Perhaps many of us have already forgotten the names of celebrities who were shining brightly in the ’80s and ’90s but still, many of us can still hum along to tunes by Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson, and remember the faces of actors from The Breakfast Club and Titanic. Being inspired by their buzz from past decades, we are eager to show you how celebrities everyone used to go crazy about, and update you on what they have done since.
Here we take a look at some of the most famous celebrities from the ’80s and ’90s. We’ve included the musicians, models, and actresses that made the decade what it was. Then, we take a look at what they’ve done since the ’80s and ’90s and what they’re up to now. Take a look, you won’t want to miss this trip in the way-back machine.
Crawford’s modeling career began when she was still in high school. She won the Elite Model Management’s Look of the Year contest when she was 17 and her life was never the same. She left DeKalb, Illinois for New York City and became one of the most famous faces in the world.
After modeling for nearly 20 years, Crawford retired in 2000. She has created a line of cosmetics, called Meaningful Beauty, and has had her own furniture line sold in J.C. Penney’s. She returned to modeling in 2011 and has even appeared in print with her daughter.
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Has anyone cooler than John Stamos come out of this generation of actors? Stamos just exudes cool. He got his start on television on General Hospital. The soap opera launched his career and got him nominated for a daytime Emmy. It was his role on Full House that made him a global icon.
With his star shining brightly from his role as Uncle Jesse on Full House, Stamos could pretty much do whatever he wanted. He spent a few seasons on ER, acted on Broadway, and hosted some shows with the Beach Boys. These days he’s basically cashing in on being John Stamos.
Christie Brinkley made modeling history when she signed a record 25-year deal with cosmetics brand CoverGirl. Think back to the early 80s, Christie Brinkley had the look everyone wanted. She was everywhere, including on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition three straight years from 1979-1981.
Brinkley even dabbled in acting, appearing in two of the Vacation films. Recently, she played the wife of parks department employee Garry Gergich on the NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation. Brinkley has also been involved in everything from design companies to infomercials. You name it, Christie Brinkley has done it over the last 40 years.
Christian Slater was born into showbusiness and made his TV debut at the tender age of 8. He broke through into the mainstream in the 80s with his leading role in The Legend of Billie Jean and starred in big-budget films in the 90s like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Interview With a Vampire.
Recently, Slater had a major role in the USA Network drama Mr. Robot, for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting actor. He has a few future roles currently in production so watch out for Mr. Slater on a screen near you soon.
While most of these celebrities gave up cheering after high school, Paula Abdul made a job out of it. That’s right, before she got her big break as a singer and dancer, she was a Laker Girl for the Los Angeles Lakers. Abdul would go on to a career that includes the hit single, “Straight Up”, and she would star in films like Can’t Buy Me Love and Coming to America.
She would reach a younger generation with her role as a judge on the first nine seasons of the talent show, American Idol. Recently she completed a residency similar to Celine Deon, in Las Vegas.
Elle MacPherson virtually owned the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover in the 1980s, but before she appeared on the front of the famed magazine and record five times, MacPherson was featured in dozens of magazines throughout the decade.
Since then MacPherson’s gone on to walk the runway in for all the top fashions houses. However, MacPherson has used her star power to branch out into other ventures. In 1994, MacPherson started her own modeling agency, an unheard-of thing for models to do in that day and age. She’s also created her own line of beauty products. Macpherson is an active philanthropist as well.
Heather Locklear is an LA girl, born and raised so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to make it in Hollywood. While she was still in college at UCLA she was taking gigs modeling and acting in commercials. In the mid-1980s she was a series regular on the show T.J. Hooker.
During the 1990s she played starring roles on the television shows Melrose Place and Spin City, which earned her two Golden Globe nominations. Since Spin City was canceled in 2002 she’s struggled to earn any more starring roles. She has made guest-starring appearances on shows like Hot in Cleveland and Franklin & Bash but was never the leading lady.
Daryl Hannah’s first big role came in the 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, in which she performed many of her own stunts. She would go on to star in Splash, Wall Street, and Roxanne before capping off the decade with Steel Magnolias.
Hannah’s career didn’t stop at the end of the 80s. Roles in Grumpy Old Men and Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman led to her being named to Empire magazine’s 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History in 1995. This century she’s appeared in Kill Bill and the Netflix series Sense8. She has been married to musician Neil Young since 2018
No actress is more closely associated with the 1980s “Brat Pack” scene than Molly Ringwald. She became a teen icon for her starring roles in films like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.
Her career continued through the 1990s and she’s even still active today, but it has been difficult to separate her from those iconic roles of her youth. She actually turned down the lead role in Pretty Woman, which went to Julia Roberts. Recently, she has portrayed Mary Andrews on the CW hit show Riverdale.
Few Stars were bigger in the 1990s than Tiffani Thiessen. She played the immortal Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell, and Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210. She’s was the girl all the girls wanted to be and the girl all the guys wanted to be with.
Eventually though, she grew up and her career changed. She’s appeared in the television series Fastlane, What About Brian and White Collar. However, her roles in each of those have been supporting, not starring. Recently she spent two seasons on the Netflix sitcom Alexa & Katie.
Bo Derek, who was originally born Mary Cathleen Collins, was helped into the film industry by her husband, actor John Derek. He helped her get some small budget film roles and a shoot in Playboy magazine in 1980. Her image and profile led to her getting many roles in the 1980s, most notably in the films Bolero, Tarzan, the Ape Man, and Ghosts Can’t Do It.
Derek’s career continued into the 1990s where she was regularly nominated for Golden Raspberry Awards, given to the worst cinematic performances of the year, and was actually nominated for the Worst Actress of the Century Award for the 20th century. Recently, Derek has appeared in Sharknado 3.
Yasmine Bleeth grew up in show-business. Her first role was in a baby shampoo commercial when she was just 10 months old. Her biggest role also came while in the water on the show Baywatch. The lifeguard drama earned her global fame and a place on People’s 50 Most Beautiful People list.
Bleeth was on Baywatch for 54 episodes, and when her time was done she used that success to launch her own swimwear line. She also took roles on television shows but hasn’t had any offers since. Since quitting the business back in 2003, she has retreated from public life and has rarely been seen over the past 17 years.
Pamela Anderson was a model first and an actress second. First came her Playmate of the Month selection in the February 1990 issue of Playboy magazine. This exposure led to her being cast in the television shows Home Improvement and Baywatch.
Anderson has put her acting career on the backburner in the past decade. Sure, she’s made the odd appearance in reality television or made a cameo in a film, but her work now is mostly with PETA, which is a cause near and dear to her heart.
Phoebe Cates is known for being the star of one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history, the red bikini drop in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She was more clothed in her second-most famous role in the two Gremlins films.
Cates retired from acting in 1994 to raise her children, but returned in 2001 and acted in The Anniversary Party as a favor to her friend and the film’s director, Jennifer Jason Leigh. She owns and runs a boutique on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She is married to actor Kevin Kline.
Daisy Duke herself makes her way onto our list. It’s a character that an entire type of clothing is named after. Now that’s a legacy. What’s even crazier is that while she was shooting Dukes of Hazard, her legs were insured for $1 million.
With a role like that on her resume, she can be forgiven for not adding anything better to it. Bach had some roles in small profile films after Dukes ended, but nothing major. She guest-starred on Monk in 2006, and in 2012 joined the cast of The Young and the Restless on CBS.
Kim Basinger was a huge star during the 1980s and 1990s. She got the 80s started with the film Hard Country and played a Bond Girl in Never Say Never Again, but it was her role in The Natural that made her a star. She received a Golden Globe nomination for that performance. She closed the decade by playing Vicki Vale in Batman.
She won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for L.A. Confidential in 1997 and has starred in such films as 8 Mile, Cellular, and Fifty Shades Darker in recent years. She is a very active member of PETA.
Kelly LeBrock was the picture of the perfect woman in the 1980s. Her starring roles in The Woman in Red and Weird Science made her world famous for most of the decade. However, from 1985-1990 LeBrock to a break from acting.
It was only at the urging of her then-husband Steven Segal did she come out of retirement to act again, and in one of his films no less. The role hardly jump-started her second act, as she acted in just a handful of movies in the 1990s and 2000s. None of her recent roles have lived up to her iconic roles in the 1980s. These days she lives on a ranch in California.
Brooke Shields earned her first acting gig when she was just 12, controversially playing a child prostitute in New Orleans in the film Pretty Baby. Through the 1980s, Shields became a famous model in addition to her acting roles in films like The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love.
Brooke Shields spent much of her career in the 1990s and 2000s on television, first in the sitcoms Suddenly Susan and Lipstick Jungle. Recently she’s played a recurring role in Law & Order SVU and since 2014 has voiced the character Beverly Goodman on the animated show Mr. Pickles and its spinoff Momma Named Me Sherriff.
Emilio Estevez started out his career outshining his brother Charlie Sheen as a member of the Brat Pack. He appeared in the hit films The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, and The Outsiders. He gained fame as an adult with his starring role in the Mighty Duck’s franchise in the early 90s.
Estevez’s career changed in the mid-2000s. He’s stepped out of the spotlight and behind the camera. That’s right, Estevez now focuses his work on directing, writing, and producing films. However, in 2021 he is reprising his role as Gordon Bombay in the rebooted Mighty Ducks series on Disney+.
Kelly McGillis had a pretty good time in the 1980s. She was a part of the cast of Witness, which won Academy Awards, The Accused, and of course the most famous of the bunch, Top Gun. McGillis played the flight instructor, and love interest of Tom Cruise, Charlotte Blackwood.
McGillis continued to act through the 1990s and 2000s, in films like The Babe, Winter People, and The Monkey’s Mask. These days she teaches acting in Asheville, North Carolina.
Everyone’s favorite holiday scamp started his career incredibly young. We’ve all seen the Home Alone movies, but his first big film was actually Uncle Buck with the late John Candy. However, Home Alone catapulted Culkin to a level of fame that was outrageous. He also starred in the films My Girl, and Richie Rich.
After being overexposed to the world as a child, you can understand why Macaulay Culkin may not want an adult career in Hollywood. He’s acted in a handful of television shows since the early 2000s, and often in cameos as himself. These days he’s more focused on fronting his pizza-themed comedy rock band The Pizza Underground and publishing a pop culture website called Bunny Ears.
Lea Thompson got her start in acting after the famed dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov told her she’d never make it as a prima ballerina. She did make it in acting, starring in the 1980s sci-fi trilogy Back to the Future. She also featured in the films SpaceCamp and Howard the Duck.
Her star continued to shine in the 1990s when she played major roles in the films, Dennis, the Menace, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Little Rascals. She spent 5 years on television with the show Caroline in the City during the mid-90s. Recently, Thompson has been in the show Switched at Birth, and in the film Little Women.
Morgan Fairchild was all over television in the 1980s. She starred in Dallas, Flamingo Road, Paper Dolls, and Falcon Crest all in one decade. She also made guest appearances on shows like Magnum, P.I., and The Love Boat.
A younger audience will remember her as the erotic novelist mother of Chandler Bing on the sitcom Friends. In recent years, Fairchild has featured on the shows, Bones, Revenge, and Hot in Cleveland. Recently though her career has taken a turn and she has been landing gigs on television commercials for a direct mail campaign.
Kirstie Alley’s first major acting role came as Saavik in the Star Trek Film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but let’s be honest; everyone knows her from Cheers. Alley played everyone’s favorite bar manager turned cocktail waitress on the show and won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performances.
During the 90s, Alley was all over tv and movies, but her most famous work was on the sitcom Veronica’s Closet. Recently, Alley has been a notable spokesperson for the weight-loss company Jenny Craig.
Geena Davis’ career spans multiple decades of relevance, which is impressive for an actor. She started in the 1980s with films like Tootsie and The Fly and earned an Academy Award for her role in The Accidental Tourist in 1988.
She kept on rolling in the 1990s with hits Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own. In the 200s, Davis starred in the Stuart Little franchise and on the television series Commander In Chief. She earned a Golden Globe for the latter. Recently she’s scaled back her acting commitments to work on her gender equality activism projects.
Mia Sara didn’t have the longest of acting careers but she did have one role that forever cemented her legacy. She played Sloane Peterson, Ferris Bueller’s Girlfriend in the blockbuster film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Her career continued for a few years after that, starring a few films including the John-Claude Van Damme film Timecop. She won a Saturn Award for her performance in that production. Since the mid-90s, Sara has appeared in the odd show of film, but nothing very noteworthy.
Elisabeth first caught the eye as Ralph Macchio’s love interest in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid. She played the love interest of another star, this time Tom Cruise, in the 1988 film Cocktail. These roles helped her land bigger roles in the Back to the Future films in the late 80s.
She broke out of her “girl-next-door” image with her performance as a prostitute in Leaving Las Vegas, where she starred opposite Nicholas Cage. The role earned her an Academy Award nomination. Recently, Shue has taken on a leading role in the superhero television series, The Boys.
Matt Dillon was a teen idol in the 80s, starring in the films My Bodyguard, Little Darlings, and The Outsiders. As he matured his star continued to rise, with famed movie critic Roger Ebert claiming Dillon, along with Sean Penn, was the greatest actor in his age group.
In the 21st century, Dillon has starred in blockbusters like Crash, for which he received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for his performance. Dillon has incredible range and is comfortable acting in comedies, thrillers and even lent his voice to an episode of The Simpsons.
Lisa Bonet was a member of one of television’s most beloved families while she played the role of Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She briefly left the show in 1987 to star in a spin-off of the Cosby Show called A Different World, which was about Denise’s life at college.
From 2005-2014, Bonet was out of the business of acting but made her return in the film Road to Paloma. She worked with her future husband, Jason Momoa while working on the show Red Road. She is the mother of actress and model, Zoe Kravitz, whom she had with her former husband, Lenny Kravitz.
Beverly D’Angelo became well known for her role as Patsy Cline in the Loretta Lynn Biopic, Col Miner’s Daughter. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination. However, she is best known for her role as matriarch of the Griswold family in the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. She’s appeared in 5 Vacation films over 30 years.
This century, D’Angelo has spent most of her career in films, notably The Unicorn, Accidental Love, and Gamers. She also had a significant run on the HBO series Entourage, where she appeared in 25 episodes.
Michelle Pfeiffer made her career happen. Sick of being type-cast as the token blonde, Pfeiffer actively sought out grittier, tougher roles. That came first in Scarface where she had her breakout performance as Elvira Hancock, the gangster moll. This earned her better and more serious roles. She received two Academy Award nominations for the films Dangerous Liaisons and The Fabulous Baker Boys.
She starred in Batman Returns and Love Field early in the 90s but took a brief hiatus from acting in the mid-2000s. The musical Hairspray pulled her back in front of the camera and recently she’s acted in the films Murder on the Orient Express, and Ant-Man, and the Wasp.
Diane Lane’s first film role may have been in the 1970s, but it was her films in the 80s, that made her who she is today. Lane earned acclaim for her roles in A Little Romance, Touched by Love, and The Outsiders as a teenager in the early 80s. These performances made Andy Warhol declare that Lane was “the undisputed female lead of Hollywood’s new rat pack”, known as the “Brat Pack.”
Originally the lead role in Pretty Woman was supposed to go to Lane but due to scheduling conflicts it went to Julia Roberts. She would get her blockbuster role though in 2002, with the film Unfaithful. She earned an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her performances. Recently, Lane starred in the Amazon original series The Romanoffs and played a role in the final season of House of Cards.
As wholesome and clean an image Rob Lowe has now it’s easy to forget that he was once considered one of Hollywood’s bad boys. In the early 80s, Lowe was a member of the “Brat Pack” and consider a teen idol.
Like people unprepared for fame and fortune do, Lowe made some mistakes and tarnished his image. However, roles on The West Wing and Parks and Recreation led to Lowe becoming everyone’s favorite once again. You can’t deny that charming smile works.
Sharon Stone spent the 1980s earning the roles she would later become incredibly famous for in the 1990s. She appeared in films like Cold Steel, Action Jackson, and Irreconcilable Differences in the 80s.
She earned mainstream prominence in 1990 with the sci-fi hit Total Recall. This recognition earned her roles in Basic Instinct and Casino. She is best remembered for the leg-crossing scene in Basic Instinct, although she did win a Golden Globe for her performance in Casino. Recently, she has appeared in the television series, Mosaic and The New Pope.
Before everyone was playing the game named after him, Kevin Bacon was trying to make it in the industry. His first film was Animal House, but that didn’t make his career. He landed gigs on soap operas until he got a part in another cult classic film, Friday the 13th. He then went on to become one of the biggest stars of his generation.
A few decades later and Kevin Bacon is known around the world for his roles in Diner, A Few Good Men, Mystic River. But nothing could compare to the fame he earned from the movie Footloose, about a teenager from the big city who moves to a small town and attempts to overturn a dancing ban.
Shelley Long, or one half of the love affair of “Sam and Diane” on Cheers. On Cheers, she played the delightfully frustrating cocktail waitress Diane Chambers. She earned an Emmy for her role on the great comedy sitcom in 1983 before leaving the show after 5 seasons.
The grass was not particularly greener on the Cheers-less side of the fence for Long. She was in a few movies, such as The Brady Bunch Movie and Troop Beverly Hills. Recently she took up the role of DeDe Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family until the show’s final season in 2020.
Matthew Broderick’s first film was not Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it may be his most important. That film not only resonates through the generations but launched Broderick to stardom. A star of stage and screen, Broderick has spent a good portion of his career on Broadway as well.
He’s won a Tony Award for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, revived The Producers with Nathan Lane, voiced adult Simba in The Lion King, and starred in the Civil War epic, Glory. Basically, he can do it all.
Valerie Bertinelli got her start in television on the hit sitcom One Day at a Time. The show debut when she was just 15 years old and ran until 1984, so the country got to see Bertinelli mature from a girl to a woman over the years. This endeared her to the country and made her one of the period’s most beloved stars.
Since then, Bertinelli has had less success. In the 90s she starred in two short-lived sitcoms and was in some made for tv movies. In 2010 she landed a role on Hot in Cleveland, which helped her regain some of her star power. This earned her a couple of cooking shows on the Food Network, where she currently works as a host on Family Food Showdown and Family Restaurant Rivals.
Kim Cattrall may be remembered now for her role as Samantha Jones on HBO’s Sex in the City, but that role wouldn’t have been possible if not for her career-making roles in the 80s. She was in such hit films as Police Academy, Big Trouble in Little China, and Midnight Crossing, among others.
In addition to Sex in the City, Cattrall has spent much of her career on Broadway and has performed in everything from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams. Most recently, Cattrall played the lead role in the CBS thriller Tell Me a Story.
Denise Richards has been in the film business for over 30 years. Early in her career she became known for her appearances in films like Starship Troopers, Wild Things, and as the Bond girl, Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough.
Her career has continued in the 21st century, despite Richards never developing a dramatic acting resume. She’s appeared in such comedies as Scary Movie 3, Madea’s Witness Protection, and on the sitcom Blue Mountain State. She is presently one of the women starring in the reality tv show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
John Cusack was born into Hollywood. He’s the son of filmmaker Dick Cusack and his sister Joan and Ann are also actresses. Cusack missed out on being a member of the “Brat Pack” in the 80s, but he did star in one of the generation’s biggest hits – Say Anything… That movie launched Cusack’s star and made his career.
Since the early 90s, Cusack has been in some major movies. He’s appeared in Being John Malkovich, Grosse Pint Blank, and High Fidelity. Recently most of Cusack’s films have been “direct to video on demand”, which tells you a bit about how his career is going.
Brigitte Nielsen is from Denmark, but her steely cold looks made her the perfect Soviet in Rocky IV as she played the girlfriend of boxer Ivan Drago. She was actually married to Sylvester Stallone from 1985-1987. Nielsen spent most of the 80s playing various villains in films like Beverly Hills Cop II and Fataghiro.
The second half of her career has been a bit bizarre. She tried her hand at being a singer, she starred in numerous b-list movies, and in 2005 had a highly publicized relationship with Flavor Flav and involved a reality show revolving around their relationship. She just recently had her fifth child, at the age of 54.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the original Hollywood “Scream Queen’s”, a title earned from her string of appearances in horror films in the late 70s and 80s. These films include the 5 Halloween franchise films, The Fog, Prom Night, and Terror Train. She also featured in the cult comedy classics Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda. It was a busy decade for her.
Things didn’t slow down for her until recently. During the 90s she was in the hits True Lies, Blue Steel, and My Girl. In the 2000s she was in Freaky Friday, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and during the 2010s she was in You Again, Veronica Mars, and Knives Out. Most recently she reprised her role as a “scream queen” in the Fox horror-comedy series aptly named Scream Queens.
Judd Nelson may have been a member of the “Brat Pack” generation, he wasn’t the heartthrob that Rob Lowe or Emilio Estevez were. Nelson added the grit and the darker side to the group on screen. Make no mistake, Nelson was an integral part of the scene. He starred in some of the generation’s biggest hits like The Breakfast Club, and St. Elmo’s Fire.
In the 21st century, Nelson has stayed on the fringes of the mainstream. He’s been involved in a few science fiction plots, and cult hits like the Jay and Silent Bob franchise, and The Boondock Saints franchise. He’s appeared in quite a few television shows, but always in short cameo appearances, never main roles.