80sTV 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!

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

2
95 95
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
154 95
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
170 75
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

5
130 91
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

6
77 57
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
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Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

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David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

9
80 79
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

10
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Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

11
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Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

12
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Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

13
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Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
57 65
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

16
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Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

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Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

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

19
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Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

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

21
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Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

The Best TV Shows Based on Movies

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Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Louie De Palma Taxi

23
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J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

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Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 24 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) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

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Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

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Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

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Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele Remington Steele

The Greatest Geeky Girls on TV

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Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

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Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

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Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

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Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

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Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

34
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Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

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Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

31 Times You've Seen The Walking Dead Actors Before

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John

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Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Jack Tripper Three's Company

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Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

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Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

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Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

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Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

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Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

The Most Likeable TV Anti-Heroes

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Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

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Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

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Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

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

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Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

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Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

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Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi