While some of today’s biggest A-listers got their start in the ’80s, many of their famous contemporaries in the “Me” decade live quieter, more low-profile lives today. From Tom Cruise, who bravely donned those tighty whities in Risky Business, to the boys and girls of the Brat Pack, click through to see which stars got their big breaks in the 1980s — and see where they ended up!
Born in 1970, Jennifer Lynn Connelly originally attracted attention as a child model. She debuted on the big screen in 1984, with her role in Once Upon a Time in America. In 1986, she starred in Labyrinth, one of her most iconic roles and the reason many today know her name and face. Other notable films of hers include the The Rocketeer in 1991 and A Beautiful Mind in 2001. For the latter, Jennifer won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. She still acts today, and is also busy with her work as an Amnesty International Ambassador for Human Rights Education. In addition to her acting skills and desire to help others, Jennifer has also been numerous times commemorated as one of the world’s most beautiful women by a variety of magazines and newspapers.
Schroder was only 12 years old when he landed the lead role on ’80s TV sitcom Silver Spoons. In an interview with Oprah, the 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!'”
The Nikita actor gained fame when he starred as the rebel John Bender in The Breakfast Club and Alec Newbury in St. Elmo’s Fire cementing his place in the Brat Pack pantheon. Nelson later appeared in TV series like CSI, Psych and Two and a Half Men. The actor also released four books to Amazon’s Kindle.
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John Hughes’ leading lady! The redhead starred in ’80s flicks Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, making her the de facto queen of the so-called Brat Pack. Ringwald went on to star in 2008 ABC Family show The Secret Life of the American Teenager and is a married mother to three kids.
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Charmed alum Alyssa Milano is best known for portraying Samantha Micelli on ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss? from 1984 to 1992. The actress then went on to star in the WB’s Charmed and ABC’s drama Mistresses.
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Still one of Hollywood’s biggest, highest-paid stars, Cruise landed a small role in The Outsiders in 1983, starring alongside fellow up-and-coming ’80s stars Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, and Rob Lowe before landing the leads in classics of the decade like Risky Business and Top Gun.
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Girls just wanna have fun! Pop icon Cyndi Lauper released her first solo album, She’s So Unusual, in 1983. The “Time After Time” singer later earned a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1985. Lauper went on to compose music for Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which she won a Tony award.
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After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, Moore starred alongside ex-fiance Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night. In the ’90s, Moore went on to star in critically acclaimed roles in A Few Good Men and Indecent Proposal. Later, Moore, who was once crowned the highest paid woman in Hollywood, proved she’s still got it alongside Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
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Six degrees of Kevin Bacon and it all leads back to Footloose! The Following actor became a household name when he took on the iconic role of Ren McCormack in 1984’s Footloose. In a hilarious video in 2014, Bacon attempted to teach millennials about the ’80s. The dancing king now stars in FOX thriller The Following.
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Major tough guy hunk alert! Dillon played the bad boy in numerous ’80s flicks, making teenage girls everywhere swoon. The There’s Something About Mary star appeared in flicks Little Darlings (1980), My Bodyguard (1980), Tex (1982), Rumble Fish (1983) and starred alongside fellow hotties like Rob Lowe in The Outsiders in 1983. Later, Dillon starred in comedies like You, Me and Dupree alongside Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson.
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Andrew McCarthy joined fellow ’80s Brat Pack stars in St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985 and Pretty In Pink in 1986. McCarthy then also starred in classics like Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s. Later, the actor transitioned to TV, appearing in Lipstick Jungle and White Collar, among others, before starring in Royal Pains.
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Charlie Sheen’s older brother, Estevez grew up with fellow ’80s actors Sean Penn and Rob Lowe and was also a member of the Brat Pack after starring in The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, and The Outsiders. Estevez went on to star in 1992’s The Mighty Ducks and aside from acting, also now owns his own winery, Casa Dumetz, in California.
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In 1957, Kelly Ann McGillis was born. This lovely actress became an iconic face of American movies in the 80’s. Most people know her for the 1986 blockbuster hit Top Gun, which famously launched the career of Tom Cruise. Kelly also starred in the 1985 film Witness alongside Harrison Ford, a role which earned her both Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. In 1988, Kelly starred in The Accused beside Jodie Foster, another role she is well remembered for. In 2009, Kelly publicly came out as a lesbian. She shared a civil union with Melanie Leis, a sales executive, from 2010 to 2011. Today, Kelly is still acting, and is a proud mother and grandmother.
Born in 1957, Lori Singer is the Jewish beauty from the 1984 film Footloose, a classic that had withstood the test of time. She’s also known for her role in the television series Fame, which ran from 1982-1983. After taking a break from acting for a few years, Lori returned to acting with guest role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. More recently, she’s worked as a producer, with her documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God winning a Peabody Award.
Born in 1956, Linda Carroll Hamilton is the American actress known for originating the famous role of Sarah Connor in the Terminator films. She was also well loved for her role as Catherine Chandler in the television series Beauty and the Beast, which ran from 1987-1990. She earned two Golden Globes and an Emmy for her role on the show, and its popularity even resulted in a reboot on the CW in 2012. Linda is also a mother of two, and has continued to act. Some of her more notable recent appearances have been on the television shows Chuck and Defiance.
Another core member of what was known as the Brat Pack, after making her film debut in 1983’s Bad Boys, Sheedy went on to star in WarGames, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Short Circuit and, later, TV series Psych.
Born in 1967, Mia Sara went became the star of one of the most memorable films of the 1980’s. The 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ensured no one could forget her, and she was in a number of other films following up that great success. One of her other most notable roles was in the 1994 film Time cop, for which she won a Saturn Award. She still acts today, and is married to Brian Henson, the oldest son of Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets.
Molly Ringwald: Sixteen Candles/The Breakfast Club
Born in 1968, Molly Kathleen Ringwald is easily one of the most iconic faces of the 80’s. Sixteen Candles in 1984, The Breakfast Club in 1985, and Pretty in Pink in 1986, all John Hughes films, ensured that no one would ever forget her face. She still acts today, most notably in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which ran from 2008 to 2013. Molly is also a married mother of three.
Born in 1961, Lea Katherine Thompson is the iconic star of the Back to the Future trilogy, one of the most memorable film franchises of the 80’s. She also starred in the 1986 film Howard the Duck and the 1993 film The Beverly Hillbillies, among many others. One of her other iconic roles was in the 1995-1999 television series Caroline in the City. More recently, Lea has had a slew of television guest star appearances, and has been one of the stars of Switched at Birth since 2011. She is a married mother of two girls, and is still just as beautiful today as she was in her very first appearance!
It’s impossible not to recognize Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy. She’s not just an actress though, and has found success as both a novelist and screenwriter as well. Other major films she’s remembered for include 1980’s The Blues Brothers and 1989’s When Harry Met Sally…, both of which are still beloved films today. Star Wars is still a major part of her life, now that she’s reprising her role in the new trilogy of films. Fans young and old find it impossible to forget Carrie Fisher!
The star of 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby, Mia Farrow is an American actress known for a wide variety of notable roles. She was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Rosemary’s Baby, and also found success with 1974’s The Great Gatsby and 1978’s Death on the Nile. She still acts today, in films such as 2008’s Be Kind Rewind. She’s also done quite a bit of stage acting, and is the mother of fourteen children, ten of whom are adopted.
In 1990, Barbara Hershey won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role in 1990’s A Killing in a Small Town. That’s only one example of stellar acting and success in her career, another example being 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Today, she’s still garnering attention with roles in films such as 2010’s Black Swan and television series such as Once Upon a Time and Damien.
When she won an Academy Award for 1985’s Prizzi’s Honor, Anjelica Huston became the third generation in her family to receive the honor. She also received Golden Globe nominations for her role as Morticia Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family and 1993’s Addams Family Values. More recently, she’s done voice acting for the Disney series of Tinker Bell films, and has guest starred in the Amazon Video series Transparent.
Known primarily for 1982’s Blade Runner, Daryl Hannah is an actress many will recognize. Films like 1989’s Steel Magnolias and 2003’s Kill Bill are other titles for which she is known, and she has used her fame to become a campaigner for environmental sustainability. More recently, she had a role in the Netflix series Sense8. Over the years she has won several awards for both her acting and her environmental activism.
Winner of two Academy Awards, Dianne Wiest is a well known star of Hollywood. Her Oscars were earned for 1986’s Hannah and Her Sister and 1994’s Bullets over Broadway. Other films of hers include 1984’s Footloose, 1987’s The Lost Boys, and 1996’s The Birdcage. More recently, she has appeared in the television series In Treatment, and was featured in the 2012 film The Odd Life of Timothy Green and 2015’s Sisters. Currently, she can be found starring in the television series Life in Pieces.
Best known for her role in the Alien franchise, Sigourney Weaver has been in a number of notable films over the years. Ghostbusters, in 1984, and its 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II are two of her other famous works, and 2009’s blockbuster hit Avatar confirmed she was still a force to be reckoned with. She is well loved for her various roles in science fiction cinema, and films such as 1999’s Galaxy Quest are still cult hits nearly two decades later.
Nominated for an Academy Award for 1981’s Ragtime, Elizabeth McGovern has been a staple of Hollywood for decades. 1984’s Once Upon A Time In America and 1990’s The Handmaid’s Tale are other films that helped cement her significance in cinema. More recently, she became a household name while starring on the ITV television series Downton Abbey, which ran from 2010 to 2016. Films such as 2010’s Clash of the Titans and 2015’s Woman in Gold also ensured that Hollywood has no intention of letting her star fade.
An American actress, Sean Young is best known for her roles in 1982’s Blade Runner and 1984’s Dune. 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and 1996’s Everything to Gain are two of her other well known films, and she is still acting today. In 2013, she appeared in the fan made pilot of Star Trek: Renegades.
An award winning actress famed for her versatility, Glenn Close has been acting since 1974. She has won three Emmys and three Tonys, and been nominated for an Academy Award six times during her career. The first time audiences saw her on screen was in 1982’s The World According to Garp. Other famous films of hers include 1987’s Fatal Attraction and 1995’s Sunset Boulevard. Younger generations grew up with her as the villainous Cruella in 1996’s 101 Dalmations, and recent audiences will remember her from Marvel’s 2014 hit Guardians of the Galaxy.
A French actress who’s been acting since 1982, Sandrine Bonnaire has appeared in over forty films during her career. In 1983, she won a Cesar Award for her role in A nos amours, and another Cesar Award in 1985 for Vagabond. 1987’s Under the Sun of Satan and 1999’s East/West are some of her other notable roles. She is still acting today, and has also found success as a director and screenwriter.
An English actress known around the globe, Judi Dench has been a staple of cinema for decades. She is renowned for her work on stage and screen, and is also an author. Most audiences will know her best as M from the James Bond films, a role she debuted in 1995’s Goldeneye. She won an Academy Award in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love, and has received numerous awards and nominations for her work in the theatre. She is still a busy actress today, with appearances in films such as 2011’s Jane Eyre, 2012’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and its 2015 sequel.
Originally debuting onscreen in 1978’s Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis is a very recognizable face in Hollywood. 1980’s Prom Night. 1981’s Roadgames, and 1994’s True Lies are all famous works of hers. More modern audiences will undoubtedly recognize her from 2003’s Freaky Friday, in which she played Lindsey Lohan’s mother. She’s still acting today, and recently appeared in 2014’s Veronica Mars. Currently she can be found starring in the television series Scream Queens.
An American actress of stage and screen, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio has been acting since 1980. 1983’s Scarface was the film that put her in the spotlight, and she earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in 1986’s The Color of Money. 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and 2000’s The Perfect Storm are other films of note that she has starred in over the years. She still acts today, and recently can be seen starring in the television show Limitless, based on the Bradley Cooper film of the same name.
An American actress with a wide repertoire, Geena Davis is a memorable face in Hollywood. Roles in films like 1988’s Beetlejuice, 1991’s Thelma & Louise, 1992’s A League of Their Own, and 1999’s Stuart Little ensured everyone knew her. She won an Academy Award in 1988 for The Accidental Tourist. More recently, she starred in the 2005-2006 television series Commander in Chief, and had a recurring role from 2014-2015 on Grey’s Anatomy.
A Golden Globe winning actress, Kathleen Turner received the Golden Globe for both 1984’s Romancing the Stone and 1985’s Prizzi’s Honor. She is also known for her roles in 1988’s The Accidental Tourist, 1989’s The War of the Roses, and 1986’s Peggy Sue Got Married, for which she received the nomination for an Academy Award. More recently, she starred in 2008’s Marley & Me, and in 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To.
Phoebe Cates: Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins
Phoebe Cates is an American film actress, model and singer. She is known for her roles in several 1980s films, most notably Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins. She is married to actor, Kevin Kline.
Erika Eleniak: Baywatch
Erika Eleniak was an American Playboy Playmate, former model and actress best known for her role in Baywatch as Shauni McClain. Her film debut was a small part in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). She later starred in the films The Blob, Under Siege and The Beverly Hillbillies.
Best known for playing Indiana Jones’ love interest in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, Karen Allen was such a hit that she reprised the role in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. 1993’s The Sandlot and 2000’s The Perfect Storm are also notable films she’s starred in over the years. She still acts today, and recently starred in 2015’s Bad Hurt.
Best known for 1982’s Blade Runner, Joanna Cassidy is an award winning American actress. 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit and 1990’s Where the Heart Is are two of her other well known films, and she is still acting today. From 2001 to 2005 she starred in the television series Six Feet Under, and from 2011 to 2013 in Body of Proof. She has also had a string of guest starring roles in popular television programs, including Bones and Criminal Minds.
An award winning actress, Jessica Lange has earned two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and three Emmys, among others. She originally gained attention in the 1976 remake of King Kong, for which she earned her first Golden Globe. In 1982, she earned her first Academy Award for Tootsie. More recently, she has starred in 2012’s The Vow and 2014’s The Gambler, proving that she has no intentions of going anywhere!
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