The 1980s brought us many television and film favorites. The decade also introduced us to plenty of dream-worthy actors and actresses whose faces were plastered across tabloids and posters in teenagers’ bedrooms. Many of these famed actors went on to have long careers in the industry, while some chose different paths away from the spotlight.
From Tom Cruise’s famous tighty-whities scene in Risky Business to the guys and girls of the infamous “Brat Pack,” there are so many questions about what the stars of the 80s have done with their lives since we last saw them. The good news is that we have some answers.
Winona Ryder Is Now Known As Joyce Byers
Although we now know her as the paranoid mom, Joyce Byers, who talks to Christmas lights after her son vanishes in the science-fiction series, Stranger Things, Winona Ryder will always be the creepy goth girl from the 1988 film Beetlejuice. Ryder took up a love for acting at a young age, rising up the ranks of Hollywood in films such as Heathers, Girl, Interrupted, and Edward Scissorhands.
In recent years, Ryder has been cast on the small screen but made her way back to film in 2018 when she starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the romantic comedy, Destination Wedding.
Lisa Bonet Married Aquaman
Lisa Bonet became a household name as the second-oldest Huxtable kid, Denise, on the hit 1980s Cosby Show. She later starred in a spin-off show, A Different World, which follows Denise as she ventures through the world of college. It only ran for about a year and then Bonet went back to The Cosby Show.
In 1995, Bonet legally changed her name to Lilakoi Moon, still going by Lisa Bonet professionally. She is now married to Game of Thrones and Aquaman star, Jason Momoa. Together, they have two children, with Bonet having a third from her previous husband, American rock singer Lenny Kravitz.
Drew Barrymore Now Has A Cosmetic And Clothing Line
Drew Barrymore is one of those actors that found herself in the entertainment industry at a very young age. She achieved quick fame with her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA nomination.
Since her childhood success, Barrymore has been in numerous films and television shows. The most recent being the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet, of which was canceled in 2019. Aside from acting, Drew has thrown herself into a few different business ventures, launching a cosmetic line, various wines, and a clothing line.
Jenilee Harrison Has Been Married For 20 Years
Before going into show business, Jenilee Harrison was a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Rams. Her big break was playing the replacement roommate, Cindy Snow, on the hit sitcom Three’s Company after Suzanne Somers decided to leave. Her character was portrayed as a clumsy farm girl that was completely opposite of Somer’s ditzy blonde character, Chrissy.
Although Harrison isn’t really in the entertainment industry anymore, she still does a few infomercials here and there, like the AB Flex and the Ultimate Chopper with Chef Tony. Harrison has been happily married to Los Angeles-area chiropractor, Dr. Bruce Oppenheim, for 20 years.
Lisa Whelchel Is No Longer A Mouseketeer
Lisa Whelchel is best known as one of the Mouseketeers on the wildly popular show The Mickey Mouse Club. She is also known for her role as the preppy and wealthy nine-year-old Blair Warner on the 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life. In 1984, Whelchel was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance for her contemporary Christian album, All Because of You.
She has since been a regular speaker with Women of Faith Christian conferences. Whelchel also went on to participate in Survivor: Philippines, a show in which she tied for second place. Although, she was voted the fan favorite and still won $100,000.
Kirk Cameron Has Six Children
You probably remember Kirk Cameron as Mike Seaver on the popular ABC sitcom Growing Pains, a role for which he landed two Golden Globe Awards nominations. As a young actor, Cameron went on to make several more television and movie appearances, such as Like Father Like Son, and Fireproof. He did very well for himself back in the 80s!
Today, Cameron is a devote Evangelist Christian, partnering with Ray Comfort, and the co-founder of The Firefly Foundation with his wife and Growing Pains co-star, Chelsea Noble. The two have six children together, four of whom are adopted.
Mel Gibson Is An Academy Award-Winning Director
Back in the 80s, Mel Gibson was a box office superstar. He is best known for his roles as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max and as Martin Riggs in the cop film Lethal Weapon. The latter of which went on to become a successful series. Let’s be honest though, when it comes to Gibson movies, his war films are the first to come to mind, such as Braveheart and The Patriot.
After going to ground for a bit, Gibson made his Hollywood comeback in 2011 in Jodie Foster’s movie The Beaver. He then made his directorial comeback in 2016 with the Academy Award-winning film Hacksaw Ridge.
Demi Moore Is A Doll Collector
Demi Moore made her entertainment industry debut in 1981 on the soap opera General Hospital. The show quickly gave her recognition as a member of the “Brat Pack,” landing her roles in films such as Blame it on Rio, St. Elmo’s Fire, and About Last Night… She then went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for her leading role in the film Ghost. You know, that move with the weird pottery wheel scene?
According to The New York Times, Moore is “the world’s most high-profile doll collector.” Yes, you read that correctly, she’s a doll collector. At one point she even kept a secret house for her 2,000 dolls.
Bill Murray Is Going Ghost Hunting In 2020
Bill Murray has been in the entertainment industry for more than 40 years. During that time, he’s given us comedic gold in the films he stars in, such as Caddyshack and Ghostbusters. You know you did well when the cheesy 80s theme song from one of your movies is played each year during Halloween.
Murray is still active on the big screen, winning his second Primetime Emmy Award in 2014 for the miniseries Olive Kitteridge. He was also honored in 2016 with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. If you can believe it, we’re going to see the actor in the upcoming movie, Ghostbusters 2020.
David Lee Roth Announced A Nine-Day Residency In Vegas
Best known as the original lead singer of the rock band Van Halen, David Lee Roth had everything going for him in the 80s. Due to creative differences with Eddie Van Halen, Roth left the band in 1985, pursuing a solo gig instead. He had a successful career, releasing RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum albums, but decided to return to the band in 2006.
In 2019, Roth announced a nine-day solo residency at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino House of Blues in 2020. The announcement stated that the audience should expect all of the greatest hits, but makes no mention of the band. Be sure to get your tickets soon!
Barbara Eden Released A Memoir About Her Life In Hollywood
American film, stage, and television actress, Barbara Eden, is best known for her starring role of Jeannie in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Her character was a genie that is set free by astronaut and United States Air Force Captain, Anthony “Tony” Nelson. She played this role for five years for a total of 139 episodes.
In recent years, Eden has appeared at the opening ceremony of the 21st Life Ball in Vienna and was cast in the movie One Song. In 2011, Eden released a memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle, chronicling her life in Hollywood for more than 50 years.
Philip Michael Thomas Produced Music For A Fitness Tape
Philip Michael Thomas is a retired actor and musician who is best known for his role as detective Ricardo Tubbs on the hit 1980s television series Miami Vice. After his success with the series, Thomas appeared in numerous made-for-TV movies, as well as advertisements for telephone psychic services, and voicing the character of Lance Vance in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
Now, Thomas stays out of the spotlight, preferring a quiet life behind the scenes. In 2001 and 2006, he produced the music for Jamaican fitness instructor Sandi Morais’ exercise videos.
Judge Reinhold Is The “Close Talker” From Seinfeld
Edward Ernest Reinhold Jr., aka Judge, is an American actor who starred in many Hollywood movies during the 80s, such as Ruthless People, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Gremlins. Reinhold’s first major role was as Brad Hamilton in Fast Times, he’s even said, “I thought my career would really take off after that role.” And it did, kind of.
He was nominated for an Emmy for his role as the “close talker” on Seinfeld, the guy who develops an obsession with Jerry’s parents. Reinhold also plays the reoccurring character of Dr. Deal Miller in the holiday movie series The Santa Clause.
Keanu Reeves Made It Clear He’s An Action Star
Although Keanu Reeves is know known for his role as John Wick in the John Wick franchise, we will always remember him as the goofy kid from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Thankfully, we will see the reprisal of the goofy characters in the upcoming film Bill & Ted Face the Music! What started as a comedic acting career, quickly transformed into Reeves taking on more action roles, including Point Break, and, of course, the science fiction series The Matrix.
When he’s not acting, Reeves likes to express his artistic side in other ways, including stage acting, music performing, playing the bass guitar, and directing.
Harrison Ford Will Always Be Han And Dr. Jones
Harrison Ford really could have left the entertainment industry after his roles as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones series. Alas, he decided to stay in the world of Hollywood, landing numerous lead and supporting roles throughout his career.
Ford is still acting today, reprising his more famous roles in sequel films, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ford even said that he would like to star in another sequel for the franchise, “…if it didn’t take another 20 years to digest.”
Jami Gertz Is Co-Owner Of An NBA Team
Jami Gertz became a household name during the 80s. She starred in motion pictures, such as Crossroads, The Lost Boys, Less Than Zero, and Quicksilver. Her television debut was on the television series Square Pegs, where she acted alongside Jessica Sarah Parker. Most recently, Gertz starred in the ABC sitcom The Neighbors, where she played the mother of a family that moves to a neighborhood populated by aliens.
Gertz married Anthony Ressler in 1989 and they have been together ever since. The two are owners of the NBA team the Atlanta Hawks and are part of the investment group that owns the MLB Milwaukee Brewers franchise.
Tom Cruise Has Moved On From Risky Business
Tom Cruise is one of the best-paid actors in the world, his films grossing over $4 billion in North America and over $10.1 billion worldwide. Cruise’s career began with his 1980s breakout roles in Risky Business and Top Gun. But his critical acclaim didn’t come until his dramatic roles in The Color of Money, Rain Man, and Born on the Fourth of July.
Today, Cruise is still acting. One of his major roles being the fifth installment of his Ethan Hunt character in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The film had more positive critic reviews then the other films in the franchise and is his biggest commercial success to date.
Patrick Dempsey Went From Nerd To McDreamy
Before he was Dr. Derek McDreamy Shepherd, Patrick Dempsey was that nerd who paid a cheerleader to be his girlfriend in Can’t Buy Me Love. Dempsey found early success in the industry, starring in multiple films throughout his career, including Loverboy. He later gained a strong following of admirers for his roles in rom-coms. Sweet Home Alabama, anyone?
Nowadays, he enjoys auto racing in his spare time. It makes sense, considering Dempsey maintains a huge sports and vintage car collection. He has competed in pro-am events such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race, and Ensenada SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race.
Kristie Alley Is All About Reality TV
Kristie Alley came into the Hollywood spotlight in 1982 for her role as Saavik in the science fiction film Star Trek III: The Wrath of Khan. She also received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for her role as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers. Alley went on to appear in many films throughout the 80s and 90s, later landing a role in the second season of the Fox comedy horror series Scream Queens.
Today, Alley isn’t slated to star or appear in any film and television show. Although she does seem to have a good run on some reality shows. Maybe we’ll see her on another.
Traci Lords Is Still Acting
Actress Traci Lords made her film debut as Nadine Story in Not of This Earth in 1988 and was cast in Cry-Baby shortly after. Outside of acting, Lords modeled for ads, walked the runway and appeared in a GUESS commercial alongside Juliette Lewis.
Today Lords has her own clothing collection and continues to act in both TV and film. Her most recent film, Nicole her Ex & the Killer has yet to hit theaters.
Jennifer Jason Leigh Hopped On The Netflix Train
Although Jennifer Jason Leigh started her career in the 70s, her rise to fame didn’t happen until the 80s film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. From there, she continued to have an active acting career in the industry, gaining recognition for her roles on screen, like the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
More recently, Leigh was nominated for both a Gloden Globe and Academy Award for her role in the film The Hateful Eight, where she played fugitive prisoner, Daisy Domergue. Then, in 2018, she was part of the miniseries Patrick Melrose and the Netflix show Atypical.
Judd Nelson Has Been Busy Writing
Everyone throw a fist in the air for Judd Nelson, the man that became a superstar overnight for his role as bad boy John Bender in The Breakfast Club. Nelson’s affiliation with the Brat Pack ended up landing him roles in films such as St. Elmo’s Fire. He then went on to do some voice acting for The Transformer: The Movie and narration for the critically acclaimed war documentary Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam.
Recently, Nelson has been focusing more on writing. In 2013, he released four books on Kindle: The Power of Speech, Nine of Diamonds, The Gig, and Water Music.
Kelly McGillis Is Bringing Her Craft to The Classroom
Kelly McGillis had three back-to-back movies where she starred opposite some big named actors and actresses. In 1985, she landed the role of Rachel Lapp in Witness, opposite Harrison Ford, in which she received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. 1986 brought her character Charlie in Top Gun with Tom Cruise, and then in 1988, McGillis plays the character of Kathryn Murphy in The Accused with Jodi Foster.
McGillis now lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, teaching acting at The New York Studio for Stage and Screen NYS3 in the nearby town of Asheville. Currently, she is not looking for any acting gigs of her own.
Samantha Fox Participated In Celebrity Big Brother 18
Starting off as a “Page 3 Girl” in the popular British tabloid newspaper The Sun, Samantha Fox made her way to becoming a popular glamour model in the 1980s and 1990s. She became one of the most popular pin-up girls of her era and was one of the most photographed British women of the 1980s. She launched her music career in 1986 with her hit single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)” which hit number-one in 17 countries.
Fox appeared in a few television shows throughout the years, most recently being a participant in Celebrity Big Brother 18, where she just missed the final, finishing seventh.
Michelle Pfeiffer Is Now Part Of The MCU
Starting out as a California Beauty queen didn’t help Michelle Pfeiffer with her typecast roles as the pretty blonde love interest. The good news is that because of the typecast, Pfeiffer actively pursued more serious roles, landing her breakout role as gangster moll Elvira Hancock in the crime film Scarface.
From there, Pfeiffer landed lead roles left and right, receiving two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Supporting Actress and one for Best Actress, for her roles in Dangerous Liaisons and The Fabulous Baker Boys. Pfeiffer is still acting today, making her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Jan Van Dyne in Antman and the Wasp.
Bruce Willis Kept Up With The Action Movies
Surprisingly, Bruce Willis started his acting career on the Off-Broadway stage in the 1970s. His big break was landing the lead role on the hit television show Moonlighting. Since, he has appeared in over 70 films and is wildly regarded as an “action hero,” largely due to his portrayal of John McClane in the Die Hard franchise.
Willis has received many awards throughout his career, including a Golden Globe, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and two People’s Choice Awards. His most recent project centered around the character David Dunn and the Unbreakable film series, which consists of the titles Unbreakable, Split, and Glass.
Fred Savage Now Hosts His Own Show
Best known for his role of Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years, Fred Savage is the youngest actor to ever receive nominations for two Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He was 13-years-old at the time. When the show ended in 1993, Savage landed a series of guest and supporting roles, such as his spot on Boy Meets World, a show which starred his younger brother, Ben.
Now, Savage hosts his own show, What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage, a parody series that is presented as the after show for a fictional drama series, The Flare.
Elizabeth McGovern Made Her Way To Downton Abbey
Elizabeth McGovern received an Academy Award nomination early in her career for her role as Evelyn Nesbit in the 1981 film Ragtime. From there, her career swiftly grew. Although she is not big in film, McGovern is a force in the world of television. She is best known for her performance as Cora Crawley, Governess of Grantham in the British drama series Downton Abbey.
The role of the Governess landed her Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations. The character has been off-screen since 2015 but the good news is that we will be seeing McGovern’s Cora Crawley once more in the 2019 film Downton Abbey.
Eddie Murphy Is Still A Comedic Genius
In the 80s, Saturday Night Live made Eddie Murphy a regular cast member, a gig that probably helped him gain the number-ten standing of Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. From there, Murphy starred in multiple blockbuster films, such as Dr. Dolittle, Shrek, and Mulan.
Murphy has received numerous nominations for his work, too, including Golden Globe nominations for 48 Hrs, the series Beverly Hill Cop, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2015, he was the sixth highest-grossing actor in the US and was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Matthew Broderick Is Now In A Netflix Original
Although he is probably best known for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of the title character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Matthew Broderick was a very busy actor in the 80s and 90s. He went on to voice adult Simba in the animated movie The Lion King, and also played the robot-man detective, John Brown, in Inspector Gadget.
Brodrick has since had a star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has earned an induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame. He is currently starring as Michael Burr in the Netflix apocalyptic comedy series Daybreak. And for those who are curious, he is still happily married to Sarah Jessica Parker.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Had Quite A Diverse Career
There is no doubt that Arnold Schwarzenegger has led an incredibly successful, and yet, very diverse life. He began his career as a bodybuilder at 15 and by the age of 20, he won Mr. Universe, going on to win Mr. Olympia seven times. He is considered to be one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action star in the 1980s, first with Conan the Barbarian in 1982 and then Jamer Cameron’s science-fiction thriller, The Terminator. In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger took a break from acting in favor of politics. He served as the governor of California from 2003 until 2011.