Ahh, the 80’s, a time when a ton of things were much simpler. Reagan was President, dance-pop music became more popular than disco (finally!), and computers were ridiculously ginormous. Oh yeah, the fashion was also extremely bold and not in a good way – fanny packs, scrunchies, huge earrings, and parachute pants. Yikes. Many of these trends were popularized by some of our favorite film and TV stars, just take a look and let the flashbacks hit.
The Queen of Pop kicks off this list in style! Madonna quickly rose to fame after pushing boundaries with some of her earlier music videos, especially where her first album, released in 1983, is concerned.
Since the 80’s, Madonna continues to release hit after hit and with Rebel Heart as her 13th album released, there’s plenty more to come. Madonna will forever be a cultural icon.
This actress, singer and former fashion model got her acting start following a successful modeling career in New York during the 70’s, she then moved to Los Angeles where it all began. Basinger came to prominence playing a Bond girl, Domino Petachi, in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again, opposite of the dreamy Sean Connery.
Afterwards, she went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Memo Paris in The Natural. She’s still acting to this day.
Michael J. Fox
Great Scott! This Canadian actor became wildly successful with the 80’s sitcom Family Ties, winning many awards for his role. His superstar status only skyrocketed when he portrayed Marty McFly in the beloved film trilogy Back to the Future. At 29, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and by 2000, he semi-retired from acting as his symptoms became worse.
Since then, he has became a huge advocate for research efforts toward finding a cure. Fox has done quite a few voice over works in films like Stuart Little and has also appeared in TV shows like Spin City, The Good Wife, Scrubs, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Rebecca De Mornay
Actress and producer, Rebecca De Mornay, got her big breakthrough film role in 1983, when she played Lana in Risky Business. Who could forget that classic film?
Since then she’s gone on to star in numerous film and TV roles. Did we mention that she’s left the huge earrings behind? That’s one trend we’re glad died down.
Grey will always be known for her roles in the 80’s films Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and especially Dirty Dancing, for which she earned a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Don’t forget her 2010 victory in season eleven of Dancing with the Stars. She starred in the Amazon Studios comedy series Red Oaks as well.
Laura San Giacomo
Laura San Giacomo had her big break in Sex, Lies and Videotape, a 1989 film by Steven Soderbergh. Impressively enough, she was nominated for a Golden Globe award at the ‘Los Angeles Film Critics Association- New Generation Award’. Most will remember her for her role in Pretty Woman, where she starred alongside Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Kirsten Vangsness is one heck of a talented actress and anyone who has watched CBS’s Criminal Minds will know that. She played Penelope Garcia, a tech nerd who works in the forensic department. Later she acted in the spin-off series called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. She isn’t just an actress; she writes plays and performance-art pieces too.
Erika Eleniak made her first appearance in Playboy magazine when she was 19 years old. She only became more popular after that. In 1989 she starred in Charles in Charge and Baywatch and soon went on to other films like The Blob, Under Siege, and The Beverly Hillbillies.
It’s hard to believe that Salma Hayek is now 52 years old! This Mexican-born star made her way onto the acting scene in a movie called Frida. For the Adam Sandler fans out there, you’ll remember that Salma Hayek played Sandler’s wife in Grown Ups 1 and Grown Ups 2.
All right, the truth comes out, I’m seriously in love with Rob Lowe. Don’t pretend like you aren’t either! Ever since his role in The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire, Lowe has cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s greats.
He also starred in the greatest show ever created, The West Wing, and you can try to challenge me on that one but you’ll lose. After starring alongside Martin Sheen, he went on to star in the television series Parks and Recreation and Brothers & Sisters.
The fashion in the 80’s may have been **terrible** but the music was epic and the likes of Cyndi Lauper dominated the industry. Lauper released her first solo album titled ‘She’s So Unusual’ in 1983.
Just two years later, the “Time After Time” singer earned her first Grammy for Best New Artist. She also composed music for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, winning a Tony award.
This former child actor is best remembered for appearing as Chunk in the Steven Spielberg production The Goonies (the best movie eva).
He’s now an attorney and founding partner of Cohen & Gardner, LLP. Cohen has done well for himself but we’ll always remember his as the adorable, kind kid in a ski jacket.
After Demi dropped out of high school at just 16, she landed a modeling gig before starring in the soap opera General Hospital and then in the 80’s films St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night, alongside ex-fiance Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe.
She became a leading lady in Hollywood after her work in About Last Night…, since then she’s starred in many critically acclaimed roles like A Few Good Men, Ghost, G.I. Jane, and Indecent Proposal. Currently you can catch on the show Empire.
Patric is best known for his roles in The Lost Boys, Geronimo: An American Legend, Narc, The Losers and Speed 2: Cruise Control.
So we obviously have to acknowledge, he was more than just a one hit wonder! Although what we all remember most was his long, brown hair and rock and roll vagabond glory look.
Sheedy is a film and stage actress, as well as the author of two books. Following her film debut in the 1983’s Bad Boys, she then became one of the Brat Pack group of actors in the films.
Yes, she will forever be remembered for those roles in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. We doubt anyone will ever forget her iconic portrayal as the “goth” girl, a trend she’s long surpassed.
Emilio Estevez is the actor, director, and writer who started his career as just an actor and is well known for being a member of awesome Brat Pack of the 80’s, starring in The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire.
Also, Estevez is known for the hit movie The Outsiders. He is also known for the roles he went on to later star in and for leaving his 80’s fashion behind.
Mia Sara is best known for her role as Sloane Peterson in the 1986 comedy film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Oh, let’s not forget her roles in other films such as, Legend and Timecop.
A lot has changed since her heyday in the 80’s, but she’s the Mia we fell in love with! Also, she has since said farewell to scrunchies, thank goodness. We still love you though Mia!
This “Back to the Future” star was a major icon back in the 80’s. She had some major complications with her role during that time, because of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis.
Thus, she courageously stepped down from acting for some time. As such, she stayed out of the spotlight up until 2011. We’re thankful for her return to Hollywood!
Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars film series is all grown up now. Sine then he has gone on to star as a prolific voice actor who has voiced characters in many animated television shows.
Well, not just TV shows, but Hamill voiced for movies, and video games since the 1970s. Luckily he never fell into the parachute pants trend.
Before I break down in tears as I’m still reeling over the death of McDreamy, I’ll remind you that it all started in 1987 for Patrick Dempsey when he starred as a nerdy outcast in Can’t Buy Me Love. Since then, he’s starred in films such as Sweet Home Alabama, Enchanted, Made of Honor, Freedom Writers, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Bridget Jones’s Baby.
Of course, most of us know Dempsey as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on the long running television series Grey’s Anatomy. Aside from acting, Dempsey is also heavily involved in auto racing.
Jennifer Connelly started off her amazing career as a child model and the rest is really history. In 2005, she was named as Amnesty International Ambassador for Human Rights Education.
Obviously, we celebrate Connelly for her roles on the screen, but it isn’t just that. Not just beauty and brains, people. And that you got to respect! What a legend.
Good ol’ Jami Gertz is best remembered for her breathtaking roles in Sixteen Candles, Crossroads, The Lost Boys, Less Than Zero, and Quicksilver.
In addition, Gertz was in the 80’s TV series Square Pegs. Although who could forget her role in as Judy Miller in the CBS sitcom Still Standing? No one, that is!
Anthony Michael Hall
Hall is the actor, film producer, and director who starred in numerous teen-oriented films in the 80’s. He first began his career in commercials and on stage as a child, and went on to make his screen debut in good ol’ 1980.
His films were with incredible director-screenwriter John Hughes, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Sixteen Candles, they shaped his early career. Hall’s next movies were the teen classics, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science.
Singer is an American actress and cellist. You probably recognize her from her role as Ariel Moore, the awesome female lead in the 1984 feature film Footloose.
Or maybe, you know her as Julie Miller in the television series Fame. Singer was basically the 80’s icon for printed tees, like “Frankie Says Relax.”
Kevin Bacon made history on the dance floor with the flick Footloose and has since gone on to star in many fan favorites such as JFK, A Few Good Men, and Apollo 13 to name a few.
From 2013 to 2015, Six degrees of Kevin Bacon had everyone on the edge of their seats with the thrilling television series The Following.
Cameron will always be remembered for his role as Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains, a role for which he was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.
He went on to star in some film and TV shows, but things have changed since his days on the big screen. In fact, Cameron is now the leader of an Evangelic church.
Where do we begin?! Her first major role was in The Facts of Life before she made her motion picture debut in the independent film Tempest, which went on to earn her a Golden Globe nomination.
After subsequently appearing in the extremely successful John Hughes films Sixteen Candle</i?, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, Ringwald quickly became a teen icon. One we all love to this day (especially her flaming red hair and her tough masculine wardrobe with an edge of frilly feminine influences).
When Schroder was just 12 years old, he landed the leading role in the beloved 80’s sitcom Silver Spoons. In a recent interview with the Queen of Media Oprah, the NYPD Blue alum had something to share.
During the interview, Ricky Schroder said, “I joke with my kids, ‘You know, Dad wasn’t as big as Justin Bieber, but Dad was pretty big when he was 15!'”
The beloved English singer-songwriter rose to fame as a member of the epic post-disco dance pop duo Wham! His 80’s hit singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas” sky-rocketed his career and remain iconic today.
On December 25, 2016 this legendary man passed away, shattering hearts all over the globe. Impressively though, up to the time of his death, he sold over 115 million records worldwide, marking him as one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Ugh, Alyssa Milano is just perfect on so many levels that it’s almost hard to bare. She got her big break at just the age of seven and when the 80’s came round, she took the era by storm, starring in Who’s the Boss? and Melrose Place.
Since then, she’s starred in the epic television series Charmed and most recently in the show Mistresses. We should also mention that she’s a huge humanitarian and her fabulous sense of style landed her on Project Runway: All Stars as host and judge.
Long before John Cusack took on broader roles in films like True Colors and The Grifters, he was something of an 80’s heartthrob.
Well, we all remember him starring in Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, and Sixteen Candles. Let’s not forget that he also starred alongside Oprah in the tragically incredible Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Brat Pack fellow Andrew McCarthy starred in the iconic St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty In Pink. McCarthy then went on to star in classics like Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s.
Later on, he easily transitioned to television, appearing in Lipstick Jungle and White Collar, and many more, before he starred in Royal Pains.
This film and television actress, movie producer, and model is perhaps best known for her breakthrough role in the 1979 film 10.
It was this film that launched a bestselling poster for Derek in a swimsuit, and subsequently she then became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1980’s.
As if Tom Cruise needs an introduction, he’s one of Hollywood’s leading men and has been ever since his small role in the terribly fabulous flick The Outsiders in 1983.
After this, he landed roles in some of the greatest 80’s films like Risky Business and Top Gun. And well, the rest is history.
Nelson is the incredibly talented actor, screenwriter, and producer we all know and love. He is known for his roles in The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Hot Rod and The Transformers franchise to name a few.
He was definitely the icon of the “bad boy” look in the 80’s with his baggy jeans, Ray Bans, long hair and brooding demeanor. So, besides his roles, he created an iconic look of the decade.
Drew Barrymore is one of Hollywood’s most recognized and beloved child actresses, as she made her TV debut at just 11 months old appearing in commercials. After starring in Steven Spielberg’s legendary E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, her fame rose tenfold.
However, her childhood was riddled with drug and alcohol abuse, she has long since overcome her addiction. She has co-starred with Adam Sandler in a few films including The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Blended. In 1995, she launched her own production company and has directed a few films, currently she stars in the Netflix comedy series Santa Clarita Diet.
The incredibly talented and handsome Johnny Depp first rose to prominence on the 80’s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol. Since then he’s racked up quite a few accolades, including Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor.
Depp is known for taking on portray “larger-than-life” roles. But come on, his most iconic roles have to be as Edward Scissorhands and Captain Jack Sparrow.
The iconic Winona Ryder made her debut in the 1986 film Lucas but it was her portrayal of Lydia Deetz, a goth teenager in Tim Burton’s 1988 Beetlejuice that earned her critical acclaim and widespread recognition.
Currently she stars as Joyce Byers in the original Netflix series Stranger Things, earning her Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Who’s ready for season three?
Everyone’s favorite Karate Kid is on the list! Although he’s also recognized for his works as Eugene Martone in Crossroads, Bill Gambini in My Cousin Vinny, and Johnny Cade in The Outsiders.
Like many big stars, he wanted to try his hand at something new. Thus, he recently competed in the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars.
Robert Downey Jr.
As a kid, Robert Downey Jr. earned a ton of recognition but after a few years, he ran into legal troubles and battled substance abuse. However in his middle age, he turned his life around.
Now, he’s celebrated as one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors. Funny how things turn out. Currently, he’s recognized for his role in The Avengers.
Matthew Broderick will always be remembered for his performance in the ever famous 80’s flick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
He has also won two Tony Awards. This amazing actor is now married to actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and they have a son and twin girls.
While in recent years, his career has skyrocketed, thanks to the hit show 24, Kiefer Sutherland actually got his first leading film role in a Canadian drama called The Bay Boy, which earned him a Genie Award nomination.
The rest is history. Must run in the family right? I mean, you have to consider the fact that his father is the legendary Donald Sutherland.
The 80’s were good to Corey Feldman, landing him in films like The Fox and the Hound, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and Gremlins. Wait, we aren’t even close to being done.
Feldman also starred in The Goonies, Stand by Me, The Lost Boys, and The ‘Burbs. In addition, Feldman is also quite the musician, he’s the lead singer for the rock band Truth Movement.
Matt Dillon established himself as a rather popular teen idol by starring in 80’s films like My Bodyguard, Little Darlings, The Outsiders, and The Flamingo Kid.
From the late 80’s onward, Dillon achieved even further success. Currently he stars in FOX’s television show, Wayward Pines. Also, did you know he was nominated for a Grammy forhis narration of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road?
Corey Haim was an 80’s teen heartthrob. His most well known role was alongside Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys. Known as The Two Coreys, this duo went on to became the ultimate 80’s icons.
The two appeared together in seven movies together, even starring in an A&E American reality show The Two Coreys. Sadly, he passed away in 2010.
Thompson is best remembered for her portrayal of Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy and also as the title character in the NBC sitcom Caroline in the City.
Since 2011, she has co-starred as Kathryn Kennish in the series Switched at Birth. She’s been married to director, Howard Deutch since 1989.
Neil Patrick Harris
Barney Stinson, that guys awesome! Sorry, this incredibly talented soul is recognized for his role in Doogie Howser, M.D., How I Met Your Mother , and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
In 2014, he also won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Also he’s been a host for many years at the Tony Awards. Back in 2010, he married David Burtka, and they have twins.
In the early 1980s, Diane Lane made quite a successful transition from child actor to adult roles. Starring The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm, Under the Tuscan Sun.
Most recently, you can find Lane in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bet you couldn’t guess she’s actually 52 right now! Wow, we’re so glad her career flourished long beyond the 80’s.
Elisabeth Shue is easily recognized for her incredible roles in The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Cocktail , and the Back to the Future trilogy.
Most recently she starred as Julie Finlay in the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Back in 1994, she married director/producer, Davis Guggenheim, and they have three children.
As if Christian Slater needs an introduction! The man’s a legend. However, most people remember him best for playing Jason Dean in Heathers.
We will say that currently he has a leading role in the TV series, Mr. Robot. Oh, and that role on the show got his first ever Gold Globe Award! Congrats, Christian.
James Spader is best known for taking on rather eccentric characters in films and for his television roles in The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal. In addition, many remember him as attorney Alan Shore from the show, The Practice.
Currently he stars in The Blacklist. Maybe you know him for this newer role as the high-profile criminal who now works as an FBI informant, Red. This role earned him two Golden Globe nominations.
The very hilarious Jason Bateman is up next up! Bateman started acting in the 80’s on Little House on the Prairie, and also in the sitcoms Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family.
Currently, he’s been starring in many comedy films, such as The Switch, Horrible Bosses, and Zootopia. However, we have to say one of his all-time best roles has to be on Arrested Development.
Justine Bateman is best remembered for her role as Mallory Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties. Until recently, Bateman actually ran a production and consulting company, SECTION 5.
In 2012, she headed back to school and started studying computer science at UCLA. Well done! That’s definitely not something you hear everyday!
Jamie Lee Curtis
In the beginning, our girl Jamie Lee Curtis was known for her many roles in horror films, but since then, she’s turned into one of the finest actresses of her generation.
She most recently starred in the comedy horror series Scream Queens. However, we also have to remind everyone of her hilarious role in the remake of Freaky Friday, alongside Lindsay Lohan.