Do you remember the most well-known actors of the 1980s? If you don’t, then you’re about to because you better believe that we have tracked down some of the very best from that era. You may be amazed to learn just what some of your favorite teenage and child actors are up to nowadays, especially the ones that are no longer in the spotlight. Let’s just say that there is a range of outcomes here, from absolute disaster, to living on the down-low, to continuing to churn out hit productions.
Most of us can remember at least a few actors that we totally fell in love with back in the day. After all, the 1980s was the decade for teenage dramas and movies, such as Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was the decade when geeks were severely picked on, being the most popular students in school was the ultimate goal, and the rebel without a cause stereotype was in full abundance. So, it is really fun to look back on these actors and actresses and see what they are up to now!
Take the time to sit back, relax, and reminisce about some of these celebs. We promise that you will find these people and outcomes to be quite intriguing.
20. Ricky Schroder
Actor Ricky Schroder appeared in 80s productions such as Silver Spoons, Lonesome Dove, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. His acting career continued into the 1990s, and then his name kind of fell out of vogue. So, what is Ricky up to now? He has resurrected his career and can now be found acting on The Fighting Season and spent the end of 2015 starring in Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. The 45-year-old has become a family man, and cites his brood at home with keeping him on the straight and narrow. While he admits that rebounding after being a child star is tough, he has found his true calling in producing and directing.
19. Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald was the “it’ girl” in the 1980s, starring in hit films such as Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club. Well, people have not forgotten about her! The woman is still acting and made a comeback when she starred as the mom in the hit TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager with Shailene Woodley. Molly also penned a book about her experiences and she continues to be a positive role model in Hollywood. It is refreshing to see a child star who managed to keep her cool throughout all of the drama. Major props!
18. Emilio Estevez
You probably remember Emilio Estevez from hit movies such as The Breakfast Club and The Outsiders. He also continued acting into the 1990s. Oh, and he is also the son of Martin Sheen. In late 2015, Emilio received loads of support as he dealt with the illness of his father, who suffered from major heart surgery. It was a touching moment for both men to reflect on their lives and careers. Emilio even posted a blurb on the social media page for his 2010 film, The Way, which he directed. Nowadays, Emilio is still working in film, but on the other side of the lens. He is writing and directing, while doing some acting as well.
Jeez Louise, what hasn’t Madonna done? She broke out on the scene in the 1980s, basically dominated the 1990s as well, and even into the new millennium, she continued to kick butt. And at 57 years old, she is still going strong, touring, making music, and appearing in productions all the time. In the summer of 2015, she released a music video for “Bitch, I’m Madonna,” which featured none other than Nicki Minaj. And while she is most known for her singing, she also had her fair share of filmography as well. Basically, she is superwoman, so don’t expect her to stop anytime soon.
16. Anthony Michael Hall
No one played the nerd better than Anthony Michael Hall back in the 1980s. In The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and WeirdScience, he was the go-to teenage actor for all things geek. Now at 47 years old, he is still working in film, and has added producing and directing to his resume. Hall reflected on his work in those teenage films and fondly remembers them, and hey! Geeks are all the rage now. Even in real life, Hall can stick it to the bullies; he was nominated for an Oscar for Foxcatcher, which also starred Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo.
15. Alyssa Milano
Do you remember when Alyssa Milano was a young child star? Well, she has come a long way. She is still a super-popular celebrity, but she is also one hot mama. Some of her recent work has included judging on Project Runway: All Stars and guest appearing on The Talk. Alyssa also became a forerunner in the social media fight for breastfeeding, most famously dressing up as Superwoman while nursing her baby. Now that is badass! Alyssa also does humanitarian work for PETA, environmental causes, and the medical community. We would say that she is totally kicking butt in her 40s!
14. Rob Lowe
51-year-old Rob Lowe is known for some many gigs that it would be impossible to list them all here. Nowadays, he is still going strong and recently worked on The Grinder alongside another ‘80s child star, Fred Savage. The two actors play brothers who work at a law firm (the family business) and try to one-up each other. Needless to say, this is one comedic venture. The name Rob Lowe also calls to mind his fantastic Parks and Recreation character, and not to mention those cable TV commercials (remember creepy Rob Lowe?) The truth is, whether we’re watching St. Elmo’s Fire or a sketch comedy, we love Rob Lowe.
13. Patrick Dempsey
Swoon. He is 50 years old now, but Patrick Dempsey will forever be remembered as a total heartthrob. After all, his nickname wasn’t “Dr. McDreamy.” for nothing! He had a long stint on Grey’s Anatomy, but has since left and moved on to other projects. His most recent gig is starring on Bridget Jones’s Baby, a film that suits him well, as he is the ultimate rom-com king. Even though his character was killed off in a car accident in Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey himself enjoys racing his Porsche and living life to the fullest We would definitely sit shotgun next to him any day!
12. Matthew Broderick
You can’t think about the 80s and teenage films without mentioning Matthew Broderick and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Broderick continued to act and segued onto Broadway as well. Now he can be seen on the big screen, stage, and silver screen, with his latest gig being Silvia, in which he works alongside Sarah Jessica Parker. Broderick is no longer a teenager, but he still has that boyish spark and charm. His acting chops are even more refined and we still love watching him perform. 2016 will be a busy year as he’ll contribute to a Warren Beatty project, The Gettysburg Address, and Look Away.
11. Michael J. Fox
Who can forget about Marty McFly? Michael J. Fox stole our hearts forever when he starred in that iconic film series, Back to the Future. As he transitioned into adulthood, he continued to act and contribute to research and awareness efforts for Parkinson’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1991. Since then, the actor has founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which awards grants to various charities, organizations, and individuals around the world. He has become a role model not just for pushing past his illness, but for his natural talent in the film industry. He’s a true hero!
10. Drew Barrymore
To be honest, Drew Barrymore never ceases to amaze us. She started acting from such as early age, and totally stole the audience’s heart when she starred in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial at age 6. She had a very rough patch where she dealt with drug and alcohol abuse. Since then, she has cleaned up, pulled her act together, and even began producing, directing, and writing her own productions! Now she is the mother of a beautiful baby girl, and even raised awareness for post-partum depression. Seriously, we adore this celebrity! The 40-year-old has even written books, such as Little Girl Lost, Wildflower, and Find It in Everything.
9. Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron quickly became a household name at the young age of 15 when he starred as the male lead in the hit TV series, Growing Pains. He is also the famous sibling of another child star, Candace Cameron. Kirk became an evangelical Christian and devoutly dedicated his life to Christ, which led him to step away from some acting gigs. He has since become a missionary while still working in film. Some of his works include Left Behind, Saving Christmas, Mercy Rule, and Unstoppable. He also adopted 4 children and has 2 biological kids with his wife, Chelsea Noble.
8. Soleil Moon Frye
She was the adorable Punky Brewster back in the day, and in the late 1990s, she was the spunky sidekick on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Now Soleil Moon Frye is 39 years old and a mother of 3 wonderful kids. She is still acting, but is also writing for film and TV and directing. Her parenting website features tips for keeping children happy and healthy, and she offers up suggestions for arts and crafts. Soleil made headlines when she decided to have a breast reduction operation, but that didn’t bog her down. Now she is considered a success story for 80s child actors.
7. Keshia Knight Pulliam
We can’t gloss over Keshia Knight Pulliam. She is still fairly young at 36 years old, but she was a child star at a very young age. She is most known for her role as the cute-as-pie Rudy Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Keshia more recently starred in productions such as Will to Love, Celebrity Apprentice, and Madea Goes to Jail. Keshia was also in the news for rumors circulating about a secret wedding to Ed Hartwell, who plays football as a linebacker. Keshia’s ex was Big Tigger. While her acting career isn’t as hot as it was back in the day, she still seems to be living a happy and healthy life.
6. Fred Savage
Fred Savage was another child actor who was all the rage back in the 1980s. Luckily for him, he is still doing well at age 39. He is currently promoting The Grinder, a comedy TV series in which he stars alongside another funny man, Rob Lowe. Fred catapulted to fame thanks to The Wonder Years, but he also starred in The Princess Bride, The Rules of Attraction, and Austin Powers in Goldmember, among others. He also works as a director and producer, working on gigs such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends with Benefits. It’s no “wonder” he is so successful!
5. Judd Nelson
Many people fondly remember Judd Nelson from his stint on The Breakfast Club. Now he is 56 years old, but he is still working as an actor, as well as a screenwriter and producer. Reflecting on his huge hit role in The Breakfast Club as the rebel without a cause, Judd mused that the roles are reversed. Now he is old enough to be that rebel’s father! Judd has certainly dealt with his fair share of strange and wild events. In 2014, someone leaked a fake news story claiming that he had passed away! Fear not, because Judd is alive and kicking!
4. Jerry O’Connell
Jerry O’Connell began his acting career as an average-looking child star who was still clinging to his baby fat. Well, not anymore! The actor continued his career, and although he had some rough patches (like Piranha 3D,) he also had some more stellar gigs, such as Justice League: Throne of Atlantic and Veronica Mars. As of 2016, we can expect to hear him voice Ralph in Finding Dory. Oh, and he married the ever-gorgeous Rebecca Romijn in 2007, and the couple are the parents of 2 cute kids. You can catch Romijn and O’Connell working side-by-side in Eastwick.
3. Charlie Sheen
Unfortunately, some celebrities just turn out being batty and Charlie Sheen is a great example of this. He was doing his thing throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and while he was always a bit strange, he became a complete psycho come present day. We have watched Charlie Sheen’s downward spiral as he claimed he had tiger’s blood, fought against his exes (he has 3 ex-wives), and verbally attacked the doctor who supposedly treated him for HIV. His hit TV series, Two and a Half Men, ended in 2015, and 2016 looks like it will be a struggle if Charlie Sheen can’t get his act together.
2. Jennifer Grey
Jennifer Grey is somewhat of a legend. We will always remember her as the dancing “baby” in Dirty Dancing. She may be 55 years old, but she is still smoking hot! She also competed on Dancing with the Stars, which she won! Her signature lift move has been recreated by plenty of dancers. Unfortunately, Jennifer has dealt with some medical complications, such as compressed spinal cord and thyroid cancer, though she is now cancer-free. Her acting career has been slow in past few years; mostly with starring roles in Lifetime network films. Even so, she is also starring in Red Oaks, a comedy TV series.
1. Sean Penn
Sean Penn seems to be in a never-ending cycle of bad news and negative press. The latest news is a dramatic love tragedy between himself, Madonna, and Naomi Campbell. Sean Penn has struggled with scandals for years, and it is a shame, considering that he was such a talented actor back in the day. Many remember the now 55-year-old from Fast Time at Ridgemont High. Yet in 2015, he was linked to El Chapo, an extremely dangerous drug dealer in Mexico who allegedly was interviewed by Penn. Unfortunately, the actor is obviously no stranger to political, social, and relationship issues.