The Biggest '80s Stars, Then and Now
The 1980s was a magical decade for movies and produced some of the world's biggest movie stars. But where are they now?
Some of them have continued to make blockbuster hits. Others stuck to smaller, low-budget films and bit parts. A few have stepped away from the limelight. And some of them look different, while others have aged well.
From the "Brat Pack" to "Batman," this is what the most recognizable stars from the 1980s look like now and what they have been doing with their career.
Then: Molly Ringwald
Born: Feb. 18, 1968
Hometown: Roseville, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink
Bottom Line: Molly Ringwald was a staple of John Hughes films. He found her while casting for "Sixteen Candles" in 1984. In fact, Hughes actually wrote the "Sixteen Candles" screenplay for Ringwald in mind, posting her headshot above his desk as he wrote the entire thing in "basically over a weekend," she said in a 2012 interview.
Ringwald went on to star in "The Breakfast Club," in 1985, solidifying her as a member of the "Brat Pack". In 1987, she starred alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the ho-hum movie "The Pick-up Artist."
Now: Molly Ringwald
Post-1980s career (notable films/TV shows, other work): The Stand (1994 TV series), The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Riverdale, French-to-English translator, jazz artist, writer
Bottom line: Following Molly Ringwald's success in the 1980s, she took parts in smaller movies, seemingly picking and choosing when and where she wanted to work. But she's certainly been busy.
She starred in all five seasons of the ABC series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," which ran from 2008 to 2013. In 2013, she released the jazz record "Except Sometimes," and, being fluent in French, translated the French novel "Lie With Me" into English. In 2015, she wrote an "Ask Molly Ringwald" advice section in The Guardian.
She currently can be seen on "Riverdale" as Archie Andrews' mother. She has taken a more prominent role following the death of Luke Perry, who played the father.
Then: Judd Nelson
Born: Nov. 28, 1959
Hometown: Portland, Maine
Notable films/TV shows: The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Billionaire Boys Club, Relentless
Bottom line: Judd Nelson was a teenage heartthrob in the 1980s and, like Ringwald, was also a core member of the Brat Pack. His breakout roles came back-to-back in 1985, when he starred as John Bender in "The Breakfast Club" and as Alec Newbury in Joel Schumacher's "St. Elmo's Fire."
Both movies showed off his range. He played the "criminal" character as Bender and a yuppie as Schumacher. By the end of the 1980s, he played a serial killer in "Relentless" and gave a Golden Globe-winning performance as Hunt in the "Billionaire Boys Club," a critically acclaimed TV miniseries.
Now: Judd Nelson
Post-1980s career: Airheads, The Dark Backward, New Jack City, Suddenly Susan, author and producer
Bottom line: Since the 1980s, Nelson has appeared in several dozen television shows and films. Perhaps his most notable role was in "Suddenly Susan" starring Brooke Shields, where Nelson played the show's newspaper's editor-in-chief.
He is also, apparently, a short story writer and has four very short (less than 15 pages) Kindle books and screenplays available for $2.99 each.
Nelson has been working in film every year since the 1980s, although not as much as he was during the Brat Pack era.
Then: Emilio Estevez
Born: May 12, 1962
Hometown: Bronx, New York City
Notable films/TV shows: Repo Man, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, The Outsiders, Maximum Overdrive
Bottom line: Emilio Estevez had a successful career right at the beginning.
He appeared in 1983's "The Outsiders," a would-be-classic that launched his career as well as many others. The cult movie "Repo Man" showed that Estevez wasn't afraid to take risky roles. His star status increased when Hughes and Schumacher picked him for "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire" but had a bit of a slip with "Maximum Overdrive and "That Was Then, This Is Now."
Estevez co-wrote the screenplay for "That Was Then, This Is Now," the movie adaptation of the book of the same name, which was written by S.E. Hinton (she also wrote "The Outsiders" novel). "Maximum Overdrive" was a lunatic film, written by a cocaine-fueled Stephen King, which was torn apart by critics but is fun as heck to watch today.
Now: Emilio Estevez
Post-1980s career: The Mighty Ducks, The War at Home, Another Stakeout, The Public
Bottom line: Estevez found his biggest success after the 1980s in Disney's "The Mighty Ducks" franchise with a starring role as coach Gordon Bombay. In total, there were three "Mighty Ducks" films, which collectively made over $119 million in worldwide box-office sales.
Estevez has appeared in numerous movies over the past four decades and has directed several movies, including 2010's "The Way" (which is being rereleased in 2023) and 2018's "The Public." He doesn't appear on talk shows or do many interviews, instead preferring to keep to himself and his family.
He lives near his parents, Martin and Janet Sheen, in Los Angeles and has a main home in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his mother is from.
Then: Matthew Broderick
Born: March 21, 1962
Hometown: Manhattan, New York City
Notable films/TV shows: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, WarGames, Ladyhawke
Bottom line: Matthew Broderick found mainstream success with "WarGames," a 1983 sci-fi film that made nearly $80 million on a $12 million budget. He followed that with "Ladyhawke" in 1985, a medieval fantasy movie by Richard Donner with Ruger Hauer and Michelle Mifcelle Pfeiffer that flopped at the box office.
But everyone knows Broderick from the sensational "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," another Hughes movie, which made $70 million at the box office on a $6.27 million budget. The 1986 movie catapulted Broderick to worldwide fame. Three years later, he released another hit film, "Glory," which showcased his dramatic range.
In 1987, Broderick caused a car crash in Northern Ireland, when he crossed into the wrong lane and crashed head-first with a car driven by a 28-year-old woman, Anna Gallagher, and her 63-year-old mother, Margaret Doherty. Both women were killed. He was with actress Jennifer Grey at the time, whom he had been dating.
Broderick was not found to be intoxicated and ultimately was fined $175 (about $400 today) on the charge of careless driving.
Now: Matthew Broderick
Post-1980s career: The Freshman, The Cable Guy, Godzilla, Election, Inspector Gadget, The Producers, The Bee Movie (voice), TV shows, stage productions
Bottom line: Broderick has worked in dozens of movies, television shows and Broadway plays since the 1980s. Notable roles include a starring role on the mega-successful Mel Brooks Broadway show "The Producers" in 2001 and its 2005 film. Prior to that, he was in the 1990 classic "The Freshman" with Marlon Brando.
In 2002, Broderick agreed to meet with Margaret's son, Martin Doherty, to make amends for the fatal car crash. However, Martin revealed in 2012 that the meeting never took place and blasted Broderick's role in a Honda commercial which aired during that year's Super Bowl.
Broderick is married to "Sex and the City" actress Sarah Jessica Parker since 1997— they have three children. They will bring their successful version of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" to London's West End in 2024.
Then: Jennifer Grey
Born: March 26, 1960
Hometown: Manhattan, New York City
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Red Dawn, Bloodhounds of Broadway
Bottom line: Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Jennifer Gray starred in two of the 1980's biggest movies, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Dirty Dancing," the latter of which would make her a recognizable face and earn her a Golden Globe nomination.
After the car crash with her then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick in Ireland — which occurred around the same time "Dirty Dancing" hit theaters — Grey's life changed, and she never really recovered.
"The juxtaposition of that deep sorrow, the survivor’s guilt, and then being celebrated as the new big thing just didn’t jibe," she said in 2010. "It didn’t feel good to be the toast of the town. My head was never the same, my ambition was ever the same."
Now: Jennifer Grey
Post-1980s career: It's Like, You Know…, Dancing With the Stars, Red Oaks
Bottom line: Grey spent the majority of the 1990s appearing in television shows and made-for-TV movies. During this decade, she underwent two rhinoplasty surgeries that changed her look and she believes hurt her career. Those nose jobs became a running joke on the TV show "It's Like, You Know…" an ABC sitcom that ran from 1999 to 2000 for two seasons in which Grey played herself.
In 2010, Grey was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" and put her "Dirty Dancing" tricks to good use and won that season's competition at the age of 50. Notably, she starred in "Red Oaks," an Amazon Prime Video original, which ran for three seasons from October 2015 until October 2017.
Grey has written a bio "Out of Her Corner" and will appear in the "Dirty Dancing" sequel (we can't wait!) She is married to Clark Gregg, best known for playing agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Then: Alan Ruck
Born: July 1, 1956
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Class, Three for the Road
Bottom line: Alan Ruck became famous for his co-starring role as the uptight and sarcastic best friend in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Ruck had a few other roles in the 1980s, appearing in the ensemble 1989 comedy film "Bloodhounds of Broadway" and co-starring in 1987's road trip comedy "Three for the Road."
Now: Alan Ruck
Post-1980s career: Young Guns II, Spin City, The Exorcist (2016 TV series), Dirty John
Bottom line: Ruck has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, mostly in supporting roles or bit parts, since the 1980s. His longest-running TV show is "Spin City," where he played the sexist chief of staff of a fictionalized New York City government for six seasons. He's also appeared in "Scrubs," "Stargate: Atlantis," "Bunheads," "NICS," "CSI," and many other shows.
In 2010, he starred alongside Geena Davis in the Fox TV show "The Exorcist," although he and Davis did not return for the second season. Both starring roles were recast, and the show was canceled after the second season ended.
Ruck's current project is one of his most successful. He plays Connor Roy in "Succession," a critically acclaimed HBO series that has picked up several accolades, including five Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Then: Geena Davis
Born: Jan. 21, 1956
Hometown: Warham, Massachusetts
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Tootise, Beetlejuice, The Accidental Tourist, The Fly, Earth Girls Are Easy
Bottom line: Geena Davis became famous in the late 1980s with the back-to-back hits of "Beetlejuice" and "The Accidental Tourist."
"Beetlejuice" was a worldwide sensation while "The Accidental Tourist" was a critical hit that was nominated for four Academy Awards, with Davis winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She married Jeff Goldblum in 1987, one year after "The Fly" hit theaters, but the two divorced in 1990.
Now: Geena Davis
Post-1980s career: Thelma and Louise, A League of Their Own, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Grey's Anatomy, The Geena Davis Show, GLOW
Bottom line: With 1991's "Thelma and Louise," and 1992's "A League of Their Own," Davis became one of Hollywood's most notable leading ladies. But her starring role in 1995's "Cutthroat Island" — which is still one of the biggest movie flops of all time — led to a downturn in her career.
Davis shifted to television work during the 2000s, notably with "The Geena Davis Show," which somewhat confusingly did not star Davis as herself (she played a socialite named Teddie Cochran). She played the first female president in the short-lived 2005 ABC show "Commander in Chief" that only ran for one season.
Outside of her acting work, Davis is an advocate for gender equality in the entertainment industry. She is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gender-balanced and non-stereotypical on-screen portrayal of females in movies and television shows aimed at children under 11 years old.
She also launched the Bentonville Film Festival Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at promoting underrepresented people in the entertainment industry. In 2019, she won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her nonprofit work. In 2022, she wrote her memoir “Dying of Politeness."
Then: Anthony Michael Hall
Born: April 18, 1968
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: National Lampoon's Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Saturday Night Live, Johnny Be Good
Bottom line: After starting his career in commercials, a 13-year-old Anthony Michael Hall nabbed a role in "National Lampoon's Vacation" as Rusty Griswold. The part caught the eye of filmmaker John Hughes, who thought Hall had "upstaged" Chevy Chase. Hughes placed Hall in "Sixteen Candles," and he became a Brat Pack member.
During the mid-1980s, Hall joined "Saturday Night Live" at 17 and is still the youngest cast member in the show's history (Eddie Murphy is the second youngest at 19).
Hall played several roles as the nerd in Hughes films, although in Hall's private life, he was quite a partier. He started drinking vodka at 13, and by the late 1980s was "drinking vodka by the quart every day," he told People.
Now: Anthony Michael Hall
Post-1980s career: Edwards Scissorhands, Six Degrees of Separation, Pirates of Silicon Valley, Freddy Got Fingered, The Dead Zone
Bottom line: After taking some time off in the late 1980s to address his drinking problem, Hall appeared in "Edwards Scissorhands" in 1990. He appeared in several movies and TV shows during the 1990s, including "Six Degrees of Separation" opposite Will Smith. His most successful TV show to date is "The Dead Zone," which he both starred in and produced.
In 2016, police arrested Hall for shoving a neighbor to the ground and injuring his wrist. He pled no contest, and the court sentenced him to 40 hours of community service and three years of informal probation.
Hall appeared as Tommy Doyle in "Halloween Kills," the sequel to the 2018 "Halloween" movie, which was a box-office success, as well as episodes of "The Goldbergs."
Then: Corey Feldman
Born: July 16, 1971
Hometown: Reseda, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Lost Boys, The Goonies, Stand By Me, Gremlins, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, The 'Burbs
Bottom line: Corey Feldman was one of the biggest child stars of the 1980s, but would also prove to be one of the most troubled.
He and Corey Haim starred in several movies of that decade and were nicknamed "The Two Coreys." Both battled addictions that developed during the 1980s, and both said they were sexually assaulted during their time as child stars.
Haim died in 2010 at the age of 38.
Now: Corey Feldman
Post-1980s career: Blown Away, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (as the voice of Donatello), Bordello of Blood 2, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, The Two Coreys
Bottom line: Feldman has publicly said that he was a victim of sexual abuse during the 1980s and released a documentary in March 2020 called "(My) Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys," in which he alleged, among other revelations, that Charlie Sheen sexually assaulted Corey Haim (those claims have been refuted by Sheen and Haim's mother).
Feldman's career went the way of direct-to-video movies and reality TV shows by the 2000s. He still appears in smaller films and has released several studio albums, although those albums have not been met with favorable reviews (to put it lightly). However, he's a must see on the road and he'll be playing Lollapalooza in August 2023.
Then: Judge Reinhold
Born: May 2, 1957
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Ruthless People, Beverly Hills Cop II
Bottom line: Judge Reinhold's career took off after playing the goofy detective trailing Eddie Murphy in "Beverly Hills Cop" in 1984. But Reinhold's career trajectory didn't last, as he failed to prove himself as a leading star.
Off camera, Reinhold developed a reputation for throwing tantrums directed at cast and crew members, his ego inflated due to the overwhelming success of "Beverly Hills Cop" I and II and "Ruthless People."
When he was given the leading role in the 1988 body-swapping comedy film "Vice Versa," the film completely bombed, causing Reinhold to leave Los Angeles and reflect on his career and actions at the age of 35.
Now: Judge Reinhold
Post-1980s career: "The Santa Clause" franchise, Beverly Hills Cop III, Beethoven's 3rd, Beethoven's 4th, Seinfeld
Bottom line: After his career downturn, Reinhold took "the best parts he [could] find" during the 1990s, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Since then he's appeared exclusively in supporting roles in films and television, notably on "Seinfeld," where he played a close talker and won an Emmy for it in 1994. He's being doing theater and will be in the upcoming Beverly Hills Cop movie, which will debut on Netflix.
Then: Christopher Lloyd
Born: Oct. 22, 1938
Hometown: New Canaan, Connecticut
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Clue, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Bottom line: Christopher Lloyd played the lovable Doc in the "Back to the Future" series and one of the most nightmare-inducing villains in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Lloyd may have cemented himself as one of the most recognizable stars in the world during the 1980s, but he made himself a familiar face with television audiences for his role as Reverend Jim Ignatowski in "Taxi," which ran from 1978 to 1983.
Now: Christopher Lloyd
Post-1980s career: The Addams Family, Dennis the Menace, Angels in the Outfield, Addams Family Values, The Pagemaster, Anastasia
Bottom line: Lloyd's mainstream success continued into the 1990s with "Back to the Future Part III."
He hit paydirt again with his scene-stealing role as Uncle Fester in the two "The Addams Family" films and continues to appear in a variety of movies.
Lloyd has been married five times, with the latest occurring in 2016 when he wed Lisa Loiacono. He's pretty active on Instagram, too.
Then: Kim Basinger
Born: Dec. 8, 1953
Hometown: Athens, Georgia
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Never Say Never Again, The Natural," "Batman" (1989), 9 ½ Weeks
Bottom line: Kim Basinger's breakout role as Bond girl Domino Petachi in 1983's "Never Say Never Again" cemented her as a Hollywood sex symbol for well over a decade. Well, that and her Playboy photoshoot, which was strategically released during the same time.
Basinger went on to play alongside Robert Redford in "The Natural" and did a handful of movies before scoring the role of Vicki Vale in 1989's mega-hit, "Batman."
But it wasn't easy for her. During her rise to fame, Bassinger suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia. She talked about it in 2001 in HBO's "America Undercover: Panic," sharing her fear of public places and having a severe panic attack during her 20s that caused her to stay at home for six months.
Now: Kim Basinger
Post-1980s career: Final Analysis, I Dreamed of Africa, 8 Mile, Cool World, L.A. Confidential, The 11th Hour, The Informers
Bottom line: In the 1990s, Bassinger made a string of movies that received poor reviews and/or terrible box-office performances.
She ran into financial issues during this decade, too. She, along with other investors, spent a total of $20 million to buy the town of Braselton, Georgia, with the intent to turn it into a major film studio and theme park with a functioning town.
That fell through, and the property was resold for only $4.3 million in 1995. She also was involved in a $3.8 million lawsuit for pulling out of the movie "Boxing Helena."
More recently, Bassinger has appeared in "The Nice Guys," and "Fifty Shades Darker," and generally isn't too active in the entertainment business. For the time being, she's sticking to only voice performances.
Then: Chevy Chase
Born: Oct. 8, 1943
Hometown: New York City
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, National Lampoon's European Vacation, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Fletch, Three Amigos, Spies Like Us
Bottom line: Chevy Chase was one of the, if not the, top comedic actors of the 1980s. He produced several classics, like the original three "Vacation" movies, "Fletch," and "Caddyshack" but also some stinkers, like "Fletch Lives" and "Spies Like Us."
In the 1990s, Chase's career went rapidly downhill, starting with "The Chevy Chase Show," which completely bombed. And he got a reputation for being difficult to work with less-and-less-bankable status after several consecutive flops at the box office.
Now: Chevy Chase
Post-1980s career: Community, Vacation, Hot Tub Time Machine
Bottom line: Chase appeared in supporting roles or small parts in movies throughout the 2000s and had the occasional appearance on network television shows. He found renewed success in 2009 with Dan Harmon's "Community."
However, he was quit-fired from "Community" near the end of the show's fourth season. Harmon and Chase didn't get along (to put it mildly), and Chase used a racial slur on set at least one time and reportedly made racist jokes to co-star Donald Glover.
Chase doesn't really work anymore.
Then: Dan Aykroyd
Born: July 1, 1952
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Ghostbusters, Spies Like Us, Dragnet, The Great Outdoors, Ghostbusters II
Bottom line: Dan Aykroyd gained recognition in the mid-to-late 1970s on "Saturday Night Live," which paved the way for his enormous success in the 1980s, starting with "The Blues Brothers" in 1981. The classic comedy with him and John Belushi donning iconic sunglasses made $155 million worldwide on a $27 million budget.
But that was nothing compared to "Ghostbusters" I and II, which together made over $510 million worldwide.
Aykroyd also was engaged to Carrie Fisher in the 1980s and later married actress Donna Dixon, to whom he is still married.
Now: Dan Aykroyd
Post-1980s career: Coneheads, Blues Brothers 2000, Chaplin, Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal
Bottom line: Aykroyd has steadily been making appearances in television shows and movies since the height of his fame.
In 1996, he hosted the show "Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal," a science fiction show that aired in Canada. But Aykroyd's belief in the paranormal is very real. He comes from a family of spiritualists and has frequently spoken about ghosts and the paranormal in media interviews.
He's also a very good businessman, having co-founded Crystal Head Vodka, which began with a startup capital of $600,000 and surpassed $55 million in sales three years after its creation in 2008.
He recently appeared in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and is currently filming its sequel, to be released in December 2023.
Then: Lea Thompson
Born: May 31, 1961
Hometown: Rochester, Minnesota
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, All the Right Moves, Red Dawn, Howard the Duck, Some Kind of Wonderful
Bottom line: Lea Thompson had little to no acting experience before she received a role in 1984's "Red Dawn" — which she took because the original script had a love scene between her and Powers Boothe, but that scene was cut from the theatrical release.
Thompson went on to find fame as the 1950's version of Marty McFly's mother in "Back to the Future" in 1985, securing her a role in the entire trilogy. In 1986, she had a leading role in "Howard the Duck," a massive flop.
But she closed out the 1980s on a high note with "Back to the Future Part II" and followed that up in 1990 with the franchise's third installment.
Now: Lea Thompson
Post-1980s career: Dennis the Menace, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Little Rascals, Caroline in the City, Jane Doe, Switched at Birth
Bottom line: Thompson appeared in a series of hit movies in the early 1990s and also made some made-for-TV films before fully transitioning into a television star as the main character in "Caroline in the City," which ran for four years.
Since then, Thompson has appeared in many television shows. She was the main star in the nine "Jane Doe" made-for-TV Hallmark movies in the mid-2000s, and from 2011 until 2017 she played Kathryn Kennish on the critically acclaimed ABC Family show "Switched at Birth."
Thompson also wants to do another "Howard the Duck" movie. In 2018, she said she was ready to pitch Marvel a whole new "Howard the Duck" remake. She'll star in "The Spencer Sisters" for the CW in fall 2023.
Then: Chuck Norris
Born: March 10, 1940
Hometown: Ryan, Oklahoma
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Lone Wolf McQuade, Missing in Action, The Delta Force, Firewalker, Invasion USA, The Octagon, An Eye for An Eye
Bottom line: The man, the myth, the maker of ridiculously stupid action movies, Chuck Norris, became one of the world's most recognizable stars during the 1980s. Sure, he was sort of the B-movie version of Jean Claude Van Damme and Charles Bronson, but he could perform a flying kick and unrealistically wield miniguns with the best of them.
"A Force of One," released in 1979, kicked off his film career. Norris followed up with a series of films, like 1983's "Lone Wolf McQuaid," which made $12 million on a $5 million budget, and 1984's "Missing in Action," which blasted its way to make nearly $23 million on a $2.55 million budget.
Now: Chuck Norris
Post-1980s career: Sidekicks; Walker, Texas Ranger; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; The Expendables 2
Bottom line: Norris' post-1980s career is remembered mostly for "Walker, Texas Ranger," a wonderfully cheesy CBS show about martial arts and morals.
The show ran for 200 episodes and would be used in "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," where Conan O'Brien had a "Walker, Texas Ranger" lever, which, when pulled, would show scenes like this.
Outside of film and television, Norris is a devout Christian and rather prolific writer. He has written nine books, mainly about his life, morality, martial arts, his faith and politics. He's semi-retired from acting — today, he and his wife run a water company called CForce from their Texas ranch.
Then: Brooke Shields
Born: May 31, 1965
Hometown: New York, New York
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Blue Lagoon, Endless Love, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Sahara
Bottom line: Brooke Shields was 12 years old in 1978 when she attained fame for "Pretty Baby," playing a child prostitute. Just a couple of short years later, she appeared on the cover of Vogue at 14, caked in makeup.
That same year, she made a shocking commercial for Calvin Klein, where she wore skintight jeans and said, "You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." She was 15 years old, but that was part of the Calvin Klein strategy of stirring controversy. Still gross, though.
Also at 14, she made the movie "Blue Lagoon," which is still her most famous film. While the movie featured frequent nudity, a body double for Shields was used. There were Brooke Shields dolls, and her name plastered on hair dryers.
She was the most famous teenager of the decade, but she famously stepped away from the limelight to attend Princeton University, attaining a bachelor's degree in French literature.
Now: Brooke Shields
Post-1980s career: Suddenly Susan, Bob the Butler, The Midnight Meat Train, Lipstick Jungle, Jane the Virgin, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Bottom line: After returning from college and resuming her career, Shields mainly appeared in smaller or direct-to-video movies, as well as several Broadway plays.
On television, she was featured mostly in guest-star roles until she landed "Suddenly Susan" in 1996. "Suddenly Susan" ran for 93 episodes and won Shields two Golden Globe nominations. She was the the voice of Beverly Goodman on the Adult Swim cartoon "Mr. Pickles" until 2019.
In 2023, "Pretty Baby," a two-part documentary on her life, debuted on Hulu.
Then: Bill Murray
Born: Sept. 21, 1969
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Where the Buffalo Roam, Caddyshack, Stripes, Tootsie, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Scrooged, The Razor's Edge
Bottom line: Bill Murray was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s, capitalizing off his cast member role on "Saturday Night Live" from 1977 until 1980.
He brought his deadpan style of comedy to the hit film "Caddyshack" and then followed it up with a leading role in "Stripes" in 1981. Then, of course, there were the "Ghostbusters" movies, which were insanely popular.
He really only made one stinker in the 1980s, which was "The Razor's Edge," a drama based on Somerset Maugham's book of the same name. Murray co-wrote the movie that flopped at the box office.
Now: Bill Murray
Post-1980s career: Groundhog Day, What About Bob? Kingpin, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Dead Don't Die
Bottom line: Since the 1980s, Murray has become one of the world's most beloved actors and is seemingly able to take whatever role he wants, when he feels like it.
If directors want to contact him for a role, they need to dial a 1-800 number that he created to keep agents from constantly ringing him.
He'll randomly show up at parties and do the dishes, or pop up to steal French fries. Currently, he's rumored to be dating Kelis, singer of the classic early 2000's hit, "Milkshake." He's a living legend.
Then: Karen Allen
Born: Oct. 5, 1951
Hometown: Carrollton, Illinois
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman, Scrooged, Cruising, The Glass Menagerie
Bottom line: Karen Allen landed a career-altering role starring in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" alongside Harrison Ford.
A classically trained actress, Allen appeared on Broadway plays during the 1980s, while also picking up several major roles in "The Glass Menagerie" and "Scrooged."
Now: Karen Allen
Post-1980s career: Secret Weapon, Malcom X, Ghost in the Machine, The Perfect Storm, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Bottom line: Allen had a son, Nicholas, in 1990. Because of that, she only took certain roles that were available to her at the time because she didn't want to constantly uproot her son or pull him out of school.
She mainly played in smaller movies and supporting roles throughout the majority of her career, but made a brief co-starring comeback for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
Allen runs a shop, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The store sells knitted clothing, both from Allen's knitwear line and other designers.
She's also reprising her role as Marion Ravenwood in "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny."
Then: Ally Sheedy
Born: June 13, 1962
Hometown: New York City
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Bad Boys, The Breakfast Club, WarGames, St. Elmo's Fire, Short Circuit
Bottom line: Ally Sheedy was 19 years old when she received her first role in the 1983 movie "Bad Boys" with Sean Penn and Alan Ruck. She also co-starred alongside Matthew Broderick in "WarGames," which caught the eye of director John Hughes, who cast her as the basket case in "The Breakfast Club" and Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (both movies were filmed in Maine North High School in Des Plaines, Illinois).
Sheedy also starred in "St. Elmo's Fire" and "Twice in a Lifetime" in 1985, and then starred in "Short Circuit" in 1985, which was an enormous success.
It wasn't an entirely great decade, though. She became addicted to Halcion, a sleeping pill, in the late 1980s and checked herself into rehab by 1989.
Another little known fact: When she was 12 years old, Sheedy wrote a children's book. (Her mother was a literary agent.)
Now: Ally Sheedy
Post-1980s career: Only the Lonely, High Art, Life During Wartime, Psych, Single Drunk Female
Bottom line: Sheedy briefly tried her hand at writing once again in the early 1990s and penned a book of poetry. She drew on her past addiction experience to play a heroin-addicted woman in 1994's "High Art," which received positive reviews.
Sheedy made a bunch of made-for-TV and small-budget movies throughout the 1990s and 2000s, while also appearing in television shows once in a while.
She appeared for a cameo appearance in "X-Men: Apocalypse" and today she stars in Hulu's "Single Drunk Female." Molly Ringwald recently made an appearance on the show marking the first time the two women appeared together since "The Breakfast Club."
Then: Ralph Macchio
Born: Nov. 4, 1961
Hometown: Huntington, New York
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Outsiders, The Karate Kid, Teachers, The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III
Bottom line: Ralph Macchio gained fame from his stellar appearance in "The Outsiders," but he became a household name with "The Karate Kid," which made $90 million worldwide on an $8 million budget.
The original three "Karate Kid" movies, all released during the 1980s, grossed over $256 million at the worldwide box office.
While Macchio appeared in a few other films during the 1980s, "The Karate Kid" series is far and away what he is best known for.
Now: Ralph Macchio
Post-1980s career: Too Much Sun, My Cousin Vinny, Hitchcock, Artie Lange's Beer League, Ugly Betty, Dancing With the Stars, Cobra Kai
Bottom line: Since the 1980s, Macchio's most successful role was that of a supporting character in 1992's "My Cousin Vinny." Movie-wise, he has mainly appeared in supporting roles in smaller films.
Macchio has picked up steady work in various television shows since 1999, notably playing the recurring character Archie Rodriguez in "Ugly Betty."
He made it to fourth place in the 2011 season of "Dancing With the Stars" and most recently found success with the YouTube exclusive show "Cobra Kai," where he reprises his role as an older Daniel LaRusso.
Then: Fred Savage
Born: July 9, 1976
Hometown: Glencoe, Illinois
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Wonder Years, Little Monsters, The Princess Bride, The Wizard, Vice Versa
Bottom line: Fred Savage was one of the most notable child stars in the 1980s.
While he found success on the silver screen with cult favorites like "The Princess Bride" and "Little Monsters," his most memorable role was that of Kevin Arnold in the classic coming-of-age television show "The Wonder Years."
Now: Fred Savage
Post-1980s career: Oswald, Crumbs, Generator Rex, 2 Broke Girls, What Just Happened??! With Fred Savage
Bottom line: Savage has appeared in smaller roles, cameos and supporting parts in film and television. But he has transitioned into producer and directorial roles since 1999.
He directed and produced 18 episodes of "It's Always in Sunny Philadelphia," directed 14 episodes of "Modern Family," and most recently directed four episodes of "The Conners."
He directed "Daddy Day Camp" in 2007, which was a modest box-office success and remains the only feature film he directed.
Savage was the executive producer and director of the "The Wonder Years" reboot, but he was fired for alleged inappropriate behavior.
Then: Michelle Pfeiffer
Born: April 29, 1958
Hometown: Santa Ana, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Grease 2, Scarface, The Witches of Eastwick, Dangerous Liaisons, Married to the Mob, Into the Night, Tequila Sunrise, The Fabulous Baker Boys
Bottom line: Michelle Pfeiffer gained recognition for her breakout and standout role in the otherwise terrible "Grease 2," but absolutely rocketed to fame after appearing alongside Al Pacino in "Scarface."
While "Scarface" was mostly bashed by critics, Pfeiffer's other performances throughout the decade won her numerous accolades, including a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in "Dangerous Liaisons."
During the filming of that movie, she had an affair with co-star John Malkovich.
Now: Michelle Pfeiffer
Post-1980s career: Batman Returns, Love Field, The Age of Innocence, Dangerous Minds, What Lies Beneath, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hairspray, Dark Shadows, Ant-Man and the Wasp
Bottom line: Pfeiffer has almost exclusively been a movie star since her rise to fame in the 1980s. She has acted in 35 different movies since 1990 in a variety of different roles.
Most recently, she cashed in on the Disney money train by starring as Ant-Man's mother in the MCU and as Queen Ingrith in "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil."
She has been married to prolific television writer and producer David E. Kelly since 1993 and takes few jobs, instead choosing to spend time with her family.
Then: Jennifer Connelly
Born: Dec. 12, 1970
Hometown: Cairo, New York
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Labyrinth, Some Girls, Once Upon a Time in America, Phenomena, Seven Minutes in Heaven
Bottom line: Jennifer Connelly became a star with 1986's "Labyrinth," starring opposite David Bowie.
Although it bombed at the box office and was beat up in by reviewers, it became a beloved children's movie after its release on home video and cemented Connelly as one of the 1980s most notable child stars.
Now: Jennifer Connelly
Post-1980s career: The Rocketeer, A Beautiful Mind, Dark City, House of Sand and Fog, Hulk, Requiem for a Dream, Blood Diamond, He's Just Not That into You, Snowpiercer (2020)
Bottom line: The 2000s were the most successful decade of Connelly's career with "Requiem for a Dream," "A Beautiful Mind," and "House of Sand and Fog" — movies from which she received numerous accolades.
She has appeared in at least one movie every year since 2000 and is currently starring in the TNT television show "Snowpiercer."
Connelly is married to Paul Bettany, who plays Vision in the MCU.
Then: Kelly LeBrock
Hometown: New York City
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Woman in Red, Weird Science
Bottom line: Kelly LeBrock modeled for Vogue and Harpers Bazaar during the 1970s and early 1980s. But afraid she would fall into a heroin habit like so many other models in the industry during that time, LeBrock transitioned into movies.
Her first role cast her directly into the limelight, where she played the object of Gene Wilder's affection in 1984's "The Woman in Red." The next year, John Hughes cast her in a career-making performance as Lisa in "Weird Science" alongside Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith.
But at the height of her fame, she disappeared.
Now: Kelly LeBrock
Post-1980s career: Hard to Kill, Hard Bound, Wrongfully Accused, 10 Days in a Mad House
Bottom line: We'd like to blame part of her hiatus from film, which lasted from 1985 until 1990, on the poor decision to marry notorious pathological liar, egotistical lunatic and multiple-times-accused sexual assaulter Steven Seagal in 1987.
But LeBrock made her return to film in 1990 with "Hard to Kill," where she starred alongside her then-husband. LeBrock went ahead to make a series of low-buck movies in the 1990s.
She divorced Seagal in 1996 and "became a hermit," she said, mostly because the divorce was televised and extremely messy. LeBrock has appeared in a few movies and TV shows over the last few years, notably appearing as a team captain in VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club" in 2005.
Generally, though, she keeps to herself on her ranch in Santa Barbara, California.
Then: Rob Lowe
Born: March 17, 1964
Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Outsiders, The Hotel New Hampshire, Youngblood, St. Elmo's Fire
Bottom line: Rob Lowe had a rather exciting career during the 1980s, coming to fame with "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire.
He had a setback due to a sex tape with two women, one of whom was underage, that was released to the press. Lowe, who was in his early 20s at the time, says he didn't know the girl was 16.
That situation set his career back, but not for too long.
Now: Rob Lowe
Post-1980s career: The West Wing, Parks and Recreation, Brothers and Sisters, The Lion Guard, The Grinder, 9-1-1: Lone Star
Bottom line: Post-sex tape, Lowe made a series of low-budget and direct-to-video movies. He never stopped working, even if it meant playing "decapitated henchman's friend" in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery."
Lowe kept to the grind and eventually found success on "The West Wing," which brought him back into the mainstream spotlight. He has mostly worked in television, notably on "Parks and Recreation" and "Brothers and Sisters."
Whatever Lowe's struggles were in the past are long behind him. He is now enormously successful and owns a ludicrously expensive $42 million estate. When he's not at home, Lowe is working on his new television show, "9-1-1: Lone Star."
His one-man show, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, returns to the Vegas Strip in 2023.
Then: Jeff Cohen
Born: June 25, 1974
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: "The Goonies"
Bottom line: Jeff Cohen played Chunk in "The Goonies."
He did the truffle shuffle.
Who doesn't love Chunk from "The Goonies"?
Now: Jeff Cohen
Post-1980s career: Entertainment lawyer
Bottom line: Cohen only acted for a little while, appearing in two TV movies and several TV shows during the 1980s. His last acting appearance was in 1991 in "Perfect Harmony," a made-for-TV movie.
Since then, Cohen abandoned acting and attended the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a B.S. in business administration. He went on to pursue a law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2000 and is now an entertainment lawyer.
As Cohen himself says, "Having Chunk as your attorney? That’s pretty cool." (He is also "Goonies" co-star Ke Huy Quan's lawyer and handled his "Everything Everywhere All at Once" contract.)
Then: Candice Bergen
Born: May 9, 1946
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Gandhi, Murphy Brown
Bottom line: Candice Bergen was acting before the 1980s, but she became globally renowned for her role as the titular character in "Murphy Brown."
The show ran for 10 years and 247 episodes.
Now: Candice Bergen
Post-1980s career: Boston Legal, Miss Congeniality, Bride Wars, Book Club (I and II)
Bottom line: Bergen continued working after "Murphy Brown" ended in 1998, appearing in a number of television shows with guest appearances and in movies with supporting roles.
Her career found a resurgence in 2004 when she brilliantly played Shirley Schmidt in the critically acclaimed "Boston Legal" with William Shatner.
CBS revived "Murphy Brown" in 2018, bringing back much of the old cast, but the series fell flat, and CBS canceled it after just one season. She's currently starring in "Book Club: Next Chapter" with Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Diane Keaton."
Then: Val Kilmer
Born: Dec. 31, 1959
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: Top Secret!, Top Gun, Willow, Real Genius
Bottom line: Val Kilmer became a star in the 1980s in the spoof movie "Top Secret!," in which he sang all the film's songs.
That performance, coupled with his role as Iceman opposite Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" and as the lead character in the fantasy film "Willow" in 1988, put him on track to be one of Hollywood's biggest stars.
Now: Val Kilmer
Post-1980s career: The Doors, Tombstone, Batman Forever, Heat, True Romance, The Ghost and The Darkness, Red Planet, Top Gun: Maverick
Bottom line: Kilmer made a string of hits and several classics throughout the 1990s, but his career stalled in 2000 after "Red Planet" became a massive box-office flop.
Throughout the early 2000s, pretty much all of his films were box-office disappointments. Additionally, he developed a reputation for being hard to work with, and Kilmer moved on to doing direct-to-video movies in 2006.
In 2015, Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery, which has almost taken away his speech. He owns HelMel Studios, a multipurpose building in Los Angeles that functions as a storefront, office space, art gallery and collaborative space for young artists.
He last appeared in "Top Gun: Maverick," released in 2022.
Then: Josh Brolin
Born: Feb. 12, 1968
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Notable 1980s films/TV shows: The Goonies, Thrashin'
Bottom line: Josh Brolin had a remarkably short career in the 1980s, with really only "The Goonies" worth mentioning.
He appeared in a few television shows during this decade, including "Private Eye" and starred in "The Young Riders," a western television show which ran from 1989 until 1992.
Now: Josh Brolin
Post-1980s career: Grindhouse, No Country For Old Men, American Gangster, W., Milk, True Grit, Inherent Vice, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Dune
Bottom line: Watching Brolin's career during the 1980s and 1990s, you probably wouldn't think he was destined to star in the highest-grossing movie of all time.
Brolin picked up numerous accolades for his work as a supporting actor in "Milk" and "Inherent Vice," and received critical recognition for his work in "W."
But now everyone seems to know Josh Brolin as Thanos from the MCU. Even though his work was all voice acting, Brolin brought humanity to Thanos that only a great actor could.
Brolin is Gurney Halleck in Dennis Villeneuve's "Dune," parts I and II and stars in the Amazon series "Outer Range."