While some of today’s biggest A-listers got their starts in the ‘80s, many of their famous contemporaries in the “Me” decade live quieter, more low-profile lives today.
Molly Ringwald, for one, became an ‘80s icon while starring in a slew of coming-of-age films directed by John Hughes. Looking back on the movies, the actress agreed that certain aspects should be viewed more critically in modern times. However, she noted that the projects impacted young people for a reason.
“I know what my own experience was,” Ringwald told NPR in September 2018 of teen culture during the decade. “I feel like the movies that I made then were very much representing the culture at the time. And I feel like that is why they resonated with people, because it was their experience and they did feel that they had these films that were real. They didn’t have that sort of Afterschool Special feeling where somebody was teaching them a lesson, you know. It didn’t feel like that.”
The Riverdale star acknowledged there were parts of certain films, including Sixteen Candles, that “bothered” her during filming. While Hughes “did listen to me in a lot of ways,” she didn’t “want to cross the line” with her feedback.
“I believe that there is still a lot of good in the films and there’s a lot that I’m proud of,” she explained. “And I feel like in a lot of ways they’ve touched teenagers and sparked a conversation that is important. And having a teenage daughter myself, I know that it’s not always easy to get teenagers to talk. But these films sort of break through that. You know? There’s something that really touches teenagers — especially The Breakfast Club, I feel like, sort of gives them permission to talk about their feelings, says that teenagers’ feelings really matter. And I think that’s a really powerful message and, for that reason, I really love it. Pretty in Pink, I love my character. I think that she’s a strong woman and I’m proud of the choices that she makes.”
The decade catapulted not only familiar actors — Patrick Dempsey, Rob Lowe, Matthew Broderick! — but also musicians, including Madonna, George Michael and Cyndi Lauper.
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From Tom Cruise, who bravely donned tighty-whities in Risky Business, to the boys and girls of the Brat Pack, scroll through the gallery below to see which stars got their big breaks during the 1980s — and find out where they ended up!