Can You Recognize These ’80s Superstars?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: izusek/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Every person who grew up in the wonderful era of the '80s definitely knows each and every pop culture superstar of that defining decade. Can you name these superstars of film, TV, and music?

Each decade produces great materials from different kinds of artists. These artists can actually set the trend of their given time, and they can also influence each other by being one another's "competition," in a way. Of course, there will always be "duds" in a given batch, just like there will be hopeful trends that will dissipate into time-bound fads only. We also know of artists whose works went that way.

But then there are the superstars, the artists who create many kinds of works, and majority of them are just fantastic. Whether records, films, or TV shows, these superstars became big because they have what it takes: talent, unyielding charisma, and memorable material. Do you remember the 80's well enough to identify all these stars? Do you have your playlist already going? 

Time to find out if you can name all of these '80s superstars from the world of music, movies and TV!

Among the most memorable female superstar to come out of the '80s is none other than Madonna, the singer-dancer who took advantage of the burgeoning MTV-influenced visual culture by morphing her style with every album she released. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1983.

Every teen who grew up watching John Hughes films could definitely relate to star Molly Ringwald and her various roles that gave voice to many teen concerns back then. Today, though, she plays the mother of another favorite teen: redhead Archie Andrews in the hit Netflix series "Riverdale."

The '80s won't sound like the '80s without the R&B ballad or dance stylistics of Whitney Houston who gave us great timeless hits. For instance, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" still resonates with lovelorn people ever since it was released in 1987. Yes, her songs are that powerful and that classic.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, invented the dance style termed Moonwalk, and he danced his way to the hearts of many during the '80s when he embarked on a solo career. He gave us dance-worthy hits like "Beat It," "Smooth Criminal," and even "Billie Jean."

For movie fans, he's Marty McFly, the time-traveling bungling teen in the "Back to the Future" trilogy. For TV fans, he's Alex P. Keaton, that Republican go-getter from "Family Ties." Michael J. Fox went on to do more movies and TV shows, but these two roles remain his most memorable.

Phil Collins released around 45 singles as a solo artist, and he has also won Grammy Awards for his musical efforts. He also won an Academy Award for "You'll Be In My Heart," a Best Original Song recipient, and that song is in the soundtrack of the Disney film "Tarzan."

The '80s was a time of great music, and the world got to listen to many great artists who began developing their personality during that decade. One of them was Prince, the genius composer and musician.

In interviews, Arnold Schwarzenegger mentions that, during his youth in Austria, he dreamed of going to America for more opportunities. Winning the Mr. Universe title at age 20 was his ticket to fame in the land of Uncle Sam later on.

English singer David Bowie actually started his musical career earlier than the '80s, as he has been making records and touring during the '70s. But he produced many memorable hits during the '80s like "Let's Dance," "Modern Love," and "China Girl."

Kylie Minogue started out as a child actress, performing various roles in Australian media productions, particularly in the long-running soap opera called "Neighbours." She then turned to music, and became a pop sensation after releasing many worldwide hits.

Tony Hadley's distinct vocals made Spandau Ballet one of the most popular superstar bands of the '80s. They contributed timeless songs to the British pop landscape of that era, with hits like "Gold," "True," "Only When You Leave," "Lifeline," and "Through The Barricades."

TV productions of the '80s also tinkered with style and substance, producing familiar shows with new packaging. Such was the success garnered by "Miami Vice" headlined by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. As Sonny Crockett, Johnson made it cool for law enforcers to dress up in style.

Emilio Estevez was one of the young members of the so-called Hollywood Brat Pack of the '80s. He hit it big by appearing in movies like "The Outsiders," "Repo Man," and of course "The Breakfast Club." He continued to make other great films in the '90s.

R.E.M. helped establish the alternative rock sound when they came out in the '80s. Some of their hits include "The One I Love," "Orange Crush," and "Stand." But more people got to know them in the '90s thanks to hits like "Shiny Happy People," "Everybody Hurts," and "Losing My Religion."

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were the two English lads who made up Wham! They're known for their catchy '80s hits like the danceable "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and the sexy ballad called "Careless Whisper." After they broke up, George Michael had a more successful solo music career.

Corey Haim started out as a Canadian child actor before being cast in Hollywood movie teen roles. In the '80s, he appeared in films like "Lucas," "License to Drive," "Dream a Little Dream," and the hit vampire movie called "The Lost Boys."

The '80s heartthrob John Stamos first gained popularity in the TV series called "General Hospital." Eventually, he would also dabble in sitcoms, and got cast in the popular series called "Full House." He never stopped being active on TV, but he also appeared in some films along the way.

The English band called The Police gave us classic songs like "Roxanne," "Message in a Bottle," and "Can't Stand Losing You" when they started in the late '70s. They continued this in the '80s with hits like ""Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," "King of "Pain," and "Every Breath You Take."

Many screaming teens of the '80s knew who Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Simon Le Bon were back then: the members of the wildly popular group Duran Duran. They contributed to the British new wave and synth-pop sound of the era.

The Irish band U2 has been around since the late '70s, and they have continued to create music and tinker with their musical style since then, producing an eclectic discography with a very diverse sound. The group is composed of Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton.

It is said that the producers of the hit '80s film "Die Hard" were reluctant to cast Bruce Willis in the lead, since he was more of a comedy-drama actor, especially since he was identified with the hit TV series called "Moonlighting" back then. Of course, he proved them all wrong when he stepped in.

Another familiar superstar voice of the '80s belongs to singer-composer Cyndi Lauper who gave us hits like "Time After Time" and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." She made more albums and hits, but she also found success on Broadway with her award-winning musical stage composition called "Kinky Boots."

Kathleen Turner was one of the most popular actresses of the '80s who appeared in many films that also defined that era. Some of her '80s filmography include "Body Heat," "Romancing The Stone," "Prizzi's Honor," "Peggy Sue Got Married," and "The War of the Roses," to name a few.

Corey Feldman appeared in '80s movies like "The Goonies," "Gremlins," and "Stand By Me" before being packaged with Corey Haim as "The Two Coreys" of Hollywood, making movies and TV shows together until Haim's death. Feldman still remained active in the entertainment business after that.

Brat Pack member Andrew McCarthy is an '80s superstar with hit movies like "Weekend at Bernie's," "Mannequin," "Pretty in Pink," "St. Elmo's Fire," and "Less Than Zero," to name a few. Since the 2010s, he has also been busy behind the camera as a TV director of series like "Orange is the New Black."

Sylvester Stallone is an undeniable action movie superstar who started appearing in films in the '70s, became one of the most bankable actors of the '80s and '90s, and still continues to make action movies now. He got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.

Dave Gahan's distinct voice, as well as his bandmates' distinct style of music, made Depeche Mode popular during the '80s. Some of their hit songs include "Just Can't Get Enough," "Everything Counts," "People Are People," "Master and Servant," "Somebody," and "Strangelove," to name a few.

Piano man Billy Joel has been making timeless tunes since the '70s with notable hits like "Just The Way You Are," "She's Always A Woman," and "Honesty," to name a few. His '80s hits include "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl," "The Longest Time," and "We Didn't Start The Fire," among others.

Primarily a stand-up comedian who transitioned to become a comedy actor, Eddie Murphy was also a musician at one point in his lengthy superstar career. He received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996, the same year he starred in the film remake of "The Nutty Professor."

David Hasselhoff is one of those superstar celebrities who has been dabbling in many fields for decades, but he's mostly recognizable as a TV actor. He gained popularity in the '70s in "The Young and the Restless." The '80s found him starring in the sci-fi series "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch."

Chevy Chase is a well-known comedian who was part of the original line-up of "Saturday Night Live" cast members. He was the very first anchor of the Weekend Update segment of the show, which also became a celebrity vehicle for other comedians after him.

English rock band Queen had a resurgence of popularity in 2018, thanks to the biopic featuring frontman Freddie Mercury, as portrayed by Rami Malek. While many criticized the film for its fictitious weaving of some real events, crowds still loved it for the music.

Stevie Wonder proved that being blind is no hindrance to success, as his superstardom can attest. He is included in the tally of the best-selling musicians of all time, with many hit records since the '60s. Some of his '80s hits include "Lately," and "Ebony and Ivory" with Paul McCartney.

Farm Aid founder John Cougar Mellencamp decided to drop that second name and now goes with John Mellencamp only. His influential '80s hits include "Hurts So Good," and "Jack & Diane." He was the face of heartland rock back then.

Singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen is perhaps widely known then and now for one particular song: "Born in the U.S.A." He has been releasing singles since the '70s and has 70 to his credit. The video for his '80s hit "Dancing in the Dark" was pivotal for discovering actress Courtney Cox.

Anthony Michael Hall is that lanky teen geek in '80s films such as "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science," "Sixteen Candles," and "National Lampoon's Vacation." He became a hunky bully, though, in 1988's "Edward Scissorhands." He also became active in TV.

Demi Moore's colorful film career started to rise by being in the '80s Brat Pack films. In the '90s, she came to her own career-wise, by transitioning to meatier adult roles in films like the wildly popular "Ghost," "A Few Good Men," and "Indecent proposal."

Lionel Richie definitely made '80s music colorful with his contributions as a solo artist, with hits like "Endless Love," "Truly," "Stuck on You," "Say You, Say Me," and many more. In the '70s, he was the lead singer of The Commodores, performing hits such as "Three Times A Lady,"and "Easy."

Debbie Gibson hit it big in the music scene when she was only a teen, helping define the pop sound of the late '80s with dance hits like "Electric Youth," "Out of the Blue," "Only in my Dreams," and ballads like "Lost in Your Eyes," "No More Rhyme," and "Foolish Beat."

Teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron was big in the '80s as Mike Seaver in the hit TV series "Growing Pains." He also appeared in some movies. Since becoming a Christian, he has redirected his life away from the usual mainstream media industry and chose to focus on Christian-themed media productions and supporting conservative politicians.

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