80s TV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

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List Rules Awesome TV characters from shows that aired during the 1980s

Who were the best TV characters of the '80s? From The Golden Girls, The Cosby Show, and Murder, She Wrote all the way to kid favorites like Punky Brewster, Elmo, and Saved By the Bell, these shows greatly impacted the culture of the decade. This list has the best TV characters from classic 1980s television shows.

It was the decade where the Pee-Wee Herman was introduced. Michael Knight and Virgil Tibbs also took to the small screen, entertaining millions of fans. The top TV show characters of the 1980s included family-focused favorites like Highway to Heaven and the still popular kid’s all-time favorite Sesame Street. And who can forget the Seaver family from Growing Pains (though we try to forget Kirk Cameron these days)? 

Children’s characters like Alf, Optimus Prime, and He-Man were also introduced. The top characters of the 80s were, for the most part family-friendly, uplifting, and hilarious. Let's honor the ingenuity of Mr. Angus MacGyver, and the importance of having life-long friends a la The Golden Girls.

Vote up your favorite 1980's TV characters below or add your favorite if he or she isn't already on the list!

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Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sam Malone Cheers

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Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

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Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

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Columbo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

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Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

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Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

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Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

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Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

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J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

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Ranker Video v
Jim Ignatowski Taxi

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Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

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Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

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Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

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Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

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Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dick Loudon

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Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Remington Steele Remington Steele

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Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

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Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

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Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Al Bundy Married... with Children

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Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

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Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dan Fielding Night Court

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Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

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Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

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Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

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Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

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Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

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Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

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Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

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John

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Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

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Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

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Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

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Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jack Tripper Three's Company

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Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Christine Sullivan Night Court

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Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court

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Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

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Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

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Andy Sipowicz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Andy Sipowicz NYPD Blue

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Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s