The 1980s were truly an iconic decade that featured everything from notorious fashion faux pas and fantastic teen movies to the birth of music videos. Many of the most beloved stars in pop culture history rose to fame during the 1980s…here’s what those stars look like today.
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Although Jennifer started her career in a teen comedy, she moved on quickly to films such as The Hitcher and Flesh + Blood. She most recently appeared in the continuation of a classic TV drama, Twin Peaks.
Brooke burst on the scene in The Blue Lagoon and eventually got a degree from Princeton University. She still has her trademark charm today!
Connelly was featured on movie screens in Once Upon a Time in America and Labyrinth. She’s still very beautiful and works as an actress while fighting for human rights advocacy.
Linda Hamilton was ahead of her time, as she was a no-nonsense action star in the Terminator series when most female characters still required rescuing from men. Hamilton is still an active performer, although she has enjoyed her role as a mother more than anything.
Glenn scared many a man with her performance in Fatal Attraction, and has gone on to put together quite an acting career. She even played a very prominent role in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
The original perfect 10 was never known for her acting skill, but was one of the leading ladies of the 80s regardless of her talent level. Bo is content to stay on the sidelines of the entertainment business these days, but is still recognizable as the 80s bombshell everyone fawned over.
Karen Allen first made her mark in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, playing a role that she reprised more recently in the series’ fourth installment. She also appeared in the more recent blockbuster The Perfect Storm.
Singer was the lucky lady cast opposite Kevin Bacon in the 1984 smash Footloose. To top it off, she also appeared in the show Fame. These days, Singer has moved into the producer rule, winning a Peabody Award for Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.
The gorgeous Alyssa Milano started off in acting as a teen on Who’s the Boss? before moving on to Charmed. She has also appeared in Mistresses and a variety of other acting roles.
Ally Sheedy was a big part of what made The Breakfast Club a true 1980s classic. Since then, she has more recently appeared in the popular TV series Psych.
DeMornay seduced a generation with her performance in Risky Business. She also gave a chilling performance in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Recently, she has appeared in Periphery and the TV series Lucifer.
Debbie Gibson was synonymous with the 80s for some time, writing, producing, and performing her own chart-topping song. She stayed active in music for decades after, although without the success that she had while playing malls in the 80s.
Soleil Moon Frye
Punky Brewster herself was one of the most famous child actors of the entire decade. Later on, she appeared on The Wonder Years, Friends, and other shows before marrying producer Jason Goldberg.
You just can’t have the 80s without Ms. Ringwald. Molly was in three of the most important films of the decade: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. She never stopped acting and continues to sport her signature short hair in films such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
A truly talented actress, Jennifer Beals broke out in the starring role of Flashdance. She kept acting in the years to come, most notably appearing in The L Word in recent years. Now, she focuses on family and other pursuits.
Diane Wiest was known in the 80s for genre classics such as Footloose and The Lost Boys, but she showed her true range in other films. Not only was she a talented stage actress, but she has won two Academy Awards, as well!
McGovern starred in Ragtime in 1981, earning an Oscar nomination for her performance. However, she has not faded out of the spotlight in the ensuing decades, even landing a role in Downtown Abbey in recent years.
Sci-fi’s queen of the screen in the early 80s was definitely Sean Young, who starred in the classics Blade Runner and Dune. Since then, she has broadened her horizons and acted in a wide variety of projects over the years.
1980s film fans will quickly recognize this starlet from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The actress still performs today and is married to Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson.
“Look at those girls with Daisy Dukes on!” Catherine pioneered the ultra-short shorts in her role on The Dukes of Hazzard. She has since been seen on the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
Lauper had several big pop songs in the early 1980s and also was one of the first bona fide music video stars of the decade, too. She even parlayed her stardom into wrestling matches and a Tony Award for writing Kinky Boots, a Broadway musical.
LeBrock briefly gave Kim Basinger a run for her money as the top sex symbol of the screen in the 80s. She appeared in Weird Science and The Woman in Red. She made a much worse decision, however, when she married Steven Seagal, and she doesn’t act anymore today.
After debuting in Tuff Turf, Spader broke out in the film Pretty in Pink before moving on to films like Mannequin and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Spader is still a big star, appearing in the hit show Blacklist and in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Kelly is best known for her performance in Top Gun, after which she appeared in The Accused. Retired from acting these days, Kelly is a teacher and addiction counselor now.
Ruck is known by many as Ferris Bueller’s best friend, but he also made waves by appearing in Bad Boys with Sean Penn. More recently, the affable star appeared in War Machine.
Jami started off in the TV show Square Pegs, but quickly improved her stature in roles with actors including Robert Downey Jr. Later on, Jami starred in Ally McBeal and The Neighbors.
Baio was known by an entire generation as Chachi from Happy Days. After that show ended, however, he moved right on to Charles in Charge, which stayed on the air for years. Baio is still very much in the business, having been featured in See Dad Run.
1980s film fans will remember Patric as the main character from The Lost Boys, but he also played roles in Solarbabies and The Beast. Over the 90s, he was seen in Rush and Speed 2, while he’s recently been seen in Wayward Pines.
Jon wasn’t crying in the 80s, when his star rose thanks to appearances in films such as No Small Affair and the classic Pretty in Pink. He also appeared in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace near the end of the decade. He was most recently seen in Two and a Half Men.
Nelson will always have a special place in movie lovers’ hearts as the rebel character in The Breakfast Club. He also appeared in St. Elmo’s Fire and more recently has appeared in Two and a Half Men and Psych while becoming a self-published author.
Kirk, of course, had a memorable seven-year run as an unforgettable prankster in Growing Pains. After that, he took an extended break from acting before performing exclusively in Christian straight-to-video films after being born again.
Madonna not only found millions of fans with her catchy 80s pop songs, but also starred in music videos and movies throughout the decade. Today, she continues to be an icon, still releasing albums and going on tour regularly.
Danza was a small-time boxer before finding a role in Taxi. After that, he really struck paydirt in Who’s the Boss? Now in his senior years, Danza still appears in roles from time to time, such as in the movies Aftermath and Don Jon.
Guttenberg is instantly recognizable from his part in the classic Police Academy, but also appeared in films such as Three Men and a Baby during the 80s. Guttenberg has kept busy with guest appearances in shows such as Party Down and Community, and he’s also been cast in Sharknado 4, of all things.
Kim was the reigning queen of sultry screen actresses in the 1980s, opening the decade with films such as 9 1/2 Weeks and closing it out with the megahit Batman. She still acts today, appearing in Nice Guys and the Fifty Shades of Gray sequel.
A high school dropout, Demi parlayed a role in St. Elmo’s Fire to superstardom. She has gone on to act in several blockbusters and now stars in smaller budget films such as Very Good Girls.
How many bigger franchises were there in the 80s than Back to the Future? In the first, Thompson played the younger version of Marty McFly’s mom. Since then, she has shifted to more of a television focus in her acting career.
Daryl Hannah is instantly recognizable as the famous mermaid from Splash, which she starred in with Tom Hanks. You couldn’t find a more opposite role than the one she played in Kill Bill Vol. 2, where she duked it out with Uma Thurman and lost an eye in the process.
Schroder was just 12 years old when he won the leading role on the hit ’80s TV sitcom Silver Spoons. In an interview with Oprah, the now most recently NYPD Blue alum 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!'”
After making her rising film debut in 1983’s Bad Boys, Sheedy then went on to successfully star in other hit movies such as WarGames, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Short Circuit and, also landed a role on television in the TV series Psych.
The actor rose to fame after he starred as the rebel John Bender in THE cult movie The Breakfast Club and Alec Newbury in St. Elmo’s Fire, certainly cementing his position in the Brat Pack clan. Nelson’s career carried on, and he later appeared in hit TV series such CSI, Psych and Two and a Half Men. The actor also has a hidden talent as a writer and has even released four books to Amazon’s Kindle.
Another strong Brat Pack fellow, Andrew McCarthy joined his costars in St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985 and Pretty In Pink in 1986. The actor then transitioned to more TV roles, starring in Lipstick Jungle and White Collar, among others, before most recently appearing in Royal Pains.
Charmed veteran Alyssa Milano is most well known for her role as Samantha Micelli on ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss? from 1984 to 1992. The actress then went on to star in the successful WB TV show Charmed and ABC’s drama Mistresses.
Phoebe Cates inspired many a young man with her iconic appearance in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She also appeared in the smash hit Gremlins. Cates stopped acting in 1994 and has opened a boutique while focusing on her family.
Patrick Swayze famously declared, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” in Dirty Dancing, but actress Jennifer Grey’s unusually low profile since the 1987 film left many fans wondering where she did go. It was a dramatic “nose job from hell” that meant that her star faded and her burgeoning career took a very different path. Jennifer famously had surgery in the early ’90s, an operation that left her unrecognizable and has been accused of affecting her career. “I went into the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous,” she told The Mirror in 2012. “It was the nose job from hell. I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes because of a nose job.”