During the 80s, everything was big. During such a decade of excess, stardom seemed more natural than ever. It made sense to look up to stars of stage and screen that seemed downright unapproachable as if they weren’t even human beings like the rest of us. As such, it’s only natural to be curious about what has happened to the greatest stars of the 1980s. Are the stars from such a colorful decade still as legendary as they once seemed? What have the best actors, actresses, musicians, and media personalities been up to in the decades since? Read on to find out.
Kathleen Turner Then
As a soap opera actress in The Doctors, an off-Broadway theater star, and of course, an 80s icon on the silver screen, Kathleen Turner sparkled wherever she went. She even won a Golden Globe for her performance in Prizzi’s Honor, which is proof of her impressive talent level.
Kathleen Turner Now
As the 80s neared their end, Turner was just picking up steam, earning an Oscar nomination for Peggy Sue Got Married. Then, she took the improbable role of Chandler Bing’s cross-dressing dad on Friends She got divorced from Jay Weiss in 2007 and also has a pair of Tony Award nominations under her belt.
Dianne Wiest Then
Dianne Wiest has long been considered one of the more talented actresses in Hollywood. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1986 for Hannah and Her Sisters and was frequently featured in Woody Allen films during the 1980s. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in Parenthood.
Dianne Wiest Now
In the 1990s, Dianne Wiest continued to be a hot commodity in Hollywood, earning a big role in Edward Scissorhands and starring with Robin Williams in The Birdcage. She has repeatedly appeared on Law & Order. Today, Wiest lives in New York City with her adopted daughters.
Kirstie Alley Then
Kirstie Alley is best known as the bombshell brunette that frustrated all the guys on Cheers. She got her breakthrough role in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She was recognized for her role in Cheers with a Golden Globe and Emmy Award win.
Kirstie Alley Now
In the 90s, Kirstie focused more on films, including Drop Dead Gorgeous and Shoot to Kill. She then moved on to reality TV in the new millennium. More recently, she appeared on Scream Queens as a regular cast member. She’s now a grandmother, as well!
Nancy McKeon Then
Nancy McKeon shot into superstardom after she landed the role of Jo Polniaczek on “The Facts of Life”. She played Jo from 1980-1988. In the 90s, she landed various roles in movies and TV shows.
Nancy McKeon Now
McKeon’s most prominent role of the decade was as Annie O’Donnell in the short-lived series “Can’t Hurry Love”. The show also starred future “Law & Order” star Mariska Hargitay. Nancy’s last role was in 2011, in the TV Movie “Love Begins”.
Cassandra Peterson Then
Cassandra Peterson became famous in the 80’s as Elvira Mistress of The Dark on Elvira’s Movie Macabre, a weekly show where she presented B grade horror movies. The show became a cult success due to Peterson’s campy personality and double entendre-laced humor. The show lasted five years and was spun off into a movie Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
Cassandra Peterson Now
Although Movie Macabre lasted only five years, the character became a brand and has lead to Peterson making appearances in TV, film, commercials, comic books, and even video games. She continues to make cameos and frequently shows up at conventions, especially those organized by Comikaze Expo, of which she is an investor in.
Maureen McCormick Then
Maureen McCormick is best known for her role as Marcia Brady on the TV sitcom “The Brady Bunch”. She reprised the role several times in spin-off feature films and TV movies. She was America’s true sweetheart back in the 1970’s and was the major crush of anyone watching the show. A lot of the shows biggest storylines and moments revolved around Marcia. We all remember the time the football hit her nose and the big feud between her and her sister Jan.
Maureen McCormick Now
She has appeared on several reality TV shows such as “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” and “Dancing with the Stars”. Her most recent role was in 2017, in the drama film “The Neighborhood”. Thaty said, the world will always remember her as Marcia during the 1970’s. The role is iconic and something that won’t be lived down anytime soon.
Geena Davis Then
Although she’s known for her acting ability, Geena Davis actually started out as a model. She did have a bachelor’s degree in drama from Boston University, which helped her land a role in Tootsie in 1982. Her biggest role early in her career was certainly in Thelma & Louise.
Geena Davis Now
Since the 1980s, Geena went on to star in films such as A League Of Their Own and eventually, win a Golden Globe for Commander in Chief. These days, Geena focuses more on her family as a mother of three children and a wife to plastic surgeon Reza Jarrahy.
Kelly McGillis Then
You’ll certainly remember Kelly McGillis from her role as Charlie Blackwood in Top Gun, where she was quite a match for Tom Cruise. She was a Julliard University graduate and studied drama at the prestigious college. After Top Gun, she starred opposite Harrison Ford in Witness, earning a Golden Globe nomination.
Kelly McGillis Now
Following her peak years as an actress, Kelly began a singing career that didn’t see her conquering the world, but helped her build a loyal fan base. She joined the cast of The L Word in 2005 in a move that foreshadowed her decision to come out as a lesbian in 2009. She and her partner of 11 years, Melanie, broke up in 2011.
Kirk Cameron Then
Kirk Cameron was quite the troublemaker as Mike Seaver on the 80s sitcom Growing Pains. In 1987, he starred in the film Like Father Like Son, and he also made appearances on Full House and plenty of teen magazines, to boot. He seemed set up for long-term stardom.
Kirk Cameron Now
After the 1980s, Kirk put mainstream stardom on the backburner and focused on his faith. He did reprise his famous role in the 2000 Growing Pains movie and its 2004 sequel, but he now focuses on Christian films and productions. He’s married to former co-star Chelsea Noble, and they have a total of six kids together.
Christina Applegate Then
The shortlist of biggest female 1980s heartthrobs has to include Christina Applegate, who wooed boys all over the nation as Kelly Bundy in Married…With Children. She also took a number of big screen roles early on in her career, including a starring role as Hollywood icon Grace Kelly.
Christina Applegate Now
In the 1990s and beyond, Christina kept the momentum going and continued to act. She took part in various films including Anchorman and most recently, the Bad Moms film series. She has battled breast cancer in the past and underwent a double mastectomy in 2008.
Linda Ronstadt Then
Linda Ronstadt first rose to fame in the 1970s, and her star continued to shine well into the 80s, as she was blossoming from a country sensation to an all-around pop and rock star. Linda even was able to make a cameo role in The Simpsons, which is a real feather in the cap of any late 80s star.
Linda Ronstadt Now
In total, Linda was able to mount 31 gold and platinum records on the wall. She was critically acclaimed to the tune of 10 Grammy Award wins, also. Unfortunately, she has been unable to perform since her 2013 diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She recently released the biography, “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir.”
Goldie Hawn Then
The bubbly comedic actress Goldie Hawn was not afraid to show off her lively and outgoing personality, which helped her become one of the leading ladies of the 80s. She also dominated the tabloids and celebrity magazines as she began her long-standing relationship with Kurt Russell early in her career.
Goldie Hawn Now
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together since 1983, and they have two children, including actress Kate Hudson. She recently made her first on-screen appearance in 15 years in Snatched, which also features comedian Amy Schumer, who was certainly influenced by Goldie while growing up.
Pam Grier Then
As the belle of the 1970s blaxploitation films, Pam Grier went into the 1980s with all kinds of momentum. Throughout the decade, she starred in films while also making appearances in hit shows such as The Love Boat, Night Court, Miami Vice, and The Cosby Show.
Pam Grier Now
Pam enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence with her role in the 1997 film Jackie Brown. More recently, she was in the hit series The L Word and played Amanda Waller in Smallville. She continues to act and is in the forthcoming film Old School Gangstas.
Linda Gray Then
Everyone knew Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, but you may not know that Linda Gray was the body double for the character! She first stepped into the limelight for real, however, as Sue Ellen in Dallas, which was one of the biggest shows of the 80s, or any other decade.
Linda Gray Now
Years later, Gray would reprise her role in the Dallas remake. She also has appeared in quite a few movies, including Hidden Moon, Expecting Mary, and of course, The Entertainers. Her TV roles include her appearances on Hollyoaks in 2016.
Kim Basinger Then
There was likely no bigger sex symbol in cinema during the 1980s than Kim Basinger herself. From her role in 9 1/2 Weeks to her sultry performance in the superhero hit Batman at the end of the decade, Kim was the focal point of many young men throughout the 80s.
Kim Basinger Now
Since the 1980s, Kim has moved on to take roles that allow her to really flex her acting chops, including L.A. Confidential, for which she earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She most recently appeared in Fifty Shades Darker, an adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name.
Barbra Streisand Then
Better known to her fans as “Babs,” Barbra Streisand was a star long before the 1980s began, as her music career started in the 1960s. By the 1980s, she had largely transitioned back from acting to music again, though she would make regular appearances on TV shows and specials.
Barbra Streisand Now
Barbra has done it all through her career, from duets with contemporary stars like Celine Dion to sold-out shows and raunchy comedies like Little Fockers. Most recently, she made an appearance on Modern Family and is rumored to be a part of the upcoming TV series The Politician.
Ann-Margret Olsson, better known as simply Ann-Margret, first became a star through a plethora of TV and movie roles in the late 1960s and 70s. In the 80s, she continued to take high-profile roles in the TV movie version of A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she won a Golden Globe. She also won a Golden Globe for her performance in 1983’s Who Will Love My Children?
Ann-Margret has never really stepped away from the limelight for long, with her career really coming back as she was featured as Ariel in Grumpy Old Men and its sequel. More recently, she appeared in episodes of CSI and Ray Donovan. She’s playing Barbara in the upcoming film Papa.
Susan Anton Then
Bombshell Susan Anton entered the 80s on a hot streak after her performance int he film Goldengirl. She appeared on the TV show The Love Boat as well as the series Murder, She Wrote and the film Cannonball Run II. She also appeared on Quantum Leap.
Susan Anton Now
Anton’s career took a nice bump when she landed the role of Jackie Quinn on Baywatch. Since then, she has only sparingly acted in films and TV shows, choosing to appear in theater productions and focus on her family, instead. She also enjoys playing golf in her spare time.
Jaclyn Smith Then
Jacklyn Smith played Kelly Garrett on “Charlie’s Angels.” She was the only original female lead that stayed in the series throughout its whole run. Smith continued the decade finding most of her work on TV, in both series and TV movies. She finished the decade playing the title role of the short-lived sitcom “Christine Cromwell.”
Jaclyn Smith Now
Jaclyn Smith has continued to be a staple on TV. She has landed roles on series such as “Becker” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Not to mention, she has played roles in countless TV movies. Her most recent role was in the 2015 TV movie “Bridal Wave.” Smith is also an entrepreneur and designed her own apparel and wig lines.
Ali MacGraw Then
In 1960, Ali MacGraw began working as a photographic assistant at Harper’s Bazaar magazine. It was during this job that several people in the industry noticed her beauty and asked her to move in front of the camera. After working as a model for a few years, she made the jump into acting. By the end of the 60’s, she earned her first Golden Globe award. Other than her modeling and acting, MacGraw is best known for marrying actor Steve McQueen. During her marriage to McQueen, she gave up her career.
Ali MacGraw Now
After her divorce from McQueen, MacGraw got back into acting. In the 80s and 90s, she added a few more roles to her resume including recurring roles on “The Winds of War” and “Dynasty.” She also discovered Yoga and helped create a yoga instructional video. Vanity Fair has credited the film with popularizing yoga in recent years. Although she hasn’t had an on-screen role since 1997, she continues to act on the stage.
Kate Jackson Then
Kate Jackson is best known for portraying Sabrin Duncan in “Charlie’s Angels,” from 1976-1979. Jackson continued her TV career in the 80s with roles in series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Baby Boom.” Unfortunately. Jackson also battled breast cancer in the late 1980s. From this point and until today, she remains as an active ambassador for breast cancer awareness.
Kate Jackson Now
Unfortunately, Kate Jackson has not landed any big roles since the 1980s. However, she remained active in Hollywood with roles in various TV series and TV movies. However, her last role was in 2007 on an episode of “Criminal Minds.” In 2010, it was announced that Jackson would write a memoir in conjunction with Gallery Books. However, the released date has been pushed back twice, which the new release date set for December 30, 2020.
Catherine Bell Then
Catherine Bell was attending UCLA when she was noticed by a modeling agency. She was quickly recruited for gigs in Japan, which she accepted. She dropped out of school her sophomore to pursue the opportunity. Upon returning to the U.S., she decided to try out acting. Her first gig was in 1990 when she landed a role with one line in the series “Sugar and Spice.” Of course, her resume quickly grew and she eventually landed her most prominent role of Sarah MacKenzie in “JAG.”
Catherine Bell Now
Catherine Bell worked on “JAG” from 1996-2005. Ever since her career has consisted of a long list of recurring characters on TV series. After “JAG,” she soon began portraying Denise Sherwood on “Army Wives,” which was subsequently followed by Cassie Nightingale on “Good Witch.” In 2017, she also appeared in several films such as “High-Rise Rescue” and “Christmas in the Air.”
Cheryl Ladd Then
Throughout the 1970s Cheryl Ladd made guest appearances in several sitcoms such as “The Partridge Family” and “Happy Days.” However, he big break came at the end of the decade when she landed the role of Kris Munroe in “Charlie’s Angels.” She played kris until 1981. Her career continued throughout the 80s with roles in films such as “Purple Hearts” and “Millenium.”
Cheryl Ladd Now
Although she has never landed another role as prominent as Kris Munroe, Cheryl Ladd has remained a beauty and acting icon. She continues to appear on both film and TV series. Productions on which she has recently worked include “Ballers,” “American Crime Story,” and “Unforgettable.”
Katharine Ross Then
Katharine Ross, actress and wife of Sam Elliot, has starred in some of the most popular films of the time. These include “The Graduate” where she played Elaine Robinson, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” where she played Etta Place and, “The Stepford Wives” where she played Joanna Eberhart.
Katharine Ross Now
Nowadays, Katherine Ross still appears on our screens. In 2015, she appeared in the series, “A Conversation With” and in “Love Letters,” along with her husband Sam Elliott. She continued to appear with him on screen in 2017 where she played Elliot’s ex-wife in the film “The Hero.”
Barbi Benton Then
In the 1980s, Barbi Benton was a model, actress, and singer. At the time, she was known for being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend. You may also recognize her from the comedy series “Hee Haw.” The show, first aired in 1969, combined country music and humor. Benton also released eight albums and achieved some success in that field as well; her record “Brass Buckles” made it to the top five on Billboard’s hit songs list.
Barbi Benton Now
In the mid 80’s already, she retired from show business and focused on raising her children. Nowadays, 68-year old Benton works as an interior designer. She spends her time in Aspen with her husband George Gradow. Her kids, Alexander and Ariana, live in California and are already starting families as well.
Elin Nordegren Then
Elin Nordegren is well known as the ex-wife of professional golfer Tiger Woods. In the early 2000s, Nordegren was the nanny of Swedish golfer, Jesper Parnevik. During the Open Championship of 2001, Nordegren and Woods met and later got married. Nordegren started modeling when she was 20 years old. She was discovered by a well-known photographer named Bingo Rimer and then appeared on the cover of the Swedish magazine “Cafe Sport” wearing a bikini. However, modeling was not her true passion.
Elin Nordegren Now
In 2009, her marriage with Tiger Woods received much media attention as Woods admitted to infidelity. The story shocked America and the two got divorced. Nordegren decided to focus on her career. She learned that modeling was not her true passion and decided to attend university in the hopes of becoming a child psychologist. In 2014, she graduated from Rolling College with a psychology degree and received an Outstanding Senior Award.
Beth Chapman Then
Beth Chapman is the wife of Duane “Dog” Chapman. The two are known for their reality TV series “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” In the show, “Dog” and his family are shown chasing down fugitives in the Hawaiian Islands. “Dog” claims to have caught over 6,000 fugitives during his 20-year career.
Beth Chapman Now
Recently, Beth was diagnosed with stage two throat cancer. In one interview on “PEOPLE” magazine, she talked about the illness, “I had to keep moving, every day, moving forward. That’s all you can do when you get a diagnosis like this. So I take it each day at a time. And I’ll fight it with all that I have.” Fortunately, during a recent episode on “Dog & Beth: Fight of Their Lives,” Dog received a phone call: a pathology report stating that Beth no longer shows signs of cancer. Great news!
Cote de Pablo Then
Cote de Pablo is both an actress and a singer. Already when she was ten years old she moved to the USA and began studying acting. When she was only 15, she co-hosted the talk show “Control” with Carlos Ponce. Later on, she attended Carnegie Mellon University where she studied music and theatre.
Cote de Pablo Now
Cote de Pablo was cast for the TV show NCIS. In 2011, she won an ALMA award for her role on the show as Ziva David. However, in 2013 she decided to leave the show after eight years and fans were disappointed. She spoke on “Latina.com” about her decision, “they were going to send her back to Israel and make her a sad, miserable woman. I said ‘What do I leave all the women that are watching and following the show?’ And I didn’t think it was fair. So I said, ‘Unless someone can really write something fantastic, I won’t go back.”
Raquel Welch Then
Since appearing in a fur bikini in “One Million Years BC” in 1996, Raquel Welch has been known as a Hollywood bombshell. Since that film, producers have been constantly knocking at her door. Through the 70s and 80s, she appeared in films such as “The Last of Shelia,” “The Three Musketeers,” and “Trouble in Paradise.”
Raquel Welch Now
Raquel Welch’s reputation as a Hollywood hottie has yet to change since the 1980s and her career reflects this, as it has yet to waver. Since the 1980s, she has appeared in popular productions such as “Legally Blonde,” “House of Versace,” and “Spin City.” Her most recent role was in the 2017 comedy, “How to be a Latin Lover.”
Barbara Eden worked in television for years before becoming a star. She appeared in The Johnny Carson Show, I Love Lucy, and The Andy Griffith Show, amongst others, but her big break didn’t come until she was cast in I Dream Of Jeannie. She played the titular character for five years before the show ended. She continued to work in film and television for decades but she will forver be remembered for that role.
Crystal Gayle Then
Crystal Gayle grew up in a musical home. Her sister is country legend Loretta Lynn, who helped her write songs in the beginning of her career, but it took a few years before she broke through with her hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” From there she continued having several hits in the late 70’s and 80’s and won Grammys, Country Music, and American Music Awards.
Crystal Gayle Now
Gayle’s career slowed down in the 90’s. She continued working, releasing albums throughout the decade and into the 2000’s but they failed to really bring her career back to the heights it enjoyed. She performs regularly and has been honored in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Lisa Bonet Then
Lisa Bonet stole America’s heart when she made her screen debut in The Cosby Show. She portrayed Cosby’s second born Denise and was instantly a fan favorite amongst the other children. She then went on to star in the first season of A Different World. After that, she returned to her role on The Cosby Show and remained a huge part of it until the show ended in 1991.
Lisa Bonet Now
Her career never reached the height that it did throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Once The Cosby Show wrapped up, Bonet tried making it in the movies and did garner a few memorable roles in Enemy Of The State and High Fidelity. She also kept herself alive on television by guest starring in multiple TV shows.
Michelle Pfeiffer Then
Michelle Pfeiffer first stepped onto the scene in the late 1970’s She made some TV appearances on shows like Fantasy Island and CHiPs. It was in the 1980’s when her career really started to bloom. She immediately skyrocketed to the top by starring in films like Scarface and Grease 2. She managed to be one of the biggest stars in film all the way until the 2000’s.
Michelle Pfeiffer Now
Long behind are the days when Pfeiffer was blowing our minds by portraying Catwoman in Batman Returns. This doesn’t stop her from keeping her career thriving, She recently had a key role in the film Ant-Man And The Wasp. She has already a secured a role in the next big Avengers film. Recent years have proven that Michelle still has a lot to offer the bustling world of Hollywood.
Paris Hilton Then
Paris Hilton first rose to fame at the age of 19. The socialite was a wild fixture at Hollywood parties and rose to fame via her outrageous behavior. She was soon a big hit in tabloids who wrote a ton of articles about her. Once she became a big name, she got her own reality show in 2003 called The Simple Life. It starred her and Nicole Richie, the daughter of pop artist Lionel Richie.
Paris Hilton Now
Today, unless you go out of your way to find information about Paris Hilton, you probably won’t hear much about her. That said, she is still keeping busy in life. You’ll find that she is opening a lot of lines having to do with fashion and skincare. She is currently 37-years-old and has claimed down significantly since 2006. We’ll definitely never forget the kind of madness she stirred way back in the 2000’s.
Susan Boyle Then
Susan Boyle was already nearly fifty when she came into our lives. Her early life was plagued with bullying and lowly feelings. She was misdiagnosed with Asperger’s as a child and believed she had the illness. That said, she was actually quite normal and had a wonderful singing voice. She would record demos and send them all over the place with very little luck. She would also win a lot of local singing competitions.
Susan Boyle Now
In 2008, the world met Susan Boyle when she showed up on Britain’s Got Talent. While she isn’t a major pop artist, the appearance led to a record deal and eventually some amazing tours. The last ten years have been the best in Susan Boyle’s life. She worked hard with nearly all the odds against her and she became something.