohen, though the relationship didn't move much farther. She helped produce his album “The Future.”
She got into a relationship with sportscaster Patrick O'Neal which brought about two children. Since then, De Mornay has also appeared on many television shows, including “Lucifer” and “Jessica Jones.” From “ER” to television movies to “Wedding Crashers,” this working actress has been showing up all over the place.
As one of the founding members of the Brat Pack, Emilio was ready for stardom. While he hasn't become the big name he was hoping for, he still does plenty of acting, and at least his career didn't turn into anything like the rest of the pack. Thanks for that are due mostly to his most famous movie, “The Mighty Ducks,” as well as their sequels.
He's shifted into being a writer and a director and has recently made a film about the Bobby Kennedy assassination, “Bobby.” As a brother of Charlie Sheen, we can just be thankful that he didn't end up on such a dark path like other family members.
Thanks to her part on “Cheers,” Shelley Long became a household name, thanks to her vivacious looks and energetic acting. She made the jump to movies in classic films such as “Night Shift” and “The Money Pit.”
What was likely her biggest non-” Cheers” role came in 1995 when she had an appearance in “The Brady Bunch Movie,” which brought the famous sitcom back for a new generation. She still makes plenty of appearances, though mainly on television, such as “Modern Family” and “Switched at Birth.” She added her voice to “Milo Murphy's Law.”
Lisa Bonet has had a wild life. She gained her fame thanks to playing Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” Before the show and its spin-off, “A Different World,” finished, this young, famous actress had eloped with famous rocker Lenny Kravitz.
The pair had a daughter, Zoë, who has become an actress in her own right, appearing on “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “X-Men: First Class,” and several other high-profile films. While Lisa Bonet disappeared from the spotlight for a few decades, she's had a career resurgence and has appeared in TV shows and movies, including “New Girl,” “Ray Donovan,” and numerous other places.
Child stars don't have a great track record keeping their careers going into adulthood, but Jeremy Miller has done better than most. Miller played Ben from “Growing Pains,” and while he's faded somewhat, he still gets acting jobs every once in a while. After the cast of “Growing Pains” got together for a reunion, he's had a few more opportunities to show off his skills, including numerous appearances as himself.
However, he also has several roles in the works, both in pre-and post-production. These include “Alive and Kicking,” “Awakening,” and “Aaah! Roach!” He's had a role in “The Quarantine Bunch” and was also on the nineties show “Ghostwriter.”
Jami Gertz was every teen boy's crush thanks to her appearances in “Sixteen Candles,” “The Lost Boys,” “Dreams,” and “The Facts of Life.” Even after the eighties came to a close, she enjoyed steady work, making appearances and having roles in “Seinfeld,” “ER,” “Ally McBeal,” and even “Modern Family.” She even starred in a pair of sitcoms: “Still Standing” and “The Neighbors.”
Her husband, Tony Ressler, is the owner of the Atlanta basketball team, the Hawks. Her most recent appearance is in the TV show “Difficult People,” in 2017. Her range is apparent in everything from “Entourage” to “Twister,” and while she's never topped the list of famous actresses, she gets plenty of work.
During the eighties, it was impossible to turn on the TV and not see Scott Baio grinning at the camera. He was a fixture in sitcoms, including Chachi in “Happy Days” and the same character in “Joanie Loves Chachi.”
He then moved on to appear as the title character in “Charles in Charge,” and he reunited with “Happy Days” co-star Henry Winkler (The Fonz) thanks to his small role in “Arrested Development.” He's turned to reality TV, appearing in numerous shows such as “Scott Baio is 45...and Single,” “Scott Baio is 46...and Pregnant,” and “Confessions of a Teen Idol.”
Men and boys around the world are familiar with Phoebe Cates, even if they aren't really sure what movies she's been in other than “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Cates was also one of the leads in the movie “Gremlins.” She was a teen beauty in the eighties, but by now, she's mostly retired and prefers to be a mom and a wife.
She's married to actor Kevin Kline and has three children: Owen, Greta, and Autumn. You may actually be familiar with Greta if you're a fan of the indie music scene since she performs under the stage name Frankie Cosmos.
Nicole Eggert was Scott Baio's co-star on “Charles in Charge” and went on to be known around the world for her body and beauty thanks to her starring role in the beach series “Baywatch.” She's shown up in plenty of TV movies and television shows, including “Blown Away” and “The Haunting of Morella.”
In the last few years, she added her voice talents to “Robot Chicken” and has appeared in several short films and TV mini-series. While, for the most part, her fame is behind her, you still might be able to catch this eighties actress on a reality TV show or in one of Lifetime's original films. She still has that bright smile!
Anybody who doesn't know who Mr. T is...well, let's just say Mr. T pities him or her. Best known for his role as B.A. Bacarus on the smash eighties action show “The A-Team,” and violent boxer Clubber Lang on “Rocky III.” Since then, he's made plenty of appearances on TV shows, movies, and ads, almost always as himself, bandana, gold chains, and all.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern United States in 2005, he decided to give away his many gold chains, believing it was disrespectful to flaunt so much wealth after so many people had lost homes and even loved ones. However, he still likes his bling. Mr. T might not be a hard-working actor, but he at least appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017.
LeBrock turned into a fantasy woman nearly overnight thanks to her appearance in “Weird Science.” She also appeared in “The Woman in Red” as Charlotte and “Hard to Kill” as Andy Stewart, but she's taken a step back from acting for the most part.
With a few bit parts here and there, she also benefited greatly from the explosion of reality TV in the two-thousands, appearing on everything from “Celebrity Fit Club” to the British version of “Hell's Kitchen.” She had an appearance in the movie “Charlie Boy” in 2019 but now mostly acts as a spokesperson for Club Carson, an organization that aids children who have cancer.
If there was a girl in the eighties who had the title of “girl next door,” it was Elizabeth Shue. Whether it was as Marty McFly’s girlfriend in “Back to the Future” (Parts II and III, at least) or the main love interest in “The Karate Kid,” you’ve seen her win hearts and minds.
She began to earn more serious roles after the eighties. She starred opposite Nicolas Cage in the movie “Leaving Las Vegas.” She’s made appearances in “Cobra Kai,” “The Boys,” and is also starring in a television show called “The Verge,” which is still in production.
You first saw Tempestt Bledsoe on “The Cosby Show,” as Vanessa Huxtable. Being part of the Huxtable family was her very first role, but even while the show was running, she started to branch out, getting spots on TV shows and small TV movies. When “The Cosby Show” went off the air, Bledsoe took a break for a few years to go to college.
After that, however, she jumped back on-stage, appearing in movies big and small, as well as TV shows. She had constant roles on shows like “The Replacements” and “Guys with Kids” and has also served as the host of “Clean House” on the Style Network.
Catherine Bach stole our hearts and popularized a new legwear style when she appeared as Daisy Duke on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” But Bach was already an established actress by the time she wiggled into her outfit, having appeared in Clint Eastwood movies, as well as multiple small roles on television shows and roles in TV movies.
When “Dukes” ended, Bach immediately jumped to movies and then landed a starring role in the show “African Skies.” She’s recently had a small but important role on “The Young and the Restless,” as Anita Lawson. Other big roles of hers include Daisy in “You Again” and Melody in “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” which is the Eastwood film we mentioned earlier.
Since she made her first appearance in movies in “The Breakfast Club,” where she partnered with another member of what would later be called the Brat Pack, Emilio Estevez, Sheedy has been a Hollywood hit. Even before “The Breakfast Club,” she starred in “WarGames,” and she would quickly move on to other hits like “Short Circuit” and “High Art.”
She’s also appeared in movies such as “The Rileys,” “Ten Stories Tall,” “Fugly!” and “Sins of Our Youth.” She’s even appeared in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” as Scott’s teacher, and has had recurring roles in shows such as “Psych,” “Full Circle,” and “Kyle XY.”
If you’re looking for an eighties star that has done it all, then look no further; you’ve found him. Willie Aames was a big part of “Charles in Charge,” a hit eighties sitcom starring Scott Baio. Once that show ended, Aames switched career paths to create “Bibleman,” a direct-to-video series about a Christian crime fighter.
However, Aames fell prey to substance abuse and fell off the radar for a while. Thankfully, he turned his life around and became a cruise director before returning to acting and filmmaking. Recently, he’s been in a TV movie titled “Love on the Menu” and has starred in the film “Bottle Monster."
You know Mia Sara as Ferris’s carefree girlfriend in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” She still appears on television regularly and has become a fixture of fantasy TV, including productions such as “Lost in Oz,” “The Witches of Oz,” and “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz.”
As far as other movies, she’s also been in “Timecop” with Jean Claude van Damme, “Legend,” and “Black Day Blue Night.” Her most recent role was Narciss in the short “Pretty Pretty” back in 2013. Nowadays she’s also a wife and a mother, with two children. She’s married to the eldest son of Muppets creator Jim Henson. Interestingly enough, she also has a pilot’s license and enjoys flying.
After she got her start on “Family Ties,” Justine made the jump to films and television. She acted as Mallory for seven years on that initial show, and it was her first foray into acting. After a hundred and seventy-two episodes, the nineties began, and she appeared in movies like “The Closer,” “Primary Motive,” and “The Night We Never Met,” and that's just in the first few years.
She's been in shows like “Men Behaving Badly” and “Out of Order,” and you likely remember her turn as “Nellie” in “Arrested Development.” Her brother, Justin Bateman, stars on that show and is currently winning the family fame contest.
One of Alyssa Milano's very first roles was as Schwarz's daughter “Jenny Matrix” in “Commando." She made the jump to star with the sitcom “Who's the Boss?” from 1984 to 1992 as Samantha Micelli and kept her fame growing with “Melrose Place” and “Charmed.”
She's still getting plenty of acting work, but nowadays, she's more well-known for her social media presence. She was one of the first celebrities to use the hashtag #MeToo, which got the ball rolling on the discussion of the movement.
She wowed the world as Alex Owens in “Flashdance,” which was just the beginning of Jennifer Beals's fame. Whether it was Claudia in “The Book of Eli” or Eva in “The Bride,” Beals demonstrated an ability to mold herself into any role, be it comedic, dramatic, romantic, or anything in between. In recent years she's appeared in series such as “Taken,” “The Night Shift,” and “Swamp Thing.”
She's well-known for being in the main cast of “The L Word” and its sequel series “The L Word: Generation Q.” She spends her off-time as a photographer – you can find her photos under her married name, Jennifer Dixon.
Known as leading man Jake from “Sixteen Candles,” Michael Schoeffling also appeared in “Mermaids,” “Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken,” and “Vision Quest,” but not long after those movies came out, he dropped out of acting, stating that he was unhappy with the kind, and number, of roles he was getting.
He made the leap to small business ownership and now produces handcrafted, custom furniture as the owner of a woodworking business. We've taken a look at some of the items he has to offer, and we've gotta say, he does some good work. There's nothing like getting your hands dirty and making something physical to keep yourself sane.
Kim Basinger Once a name to watch during the eighties and nineties, Kim Basinger has taken a step back from her A-list days, though she's still getting plenty of acting gigs. She got her start in modeling before moving to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting. You likely know her from her successful films such as “Batman,” where she played intrepid reporter Vicki Vale, and “Blind Date.”
She was already known when we reached the eighties, having started acting in 1976, but she became a big name thanks to “Hard Country” and “Mother Lode” early on. She's also been in “L.A. Confidential,” “Cellular,” and “Wayne's World 2.” What a resume!
Daryl Hannah stepped up to fame early in the eighties thanks to her role as Pris in the science-fiction classic “Blade Runner.” It's easier to ask what she wasn't in for that decade – she appeared in “Wallstreet,” “Roxanne,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Splash,” and lots of other films, as well as stopping by the small screen with TV movies such as “Paper Dolls,” and video shorts (“Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne: You're a Friend of Mine”).
Perhaps her biggest recent role was as Elle Driver in Quentin Tarantino's two-part action film, “Kill Bill.” She has plenty of roles in the works and has also appeared in the show “Sense8.”
Right now, you're probably more familiar with Robyn's half-sister Blake Lively, but Robyn Lively was the first member of the family to make it big thanks to roles in the film “Teen Witch,” as well as popular TV shows like “Twin Peaks,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and “Saving Grace.”
She has a long list of roles on both the big screen and the small, including the love interest in “The Karate Kid Part III.” Robyn still appears, mostly in smaller roles or guest appearances, though she had eight episodes as Deb Brady in “Light as a Feather” in 2019 and was the lead star in the 2020 movie “Through the Glass Darkly.”
After “St. Elmo's Fire” and “The Outsiders,” Rob Lowe's star was on the rise. It took an unfortunate scandal in the late eighties to stop his climb up the A-list, at which point the number, and quality, of his roles, decreased. However, he wasn't to be denied, and he's rebounded in a big way.
He can thank Aaron Sorkin for this, putting Lowe in the first four seasons of “The West Wing.” He went on to appear in the cult comedy “Parks and Recreation” on NBC. He gave his voice as Simba to “The Lion Guard,” and his new show, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” is currently making waves.
After being out of the public eye for a few years, Robin Givens has come back after starring in the Tyler Perry movie “The Family That Preys.” She found her first claim to fame thanks to her starring role in the hit show “Head of the Class,” which ran for over a hundred episodes. During the interim, she spent a lot of time on stage, both on Broadway and off.
Her most notable stage role was that of Roxie Hart in “Chicago.” She's made TV appearances on “Once Upon a Time” and “Riverdale.” She's also starring as Stephanie Carlisle Lancaster in “Robin Givens.”
Jennifer Jason Leigh
She had plenty of fun with the rest of the cast on “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and there was no stopping her from then on. Jennifer Jason Leigh went on to have tons of roles, including Selena St. George in “Dolores Claiborne,” Hedra Carlson in “Single White Female,” and Lisa Hesselman in “Anomalisa.”
She appears in the forthcoming adaptation of the Stephen King book “Lisey's Story” and has appeared in thirty episodes of “Atypical.” Her biggest role in recent history was as Daisy Domergue in the Tarantino film “The Hateful Eight.” She's also in the revival of “Twin Peaks” and was even a celebrity caller on “Frasier,” the highest honor for anybody.
The thing that most people remember Tawny Kitaen for is that she was the girl in the music video for Whitesnake's “Here I Go Again.” She's actually been in a few different Whitesnake videos, but she had other claims to fame as well, including “Bachelor Party,” “Gwendoline,” and even “Hercules: The Legendary Journey.” She acted alongside Richard Greico in “After Midnight” in 2014 and played the character, Rachel, in “Moms Anonymous” from 2017 to 2018.
Unfortunately, someone who climbed to stardom thanks to appearing in a music video for a hair metal band isn't going to have a very stable platform to continue her fame. She hasn't appeared on any screens, big or small (or music videos), since “Moms Anonymous” ended. Sadly in May of 2021, she died.
Most stars from the eighties peter out after a while or manage to keep themselves afloat through one venture or another. Emmanuel Lewis, on the other hand, was the hit of the sitcom “Webster” and then pretty much disappeared. He's done little else, and most of his television appearances have been as himself.
He's popped up here and there, but as of 2007, he hasn't been in anything – his last performance was as himself in “Kickin' It Old Skool.” However, he's made a few reality TV and talk show appearances, including “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.” Fans of “Webster” will have to go back to the show to see Lewis showing off his acting chops.
Soleil Moon Frye
For five years, Soleil Moon Frye was the title character of “Punky Brewster,” and her other claims to the movie and TV fame include “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Wild Horses,” and “Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.” Not the most sparkling items. Yet Frye has been doing well for herself even up to this day – apparently, there is a “Punky Brewster” revival in the works, and Frye is again showing up as the main character.
She's done a good amount of voice work for shows like “Robot Chicken,” “Planet Sheen,” and “Bratz,” and she also hosted the show “Home Made Simple” in 2013 and 2014. Finally, she even founded her own company, which sells party decoration kits.
Lea Thompson gave us all kinds of confused feelings thanks to playing Marty McFly's mother in “Back to the Future,” and she still acts in movies and TV. Even before the eighties ended, she appeared in the other films in the “Back to the Future” series, “Howard the Duck,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
She was the lead in “Caroline in the City,” which ran for five seasons, and has been busy during the new teens acting in “Switched at Birth” as Katheryn Kennish. She was in the “Little Women” movie that came out in 2018 and has plenty of roles that are still forthcoming. She might not be the kind of name everybody knows, but nothing beats getting steady work for thirty years.
Among a string of less-successful movies in the eighties, Matt Dillon struck it big with “The Outsiders” and “Drugstore Cowboy.” from then on, he's been a constant face to find at the movies, even if he's never been a name that everybody can remember off the top of their head. He appeared as the villain in the classic comedy “There's Something About Mary.”
He also appeared as part of the award-winning ensemble cast of “Crash.” In 2015 he was part of the FOX TV show “Wayward Pines” and has had numerous roles in smaller movies since. Then, including the relatively well-regarded crime and horror film “The House That Jack Built.”
She was the queen of the teen movie scene in the eighties, appearing in famous flicks like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “For Keeps?” But she's more than just acting chops and a pretty face – Molly Ringwald is also a singer. Her debut jazz album, “Except Sometimes,” came out in 2013. She's still getting regular work as an actress, too.
She spent six seasons on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” and she's currently part of the cast of “Riverdale.” That makes sense – she was legendary in the eighties, and now she's back there.
For six years, Delta Burke appeared as Suzanne Sugarbaker on “Designing Women,” and while that show was her big boost, she had been a face on the TV for years, including on “The Love Boat,” “1st & Ten,” and “Filthy Rich.” Her first show was “The Chisholms,” back in 1980, and she's been a journeyman actress ever since. Her most recent big role was on “Boston Legal” as Bella Horowitz.
Once the new teens began, she hasn't been around as much, but she still makes rare appearances on a series or TV movie here or there, such as “Dolly Parton's Heartstrings.” Other famous roles of hers appear in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Steel Magnolias.”
In “A Different World,” Kadeem Hardison appeared as Dwayne Wayne, just one of the numerous students making their way through college. His signature was a pair of wild sunglasses, and we're happy to report it's still possible to see the man, if not the glasses, in numerous places.
He appeared in a few famous movies like “White Men Can't Jump” and “Drive,” helped K.C. Cooper gets her missions done in “K.C. Undercover,” and hated Chris in “Everybody Hates Chris.” If you're a gamer, you might have heard his voice in “Beyond: Two Souls” or heard him as Rubberband Man in “Static Shock.”
Growing up wasn't painful while Tracey Gold was appearing on “Growing Pains,” but she had plenty of roles before and during the long run of that famous sitcom, which bled into the nineties. Other famous roles of hers include “The Willies,” as her “Growing Pains” character Carol Seaver, “Dance 'Til Dawn,” in 1988, and “She's No Angel” as Liddy Carlyle.
For a while, she hosted the TV Guide Channel show “Trapped in TV Guide,” but since about 2016, her roles have evaporated. In 2004 she was arrested after rolling her SUV down a California freeway embankment. While most of the passengers weren't hurt, Gold's oldest daughter suffered a broken clavicle.
After coming to the United States from the USSR, Milla Jovovich leaped into acting, quickly appearing on shows and TV movies such as “The Night Train to Kathmandu.” She had a few small roles during the eighties and then struck it big as the odd alien Leeloo in “The Fifth Element” alongside fellow eighties star Bruce Willis.
Since then, she's been hovering around the edges of the A-list, appearing in “Ultraviolet,” “Zoolander,” and “Dazed and Confused” before becoming a famous zombie-killer in the “Resident Evil” series of movies. The series finally ended in 2016 (insert your own zombie joke here), but no one can say Jovovich didn't deliver. She's still getting plenty of roles to this day.
Brooke Shields was all about controversy, and her roles in films such as “Wanda Nevada,” “Pretty Baby,” and “The Blue Lagoon” certainly got people talking due to their risque nature and heart-pounding drama. She also worked as a model during the eighties, showing off Calvin Klein jeans that made everyone envious of her.
She took a break from acting to go to school and then returned in the late nineties to make a triumphant re-appearance on TV and in the movies. She starred in the sitcom “Suddenly Susan,” and her career doesn't seem to be slowing down.
As a core member of the Brat Pack, Judd Nelson was a teenage heartthrob for years, showing off his bad-boy side in “The Breakfast Club” before appearing as a yuppie character in “St. Elmo's Fire,” and then becoming a dangerous serial killer in “Relentless." He won a Golden Globe as Hunt in “Billionaire Boys Club.”
Since the eighties, he's been in plenty, including appearing with fellow eighties star Brooke Shields in “Suddenly Susan.” He's been a hard worker in TV and films and hasn't even had a single year where he took a break. He's also a writer, putting (very) short books and screenplays on Amazon for three dollars each.
We all know and love him as the unstoppable lead character from “Ferris Bueller's Day Off,” but he was also the lead of “WarGames” and “Ladyhawke.” His role as Ferris made him a huge name in Hollywood, and he would continue to impress with a movie that showed off his dramatic range, “Glory,” set during the Civil War.
Broderick has worked in dozens of movies and television shows – notable roles include starring as one of the lead roles in the standout Broadway show “The Producers” and the 2005 film adaptation of the same play. He has been married to “Sex and the City” actress Sarah Jessica Parker since 1997, and they have three children.
While Matthew Broderick gained the most fame thanks to “Ferris Bueller's Day Off,” his co-star Alan Ruck also got plenty of accolades as the sarcastic and uptight best friend from the movie. He had several other roles in the eighties, such as the 1989 comedy film “Bloodhounds of Broadway,” and was a co-star for the 1987 road trip comedy “Three for the Road.”
Since his jump to fame, he's appeared on dozens of TV shows and movies, though mostly in supporting roles or bit parts. He was on “Spin City” for six seasons, as well as on “Scrubs,” “Stargate: Atlantis,” “NCIS,” and numerous other shows. His current project is turning out to be quite successful, playing Connor Roy in “Succession,” a critically-acclaimed 2018 HBO series.
Thanks to back-to-back hits “Beetlejuice” and “The Accidental Tourist,” Geena Davis shot to stardom. The former was a worldwide sensation, while the latter was nominated for four Academy Awards. Davis herself won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in “The Fly” and married her co-star Jeff Goldblum, though the two divorced a few years later.
Thanks to “Thelma and Louise” in 1991, she became one of Hollywood's leading ladies. Only a few years later, however, she starred in “Cutthroat Island,” which is still remembered as one of the biggest flops of all time. She's launched numerous organizations that focus on promoting underrepresented people in the entertainment industry.
Anthony Michael Hall
Anthony Michael Hall was one of the leading teens in the eighties, showing up in “National Lampoon's Vacation,” “Sixteen Candles” (lots of people on this list are in there, wild), “Weird Science,” “The Breakfast Club,” and even “Saturday Night Live.” He was the youngest cast member in the long-running show's history (Eddie Murphy is the second youngest, at 19).
After taking time off to deal with personal issues, he returned for “Edward Scissorhands” in 1990. His most successful project to date is “The Dead Zone,” which he both starred in and produced.
Corey Feldman is one of the sadder stories to come out of the stars of the eighties. He appeared in “The Lost Boys,” “The Goonies,” “Stand By Me,” “Gremlins,” “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” and plenty more. However, he and Corey Haim, who were friends, both ended up battling substance difficulties following childhood trauma.
Sadly, Haim died at the age of thirty-eight in 2010, but Feldman has moved on, appearing in TV shows and movies. He's also tried his hand as a musician and singer, though none of his five studio albums have been received very well.
Judge Reinhold's career really got started when he appeared in the Eddie Murphy movie “Beverly Hills Cop” in 1984. Still, he wasn't able to maintain his stardom and even ended up growing a bit of an ego, shouting at cast and crew members on films he worked on, which include “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Gremlins,” and more.
His 1988 comedy film “Vice Versa” bombed hard and had Reinhold leaving Los Angeles at the age of thirty-five. While Reinhold hasn't gotten back to his original level of fame, he took the roles he could get, mostly in supporting roles and bit parts. However, he did win an Emmy for his role of a close talker in “Seinfeld.”
Great Scott! This wild scientist won our hearts in the trio of “Back to the Future” movies, but he also had famous appearances in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” He became one of the most recognizable faces in the world thanks to his role as Reverend Jim Ignatowski in “Taxi” from 1978 to 1983.
Lloyd continues to be a famous face and name, thanks to his scene-stealing role as Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family.” He's also been in plenty of Disney movies. Lloyd has been married five times, most recently in 2016 to Lisa Loiacono. So far, the marriage is still on.
If not the very top comedic actor, Chevy Chase was at least one of the leading laughers during the eighties. He appeared in “Caddyshack,” “Spies Like Us,” National Lampoon series, and almost too many more to count. His show in the nineties, “The Chevy Chase Show,” bombed. He gained a reputation of being difficult to work with, as well as having a substance abuse problem.
He appeared on Dan Harmon's show “Community,” though he was hard to work with there, as well, not getting along with Harmon. He doesn't do much anymore.
If you want to put Baby in a corner, make sure she isn't played by Jennifer Grey. She starred in two of the eighty's biggest movies, starting with “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” and then going on to “Dirty Dancing.” The two made her a star and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. However, a car crash with then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick changed her life – from then on, she says, it felt weird being in the spotlight.
Since that fateful day, she's been in mostly TV and made-for-TV movies. She also underwent two rhinoplasty surgeries that she says hurt her career. She was married to Clark Gregg, who plays Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have since separated.
“The Blues Brothers,” “Trading Places,” “Spies Like Us,” not to mention “Ghostbusters.” If it is a famous comedy movie from the eighties, there's a pretty good chance Aykroyd had a hand in it. After rising to fame thanks to “Saturday Night Live,” he found huge success because of all of the films he was in during the eighties.
The two “Ghostbusters” movies made over five hundred million dollars worldwide. He's been making television and movie appearances since he struck it big and he runs the Crystal Head Vodka company. He's set to appear in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which is set to come out in 2021.
Pick a random action movie from the eighties, and you might just see this famous martial artist. He was one of the most recognizable stars of the eighties, performing flying kicks, brandishing weapons, and even losing in a fight against Bruce Lee.
After the eighties, Norris found even more fame by starring in “Walker, Texas Ranger,” a show that combined cheesy martial arts action and strong morals. It ran for more than 200 episodes, and made plenty of appearances on “Late Night With Conan O'Brien.” Conan had a “Walker, Texas Ranger,” lever he would pull to show off scenes. Norris has also written plenty of books.
It's amazing to think that one of the most famous movies from the eighties, “Caddyshack,” included Murray before he had any fame. He started on “Saturday Night Live,” and then he was ready to join the greats in “Stripes,” “Tootsie,” and the “Ghostbuster” movies.
His career has continued, appearing in tons of different movies, and his eccentric nature is memorable to all. If he wants a role, he'll take it no matter what – apparently producers call a 1-800 number Murray set up for roles, but also have a second choice on-set. If Murray shows up to act, he shows up. If not, the second choice is there to step in.
As a classically-trained actress, Allen mostly worked on Broadway or on other stages, but her career was altered when she acted next to Harrison Ford in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” During the decade she also appeared in “Starman,” “Scrooged,” “Cruising,” and “The Glass Menagerie.”
She had a son in 1990, and at that point, she only took roles when she had the time. A few favorite titles include “Malcolm X,” “The Perfect Storm,” and “Ghost in the Machine.” She reappeared in a small role as Indy's baby momma in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” She currently runs a clothing shop in Massachusetts.
It's not the only movie series he's been in, but if you know Ralph Macchio, you know him from “The Karate Kid” series. The three movies, all released during the eighties, made over $250 million dollars combined. The budget was pennies compared to how much the movie made.
It's a little surprising, then, to know that he never became the A-lister everyone expected. And yet he still had plenty of success, including being a supporting character in “My Cousin Vinny” and playing a recurring character in “Ugly Betty.” Today he is reprising his most famous role in the Netflix-exclusive “Cobra Kai.”
As one of the most notable child stars of the eighties, Fred Savage knew how to win an audience. His first taste of fame was as Kevin Arnold in the classic show “The Wonder Years,” but he really became famous when he appeared as the grandson in “The Princess Bride,” and as Brian Stevenson in “Little Monsters.”
Since the eighties, he's had a fair share of roles, but for the most part, he's moved into producing and directing. On his resume are eighteen episodes of “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” fourteen episodes of “Modern Family,” and four recent episodes of “The Conners.”
Despite first appearing in the otherwise terrible “Grease 2,” Pfeiffer went on to be a big star. The biggest thanks go to acting alongside Al Pacino in the legendary mobster movie “Scarface.” The eighties were a good time for her, winning her numerous accolades, including a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in “Dangerous Liaisons.”
She's been a bona fide movie star ever since, appearing in thirty-five different movies since 1980. She joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ant-Man's mom, and is appeared in the upcoming “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” She's been married to David E. Kelly, a television writer, and producer, since 1993.
If you've heard of the movie “Labyrinth,” you heard people talk about it in positive terms. After all, it has David Bowie as a magical madman. It was also Jennifer Connelly's first film and it became a beloved children's film upon its home video release.
However, it wasn't until the 2000's when Connelly would really find success. Thanks to roles in movies like “House of Sand and Fog,” “A Beautiful Mind,” and “Requiem for a Dream,” she received a good bit of recognition. Since 2000 she's been in at least one movie a year, and currently stars in the TNT television show “Snowpiercer."
No, Jeff Cohen didn't have the longest or most illustrious career when it came to movies in the eighties, but he did give us something both magical and unforgettable. Yes, Cohen played Chunk in “The Goonies,” a classic piece of eighties adventure fun. He only acted for a little while – his last appearance was in “Perfect Harmony,” a made-for-TV movie released in 1991.
After that, Cohen attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a B.S. in business administration. After that it was off to UCLA School of Law, graduating in 2000. He now works as an entertainment lawyer. Get lucky, and Chunk will be your lawyer!
Born in 1946, Candice Bergen was acting long before the eighties, but she didn't reach notable acclaim until she starred as the titular character in “Murphy Brown.” Running for ten years and with just a hair under two-hundred and fifty episodes, the show made her a global icon.
When the show ended in 1998, she moved on to “Boston Legal” with William Shatner, as well as a few different movies such as “Miss Congeniality.” In 2018 CBS brought “Murphy Brown” back with much of the cast, but the series floundered and was canceled quickly.
Did you know that “Top Gun” wasn't the first movie Kilmer was in that started with Top? “Top Secret!” was a spoof spy movie that helped this lantern-jawed dude become a star – he sang all of the movie's songs.
“Top Gun” then shot him to the top of the star lists, and his role as the lead character in “Willow,” a fantasy film from 1988, encouraged his rise. After the eighties, he was Batman, Wyatt Earp, and other notable names, but his star fell after “Red Planet” flopped.
Brolin's career was, at least in the eighties, remarkably short. He had a few small roles, but the only one worth mentioning was his part in “The Goonies,” his first film. He played the older brother, Brand Walsh. But, even into the nineties, he didn't really do much else.
He got a few good turns in “Milk,” “Inherent Vice,” and “W.” Then Josh went on to take part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He provided the voice of big bad guy Thanos the Mad Titan (since the character's body was all CGI). He brought a surprising amount of humanity to a character that was both mad, and inhuman.
At only twelve years old, Schroder landed the lead role on the sitcom “Silver Spoons” in 1982, going until 1986. He had plenty of other credits in the eighties, though mostly on television – including in the “Lonesome Dove” miniseries as Newt Dobbs. While most child stars slowed down, Schroder did no such thing.
From “NYPD Blue” to “Robot Chicken,” he's had a long career in TV. He's also dabbled in directing, for “Black Cloud,” “Locker 13” (in which he also had a role), “Hellhounds,” and “Our Wild Hearts.”
Andrew McCarthy and a few other members of the famous eighties Brat Pack worked together in “St. Elmo's Fire” in 1985 and “Pretty in Pink” in 1986. McCarthy then went on to show up away from the pack in classics like “Mannequin” and “Weekend at Bernie's.”
McCarthy also appeared on “Lipstick Jungle,” “White Collar,” and “Royal Pains,” and then jumped into directing – if you're familiar with shows like “The Blacklist” or “Orange Is the New Black” you might have seen his work. He's also done a bit of writing, both in non-fiction and fiction. His YA novel “Just Fly Away” became a New York Times bestseller.
The Grammy-winning “Queen of Pop” released her first album in 1983 and never gave up on pushing boundaries. Music videos were becoming a hot, new thing, and Madonna jumped at the opportunity, becoming the biggest pop star of the eighties. While she's continued to make music and appear in shows, her star has dwindled somewhat.
Some people point to her 2003 album “American Life” as the beginning of the end. Her public antics have also made it hard for some people to appreciate her. Regardless, even her most recent album, 2019's “Madame X” topped the charts.
This English singer-songwriter leaped to the top of the pop charts thanks to his unique brand of disco dance-pop music. He was one-half of the duo Wham!, which he formed with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. Michael went solo in 1987, getting the ball rolling with the Aretha Franklin duet “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”
George picked up a few problems in the next fifteen years, including being arrested for lewd behavior. Michael sadly passed on Christmas day of 2016. He was an active LGBT rights campaigner and is still loved by everyone.
Demi Moore might have dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen, but she's never had a problem. She starred alongside her fellow list members Emilio Estevez (who she was briefly engaged to) and Rob Lowe in “St. Elmo's Fire” and “About Last Night.”
When the nineties began, her star was still on the rise – she had critically-acclaimed roles in “A Few Good Men” and “Indecent Proposal.” She was once the highest-paid woman in Hollywood even before she went on to appear in “Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,” “Margin Call,” and “Empire.” If you want to know more, she released her memoir called “Inside Out,” in 2019.
As yet another teen idol from the eighties, John Cusack got his start in movies such as “Better Off Dead,” “The Sure Thing,” and “One Crazy Summer.” He moved on to broader roles like “True Colors” and “The Grifters” before the decade was up.
Since then, he's been getting consistent work, including movies like “Must Love Dogs” (2005), “Hot Tub Time Machine” (2010), and “The Butler” (2013). Recently, he's come under fire for posting controversial messages on his social media.
Remember this guy? He was in a few movies in the eighties, starting with a small role in “The Outsiders.” After that, he got the lead role in “Risky Business” and “Top Gun.” And then he went on to star in every movie ever.
He's still one of Hollywood's most famous and highest-paid actors ever, with some of the big movies under his name. Amazingly he's only been in about fifty movies, but he shows no signs of stopping. His “Mission: Impossible” films are inching ever closer to the double-digits, and they only seem to be getting better as time goes on.
Thank goodness for Ms. Lauper – if she hadn't spoken up, we might not have figured out that girls just want to have fun. This star released her first solo album in 1983, titled “She's So Unusual,” before going on to win a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1985. With colored, feathered hair and a synth-based sound, she's one of the classic eighties artists.
She started writing music for soundtracks, which culminated in her composing music for the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” earning her a Tony Award in 2013. It's currently the 25th longest-running Broadway musical in history and has grossed almost three hundred million dollars.
Since his first iconic role of Ren McCormack in 1984's “Footloose,” Kevin Bacon has been a household name, but his first eighties movie was the famous slasher flick “Friday the 13th.” However, he wanted to shake the image he had developed during the eighties so he took on more diverse roles.
It turned into something of a career slump, though he still appeared in good movies after the eighties such as “Tremors,” “Flatliners,” and the blockbuster hit “Apollo 13.” He's been in so many movies that we have the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. He also formed a band with his brother Michael called The Bacon Brothers, releasing nine albums since 1997.
Long before he became the doctor known as McDreamy on “Grey's Anatomy,” Patrick Dempsey was winning hearts in 1987's “Can't Buy Me Love,” playing a nerdy outcast who pays a popular girl to date him. He moved on to box office hits like “Valentine's Day,” “Made of Honor,” and “Transformers.”
He's also a huge racer, so much so that he's gone on record saying if he could retire from acting and dedicate himself to motorsports, he would. He maintains an extensive sports and vintage car collection and has competed in numerous prestigious pro-am events.
Michael J. Fox
This Canadian actor first found success on the sitcom “Family Ties,” which ran from 1982 to 1989, but his big claim to fame in the eighties was the almighty trilogy of time travel, the “Back to the Future” series.
In 1998 he publicly announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. The disease forced Fox to slow down, but he's still had a few fun roles such as “Spin City,” “The Good Wife,” “Scrubs,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Most child stars get their start when they can at least walk and talk, but not Drew Barrymore. Her television debut came at the age of eleven months in commercials, and from there she went on to make a name for herself in “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” in 1982. She had a wildly successful nineties career, appearing in “Poison Ivy,” “Scream,” and “Ever After,” among many others.
Today she is still a big name in Hollywood. Barrymore is now the mother of two, has starred in the “Charlie's Angels” reboot, and often acts alongside Adam Sandler. She launched a talk show, “The Drew Barrymore Show,” in 2020.
Debbie Gibson isn't the first name people jump to when they think of eighties pop stars, but there's no denying her brilliance. She was the youngest person ever to write, produce, and perform a number-one single on the “Billboard” Hot 100. That was in 1988 with her track when her track “Foolish Beat.” She was eighteen.
She's also become a Broadway actor, with starring roles in shows such as “Les Misérables” and “Grease.” In addition, she's been in several Hallmark Channel movies – but her first role was uncredited, it was in 1984's “Ghostbusters."
Six feet tall, with long blonde hair and a blazing smile, Jerry Hall became one of the most famous models of the eighties. She only became more famous thanks to her relationship with rocker Mick Jagger. She appeared in “Urban Cowboy” in 1980 as well as Tim Burton's “Batman” in 1989.
While her relationship with Jagger ended in 1999, she was still acting in stage shows, movies, and television shows. She dabbles in a number of things now, including writing music, reality shows, and art collecting. She married media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 2016.
As the star of the mid-80s show “Dynasty,” British actress Joan Collins found her way into the public eye. The show brought her both popular and critical acclaim. She has won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series (Drama) in 1982. Once her show was done, she worked sporadically in acting, taking fewer film roles.
Collins made her comeback in the 2010s on “Happily Divorced,” “The Royals,” and in a recurring role in “American Horror Story: Apocalypse.” Her first starring film role since the 1980s was on “The Time of Their Lives” in 2017. She's also appeared in various independent films, including the critically-acclaimed “Gerry.”
Thanks to starring in “Heathers,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “Beetlejuice,” Winona Ryder was a big star in the eighties. She credits her early success to Tim Burton. She dated Johnny Depp for four years, though the two never got any farther than that stage. She's had a number of other high-profile relationships but has never been married.
Winona took a long break from acting between 2002 and 2009. Today, you can find her starring in a show that's heavily inspired by the 80's "Stranger Things.”
She started acting in 1972, but it wasn't until ten years later when Christina Applegate really became a star. She was in “Charles in Charge” and “Heart of the City,” and her best year came in 1986 with numerous guest spots. The very next year she got a starting spot in “Married... with Children,” which ran for ten years, late into the nineties.
Since then she's done plenty on TV and in movies. Most recently she's been starring in “Dead to Me,” while also working as the show's executive producer. She's garnered a huge number of awards ever since she started acting.
Jason Bateman has been on quite the journey over the last 40 years. Like his sister, Jason had his fair share of success back in the ‘80s, being one of the leads in the hit sitcom “The Hogan Family.” He also appeared in hit shows such as “Little House on the Prairie,” “St. Elsewhere,” and even an episode of “Knight Rider.”
But Bateman has arguably become even more successful since then. While he had a relatively quiet time during the ‘90s, Bateman’s career hit new heights on the absurdist comedy series “Arrested Development.” He even ventured into the world of thrillers and drama when he landed the role of Marty Byrde on the Netflix series “Ozark.”
There might not be an ‘80s TV star on this list quite as iconic as Ted Danson. Having graced the bar of “Cheers” for a staggering 275 episodes from 1982 all the way into the ‘90s, it’s safe to say that Danson is ‘80s royalty. Danson also appeared on ‘80s shows such as “Magnum, P.I.,” and “Taxi,” to name a few.
And Danson even made the smooth transition to the big screen, starring alongside Tom Selleck in the hit movie “Three Men and a Baby.” In more recent times, Danson has ventured into other kinds of TV, starring in shows such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and “The Good Place.”
James Spader might not have been everyone’s favorite ‘80s star – but the guy certainly left his mark on that decade. The talented actor was a crucial part of classics of the time, including “Pretty in Pink” and “Wall Street.” As the years went on, Spader gained more success in the world of TV, having lead roles on shows such as “Boston Legal” and “The Blacklist.”
Arguably the biggest compliment paid to Spader was when Kevin Feige cast him as the titular CGI villain in the 2013 MCU sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The film might not be as beloved as the original, but Spader certainly stood out.
Has an ‘80s star ever been more remembered for just one thing? Rick Astley surely has to take the crown for that. While there is no denying he has a great voice, the British performer will always be best remembered for his song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
While his song “Together Forever” also performed decently in the charts, it was basically a copy-and-paste of his original hit. Sure enough, Astley has continued to record music up until the present day. But “Never Gonna Give You Up” took on a life of its own, spawning an infinite number of memes during the era of social media.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Kim Wilde is best known for her hit song “Kids in America,” which peaked at number 2 in the UK charts. She also performed a pretty impressive cover of The Supremes’ classic song “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” which also reached number 2 in the charts.
The British singer has had a steady career throughout the years, even appearing in musicals such as “Tommy.” During her time on the West End, Wilde married her co-star Hal Fowler, whom she had two kids with. In 2022 though, Wilde announced her separation from Fowler on social media.
No one on this list has quite a comeback story quite like Billy Zabka. Of course, this talented actor is best known for his role as the opponent of Daniel LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence, in the classic ‘80s coming-of-age movie, “The Karate Kid.” It’s safe to say though that Zabka’s career fell off the face of the earth after that, and he was a forgotten man, for the most part.
However, he stepped back into the limelight after playing a sensationalized version of himself in “How I Met Your Mother.” And his resurgence led to the creation of “Cobra Kai,” a sequel series to “The Karate Kid” franchise, where Daniel-San and Johnny teach Karate to kids all over the valley.
Truth be told, it is a bit of a stretch to call Diana Ross an ‘80s star. After all, she was the lead singer of one of the most successful groups in the history of soul – The Supremes. And they were at the height of their powers back in the ‘60s!
Eventually, though, Ross had a successful solo career, and her album “Diana” (which included classic singles such as “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down”) ended up going Platinum. Amazingly, Ross released her 25 th studio album, “Thank You,” in 2021, proving that she has no interest in ending her illustrious career.
In many ways, it’s impossible to think of romantic comedies without thinking of Meg Ryan. The talented actress took this genre to dizzy new heights when she starred alongside Billy Crystal in the 1989 flick “When Harry Met Sally.”
She continued her romantic reputation into the ‘90s, starring in movies such as “Sleepless in Seattle,” “City of Angels,” and “You’ve Got Mail.” But after a highly publicized entanglement with Russell Crowe, Ryan’s career took a bit of a hit and her work has since dried up over the last few decades. Her son, Jack Quaid, has since emerged as one of the finest young actors of his generation.
It would be the understatement of the century if we said that Wil Wheaton has had a rollercoaster career. Until this very day, most people will still recognize him for his breakout role in the classic ‘80s coming-of-age film “Stand By Me.” Over the years though, Wheaton has also made memorable appearances in shows such as “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
In recent times, Wheaton shocked the nation with his trivia knowledge when he went on to reach the final of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” Despite a grand effort in the final, he ultimately lost the grand prize to Ike Barinholtz. It’s amazing to think that he is now in his 50s.
While she certainly comes from an iconic family, being the daughter of Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith made a name for herself back in the ‘80s. During this time, the young actress had roles in movies such as “Body Double,” “Something Wild,” and “Working Girl,” among others.
But Griffith was probably best known for her high-profile relationships with ‘80s stars such as Don Johnson and Steven Bauer. With the former, she gave birth to an iconic actress in her own right, Dakota Johnson. In recent times, Griffith has appeared in movies such as James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” and “The High Note.”
There aren’t many families in Hollywood as prolific as the Arquettes. And while she might not be as well known as her brother David, Rosanna Arquette has had some pretty memorable moments in her career, especially during the ‘80s. During this pivotal decade in her life, Arquette had key roles in movies such as “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Silverado,” and “After Hours.”
But casual moviegoers probably recognize her the most for her minor role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” While she’s never quite managed to reclaim the magic of her earlier roles, Arquette has consistently been working as an actress, right up until today.
It’s impossible not to look at Dolph Lundgren without thinking of Ivan Drago. This Swedish martial artist-turned-actor became a villain seemingly overnight when he (spoiler alert) punched Apollo Creed’s lights out in the incredibly fun “Rocky IV.”
Lundgren had a pretty interesting time during the second half of the ‘80s, also starring as the iconic He-Man in “Masters of the Universe.” He even had a cameo in the James Bond classic “A View to a Kill.” And while most of his career has been dedicated to B-movies, Lundgren did have something of a resurgence when he appeared in “The Expendables.” In 2023, Lundgren revealed that he had been battling cancer since 2015.
When it comes to the legendary Steve Martin, there were three key components as to why he had a truly remarkable decade. Firstly, his stand-up was pretty immense because of how surreal and absurd it was. Secondly, his films during this time were absolutely off the chart, having started in comedic classics such as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Three Amigos!,” and “Roxanne.”
And thirdly, his time on “SNL” saw him host the show on numerous occasions. In recent times, Martin has reunited with his long-time buddy Martin Short to work alongside Selena Gomez in the popular series “Only Murders in the Building.”
There is no denying that Catherine O’Hara is a legend. Not only that, but the ‘80s were a truly defining time in her career. With key roles in movies such as “After Hours” and “Beetlejuice,” the sky was truly the limit for Catherine. And the ‘90s were pretty good too, as she starred in classics such as “Home Alone” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
But it seems like O’Hara had some sort of second wind in her career over the last decade, having received numerous plaudits for her role on the popular Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek.” Since then, she has also reprised her role in the long-awaited sequel to “Beetlejuice.”
Arguably one of the most versatile comedians of her generation, Tracey Ullman seems to have done it all. The talented British performer was a huge hit in her home country, being a regular cast member of the sketch comedy show “Three of a Kind. Eventually, though, she moved across the pond and starred in her very own show – “The Tracey Ullman Show.”
As the decades passed, Ullman has ebbed and flowed in terms of her relevance in the world of entertainment. She memorably showed up in the closing episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” as the mother of Robin Scherbatsky. She also worked with Larry David on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Let’s face it – Denzel Washington didn’t exactly set the world alight during the ‘80s. But with that said, it was during this decade that he started to show signs that he could become one of the biggest stars Hollywood has ever seen. This was most evident after he played Steve Biko in the critically acclaimed “Cry Freedom.”
Truth be told, Washington’s rise to superstardom was a slow burn. By the turn of the millennium though, he was getting universal praise for his performances in movies such as “Training Day,” “Inside Man,” and “American Gangster,” to name a few. Despite nearing his 70s, Washington is still as busy as ever.
The ‘80s was a pretty sweet time for Phylicia Rashad. Most notably, she landed the role of Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” being an integral part of the show’s success for all eight seasons. While she never quite managed to eclipse the impact she had on that show, Rashad has consistently been busy as an entertainer as the decades have passed.
In the last decade alone, she has appeared in popular shows such as “Empire,” “This Is Us,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and many more. She’s even had a key role in the “Creed” trilogy, the spin-off to the “Rocky” franchise.
It might be a bit of a stretch to call Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman-Maday an ‘80s star (yes, that’s her full name, in case you were wondering). But seeing that she first appeared as Olivia Kendall in “The Cosby Show” back in 1989, we’re going to say that she has to count. She continued that role for the next three years of her life.
And eventually, Raven got her own show on the Disney channel called “That’s So Raven.” Pretty original, right? Since then, Raven has lent her voice to a number of animated roles, such as the character of Iridessa in the “Disney Fairies” franchise. In 2015, Raven came out of retirement to co-host “The View.”
Truth be told, Goldie Hawn’s success started long before the ‘80s, and continued way after it too. But during that time, her impact on pop culture was unmistakable. During this time, she received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 1980 movie “Private Benjamin.” She also starred in flicks such as “Protocol,” “Seems Like Old Times,” and “Overboard.”
Since then, Hawn has had a little bit of success in a string of comedies, such as “Snatched” and “The Christmas Chronicles.” But it’s her children Kate, Oliver, and Wyatt who are her real success story, having all gone on to become successful actors in their own rights. Of course, she’s also still deeply in love with Kurt Russell.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris has certainly had an interesting career, to put it lightly. He kind of fell off the edge of the world after bursting onto the scene so early with his role in “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Eventually, though, Harris would have something of a renaissance, playing the breakout character of Barney Stinson on CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother.”
Since then, the talented performer has ventured into Hollywood, having roles of varying sizes in hit movies such as “Gone Girl” and “The Matrix Resurrections.” Harris is also a prolific stage actor, performing in musicals such as “Rent” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
Grace Jones is not a mere model, not that we are slamming that at all, but the woman did become an absolute icon that inspired a look for generations to come. In 1966 she signed with Wilhelmina Models before she moved out to Paris in 1970, where she took off hugely with her bold and camp appearance.
Jones appeared on international runways, modeling for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo Takada, as well as appearing on countless covers. Later on, she took up acting and singing rather successfully, landing a spot at the Billboard top in December 2016.
Steve Urkel is a classic nerd. In fact, we would go as far as to say that when you think of TV nerds, it's impossible not to think of Urkel. With a nasally high-pitched voice, super high-waisted pants, and coke-bottle glasses, he is a grotesque caricature.
He shows his cool side in "Family Matters" when he transforms into Stefan Urquelle by drinking a magic potion. Interestingly, Stefan's character is the actor’s normal self. Just think of all the coolness he had to reign in to become Urkel! But Jaleel White is a real handsome, cool dude in real life, as you can see in this picture alone. In 2022, White had a role in the Adam Sandler-led movie "Hustle."
There might not be a comedian more iconic than the one and only, Eddie Murphy. Having taken “Saturday Night Live” by storm during the early ‘80s and performing some iconic standups such as “Delirious” and “Raw,” the world of comedy was clearly Murphy’s oyster.
And he also owned Hollywood for a long time, starring in classics such as “48 Hrs.,” “Trading Places,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Coming to America,” and the list goes on and on. And while Murphy hasn’t been as prolific as he was during the first few decades of his career, he continues to work until this very day and has obviously left his mark on comedy and beyond.
There is no denying that Arsenio Hall’s most memorable role was in the classic “Comedy to America.” In this 1988 comedy, Hall did what his co-star Eddie Murphy has become iconic for, playing multiple roles in one movie.
In one flick, he managed to convincingly play the servant of a prince, a customer at a barbershop, a nasty reverend, and a woman at a nightclub. Of course, Hall also had a successful run as the host of his own show “The Arsenio Hall Show,” which had a short resurgence from 2013 to 2014. Hall also reprised the role of Semmi in “Coming 2 America.”
Many would agree that the face of pop culture would look very different had Oprah Winfrey never graced our TV screens all those years ago. During the ‘80s, the prolific talk show host moved to Chicago to host the morning show “AM Chicago.” Soon enough though, the ratings started to skyrocket and in 1986, the show was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which ran until 2011.
Oprah was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “The Color Purple.” Fast forward many years, films, TV shows, endorsements deals, and charitable endeavors later, and Oprah has a staggering $2.5 billion net worth and an eternal legacy to her name.
It’s safe to say that without Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we would be without so many talented female comedians to grace our favorite sitcoms over the years. She originally burst onto the scene through her multiple roles on “Saturday Night Live” during the ‘80s. Eventually, though, Louis-Dreyfus would be best remembered for her role as Elaine Benes on the classic sitcom “Seinfeld.”
But Julia wasn’t going to let the “Seinfeld curse” get to her. And since then, she has been the lead of other shows, most notably, the Emmy Award-winning political satire “Veep.” In more recent times, Louis-Dreyfus has overcome a battle with breast cancer. She has also starred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The ‘80s was a generous time for Morgan Fairchild. Known for her appearances on TV shows such as “Flamingo Road,” “Falcon Crest,” “Paper Dolls,” and “Murphy Brown,” to name a few, Fairchild was as prolific as they come. Moreover, she generated a reputation as something of a poster girl. And even though the ’80s eventually came to an end, the job offers just kept on coming.
Fairchild showed up in pretty much every show imaginable – including “Friends,” “Home Improvement,” “That ‘70s Show,” “Nip/Tuck,” “The Simpsons” – the list goes on, and on, and on. In 2022, Fairchild guest appeared in a couple of episodes of ABC’s “General Hospital.” She really just doesn’t know when to quit.
Has there anyone who has ever done it quite like Tina Turner? Even before the ‘80s, this legendary singer had already seemingly done it all. With her husband at the time, Ike Turner, the duo took the music world by storm with many classic singles. But their professional and personal relationship came to a bitter end in the late ‘70s.
But it was a new decade, new Tina – and her solo career took her to a completely new stratosphere. Turner had hit after hit, and even sang the theme song for the James Bond movie “Goldeneye.” Although she sadly passed away in 2023, we can safely say that she was, is, and always will be – simply the best.
Standing next to Will Smith, anyone is going to look like a dork. The Fresh Prince’s cousin Carlton Banks is signed, sealed, and delivered as far as dorkiness goes. And not to mention the fact that Carlton is responsible for one of the nerdiest dances in the history of TV.
He is also annoying, arrogant, awkward, and known to flaunt a superiority complex to a comical effect. The television star is still on TV. Alfonso Ribeiro hosts "America’s Funniest Home Videos." This means his job is to talk about funny internet videos. That may very well be the coolest job on the planet.
Most people will remember Kim Fields for playing the adorable Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey in the NBC sitcom “The Facts of Life.” Throughout the show’s run, Fields evolved from a tiny little girl into a talented, young woman with her whole life still ahead of her by the time the show was over.
Fields’ success carried on long after the ‘80s, having another successful role as Regine Hunter in the ‘90s sitcom “Living Single.” And the sitcom success has once again gone Fields’ way. Over the last few years, she has starred alongside Mike Epps in the popular Netflix series “The Upshaws.”
While some actors are unfortunately typecast, some performers don’t seem to be too bothered by it. This seemed to be the case, as far as Reginald VelJohnson was concerned. Throughout his career, he has starred as many police officer characters. But his most iconic one came in the late ‘80s when he played Carl Winslow on the sitcom “Family Matters.”
Many forget though that VelJohnson also had a minor role alongside Bruce Willis in both “Die Hard” and the sequel “Die Hard 2.” In the last few years, VelJohnson has shown up on shows such as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Ray Donovan,” and the animated series “Invincible.”
Jo Marie Payton
There is no denying that Jo Marie Payton’s role as Harriette Baines Winslow on the ABC/CBS sitcom “Family Matters” is what she will always be best remembered for. But that’s all she did during the ‘80s. Payton also showed up on shows such as “Perfect Strangers” and “Silver Spoons” during this formatting part of her life.
In more recent times, Payton has had minor success on short-lived shows such as “Mann & Wife.” She also reprised her popular voice role of Suga Mama Proud on the animated series “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” which premiered on Disney+ in 2022.
For the majority of the ‘80s, Tom Selleck was the man that everyone either wanted to be or be with. The star of “Magnum P.I.” made both Hawaiian shirts and mustaches incredibly fashionable, and it’s safe to say that no one has managed to rock as well as him ever since.
During the same decade, Selleck also starred alongside Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg in the classic flick “Three Men and a Baby.” Since then, Selleck has had memorable appearances in shows such as “Friends,” “Blue Bloods,” and “Las Vegas.” In 2021, Selleck released his first-ever music album, “Yessir, That’s My Baby.”
While we might be taking a bit of liberty putting her on this list, we think Christy Turlington just about earned the right to be regarded as an ‘80s star. Even though she really rose to prominence during the ‘90s, she did start her modeling jobs during the late ‘80s. She started representing Calvin Klein’s Eternity campaign back in 1989.
Along the way, Turlington has made it onto the annual “Time 100” as one of the most influential people on the planet. While she continues to model until this very day, Turlington has also become a very influential figure in the world of health. She practices Yoga and is a keen runner, having run four marathons in her lifetime.
You just can’t have the ‘80s without talking about Sylvester Stallone – it’s just a fact. Riding the success of his Academy-Award-winning “Rocky,” Sly continued to reprise the role of Rocky Balboa in the ‘80s, culminating in the quintessentially ‘80s sequel “Rocky IV.” Alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stallone became the ultimate ‘80s action star, also raising hell in the “Rambo” film series.
Over the years, Stallone has continued to leverage his status as Hollywood’s action icon, almost poking fun at his own reputation with the hit film series “The Expendables.” And Stallone has also entered the world of comic book movies, appearing in both “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Suicide Squad.”
If anyone on this list can say that they have many, many strings to their bow, then it has to be Andie MacDowell. Back in the ‘80s, this extremely talented woman started modeling for the likes of Calvin Klein and even became a spokeswoman for L’Oréal. During this defining decade, MacDowell starred in many popular movies, including “St. Elmo’s Fire.”
The ‘90s brought more interesting roles in movies such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Groundhog Day.” And the talent certainly runs in the family, as MacDowell’s daughter, Margaret Qualley, has also made a name for herself in the world of acting in recent times. They even starred in 2021’s “Maid” together.
Sure, there are plenty of actors who can claim to be action stars from the ‘80s, but not many actresses were given the chance to stake that claim – except for Sigourney Weaver. Best known for her role as Ripley in the “Alien” franchise, Weaver revolutionized what kind of roles women could play in Hollywood, paving the way for other female action stars.
She also starred in ‘80s flicks such as “Ghostbusters” and “Gorillas in the Mist.” In more recent times, Weaver has reunited with one of her favorite collaborators, James Cameron, starring in both the first “Avatar” movie and its long-awaited sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – and it certainly didn’t fall far from the Douglas family tree. Stepping into the footsteps of his superstar father Kirk was never going to be an easy task. But Michael was a huge ‘80s star, starring in hits such as “Romancing the Stone,” “Fatal Attraction,” and “Wall Street.
The latter of which he arguably played his most iconic role, Gordon Gekko. In more recent times, Douglas has developed a much younger audience after starring in numerous MCU movies as the original Ant-Man – Hank Pym. In 2023, he reprised the role in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
There is no doubt in our minds that Glenn Close is one of the most talented actresses of her generation. Having been a huge hit both on the stage and the big screen, there seems to be no role that Close hasn’t been able to make her own. Back in the ‘80s, she starred in some truly gripping movies.
These included the likes of “Fatal Attraction,” “The Big Chill,” and “Dangerous Liaisons,” to name a few. Of course, most people will associate her with the role of Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmatians,” which came out in the ‘90s. Even as she gets closer and closer to her own 80s, Close continues to star in movies, year in, and year out.
It’s impossible to call Jeff Goldblum an ‘80s star, as he has been a prolific star every decade since then. But the ‘80s was when things really started to take off for the eccentric actor. During this time, Goldblum had roles in films such as “The Big Chill,” “Silverado,” and “The Fly.”
But then his career went to a whole new level in the ‘90s when he starred in huge blockbusters such as “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day.” In his later years, Goldblum has become something of a silver fox, being beloved by people of all ages. And his reputation as a blockbuster A-lister shows no signs of slowing down.
When you come from a family of actors as talented as the Hustons, then there is a good chance that you are also going to be an incredible performer too. This was certainly the case for Anjelica Huston, who ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1985 mob movie “Prizzi’s Honor.”
And that was just the beginning for Huston. Most people will associate her with the role of Morticia Addams in “The Addams Family” films from the ‘90s. And even though the decades have passed since then, Huston continues to show up in movies, both big and small. She even had a minor role in “John Wick 3: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.”
If there was ever a man whom you call “the king of sitcoms” – especially when talking about the ‘80s, then Tony Danza is your man. During most of this defining decade in his career, Danza worked on two popular sitcoms. He first worked on the hit show “Taxi.” And as soon as that ended, he landed a lead role on the sitcom “Who’s the Boss?”
Even though his most prolific years are behind him, Danza has continued to work both on the big and small screen. In the last decade, he has worked alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the critically acclaimed movie “Don Jon.” And he recently played himself in the sequel series to “Sex and the City” – “And Just Like That…”
Jerry O’Connell’s career was another that started when he was young. As a kid, he did a lot of ad work for Duncan Hines, and a Frosted Flakes commercial. But he is probably best known for his role as one of the kids in the classic '80s movie "Stand By Me."
But the adorable actor shed his baby weight and grew into a handsome leading man. He has since appeared in movies such as "Scream 2" and "Scary Movie 5." He even played George Cooper Jr., the brother of Sheldon, in the hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." O’Connell is married to former model/actress, Rebecca Romijn.