The Most Famous Actors of the 80s (Then and Now)

The hot actors in these before and after photos came of age during the 1980s, and were in some of the best movies of the '80s. Some of them are continuing to work, while others aren't (read: has-beens). 

Famous people from the 80s hold a very special place in many people's hearts - namely those who grew up in that era. There are people like John Cusack who made his first strides onto the big screen in the 1980s, and still continue acting in several movies every year. Then there are those like Anthony Michael Hall, who was insanely popular back in the day, and now only really plays bit parts in small productions. 

Acting is tough, and success is not something that lasts a lifetime. However, whether they're currently acting or not, the men on this list will always be known as great 80s movie stars. Take a look at what these '80s male actors were like back then, and what they're up to today.


  • Emilio Estevez
    Photo: The Breakfast Club / The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

    Then: Emilio Estevez became a household name during the 1980s. He appeared in many classic Brat Pack films like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. He’s also remembered by cult film audiences for his role in Repo Man.

    Now: Estevez took a bit of an acting break, spending time behind the camera, having directed episodes of Numb3rsCriminal Minds, and CSI: NY. However, in 2021, he reprised his role as Gordon Bombay for the Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

    • Credits (TV): CSI: NY, Numbers, Cold Case, The Guardian, Close to Home
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Age: 60
  • Then: Anthony Michael Hall rose to fame in the '80s. In 1983, he co-starred in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Later, he became famous for teen comedies like The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. He briefly appeared on Saturday Night Live from 1985-1986.

    Now: Hall continues to act today, with appearances on TV series such as Murder in the FirstRiverdalePsychAwkward., and The Goldbergs. He also has roles in films such as Something About HerHalloween KillsThe Class, and Zero.

    • Credits (TV): Saturday Night Live, Psych, The Dead Zone, Retrosexual: The '80s
    • Birthplace: West Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Age: 54
  • Then: John Cusack was a young star in the 1980s. He starred in 1984’s Sixteen Candles, 1985’s Better Off Dead, and 1989’s Say Anything. His passion in these roles turned him into an emo-heartthrob for a generation of young women. 

    Now: Cusack continues to act frequently, appearing in TV's Utopia, as well as films like Never Grow Old, River Runs Red, Distorted, Chi-Raq, and Love & Mercy. He also served as a producer on films like Cell, Wall Street, and Hot Tub Time Machine

    • Credits (TV): Breakfast with Hunter
    • Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, USA
    • Age: 56
  • Then: Jon Cryer was known as a member of the Brat Pack in the 1980s. He memorably played the lovably nerdy Duckie in Pretty in Pink. In 1987, he appeared in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

    Now: Cryer has appeared in more than 240 episodes of his hit show Two and a Half Men. He also stars as Lex Luthor on the Supergirl TV series, with appearances on other DC shows, such as ArrowThe Flash, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. He has also directed episodes of Two and a Half MenMom, and Disjointed

    • Credits (TV): Two and a Half Men, Partners, Retrosexual: The '80s, The Trouble with Normal, Getting Personal
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Age: 57
  • Rob Lowe
    Photo: The Outsiders / 9-1-1: Lone Star

    Then: Rob Lowe’s career really started in the 1980s. In 1983, he won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a made-for-TV movie called Thursday’s Child. In the same year, he appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders. In 1987, he received a Golden Glob nomination for his role in Square Dance.

    Now: Lowe continues to act. He was a series regular on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and appeared on Californication, You, Me and the Apocalypse, The Grinder, Code BlackWild Bill, and 9-1-1: Lone Star.  He's worked as a producer on series such as 9-1-1: Lone Star and The GrinderIn 2011, he wrote a tell-all memoir entitled Stories I Only Tell My Friends

    • Credits (TV): Parks and Recreation, The West Wing, The Stand, Brothers & Sisters, The Lyon's Den
    • Birthplace: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
    • Age: 58
  • Andrew McCarthy
    Photo: Pretty in Pink / flickr

    Then: Andrew McCarthy was an '80s star. He appeared in Brat Pack movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink. He also starred in classic '80s movies like Weekend at Bernie’s and Mannequin.

    Now: McCarthy still acts, making appearances on shows like White Collar, Royal Pains, and Good Girls. He's directed episodes of popular series, such as Orange is the New Black, The Blacklist, and The Sinner. McCarthy also started a parallel career as a travel writer, working as Editor at Large at National Geographic Traveler magazine. 

    • Credits (TV): Gossip Girl, White Collar, Hart of Dixie, Amazing Stories, Lipstick Jungle
    • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
    • Age: 60