1980s Actresses: Then and Now

What is it about the 80s that make us wish things were that simple again… Was it the big hair, or maybe the debut of punk rock? Could’ve been the Walkman or the mix tapes. Maybe the board games with the family after dinner. But one thing we miss especially are the legendary 80s actresses! These icons struck gold in Hollywood from an early age and made a name for themselves in the 1980’s. Whether they were young or old at the time, it was something about being an Actress in the 80s that had everybody wanting to see more. Some of these famous 80s actresses  are still making waves in the industry, wait until you see the top 3!

Sissy Spacek

Before her acting career Sissy Spacek strived to be a singer using the name Rainbo but ended up joining the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute once the sales of her single started to drop. She began her path in acting starring in Badlands in 1973 which then got nominated for an Academy Award. Later in life Sissy returned to her dream of being a recording artist, recording her own album Hangin’ Up my Heart in 1983. Because of her dedication to the arts, she earned her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Jessica Lange

Receiving countless accolades Jessica Lange is a staple actor in television starring in many films, movies, and plays. Before her professional debut Jessica worked in the modeling industry where she was discovered by Dino De Laurentiis, who casted her first acting role in the 1976 remake of King Kong. Her acting style described as fast yet dreamy carried her fame into her most recent appearance in the immensely popular series American Horror Story.

Diane Keaton

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Diane Keaton has known the ins and outs of Hollywood since the very beginning. Her unique style of dressing and quirky personality makes her hard to forget and get enough of. She landed her first role in Lovers and Other Strangers in 1970, which later landed her starring role in The Godfather Parts I, II, and III. Her distinct and outgoing personality carried her acting career all the way up to her part in Poms in 2019. Every feature Keaton is in she entrances the viewers and stands out from the rest.

Mia Farrow

Born in the beautiful Beverly Hills California, Mia Farrow grew up in a talented household, with her mother as an actor and her father a director. She was primarily recognized from the early film Guns at Batasi where she won her first Golden Globe Award. From then on, she featured in over 50 films, worked as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, modelled, performed on Broadway, and much more. Farrow’s recent work includes the Broadway production of Love Letters and the drama Dark Horse.

Meryl Streep

An adaptive and resourceful personality is what drove Meryl Streep to fame. During her roles she was able to embody the character’s life which caught director’s attention, winning her three Academy Awards and nine Golden Globe Awards. During the beginning of her career, she debuted in the stage production Trelawny of the Wells and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. In addition to continuing her acting career throughout her entire life she accumulated many awards, some of which being the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by Barack Obama.

Glenn Close

Glenn Close is an actor and producer with a love for anthropology. She was entered in the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2019 due to her influential acting in Broadway productions, films, musicals, and producing her own film. She began acting in Broadway plays such as Barnum and The Real Thing, which led to her film career in productions such as The World According to Garp and The Big Chill. Her most recent work was the Amazon comedy Sea Oak.

Demi Moore

The beautiful Demi Moore is an exceptionally talented actor and film producer. She began her career taking drama classes, modeling, and singing. She is very widely known for her starring role in Striptease, in which she was paid $12.5 million, making her the highest paid actor during the time. Moore has been in the acting and modelling industry her entire life, her most recent works include the films Songbird and Dirty Diana, and modelling cameos at Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty fashion show.

Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger modelled in New York with the Ford Modeling Agency, taking after her mother Ann Lee, before her acting career in Los Angeles. She was first seen featured on ABC’s Charlie’s Angels, before starring in Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold, playing the part of a successful Hollywood actor. She is also well known for her feature in Playboy Magazine, which skyrocketed her film opportunities landing her roles until the very well-known film series Fifty Shades of Grey.

Bette Milder

Bette Milder has a boatload of accomplishments, spanning over 50 years. Starting off in the Broadway Production Fiddler on the Roof, then transitioning into a multi-platinum singer, she has explored all aspects of the arts since 1965. She won her first Golden Globe Awards for her film The Rose, and later won two more for the films Gypsy and For the Boys. She has recently starred in the Broadway revival production Hello, Dolly! playing Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn has been an exceedingly popular actor in Hollywood since the beginning she’s considered a bankable star, guaranteeing success in any role. In her early years she took on ballet & tap, making her first debut in Romeo & Juliet. After moving to California from Washington DC, Hawn switched her path to theater and is popularly known for her appearance in Cactus Flower, where she earned her first Academy Award. Her recent roles include The Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2 on Netflix.

Barbra Streisand

Born in the Big Apple Barbara Streisand has been in the acting business for a successful 7 decades. Her love for songwriting and music drove her to releasing the very popular album The Barbra Streisand Album, the engagement in her recording career launched her passion for acting. She is widely known for the films Hello Dolly funny girl and a star is born. While she pursued acting, she continued songwriting, totaling 150 million record sales. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Michelle Pfeiffer

Not only is Michelle Pfeiffer a famous actor, but she is also a producer and businessperson. Pfeiffer was talented since the beginning, her first lead in the musical Grease 2 gained fame by showcasing her as sweet but, her ability to embrace different personalities such as in Scarface is what began her path of Fame. She became an activist for feminism after being stereotyped as the poster pretty girl, because of this she took a break from acting to pursue business and production. She most recently debuted in marvel’s Ant-Man and the wasp. As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Michelle Pfeiffer takes the cake!

Shelley Long

Shelley Long gained international fame by starring in the sitcom cheers as Diane Chambers, for which she received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. From the popularity of the show, she won two Golden Globe Awards, and later starred in The Brady Bunch, Money Pit, Troop Beverly Hills, and most recently ABC’s Modern Family.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis gained fame starring in the horror genre of films. She was first casted in Halloween as a scream Queen, because of the positive response to her role she was featured in popular films such as Prom Night, Terror Train, and The Fog. She accumulated many awards such as the Golden Globe Award, the American Comedy Award, the Saturn Award, the People’s Choice Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition to acting, she is the author of children’s books and blog posts on The Huffington Post. Her most recent feature is starring in the movie Knives Out. As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the best!

Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton Made her mark in television starring in The Terminator series as Sarah Connor. This launched her acting career giving her more opportunities. After taking classes from Lee Strasberg, she landed a role in Beauty and the Beast, for which she was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award. She also landed roles in Dante’s Peak, Children of the Corn, and King Kong Lives.

Whoopi Goldberg

Born in the Big Apple Whoopi Goldberg is a woman of many talents. She is an actor, comedian, television personality, and author who has won a Tony Award, Grammy Award, Academy Award, and Emmy Award. Goldberg’s career in the arts launched after her role in The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg, due to this film she won her first Golden Globe. As well as performing on Broadway she produced her own musicals and co-hosted the talk show The View, which is still airing to this day.

Melanie Griffith

Born and raised by the actor Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith is a show-stopping actress and film producer. She began acting at 17 in the film Night Moves, soon after she moved on to more promiscuous films such as Body Double in which she won her first accolade because of her beautiful body. She debuted on Broadway in the Musical Chicago in 2003 and mostly recently returned to acting roles in the film Automata. As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Melanie Griffith is one of the best!

Brooke Shields

The beautiful Brooke Shields started modeling at a youthful age which opened her up to the world of acting before most others. She Rose to fame at age 12 starring in Pretty Baby and later starred in The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love. Shields took a break from acting to earn her bachelor’s degree at Princeton, but soon returned to star in Lipstick Jungle and Suddenly Susan. Her recent work includes voicing over Mr. Pickles and Mama Named Me Sheriff.

Jodie Foster

At the young age of three, Jodie Foster Began her career and child modeling in addition to being a child prodigy. She was first seen on television in Mayberry R. F. D. and on stage in Alice doesn’t live here anymore and Tom Sawyer. Her first nomination for the Academy Award came through her part in Taxi Driver, this film was the gateway into her professional career. After this she starred in popular productions such as Freaky Friday, and is most recently seen starring in Hotel Artemis in 2018

Isabelle Adjani

French actress Isabelle Adjani holds the record amount of Cesar Awards dedicated to her. Her early work includes French theatre productions in which she started acting at the age of 14, and later starred in the praised film The Story of Adele H. Even though she was constantly told she was made for Hollywood Adjani believed she was better than ‘the city of fiction’ therefore only acting in minimal Hollywood films, such as The Driver by Walter Hill. Her most recent work includes the 2017 film Call My Agent! and the 2018 film The World is Yours. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Sally Field

There is no doubt that Sally Field took Hollywood by storm, she impressively received three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild award. Despite getting into acting at an early age, her career skyrocketed with her starring roles in the 1970s, which included Stay Hungry (1976) and Hopper (1978). While taking a 15-year absence Field expanded her talents as a director, starting with the film ‘The Christmas Tree’. Now Sally Field has returned to acting in the play The Glass Menagerie in 2017.

Shirley McLaine

Shirley Mclaine has a huge personality both on and off the screen. Acclaimed to be full of energy, quirky, and headstrong it is no surprise that her acting blows critics away, earning her two British Academy Film Awards, an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and five Golden Globe Awards. Shirley Rose to fame on Broadway productions such as Me and Juliet in 1953 and The Pajama Game in 1954. Her first big break was in the film The Trouble with Harry in 1955 where she won her first tribute, the Golden Globe Award debuting as one of the main characters Jennifer Rogers. Throughout her life she continued her acting career leading up to her most recent film The Little Mermaid, there’s no doubt that Shirley was made for Hollywood.

Diane Lane

Diane Lane is an actress and producer born in New York City; she picks up acting after her father who was a Manhattan drama coach. Her first starring feature was in Child Bride of short Creek at the age of 15, she later got into more serious acting in roles such as The Outsiders, which launched her career. She recently starred in the Broadway production Cherry Orchard; Lane previously was in this play as an extra at the age of 12 and is now starring in it four decades later.

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander has always had a passion for acting since before even attending college, in college she studied theater and focused on solidifying her acting career. She made her first debut featuring in the Broadway production A Thousand Clowns, leading to The Great White Hope. She is very popularly known for playing Eleanor Roosevelt in different productions. Her most recent film feature was A Moon to Dance By in 2009.

Natassja Kinski

Natassja Kinski the German actor and model is known globally due to her work in Europe. She first got introduced to acting while working in her hometown as a model, her first role was in The Wrong Move where she appeared topless. Her first American starring role was in the film test in which she went through a year of preparation to perfect her part. She is most recently seen in the film Inland Empire and Sugar, as well as on the dance competition show Let’s Dance.


Denise Katherine Matthews also known as Vanity is an actor, model, singer, songwriter, and dancer. Vanity began her career in modeling for the Zoli Model Agency as well as competing for Miss Canada in 1978. Her first acting role was in the film Terror train which landed her lead role in Tanya’s Island. Denise Matthews switched her name to Vanity after joining Vanity 6 with Prince but later left to star in hit movies such as Never Too Young to Die.

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan is widely known for her acting in romantic comedies, as well as being a producer. At the beginning of her career, she featured in commercials and landed her first role in the soap opera As the World Turns. Because of her unique fit into rom-com characters she starred in famous movies such as Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Anastasia. After her fair share of acting in rom coms she directed and acted in her own film Ithaca. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever! As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Meg Ryan is one of the best!

Pam Grier

Pam Grier is a strong notable actor for her roles in empowering films such as Foxy Brown Friday Foster and The L Word. She was the first woman in the industry to star in action and crime movies, paving the path for female actors. Since the beginning Pam Grier has taken an interest in theater and modeling, such as in school plays and beauty contests. After moving to LA she was discovered by Jack Hill and landed her first starring roles in his films The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Besides acting she recently founded her own community garden to educate people on organic gardening.

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter Is known for being an actress, singer, songwriter, and model for beauty pageants. She dipped her feet in the acting industry at age 5 and later in High School started her songwriting career in her band Just Us, in which she pursued until after college. Before acting she modeled in the Arizona beauty contest and won leading to acting classes in New York. She is most popularly known for playing Wonder Woman in 1975 which racked in international fame. She is most recently seen acting in the series Supergirl.

Catherine Bach

Catherine Bach’s creative and unique personality carried her through Hollywood. She is an actress known for her part in The Dukes of Hazzard, during filming she suggested bringing her own costume because she felt as if the one given was inappropriate. She is also seen in the films You Again and Monk, and most recently joined the soap opera The Young and the Restless.

Molly Ringwald

Born in Roseville, California Molly Ringwald has many talents in the arts. At the early age of 5 Ringwald started acting, featured in Alice in Wonderland, Annie, and at 15 she launched her professional career, starring in the hit movies The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. While still a fan of John Hughes, Molly recently got candid with the New Yorker, in which she talks about how uncomfortable it is to watch The Breakfast club with your her children, due to way her then 16yr old character was treated by a certain male actor. Her most recent role was playing Mary Andrews on Riverdale. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Connie Sellecca

Connie Sellecca is a producer, actor, and model. After modeling in New York, she was first seen acting in the Bermuda depths. She is very well known for her roles in Captain America II: Death Too Soon, The Greatest American Hero, and Hotel. She continued acting until 2012, in All About Christmas Eve and later moved on to hosting her own TV series Intelligence for Your Life. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Sharon Stone

Born in Meadville Pennsylvania Sharon Stone is an actor, model, and producer. She began her career modeling in pageants leading to runway modeling for the Ford Modeling Agency. She launched her professional career in the film Total Recall which made about $26.2 million, leading to her acting in Year of the Gun and He Said She Said. Stone displayed her body in many films such as Basic Instinct where she was portrayed nude. Her most recent work includes the film Mosaic and the upcoming series on Netflix Ratched. As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Sharon Stone is one of the best!

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder, an exceedingly popular Hollywood actor, has been in the industry since age 14. After gaining popularity from the performance Beetlejuice, was casted in the films Mermaids, Dracula, and Heather’s, in which she played more innocent roles. She then went on to starring in more mature parts like in the film’s Star Trek and Black Swan. She is most recently seen starring in Stranger Things on Netflix. Ryder has received Awards such as the Golden Globe Award as well as earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lea Thompson

Born straight out of Hollywood California Jennifer Jason Leigh is an actor, taking after her parents Barbara Turner and Vic Morrow. Thompson studied acting in New York before landing her first part in The Young Runaways, and later in films such as The Best Little Girl in the World and Eyes of a Stranger. She is widely known in the film’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Cycle and recently in the series Atypical and film Annihilation.

Adrienne Barbeau

Born in Sacramento California, Adrienne Barbeau is an actor, singer, and writer of three Books. She began her fame in the Broadway Musical production Greece. She is widely known for starring in science fiction and horror films such as Escape From New York, Swamp Thing, and The Fog, as well as voicing over Catwoman on Batman’s animated series. She is most recently seen acting in the film on Unearth which is still airing. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Shawnee Smith

Shawnee Smith is an actress and singer. Before her acting career she toured globally with the rock bands Fydolla Ho and Smith & Pile. From a young age Smith performed in plays such as To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, in which she became the youngest actress to receive the Dramalogue Critics Award. She is well-known for her part in the sitcom Anger Management which is also her most recent feature.

ione skye 80s female actresses

Heather Locklear

The consecutive nominee for the Golden Globe Award, Heather Locklear, is an actress born and raised in Los Angeles California. She gained most of her fame from starring in the film Melrose Place, which got nominated for four Golden Globe Awards. She continued acting throughout her entire life in films such as Dynasty and Spin City. Her most recent feature is in the movie The Game of Love.

Ione Skye

ione skye 80s female actresses

Born in Hampstead London Ione Skye is an actress, author, and painter. She first started acting in the film River’s Edge and later starred in director Cameron Crowe’s feature film The Rachel papers. Before her most recent feature in the film Haunt, she authored children’s books, painted oh, and even directed the music video Against Me! single 333.

Rae Dawn Chong

Daughter of the actor and comedian Tommy Chong, Rae Dawn Chong is an actress in many popular films as well as a director. Her first acting role was in the film Quest for Fire in which she won a Genie Award. She is well known for her roles in Beat Street, Far Out Man and The Color Purple. She directed the horror film Cursed part 3 in which she scouted Chris Pratt.

Angela Bassett

Born in the Big Apple, New York City, Angela Bassett is an activist, actress, producer, and director. She was nominated for many Academy Awards and won a Golden Globe for her role in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It, which is also one of her most well renowned films. Bassett kept up her career all throughout her life, featuring in films every year up to her most recent drama, which she also produced Fox First Responders.

Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall, most known for her role on Sex and the City is an actress born in Liverpool England. Cattrall has received and won both Golden Globe and Emmy Awards throughout her acting career. She first came to acting with her debut in the thriller Rosebud and later was discovered by Universal Studios and signed to the contract player system. Her most recent feature is in the television drama Filthy Rich. As far as blonde 80s actresses go – Kim Cattrall is one of the best!

Morgan Fairchild

Born in Dallas Texas, Morgan Fairchild is an actress who started off acting in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. She continued her soap opera path by featuring in Dallas and later Flamingo Road where she was nominated for her first Golden Globe Award. She also acted in popular comedies such as Friends, Roseanne, and Cybill. She recently is on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and a spokesperson for a consumer website. One of our favorite 80s actresses ever!

Victoria Principal

Born in Fukuoka Japan, Victoria Principal is an entrepreneur, author, producer, and actress. She moved to the United States and launched her career first featuring in TV commercials. She is most popularly known for starring in the soap opera Dallas. After almost a decade on the show Victoria Principal directed television films and launched her own line of skin care products.