As we all know and probably remember, the 80’s and 90’s (just like any other decade) had many memorable moments, iconic story-lines and some punch lines that we’ll certainly never forget. But do you think you would really recognize Daisy Duke or the Karate Kid if they were in your field of vision, walking down the street? The answer is probably not. Everyone ages, but these stars were transformed from their younger days into someone seemingly different. Some were naturally different with age, others just tried too many nips and tucks that just turned something good or decent into something, well, you’ll see. Let us take a look at some of these famous people who left a rather special mark on our lives, along with photos and clips of some of their most memorable moments.
14. Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh was born to actor Vic Morrow, and writer Barbara Turner. Her father tragically died while filming a movie. At one point in her life, she was voted one of “America’s 10 most beautiful women” by Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, in 1989. What happened to her? Nothing exciting. Just aged naturally and gracefully. Not quite the beautiful woman she once was, though. The following movies made her famous: Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982), The Hitcher (1986) and Single White Female (1992). She is currently 53 years old. What does she do now? She still acts. Her recent gigs include the TV Drama Revenge, the 2013 film Kill Your Darlings, and the 2015 film The Hateful Eight. Impressively she managed to give birth to her first child at the age of 48. What were her most memorable scenes and lines? Everyone remembers Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool in Fast times at Ridgemont High. It’s probably the biggest contribution to pop culture from that film, but check out this clip of Jennifer fighting not to get torn apart from some big rigs in the Horror Film The Hitcher.
13. Mia Sara
This lady with two first names was actually born Mia Sarapochiello. Those of us in High School in the eighties remember her as Ferris Bueller‘s girlfriend. Believe it or not after striking it big in 1986, she did manage to make a huge number of appearances in film and TV up until a few years ago. Born to artistic but not famous parents, she married into some famous families. Sean Connery was once her father-in-law. What happened to her? Okay, so no one really thinks that she is the same person that we all remember, but she still looks good for a 48 year old. Maybe it’s the predominant color Red in her recent photo that makes her look completely different. In her case, change is not necessarily bad. What made her famous? Of Course Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), but there was also TimeCop (1994) which earned her a Saturn Award for best supporting actress, the only award she ever won. Her current age is 48. What does she do now? She lives in semi-retirement with her last acting job being a short film in 2013.
12. Kelly McGillis
The female lead in Top Gun, the movie that further catapulted Tom Cruise to stardom, was a high school dropout that did have success in her dream of becoming an actress. It’s a pretty bold move for a daughter of a doctor and a housewife with no pedigree in show business. What happened to her? Can she really be that old? Okay, she doesn’t look bad at all but she is only 58. Wait a minute, is Tom Cruise really that old as well? Regardless of age, a lot of the similarities from her younger days are truly gone. What made her famous? Her break out role was Witness (1985), a thriller where she was an Amish mother. She co-starred with Harrison Ford. That’s a unique breakout role, since she really wasn’t just the star’s love interest. A year later she starred in Top Gun. Imagine that, co-starring with the biggest names of the decade, and perhaps the last three decades, in your first two breakout roles. What does she do now? She teaches acting in Asheville, NC. What are some of her memorable scenes or lines? Check out this scene from Top Gun where her charisma comes out as she shoots down Tom Cruise, telling him that she doesn’t date students.
11. Mr. T
Actor, wrestler and reality star Mr. T, got his Hollywood start rather late in life. One of twelve children raised by his mom in a 3 room (not bedroom) apartment in Chicago. A wrestling star in high school, he was expelled from University after qualifying with a football scholarship. Working as a bodyguard, he developed his trademark gold chains and haircut, until Sylvester Stallone noticed him one day in a bouncer competition and the rest is history. What happened to him? This man has led a clean life, so what gives? He may look a little like his younger self, but what happened to his eyebrows? His hair is no longer the same, but a pale imitation. His gold chains are gone. I mean, how can you recognize him without the trademarks that made him famous in the first place? Admittedly he did battle cancer for 6 years and won, so that may have something to do with it. What made him famous? His signature haircut and his gold chains. Oh, and there was his appearance in the first WrestleMania where he teamed up with Hulk Hogan, a successful TV show in the 80’s called the A-Team, and the great villain Clubber Lang, in Rocky 3. He even parodied himself on Different Strokes. Current Age? 63. What does he do now? He stars in a home-improvement show called, you guessed-it, I Pity The Tool.
10. Richard Dean Anderson
Richard Dean Anderson dreamed of becoming a hockey player, until he broke both his arms. He was an adventurer who once went on a 5600 mile bicycle trek from his home in Minnesota to Alaska. Then he became a soap opera star, before he received his defining role in Hollywood in the 80s. What happened to him? There is no way the man on the right is MacGyver, Richard’s defining character. The eyes don’t look the same, neither do the eyebrows. Of course there is the obvious weight gain. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that he looked like the guy on the left on Stargate SG-1? What made him famous? He started out as a soap opera star playing Dr. Jeff Weber in General Hospital, between 1976-1981. In 1985, he received his defining role as MacGyver, the ingenious action hero who caught bad guys with science without a gun. That role lasted 7 years. Unlike most actors, he was able to redefine himself five years later on another successful TV series, Stargate SG-1. He is currently 65 years old and retired, but he’s involved with several environmental organizations.
9. Mickey Rourke
An amateur boxer (with a 27 and 3 record), turned actor, turned professional boxer, turned actor again, Mickey has resurrected his career of late in high budget films such as Iron Man II. What happened to him? Between the picture on the left and the picture on the right he was a professional boxer with a not too shabby six wins, no losses and two draws. As a result of injuries sustained in his boxing career, he needed significant reconstructive surgery. Mickey himself blames his plastic surgeons for his disfigurement. Even with all of this surgery, he returned to the ring again in 2014, and won an exhibition match against a 29 year old. The opponent claimed that he threw the match and was paid to take a dive. What made him famous? Movies like Diner (1983), The Pope Of Greenwich Village (1984), 9 1/2 weeks (1986) and Angel Heart (1987). Though none of them were blockbusters, it was definitely the erotic 91/2 weeks that gained him the most recognition.
In the early 90’s he went back to boxing, before making a comeback into mainstream cinema with Sin City (2008). Mickey has won numerous awards over his life, mostly in his comeback years and most of them from his movie The Wrestler, in 2008. Current Age? 63. What does he do now? In 2014 he did announce that he planned four more professional fights. Memorable Scenes or Lines? If there is one scene that defined the actor in the 80s, it is this food scene from the erotic movie 91/2 Weeks. This movie was the 50 Shades of Grey of its time.
8. Catherine Bach
So this one might overlap with the 70s a little bit, but the name Daisy Duke was practically used in any conversations that involved beauty, or sexiness in the 80s. Catherine Bach was the reason. What happened to her? Alright, we all age, but did it have to be like this? This is Daisy Duke after all. No offense to Catherine but she set the bar so high when she was young, that it’s hard to imagine her as the person on the right. This is not to say that she is not a good looking person right now. The facial features bear no resemblance to each other. What made her famous? Cut-off Denim shorts, sometimes referred to as Daisy Dukes. Current Age? 61. What does she do now? She’s a soap opera star on The Young and The Restless since 2012. Memorable Scenes or Lines? Look at this scene just to see how irresistible Catherine Bach was in her time.
7. Bridget Fonda
Born with one of the most famous last names in Hollywood, Bridget started acting at the age of 5, in the movie Easy Rider (1969). In the 1990s, Bridget starred in 27 movies. That works out to 3 movies a year. Somehow when the new millennium rolled around, she all but disappeared from public sight. What happened to her? In all fairness, in the picture on the right she seems devoid of any makeup. Since she’s not really involved with Hollywood anymore, that could account for most of the differences in the two pictures. This from the girl that was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history (#85). What made her famous? Her breakout role was in The Godfather Part III (1990). She followed that up with so many movies, such as Single White Female (1992). The list of movie roles goes on and on from there. She was everywhere.
She is currently 51 years old, and is out of the limelight. Memorable Scenes or Lines? Bridget always looked good in a bikini, and in this scene from Jackie Brown (1997), she uses this and so much more to seduce Robert De Niro’s character.
6. Ralph Macchio
Considered a teen star by just about everyone, Ralph Macchio started his career at 19 on TV, and had his first major breakthrough at 23. What happened to him? In this case nothing. Sure he looks different, but one thing has remained the same, he always looked younger than his age. That is still true today. What made him famous? The Karate Kid (1984), along with its two successful sequels. He did do a few projects before that, starting his career as a regular on the television sit-com Eight is Enough (1980-1981). In 1992 he had a pivotal role on My Cousin Vinnie. Current Age? 53. What does he do now? Over the last few years, he’s made many cameos on TV, oftentimes playing himself, with a couple of film appearances along the way. Nothing though since 2014.
5. Marilyn Ghigliotti
Marilyn Ghigliotti is an actress that has had sporadic roles in films over the last two decades, 12 to be exact. What happened to her? Age, a little bit of weight gain, but it’s definitely not the same person. What made her famous? Clerks (1994). She was cast in this role for her ability to cry. She later turned down another role in Chasing Amy, because she was uncomfortable kissing a girl on film. She is currently 54 years old and still Acts. Alien Armageddon (2011) kept her in the public spotlight. In 2015 she appears in the movie Lake Eerie. Memorable Scenes or Lines?
4. Courtney Love
Blamed for the death of her superstar husband Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana, by many fans, Courtney had a successful music career and acting career of her own until she spiraled out of control. What happened to her? Drugs, and then more drugs. There was also some plastic surgery, namely lip injections and a nose job. What made her famous? Getting married to Kurt Cobain, along with tabloids of her drug addiction, and accusations that she took drugs while pregnant. Of course there was the successful music career with Hole that she should be remembered for. Hole sold over 3 million records over 4 albums. Two of those albums went platinum in the USA and Canada. There were also several acting gigs that kept her in the spotlight in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Current Age? 51. What does she do now? Thankfully she cleaned up her act and is actually quite busy with a lot of projects. She debuted a new single in May of 2015, and recently appeared in the FX show, Sons of Anarchy. She’s also involved with numerous charities.
3. Jared Leto
An accomplished actor, musician, director and songwriter, Jared Leto is one of the few people on this list (if not the only person) who has seen success virtually every year since he burst onto the scene in 1994, in the teen drama My So-Called Life. What happened to him? It’s all about the hair. What made him famous? Today he is more famous for what he will do, as for what he has done, as he is slated to play the “Joker” in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. After achieving cult status with My So-Called Life (1994), he moved on to film appearing in such films as How To Make An American Quilt (1995), Fight Club (1999) and American Psycho (2000). As if that wasn’t enough he formed the band, 30 Seconds to Mars, in 2002, selling over 15 million copies worldwide (over 4 albums). He was still a successful actor throughout that decade. Let’s not forget his Academy Award winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club (2013). Current Age? 43. What does he do now? We’ve already mentioned his upcoming movie release. In 2014 he released a documentary for his Concert tour called Into The Wild.
2. Lil Kim
Lil Kim was a highly successful musician who dominated the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts in the late 90s, proving that women could make their mark in that industry. What happened to her? Lil Kim made her mark by selling sexy as much as music. Her image was centered around being provocative with crazy outfits and sexy looks. Some bad plastic surgery to keep that image is what makes her look so completely different today. What made her famous? Her debut album HardCore (1996) spawned 3 consecutive No. 1 Rap Hits. A record for female rappers. She also had 3 platinum albums (only one of two female rappers to do so). Current Age? 40. What does she do now? She released a few singles from Hard Core Mixtape 2k14, in 2014.
1. Pamela Anderson
Sex symbol, Playboy playmate and actress from the 90s, Pamela Anderson’s fame started at birth, having been the first baby born on July 1st, 1967 in Canada, marking the Country’s 100th birthday. What happened to her? Plastic Surgery. It started at a young age with breast implants, then continued after stardom with everything else. It’s too bad when people just aren’t happy with the way they look, especially when they looked so good. She is only 48 years old after all. What made her famous? One of the most popular series, if not the most popular series in the world at the time, Baywatch (1992-1997), Playboy Cover Girl (1990) and Home Improvement (1991-1993). Of Course the view from the popular red bathing suit from Baywatch pictured above also made her famous. Memorable scenes or lines? This scene from Baywatch says it all about why people in droves watched that show.