When you look back at the “olden days”, you cower in disbelief that you ever dressed like and wore your hair like that. It is just pure blasphemy that you used to look like that once upon a time. Luckily only your family and close friends remember you from “back then” but when you’re a celeb, nothing stays in the past, especially the roles that first helped to launch you to stardom. A lot of folks, myself included, remember these celebs for their first ever roles from back in the day and not for what they’re doing now. Check out this list of our beloved celebrities and just how much they’re changed over the years.
We’re kicking off our list with the one and only, Bill Murray. One of America’s most hilarious men to grace us with his talent as an actor, comedian, and writer. His claim to fame was from his time on Saturday Night Live, where he earned his first Emmy Award. Later he starred in comedy films, including Meatballs, Caddyshack, both Ghostbusters, Scrooged, What About Bob?, and Groundhog Day. But it was his role in Lost in Translation that gained him the most respectable awards and nominations. In 2016, he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
You know the man, you know his movies. But did you know that as a kid, he suffered from a horrible stutter? That he was often bullied for his differences. Instead of letting it get to him, Willis found that his stutter disappeared when he stepped up on stage. Thus he became very active in drama club and even as student council president. After high school, he moved to New York, working as a bartender before ultimately moving to California and the rest, well the rest is history.
Tilton is best remembered for her role as Lucy Ewing, who was the saucy niece of J.R. Ewing, in the 80s TV show, Dallas. Since then, she has gone on to star in a few films and television shows but none brought her the same fame as her Dallas days. Amazingly, she’s never gone under the knife for plastic surgery which is saying something.
Can I just say, hellloooooo, Denzel? Sorry, okay, focusing now. Washington’s big break came during NBC’s television hospital drama St. Elsewhere in 1982 to 1988, he was one of few African-American actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. Since then, he has gone on to receive three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor in Glory and Best Actor in Training Day. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards. Did we mention he’s also a kick a** director?
Where do we begin, Don Johnson is an actor, producer, director, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for his role as James “Sonny” Crockett from the 80s TV series Miami Vice and as the lead role in the 90s cop series Nash Bridges. He’s also a Golden Globe-winning actor for his role in Miami Vice, the American Power Boat Association’s 1988 World Champion of the Offshore World Cup, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Did we mention his daughter is Dakota Johnson, the actress best known for her role as Anastasia Steele in the romantic drama Fifty Shades of Grey.
Dustin Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American actor, director, writer, and martial artist. I know, right, he’s done it all! He is best known for his roles as Harry Truman Ioki on 22 Jump Street and as Johnny Loh on V.I.P./i> while in films, he’s starred in Little Fish, The Doom Generation and The Rebel. His exercise regiment has kept his away from liposuction surgery and for good measure.
Wow, where do we begin? As an actor, he’s received three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, one for acting and the other for producing. In 1978, he made his first real acting debut as Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama ER from 1994 to 1999, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. During his ER days, he starred in many films, gaining lots of attention but it wasn’t until 2001 that his fame went global with Ocean’s Eleven. Of course, there are more films we could mention but instead we will say that his political activism is notable, and he has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace. His humanitarian work runs a mile long and he’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In the 2000s, Halle Berry was actually the highest paid actress in Hollywood and she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her performance in Monster’s Ball, which made her the only black woman to win a Best Actress Academy Award as of 2016. Before acting, she was a model, finishing as 1st runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant and 6th in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. For many years, she has been the face of Revlon cosmetics and Versace. The Coty Inc. fragrance company even signed Berry on to market her debut fragrance in 2008.
Holly Robinson Peete
Peete is best known for her roles as Judy Hoffs on the Fox TV police drama 21 Jump Street, Vanessa Russell on the ABC sitcom Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and Dr. Malena Ellis on the NBC/WB sitcom For Your Love. She also was one of the original co-hosts of the CBS daytime talk show, The Talk. Her and her husband created the HollyRod Foundation, which is dedicated to fing a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, as well as autism, and to assist those living with the conditions.
Jami Gertz started off as a child actor actually, in an episode of Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. She went on to star in films films like Sixteen Candles, Crossroads, The Lost Boys, Less Than Zero and Quicksilver. But you probably remember her from the 1996’s film Twister, as well as for her role as the hilarious Judy Miller in the CBS sitcom Still Standing.
The very hilarious Jason Bateman ends up on our list! He started off as a rather high profile adolescent actor back in the 80s, with Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family before his role as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, for which he won a TV Land Award, a Golden Globe, and a Satellite Award. Of course no one can forget his many hilarious roles on films like Juno, The Switch, Horrible Bosses, and Identity Thief.
Before she became the Jennifer Garner we all know and love, she got her breakthrough film debut in the comedy of, that’s right, Dude, Where’s My Car. After her supporting role in Pearl Harbor, she went on to gain recognition for her performance in the spy-action thriller Alias, she won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award, and received four Emmy Award nominations for her role. Since then she has gone on to star in many great films and married actor Ben Affleck in 2005, with whom she has three adorable children with.
Alllll righty then, another comedian makes the list. In the 80s, he went from doing open-mic nights to getting regular paid shows, building up his reputation as a comedian. He turned to film and TV even though his stand-up routines was soaring, and he caught a huge break in 1994 when he went on to star lead roles in (some of all time favorite comedies) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. Of course, since then, his career has been nothing short of incredible.
At just 22, Collins headed to Hollywood and landed some pretty sultry roles in several popular films. Her works all throughout the 60s and 80s got her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983. In 2015, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.
Lawrence is best known for his roles as Joey Donovan in the TV series Gimme a Break!, Joey Russo in Blossom, Joe Roman in Brotherly Love, and as Joe Longo in Melissa & Joey. He also has a passion for music and has released two albums along with seven singles.
Uncle Jesse 4EVA. In the 80s, Stamos’s career became solidified with his role on Full House and since then, he has done other works, starring on Friends, ER, Glee and more. In 2015 he announced that Full House was coming back for a 13-episode sequel, titled Fuller House, which he is the executive producer of.
His name was pretty much synonymous with the disco era with his works on Saturday Night Fever and Grease. And at just the age of 24, Travolta became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Then in 2016, he received his first Primetime Emmy Award as a producer of the first season anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson; he also receiving an additional nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro.
Johnny Depp is regarded as one of the world’s biggest film stars but before all that, his first real taste in the spotlight was as a popular teen idol during the late 1980s, when he starred in the Fox television series 21 Jump Street. He is known for generally choosing roles which he finds interesting, rather than those that would succeed at the box office. In 2004, he actually formed his own production company Infinitum Nihil to develop projects where he will serve as actor and/or producer.
Ahh, good ol’ Mike Seaver from the hilarious sitcom Growing Pains is next up. It was this role that earned him nominations for two Golden Globe Awards. As a child actor, he made several television and film appearances through the 1980s and 1990s. He is now a vocal evangelist.
Not one but four images of the handsome and incredibly talented Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s hard to believe that his incredible, world renowned, award winning, million actor first started his career by appearing in TV commercials in the early 1990s, then landing recurring roles in various TV series such as Santa Barbara and Growing Pains. Since then, of course, his acting career skyrocketed but he isn’t just about fame. He is an ambassador for environmental awareness and has earned many awards for all of his efforts to protect the environment.
Everyone knows Lisa Bonet for her role as Denise Huxtable–Kendall on the NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. Since then, she has starred in a few films and TV shows but nothing of the same caliber as The Cosby Show. She is currently married to Jason Momoa with whom she has two children with, she also has a daughter from her first marriage with singer Lenny Kravitz.
Mark Harmon starred in many television shows and films before his incredible portrayal of Secret Service special agent Simon Donovan in the hit TV show The West Wing, he received a 2002 Emmy Award nomination for his acting in the four-episode story arc. Since then he has gone on to star in a couple episodes of JAG before his main lead character role in NCIS.
Michael J. Fox
Great Scott, it’s Marty McFly. Fox cemented himself as a respectable and well sought after actor in the 1970s, best known for such roles as Mike Flaherty on the sitcom Spin City, for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Other notable roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy; and Alex P. Keaton from NBC’s Family Ties, for which he won three Emmys and a Golden Globe. He has of course starred in many other shows and films and in 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 29, he has been a constant activist since then.
At just age two Austin Powers, err, uhh, Mike Meyers started performing in commercials. Then he started his run as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live from 1989 to 1995, and for playing the awesome roles in Wayne’s World, Austin Powers, and Shrek.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris has always been a cutie pie, an actor, producer, singer, comedian, magician, and television host. That’s a pretty long list of skills and we don’t care, cause the guy is pure class. He will always be Doogie Howser, M.D. from 1989–93, and for his genius role as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, from 2005–14, for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards. He has hosted the Tony Awards on Broadway, the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards. He is married to the incredible David Burtka, with whom he has two wonderful kids.
Philip Michael Thomas
Thomas’s most famous role was that of detective Ricardo Tubbs on the hit 1980s TV series Miami Vice. After the show, he did numerous made-for-TV movies and advertisements for telephone psychic services. Thomas has never even undergone cosmetic surgery so how he keeps his face looking youthful is beyond us.
At just the age of 16, Barbi Benton started modeling and by the time she turned 18, she signed contract with Playboy to appear on their entertainment show Playboy After Dark. Back then her role was as co-host and beautiful companion to the show’s director of entertainment, Hugh Hefner. Not long after, the two started dating and that really launched her starlight status.
Before he was 007, Brosnan started his stage acting career early on and then rose to popularity in the TV series Remington Steele. Following 007, he has started in many thrillers, musicals, dramas, comedies, you know, just about everything.
Robert Downey Jr.
In his youth, Robert’s career received critical and popular success in his youth (he started acting at just 5 years old), followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, he then came back with commercial success (like with Sherlock and the Avergers) in his middle age. From 2012 to 2015, Downey topped the Forbes list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors.
Before his ludicrous success in North America with the film Gladiator, Croww enjoyed moderate success in New Zealand and Australia. But it was his portrayal of Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius that earned him Academy Award for Best Actor, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, an Empire Award for Best Actor and a London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and 10 further nominations for best actor. AFter that, his fame skyrocketed and he has yet to let us down.
In the late 90s, everyone knew Elisabeth Shue. She starred in iconic films like The Karate Kid, Cocktail, Back to the Future, and Leaving Las Vegas to name a few. In her career, she has won a few awards and has starred in some of, well my favorite films. She also starred as Julie Finlay in the police drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation from 2012 to 2015.
Long is well known known for her role as Diane Chambers on the sitcom Cheers, for which she received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also won two Golden Globe Awards for the role. She reprises her role as Diane Chambers in four episodes of the spinoff Frasier, for which she received an additional guest star Emmy nomination. From the years 2009 to 2012, she had a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the series Modern Family.
Ahh, Tom Selleck and your perfectly groomed stache is best known for his starring role as Thomas Magnum in the television series Magnum, P.I.. Since 2010, he has been a main cast member as NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan in the drama Blue Bloods. After Magnum, P.I., he went on to star in more than 50 film and television roles, including Friends.
Tommy Lee Jones
Before Tommy Lee Jones became Tommy Lee Jones, he was a student at Harvard University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1969. Upon completion of his degree, he moved to New York and starred on Broadway. After Broadway, he enjoyed increased success in films like Coal Miner’s Daughter and The Executioner’s Song before his blockbuster film The Fugitive. The rest is history.