Tag Archives: 80’s Actors

Meshach Taylor of ‘Designing Women’ dead at 67

meshach_taylorIn case you missed this (as we did), CNN reported that actor Meshach Taylor, best known for his Emmy-nominated role as Anthony Bouvier on the CBS sitcom Designing Women (1986) passed away June 28, 2014. He is also known for his portrayal of Hollywood Montrose, a flamboyant window dresser in Mannequin (1987).

Taylor had fought a terminal illness and faded markedly in recent days. His wife, children, grandchildren and mother surrounded him as he passed away.

“It is with love and gratitude that we sorrowfully announce that our darling, amazingly brilliant and dynamic, Meshach, the incredible father, husband, son and friend has begun his grand transition,” the family said in a statement.

RIP Meshach. :(


Robert Downey, Jr. tops Forbes’ list of highest paid actors for second year in a row

Robert-Downey-Jr-2014Robert Downey Jr. known for his roles in movies such as Weird Science and Less Than Zero of the 1980s and Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes and the Avengers in recent years has topped Forbe’s annual ranking of the highest paid actors for the second year in a row. Robert Downy Jr. earned an estimated $75 million in the last year.

This is a remarkable feat considering Downey only released one movie over the June 2013 to June 2014 timeline: Jon Favreau’s festival film Chef. So most of Downey’s money comes from the backend of the incredibly successful Iron Man 3—the highest grossing movie of 2013 with a $1.2 billion box office—and a reported pay hike for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Harold Ramis, the actor, writer and director dead at 69

AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL IN DEAUVILLEHarold Ramis, the actor, writer and director whose films include “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This,” has died. He was 69.

His death was caused by complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition Ramis battled for four years, according to United Talent Agency, which represented Ramis for many years.

For more than 40 years, Ramis was a leading figure in comedy. A veteran of the Second City troupe in his hometown of Chicago, he was a writer for “SCTV” and wrote or co-wrote the scripts for “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), “Caddyshack” (1980), “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Groundhog Day” (1993) and “Analyze This” (1999).

The films often featured members of his generation of comedy talents — veterans of the National Lampoon’s recordings, “Saturday Night Live” and “Second City TV” — most notably Ramis’ old comedy colleague and fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray.

James Spader to play Ultron in the next ‘Avengers’

James SpaderJames Spader has been tapped to play Ultron the next time the “Avengers” assemble. The 80’s actor best known for such movies as Pretty in Pink, Less Than Zero, Sex, Lies, and Videotape and recently the TV show Boston Legal was announced to play the Marvel villain Thursday.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” will show a more humanized — but just as fearsome — villain, Whedon told Entertainment Weekly.

In the Marvel universe, Ultron is a sentient robot that has an incredibly wide range of abilities, coming equipped with super-speed, super-strength, flight, mind control and a coma ray, to name a few. Whedon’s Ultron won’t be quite as versatile, and the filmmaker is imagining a less robotic bad guy.

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” will debut on May 1, 2015. In the meantime, Spader will be on the small-screen as well: The three-time Emmy winner stars in NBC’s “The Blacklist,” which premieres September 23.

The Goonies turns 28 years young

The GooniesAs if us Generation X‘ers didn’t feel old enough, we have The Goonies movie to give us a little reminder. This beloved American adventure–comedy film directed by Richard Donner and story by Steven Spielberg opened 28 years ago today on June 7, 1985.

I watched The Goonies again not too long ago with my two eldest children (they were around 5 and 7 years of age at the time) and quickly had forgotten about how movies were rated differently back in the 80’s. If I remember correctly, there were plenty of the sh*t word said and possibly an f-bomb but I cannot verify that at the time of this being published. Quite the strong language for a PG movie, however, The Goonies is still a quintessential 1980’s movie classic!

The Goonies grossed $9 million in its opening weekend in the US, second on the charts behind Rambo: First Blood Part II. It grossed over $61 million that year, placing it among the top ten highest-grossing films of 1985 (in the US).

Steve Martin teams up with Edie Brickell on latest album

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell - Love Has Come For YouSteve Martin is currently in the fifth decade of a varied and accomplished career as a comedian, actor, author and playwright, and as a Grammy®-winning, boundary-pushing bluegrass banjoist and songwriter. His fellow Texas native Edie Brickell initially burst onto the national scene in the late 80s fronting the New Bohemians, and has since carved out an iconoclastic solo career that’s solidified her reputation as compelling singer and a songwriter of rare insight.

Although these new musical partners have already built widely-respected individual bodies of work, their inaugural duo effort is a substantial departure, as a well as a creative milestone, for both artists. Love Has Come for You offers 13 eloquently rootsy Martin/Brickell compositions that combine the former’s inventive, expressive five-string banjo work with the latter’s heart-tugging vocals and vivid, detail-rich lyrics.

Produced by legendary musician and producer, Peter Asher, and featuring the guest stylings of Esperanza Spalding, Waddy Wachtel, Nickel Creek alumni Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, as well as the Steep Canyon Rangers, Love Has Come For You is playful, spacious, and irresistibly accessible.

Leslie Nielsen, star of ‘Airplane!’ and ‘Naked Gun,’ dead at 84

Leslie NielsenLeslie Nielsen (1926–2010), whose longtime career as a square-jawed dramatic actor took a sudden turn into comedy with gut-busting spoofs like “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun,” has died at age 84, his family said Sunday.

Nielsen died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded by family and friends, a family statement said.

Doug Nielsen called his uncle’s death a “great loss.”

“He was extremely funny,” the younger Nielsen said in an interview in Vancouver.

“At all of our family get-togethers, he was always the life of the party and a great-natured guy,” Nielsen said. “He was a very good friend to me.”

Other movies and TV shows Leslie Nielsen starred in the 1980’s:

Eighties music artists turned actors & 80’s actors turned singers

It seems quite a few actors picked up the microphone (some of which maybe shouldn’t have) back in the 80’s and vice-versa, with many music artists plunging into the world of lights, camera and action!  There were some huge names as you may recall such as Madonna, Cher and Prince, however, there may be a few you didn’t know about or possibly forgotten. This is by no means an entire list of ALL famous actors turned singers and singers turned actors in the 80’s, but does feature most of the more famous entertainers.


We’ll begin with the artists I mentioned above; Madonna, who had a couple of hit albums (her debut album Madonna & her sophomore album, Like a Virgin) under her belt before she jumped onto the big screen. She had a brief appearance as a club singer in Vision Quest and also appeared in the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan (1985). She later went on to act in movies such as Who’s That Girl, Dick Tracy, Madonna: Truth or Dare, A League of Their Own and Evita among other appearances in film and television.


Cher MoonstruckCher began her career back in the early 60’s as a session and backup singer as well as performing on television shows including the Sonny & Cher Show but didn’t break out into the movies until the 1980’s when she was next cast alongside Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell in the drama Silkwood which she received her first Academy Award nomination. Cher’s next film was a starring role in Mask in 1985. In 1987 Cher starred in three films; The Witches of Eastwick, Suspect and the romantic comedy Moonstruck. Cher returned to her musical success in 1987 with her album Cher and in 1989 with her album Heart of Stone proving she could cross-over from television to film to music with equal success.


Prince in Purple RainPrince had his beginnings in the late 70’s early 80’s in music. Prince was pretty much in the only hit movie for him (and soundtrack) Purple Rain where Prince played a young man with a talent for music and has begun a career with much promise. Purple Rain won an Academy Award and grossed more than $80 million in the U.S. In 1986 Prince starred in Under the Cherry Moon where plays a self-styled gigolo and musician in the south of France. Although Prince did not star in many movies, being an actor only enhanced his musical career.

Bette Midler

Midler released her debut album The Divine Miss M in December 1972. In 1979, Bette made her first motion picture, starring in the 1960s-era rock and roll tragedy The Rose, and in 1980, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical). The film’s acclaimed soundtrack album sold over two million copies in the United States alone, earning a Double Platinum certification. It earned Midler her first Gold single and won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

In 1985, Bette was a performer on USA for Africa’s fund-raising single We Are the World, and participated at the ‘Live Aid‘ event at JFK stadium. Also in 1985, she signed a multi-picture deal with Touchstone Pictures. She was subsequently cast by director Paul Mazursky in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, beginning a successful comedic acting career. She followed that with Ruthless People (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), and Big Business (1988). She scored a hit with the 1988 tearjerker Beaches, co-starring Barbara Hershey. The accompanying soundtrack remains Bette’s all-time biggest selling disc, reaching #2 on Billboard’s album chart and with US sales of four million copies. It featured her biggest hit, Wind Beneath My Wings, which went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, achieved Platinum status, and won her third Grammy Award – for Record of the Year – award at the 1990 Grammy Awards.

From 1990 – 2000 Midler enjoyed continued success in which she played a snobbish poodle in the animated Disney movie Oliver & Company, she co-starred with Woody Allen in Scenes from a Mall, and she earned another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for 1991’s For the Boys. Other Bette Midler movies include: Stella, Hocus Pocus, The First Wives Club and The Stepford Wives. Bette won an Emmy Award in 1992 for her memorable performance on the second-to-last episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Whitney Houston

In 1986 Whitney was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She won her first Grammy award for ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female’ for Saving All My Love for You. At the same award show, she performed that Grammy-winning hit, the performance later winning her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Houston won seven American Music Awards  in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award.

Although Houston enjoyed singing success in the 1980’s and early 90’s, she didn’t get into acting in movies until the 1990’s. Whitney starred in The Bodyguard (1992), Waiting to Exhale (1995), The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and a cameo appearance in Nora’s Hair Salon (2004) which she played herself.

To boost your 1980’s Whitney Houston TV trivia knowledge, here are a few other roles she played on television; In 1983 Whitney appeared in a Canada Dry commercial and in 1986 & 1988 she sang a version of the Diet Coke theme song — one song being “Just for the Taste of It.” In 1984 Whitney played Rita on Gimme a Break! (“Katie’s College” – Season 3, Episode 20) and in 1985, she played herself on an episode of Silver Spoons (“Head Over Heels” – Season 4, Epsidode 1).

Rick Springfield

Believe it or not, Rick Springfield started his musical career in the late 1960’s after dropping out of high school. When Springfield came to California from Australia in 1972 he produced an album called Beginnings, although it didn’t get much air play at the radio stations. Rick then turned his attention to his family and his acting career in the early 80’s starring on General Hospital.

At the same time, he had signed a contract with RCA Records and already recorded the album Working Class Dog, which neither he nor his agent had expected would do very well, which is why Springfield took the soap role. But the song Jessie’s Girl went to #1, and Springfield ended up both playing the role of Dr. Noah Drake from 1981 through 1983, while simultaneously going on tour with his band.

In 1984, Springfield made one full length feature film, Hard to Hold, and in 1998 he played in the film Legion. In 1992, he played the title role in the short-lived ABC series Human Target, based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is probably most well-known for his stand-up comedy, his work on Saturday Night Live and the huge 80’s movie hit Beverly Hills Cop. But what many people don’t know, Eddie is also a singer, musician and has recorded five studio albums, is on two compilation albums and has been on two soundtracks.

Murphy has provided background vocals to songs released by the The Bus Boys. As a solo artist, Murphy had two hit singles, Party All the Time from his album How Could It Be (which was produced by Rick James) and Put Your Mouth on Me from So Happy in the mid-1980s.


Best known for being the front-man to the Police back in the 80’s, then later as a solo artist, Sting has also has an extensive list of movies he has starred and appeared in.

In 1982 Sting played a drifter in Brimstone and Treacle, in 1984 he was Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the cult classic Dune. In 1985 Sting played Mick in the movie Plenty and Baron Frankenstein in The Bride. In 1988 Sting played three roles, one in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, a nightclub owner in Stormy Monday and a British gentleman in Julia and Julia and just recently played himself in the Bee Movie.

Don Johnson

As many people know, in September 1984, Don Johnson landed a starring role as Sonny Crockett in the very popular cop series, Miami Vice. Later Johnson starred in the 1996-2001 drama Nash Bridges with Cheech Martin.

Similar to Eddie Murphy, Johnson was not very well known for his musical abilities. In 1986 he released his first album named Heartbeat with the hit single of the same name. In 1988 he did a duet with Barbara Steisand and title track from her Till I Loved You album. In 1989 he released his second album Let It Roll, that same year he did a duet with Latin singer Yun. Finally, Johnson released The Essential album which is a French compilation which includes his one-hit-wonder Heartbeat.

David Bowie

David Bowie had quite the musical career even before entering the 80’s — going from superstar to megastar in the decade of the eighties. Recording Under Pressure with Queen and his biggest commercial success album Let’s Dance in the early 80’s catapulted him into mega-stardom.

Bowie began his movie career in the late 60’s appearing in a short film as a boy in the movie The Image, the most known movie he appeared in the 1980’s was Labrynth in which he played Jareth the Goblin King. Bowie also appeared in the controversial Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Another notable film in which he had a cameo appearance in was Zoolander in 2001.

Phil Collins

After Phil Collins’ 1970’s career as drummer and eventually Genesis‘ lead singer/writer when Peter Gabriel left the band, Phil began a successful solo career in the early 80’s. In 1981 he recorded his first solo album Face Value, In 1982 he produced Something’s Going On, a solo album by Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), of ABBA fame. His second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, released in 1982, included songs such as I Don’t Care Anymore.

From 1985 until 2010, Collins had recorded 6 solo albums including No Jacket Required, But Seriously, Both Sides, Dance Into the Light among others. Collins had 9 number one singles in the UK & US; all of which were released in the 1980’s — although Another Day in Paradise charted in 1990.

Phil’s first film role since becoming a musician came in 1988 with Buster about the Great Train Robbery which took place in England in the 1960s. The movie received good reviews and Collins contributed four songs to the films soundtrack. Collins had cameo appearances in Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991) and the AIDS docudrama And the Band Played On (1993). He starred in 1993’s Frauds, he was considered for the role of the villain in the movie Speed that was later played by Dennis Hopper. He supplied voices to two animated features: Balto (1995) and Disney’s The Jungle Book 2 (2003). On television, he twice hosted the Billboard Music Awards. He also appeared in an episode of the series Miami Vice, entitled “Phil the Shill”, in which he plays a cheating con-man. He also guest starred in several sketches with The Two Ronnies. Most recently, he had a cameo appearance on the television series Whoopi.

Other notable famous 80’s singers turned actors & actors turned singers

Meatloaf (Marvin Lee Aday) actually sought an acting career before he became a singer. Meatloaf had tremendous fame with his 1972 Bat Out Of Hell album. After Bat Out Of Hell, Meat lost much of his fame and fortune throughout the 1980’s, although he did have some success touring and managed to record four albums from 1981 – 1986. Meatloaf returned to popularity with his Bat Out Of Hell II: Back into Hell album and has appeared in over 30 movies including The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Iconic musician/performer Neil Diamond (we won’t go into his entire musical career) starred in a remake of the Al Jolson classic The Jazz Singer in 1980, opposite Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz. Though the movie was not a blockbuster hit at the box office, the soundtrack was a hugely successful album, spawning the 3 Top 10 singles Love on the Rocks, Hello Again, and America. For his role in the film itself, Diamond became the first ever Winner of a Worst Actor Razzie Award, yet he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the same role.

Finally, David Hasselhoff, yes, Mr. Hasselhoff himself recorded quite the collection of albums. Best known for his TV hits Knight Rider and Baywatch, Hasselhoff performed on stage as well as full-featured movies. He recorded over 15 albums and some of which even made the charts.

‘Getting the Pretty Back’ with ’80s “Teen Queen” Molly Ringwald

Best known for her roles in movies like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, Molly Ringwald has penned a new book titled Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick.

In Getting the Pretty Back, Molly encourages every woman to become “the sexiest, funniest, smartest, best-dressed, and most confident woman that you can be.” She shares personal anecdotes and entertaining insights about the struggle to get through the murky milestones and identity issues that crop up long after the prom ends.

Whether she’s discussing sex and beauty, personal style, travel and entertaining, motherhood, or friendship, Molly embodies the spirit of being fabulous at every age, and reminds us all that prettiness is a state of mind.