Ah, the 1980s — a misplaced moment of inspiration! The decade saw the advent of the stereo Walkman, the IBM 5150 Personal Computer, CDs, and the mobile phone, yet, in complete disregard of decorum, the world of popular music gave us Rick Astley and Taco.
Given that the decade finished up 27 years ago, we’d be mistaken for thinking it was dead and buried. True, the fashions of the day are long gone as is its “music.” But it wasn’t all in vain. The success of the 5150 stirred other companies to develop faster and more capable computers leading to the types we now take for granted.
What’s more, some of the mistakes of the ’80s still affect us. It was an extravagant go-get decade. Big money was earned and spent like never before. Called the ‘Reagan Years’ (because Ronald Reagan was POTUS for eight of them), the recession ended, inflation was controlled, and taxes were reduced.
But the economy wasn’t as robust as people thought. The early 1990s saw a near-worldwide recession. Then, in tandem with prodigality’s harsh lesson, the late 1980s saw society learning about the self. The tragedy of the AIDS epidemic brought change in our perception of sexual promiscuity; it forced massive social change and a greater awareness of our responsibilities to ourselves and to others.
OK, it wasn’t all bad. The decade that gave ’60s free love a run for its money also saw some of the most iconic movies ever made, such as Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and E.T. — which brings us nicely to our next topic.
Here are 16 celebs from the 1980s that made it this far either gracefully or with the grace of a reversing dump truck without any wheels on it.
16. Teri Hatcher – GOOD
Admitting she did “toy with fillers or Botox over the years,” Hatcher claims not to have undergone any other surgery, which begs the question of how at 52 years old, she can still look as she did in the ’80s!
Born in 1964 in Palo Alto, California, Teri Hatcher’s successful acting career began with her role as Amy in the 1985 TV series The Love Boat. In fact, the ’80s saw her make an appearance in many of the popular shows of the time, such as MacGyver, Quantum Leap, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hatcher is best known for her role as Lois Lane in the hit TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, in which she played Lane from 1993 until 1997. Thereafter, she claimed the role of Paris Carver in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and was, in the same year, voted FHM’s “world’s sexiest woman.”
15. Joan Van Ark – NOT GOOD
For American actress Joan Van Ark, the hit US soap opera Knots Landing (1979-1993) kept her busy throughout the 1980s. A spin-off from Dallas, the show centered on the lives of four married couples living in Seaview Circle – a fictional coastal suburb of Los Angeles. Van Ark played “good girl” Valene Ewing, the ex-wife of Dallas’s Gary Ewing from 1978 until 1992. During this time, she won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Best Actress for her characterization.
Van Ark is a prolific actress and has appeared in over 20 TV series and films since 1967. While her personal life seems to have followed a smooth path without the usual celeb controversy, the 74-year-old hasn’t aged as well as she might. Thrown into the mix, we suspect, is a soupcon of plastic surgery – certainly a collagen lip procedure somewhere along the line – which hasn’t helped matters.
14. Pamela Anderson – GOOD
Canadian actress Pamela Anderson began her showbiz career as a model in the ’80s. She quickly gained popularity as the cover girl of Playboy 1989 and has since appeared in the magazine more than any other woman, according to Casino City Times. In fact, her modeling career with the glamour publication spans 22 years.
Three years after her first photo shoot, Anderson auditioned and won the part of C. J. Parker in the hit TV drama Baywatch. She played the role for five seasons between 1992 and 1997. Anderson, now 50, retains much of her early glamour and physique and with very little outside help. She’s had two bouts of breast augmentation surgery, which took place in the early 1990s but otherwise seems to have grown old gracefully and as God intended… what’s not to love about her?
13. Robert De Niro– GOOD
There aren’t many actors that can claim the versatility of Robert De Niro. The 73-year-old Italian-American actor first appeared on screen at the age of 20 in Brian De Palma‘s 1963 film The Wedding Party. He quickly garnered interest from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola before appearing in The Godfather Part II (1974). But not wishing to be typecast in the role of a mobster, through the ’80s, De Niro worked in many other film genres, his output including Brazil (1985), Midnight Run (1988) and Falling in Love (1984).
Married twice and with six children, De Niro has carved a name for himself as one of the greats of cinema. He came in fifth in the UK’s Empire magazine “Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” and ranked top in its “The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)” list.
12. Charles Barkley – NOT GOOD
Retired professional basketball player Charles Barkley was renowned as one of the NBA’s most dominating forwards. In 1984, Barkley became the leading rebounder and number two scorer for his then team the Philadelphia 76ers. Five years later, Barkley was named Player of the Year by The Sporting News and Basketball Weekly. He averaged 25.2 points and 11.5 rebounds per game and a career-high .600 shooting.
In 2000, he retired as the fourth player in NBA history to “achieve 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists,” according to NBA.com. As with many sportsmen and women who retire, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep as physically active as they were. Time isn’t on the side of Barkley, who now packs a handsome yet fuller figure than he used to. He now writes books, and in 2008, considered running for Governor of Alabama. He changed his mind, which may be just as well, all things considered.
11. Goldie Hawn – NOT GOOD
Goldie Hawn’s opening to stardom came with her first major film role in Cactus Flower (1969) for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. After several TV and film appearances in the ’60s and ’70s, Hawn arrived in the ’80s with a great deal of promise. Private Benjamin, an American comedy film starring Hawn, was one of the biggest box office hits of the 1980s, according to Box Office Mojo.
Married twice with three children, the now 71-year-old actress manages the Hawn Foundation, a not-for-profit organization offering youth education programs intended to improve academic performance. Recent pictures of Hawn show that time hasn’t been on her side. But who cares? With such a movie legacy as hers, the inevitable signs of aging can only be stemmed for so long. And at least she hasn’t tampered with plastic surgery.
10. Brigitte Nielsen – GOOD
53-year-old Brigitte Nielsen initially made a name for herself as a model before shooting to stardom in the decade of decadence. Her appearances in Red Sonja and Rocky IV, both released in 1985, secured her a place as a siren of the silver screen. We can be forgiven for thinking Nielsen epitomized the ’80s penchant for sex and drugs; she’s been married five times, had an affair in ’87 while married to Sly Stallone, was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s many mistresses, and even had a one-night fling with Sean Penn in Cannes.
Her battle with alcoholism was also well-documented. Nielsen — also a smoker — appears to have aged remarkably well, however. Perhaps, she’s had a little more plastic help than she cares to admit. Either way, we think she looks every bit the hottie she was when she played Ludmilla Vobet Drago in Rocky IV.
9. Maud Adams – GOOD
Swedish actress Maud Adams, now 72, appeared in three of the James Bond franchise films. She played the eponymous lead role in the 1983 film Octopussy opposite the late Roger Moore; she also starred as the doomed lover of Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), then took a part as an extra in A View to a Kill (1985). Adams starred in 12 other films throughout the ’80s, including Soda Cracker (1989) and Deadly Intent (1988).
Despite appearances in three further films since the end of the ’80s and several TV shows, Adams became semi-retired after marrying second husband Charles Rubin, a retired judge, in 1999. Since her last performance for Bond producers, Adams has remained a close fan and often attends Bond movie premieres or other events associated with the franchise. We think she’s aged gracefully and retains the glamor of her Bond-girl heyday.
8. Nick Nolte – NOT GOOD
American actor and former model Nick Nolte is a much-decorated performer. During the ’80s he starred in 12 films, including Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and Three Fugitives (1989). Over the course of his career, he’s won or been nominated for Best Actor in both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards many times. In 1992, People Magazine even voted him the “Sexiest Man Alive.”
But time hasn’t been on Nolte’s side. Three marriages and substance abuse take their toll on a person, both psychologically and physically. In 2002, his lawyers filed a no-contest plea to charges of driving under the influence. He was given three years probation, with orders to “undergo alcohol and drug counseling with random testing required,” reported express.co.uk. While the normal ravages of time affect us all in the end, Nolte’s appearance now lacks much of the essence of his early modeling career.
7. Tom Hulce – NOT GOOD
American actor Tom Hulce was a successful theater actor in the ’70s, but the ’80s were his coming of age as a movie star. The 1984 period drama film Amadeus, a highly-fictionalized biopic of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, saw his starlit entry into the medium. Playing Mozart, Hulce was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance but lost to his fabulous co-star, F. Murray Abraham, who played arch-rival Salieri.
Proving he wasn’t a one-hit wonder, Hulce later received a Best Actor Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance as a garbage collector who was ‘intellectually challenged’ in the 1988 movie Dominick and Eugene. Hulce stepped away from acting in the mid-1990s to focus on stage direction and production and, in 2007, won a Tony Award as a lead producer of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening. Time hasn’t been kind to him, but we suspect he’s too busy to even care.
6. Steven Tyler – NOT GOOD
Best known as the brilliant, high-pitched lead vocalist of Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, Steven Tyler has been everywhere and done everything we’d imagine a rock-n-roll dude would do. That includes touring the world with the band and winning more awards than he has wall space. The band came about in the late ’70s and soon found themselves headlining huge stadiums and major rock music festivals.
But while Aerosmith’s popularity started to fade in the mid-1980s, Tyler’s lifestyle continued unabated. His drug abuse increased, and according to reports, his addiction to heroin was at its worst between 1979 and 1982. He had also become increasingly reliant on alcohol. He was sent to rehab, cured to an extent, and by 1986, the band has consequently begun to rekindle some success. Nevertheless, it all seems to have taken its toll on the musician who looks considerably older than his 69 years.
5. Matt Le Blanc – GOOD
Matt Le Blanc first appeared in a commercial for Heinz ketchup back in 1987. After this, he starred in several TV dramas and sitcoms but is best known for his ten-year stint as the endearing yet promiscuous Joey Tribbiani in the popular sitcom Friends. By the last season, he and his co-stars were earning $1 million per episode. Whatever you might think of the salary, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Friends final season was ranked fourth in prime-time network viewing popularity. The last ever episode, “The Last One,” was watched by 52.5 million people.
LeBlanc has gone on to other projects both on TV and in film and currently hosts Top Gear, a British-made TV series about motorcars. The years have been kind to 49-year-old LeBlanc, who recently won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Actor In A New TV Series” for his role as Adam Burns in Man with a Plan.
4. Mark Hamill – NOT GOOD
Not so top-gear now is Mark Hamill, who is best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in Episodes IV, V, and VI of the Star Wars franchise. Born in 1951, Hamill’s acting career began with a recurring role on the US soap opera General Hospital, followed by appearances on The Bill Cosby Show and on One Day at a Time. Then, at the age of 25, Hamill auditioned for a new film being made by Director-Producer George Lucas called Star Wars.
Hamill’s Skywalker became one of the most recognizable characters in movie history after the release of the following two films in the first three years of the ’80s. But his link with the movie character was so embedded in the national consciousness that prospects of other acting work dried out. Admitting to having reconstructive surgery for an accident in ’77, Hamill seems not to have weathered time as well as expected.
3. Al Pacino – GOOD
Multi award-winning actor Al Pacino was born in East Harlem. He began smoking and drinking at an early age and left home when he was 17. Although briefly homeless, Pacino began training at the Herbert Berghof Studio in Greenwich Village, NYC and soon began to make a name for himself as a stage actor. Although his tandem film career slumped in the ’80s, his theater acclaim continued when he achieved critical success on stage while appearing in David Mamet’s American Buffalo.
In 2007, the American Film Institute awarded Pacino a lifetime achievement award, and in 2003, British television viewers voted him the “greatest film star of all time.” Pacino has never been married but does have three children, one with his acting coach Jan Tarrant and twins with actress Beverly D’Angelo. Perhaps that lifestyle choice offers clues as to why “ Michael Corleone,” now 77, has aged so well.
2. Keith Richards – NOT GOOD
When it comes to aging, Keith Richards does it best — and worst. Guitarist for the British band The Rolling Stones, Richards has enjoyed a full and debauched life, which has most certainly taken its toll. During the 1960s and ’70s, he was a self-acknowledged drug user, which brought him close to custodial sentences on more than one occasion. Music journalist Nick Kent famously called Richards “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” and fellow musician Mick Jagger considered that Richards’s public image had “contributed to him becoming a junkie.”
Throughout the 1980s, because of the negative press Richards was drawing to the band, he and Jagger began to drift apart; Jagger began to immerse himself in his own solo career, and toward the end of the decade, they nearly broke up. The 1990s saw a comeback, though, and increased critical acclaim for their output.
1. Britt Ekland – GOOD
Famously acting as Bond girl Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) Britt Ekland’s looks afforded her a successful and prolific career in mainstream cinema. She had already starred in around a dozen films, which had more or less cemented her image as a sex icon of cinema. Following The Man with the Golden Gun, Ekland starred in another ten or so films before retiring from movie acting in 1990.
Her later career has centered mainly on TV and stage performances, her most recent being in theater pantomimes and an appearance on British reality TV show “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” As a result of her whirlwind romance and marriage to the late Peter Sellers, she became “one of the most photographed and talked-about celebrities in the world” according to wikipedia.org. She’s still classed an A-Lister and looks nearly as good as she did all those years ago.
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