Disco. Reagan. What else comes to mind? The Oil Crisis. The Breakfast Club . That hilarious ’70s sitcom. (Which one, right?) Big hair. There’s a certain degree of sentimentality tied to the Seventies and Eighties. Younger gens, Millennials and Gen Zs, missed out on the experience, so it’s natural they should wonder. Hey! It was a transformative time. The era redefined America and what it means to be an American in many ways. Conjuring up an era nostalgically tends to excavate the past’s fashion footprint. As a result, many of those groovy styles make their way into our wardrobe, reincarnated, if you will, into swank new threads. Dayglo, not so much.
Isn’t it always the actors, creatives, and musicians who embody an era’s spirit and voice its consciousness? We tune in to the Industry’s gods and goddesses, whether it’s politics, hip trends, or the words they use. The ’70s and ’80s brought us a profusion of deified film stars. Let’s take a gander at our immortal pantheon.
Erik Estrada Known for: ChiPs Net worth: $4 million “Ponch” was one cool dude. It’s hard to fathom just how suave Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello from the TV series CHiPs was without teleporting to the ‘70s dimension. The show featured he and his partner patrolling the highways of Southern California mounted on CHP motorcycles. The next thing you know, People magazine named him one of “The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World” by 1979.
The show hit the airwaves in 1977 and ran for five seasons. In the ’90s he was paid one million pesos on a Mexican daytime soap opera to play “Johnny,” a steamy Tijuana truck driver, despite the fact he could not speak Spanish. It became the hottest telenovela in Latin American history. The man has sex appeal. Now he’s a real cop. It was his boyhood dream to become a police officer, so the CHiPs role was right up his alley. Today he patrols the Internet for crimes affecting children.
Jack Nicholson Known for: Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shining Net worth: $400 million After appearing in a string of low budget horror movies, Jack Nicholson stepped into his own with Easy Rider, the revolutionary film which embodied ’60s counter-culture. Establishing his position on the pantheon of cinematic legends, he won his first Oscar for Best Actor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest playing the memorable Randle McMurphy in that Oscar-winning Best Picture. He’s known for his many iconic roles in a wide variety of films. From A Few Good Men (“You can’t handle the truth!!”) to As Good As It Gets , his range in character portrayal astounds. Amassing a net worth of $400 million, he’s made bank on many roles, but none match his Batman windfall. As the insta-iconic Joker, Nicholson raked in $60 to $90 million.
Speculation and anticipation for his return to the big screen have been swirling since his 2013 retirement after 60 years in film. He won three Oscars during his career and holds the record for most Academy Award nominations. Although unconfirmed by Nicholson, one source claims the actor suffers memory issues and is unable to memorize a script. I’m sure he’s a great improviser. In fact, he improvised one of the most iconic lines of any film: “Here’s Johnny” from The Shining. Bring Jack back!
Tom Hanks Known for: Big and Forrest Gump Net worth: $350 million Actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks rests high on the pantheon of cinematic gods and goddesses. As a titan of film, he’s starred in more box office smash hits that one can shake a stick at. Where to start? How about Splash . Splashing into his career starring opposite sea-goddess Daryl Hannah, one of the most beautiful models of the day, established Hanks as a Hollywood lead after television show Bosom Buddies popularized his personality. Success followed. Sleepless in Seattle is another enduring hit. Of course, his SNL work and voicing Woody on Toy Story is hilariously memorable. He won Oscars for more serious roles. He won Best Actor for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump .
Hanks, as a liberal and a celebrity, has been very active politically. Back when Myspace was a thing, he endorsed Barack Obama as a candidate. He’s for the environment, same-sex marriage, alternative fuels, and electric vehicles.
Bo Derek Known for: Bolero and Tarzan, the Ape Man Net worth: $50 million Eighties American beauty Bo Derek epitomized the movie 10 . Besides, 10, Tarzan, the Ape Man was wildly popular. Her husband John Derek directed Tarzan and Ghosts Can’t Do It. But, sadly, he died in 1998, the year Ghosts came out.
Growing up in Long Beach, California, Bo Derek skipped out on school when she was 16 to chill at the beach. (Totally normal. It’s the Eighties, right?) After learning to surf and catching some rays, she got caught by her mom her for dropping out, and she was sent back. But then she quit school altogether as she got work filming a movie with her to-be husband in Greece.
Clint Eastwood Known for: The Good the Bad and the Ugly , Dirty Harry and “Go ahead, make my day” Net worth: $375 million Hollywood staple, Clint Eastwood, whose renowned career spans six decades, turned 89 this year. As an actor-turned-politician, he was mayor of Carmel in California for two years, but he never quit working in the entertainment industry. Throughout his career, he’s been awarded twelve Oscars for Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. He’s directed 30 films. The Unforgiven (1992) was his peak achievement bringing in nine Academy Award nominations and four Oscars. Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby were also Oscar-winning and box-office smash, directorial feats.
After starring in TV series Rawhide, Eastwood came to prominence as a vigilante justice enforcer playing roles like Dirty Harry and the good guy with no name in The Good the Bad and the Ugly. He was so badass, President Ronald Reagan quoted his immortal Dirty Harry line, Go ahead, make my day,” at a speech to Congress. When Eastwood tired of playing the good guy vanquishing bad guys, he branched out into comedy and drama. Bridges of Madison County captured his sensitive side. Most of his career effectively defined American masculinity. The man’s a legend.
Tom Cruise Known for: Risky Business and Top Gun Net worth: $570 million As one of the prettiest faces of the 1980s, Tom Cruise’s career kicked into high gear after filming The Outsiders and Taps . He turned down the lead role in Footloose to be in All the Right Moves and Risky Business . Mr. Cruise was well on his way to becoming the highest-paid actor ever. He was 18 when he moved to N.Y.C. to be a movie star. But first, he wanted to be a priest, having enrolled in a seminary at age 14. Today, as a Scientology spokesman of sorts, it seems he achieved both. And how! Cruise has worked with all the greats in Hollywood. From Stanley Kubrick to Steven Spielberg, and everyone in between, he’s a true Hollywood legend. He’s the only actor to have worked with each of these directing greats: Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, and Steven Spielberg.
He starred in top-grossing movies throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Films like Rain Man , The Color of Money , Born on the Fourth of July , Top Gun , Mission: Impossible , Jerry Maguire , and Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles were not only top-grossing but some of cinema’s best. Besides the support Cruise gives to Scientology, he’s a generous contributor to many causes. He supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, UNICEF, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Dolly Parton Known for: “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene” and “9 to 5” Net worth: $500 million Dolly Parton grew up dirt poor on a dilapidated tobacco farm in Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains, but she had a dream. Dolly began composing songs as a little girl. She rose to become the Queen of Nashville. Her wide smile, platinum blonde hairdo, and well-endowed features are an enduring symbol of the 1970s. Dolly distinguished Country Music with her presence. Her fabulous talent help popularize the twangy country-western folk music genre. And, on top of it all, with that adorable southern accent, she’s just so lovable. Back at home, the country legend’s theme park, Dollywood, is the most popular tourist attraction in the state.
She played opposite Burt Reynolds in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and starred in another blockbuster hit called 9 to 5. She wrote the film’s catchy theme song and played the lead. She composed the tune, as she sat tapping her nails during the rehearsal of the film. The song won an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Over her career, she has won nine Grammys and two Academy Award nominations. In all, she was nominated for 47 Grammys!
Tommy Lee Jones Known for: The Fugitive, MIB and Coal Miner’s Daughter Net worth: $85 million At Harvard, where Tommy Lee Jones roomed with Al Gore and graduated cum laude in 1969, he played varsity football, as well. As an all-league offensive guard, he participated in the Harvard vs. Yale game known as “The Tie,” the most famous game in Ivy League history. He also appeared in undergrad theater productions. Students would find him in the sports locker room suiting up in costume for rehearsal! Acting won out. Now we know him as the big screen’s worst tough guy in films like MIB and The Fugitive .
In between stage productions, Jones starred on daytime soap One Life to Live. It was not exactly his career dream, but the part led him on the path to the podium where he accepted an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in The Fugitive. It also scored him a sequel. He became one of the best paid and most highly sought-after actors in the industry. Like many Hollywood greats, he’s tried his hand at directing and producing. His theatrical feature film debut, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada earned him the Best Actor Award at Cannes.
Al Pacino Known for: The Godfather and Scarface Net worth: $165 million Throughout the Seventies and Eighties, Al Pacino played one badass mother-flipper after another. He got his start with The Godfather . Francis Ford Coppola happened to catch Pacino in The Panic in Needle Park as a heroin addict, and he could not, not-imagine Pacino’s face as mafia boss Michael Corleone. Good call. The performance remains one of cinema’s greatest achievements. He received his first Oscar nomination, of many, in that breakout film. The Godfather franchise would make him a very wealthy film legend. It’s a stark contrast to his harsh beginnings coming of age in the Bronx. A bit of a trouble maker, smoking and drinking at age nine, you can bet he got into his share of street fights. The acting was a strong interest by middle school. He began studying method acting and getting parts, but the struggles continued, scraping together bus fares to get to auditions.
Pacino received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for Serpico, but he didn’t win the Best Actor Award until 1993 for Scent of a Woman playing the part of a blind ex-Army officer. He starred in other notable films including,... .And Justice for All, Dog Day Afternoon and Frankie and Johnny. He’s not done. Look out for these 2019 flicks: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s film, The Irishman, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Pacino.
John Travolta Known for: Saturday Night Fever and Grease Net worth: $170 million “ Night fever, night fever / We know how to do it ” –Bee Gees. John Travolta certainly did! He was the face and the moves of that groovy ’70s disco tune. Between the Bee Gees and John T., Saturday Night Fever was a monumental hit. Disco-mania peaked with the release of the film, and his role as a working-class disco dancer won him both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.
In the meantime, snagging the lead as Dany Zuko when he was just 18, Travolta toured with the 1971Broadway hit musical “Grease.” Several years later Grease, the movie, opened to wild success. Onto Urban Cowboy. A few flops followed. When the year 1980 rolled in, disco music and John Travolta tanked. After starring in Tarantino’s hit flick Pulp Fiction, Travolta’s career bounced high on a rebound with a box office and cult-following success, plus another Oscar nomination came his way. Movies like Get Shorty, Face/Off, Battlefield Earth, and Primary Colors have kept him in Hollywood’s good graces since then.
Barbra Streisand Known for: Yentl and “Evergreen” Net worth: $400 million “Hello, gorgeous.” Thus spoke Barbara Streisand as she greeted her first Oscar. Decked out in a flowing hippie-style sheer jumpsuit, with pants so flared she tripped on them climbing onto the stage, she received the Best Actress Award for Funny Girl , tying with Katherine Hepburn. Her second Academy Award came the following year for Best Original Song, “Evergreen,” the theme song to A Star is Born . Her list of Grammys, Golden Globes and other awards trails on. As a rare member of the EGOT artists club, she’s got a Tony too. Along with eight Grammys, her recording career produced 150 million album sales worldwide. She’s more than music. In 1983, Streisand pioneered the role of women in the film industry when she wrote, produced, directed and starred in Yentl . Until then, no other woman had achieved this.
Her beginnings were not as grand. After the sudden death of her father when she was a year old, she and her brother teetered on the brink of poverty growing up in Brooklyn, New York. With her mom unavailable working long hours as a bookkeeper, she struggled through childhood but gradually found value in her voice. Everyone noticed it. Now she gives back. The Streisand Foundation has raised $25 million and has funded over a thousand grants toward causes ranging from nuclear disarmament to women’s issues. Politically, she supports the environment and disses President Trump.
Harvey Keitel Known for: Mean Streets and Taxi Driver Net worth: $45 million Brooklyn-raised, Harvey Keitel grew up in an immigrant family of Ashkenazic Jews during the 1940s. He received his bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Actor’s Studio in N.Y.C. and continued to study acting at the HB Studio under Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. Shortly after, he hooked up with a young Martin Scorsese in Who’s That Knocking at My Door , effectively sparking a long-term collaboration on various projects. When Keitel starred with Robert De Niro in Scorsese’s 1973 Mean Streets , it became the breakthrough film for all three men. Teaming up again in the neo-noir psych-thriller Taxi Driver (1976), they gladly found the film showered with praise. The heavy-hitting young cast included the likes of Cybil Shepherd, Jodie Foster, and Peter Boyle. Nominations from the Academy and Cannes helped distinguish the controversial film as one of the best movies of all time.
Keitel was just getting started. Teaming up with Scorsese’s screenwriter, Paul Schrader, Keitel starred in his 1977 and 1978 directorial debuts. However, he fell into a slump in the ’80s, playing lackluster roles in Copkiller and in the mafia comedy Wise Guys. In the ’90s, things started picking back up. His performance as Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs jolted his career back into gear. He continued to work with Tarantino and Scorsese and began working with Spike Lee. He was in Thelma and Louise, Chinatown, and The Last Temptation of Christ, another controversial Scorsese film.
Glenda Jackson Known for: Women in Love Net worth: $7 million Glenda Jackson is an Oscar-winning actress who served as an elected politician in the British Parliament. She got into government in 1992 to oppose conservative Margaret Thatcher. She stayed in Parliament until she was almost 80. After a 23-year hiatus, she returned to the stage.
She came back with a splash winning the 2018 Tony award for Best Actress in a Play for Edward Albee’s, Three Tall Women . She plays a mean King Lear. Her performances of the role have garnered much praise. It was with the Royal Shakespeare Company that Jackson got her start. When she transitioned to film, she won two Academy Awards for Best Actress. Her first was for the British romantic drama Women in Love and the second for the British romantic comedy A Touch of Class . In Sunday Bloody Sunday , Jackson earned accolades for her role as Alex. She’s a woman with an astounding career.
Marsha Mason Known for: Cinderella Liberty Net worth: $10 million Marsha Mason debuted in film in 1973 with Blume in Love . Her performance caught the attention of playwright, screenwriter and author, Neil Simon. He tracked her down and cast her in his Broadway play, The Good Doctor . The two fell in love and were married by the end of the year.
Mason delivered a stunning performance in the romantic drama Cinderella Liberty. It earned her an Oscar nomination. Again, she was nominated for the Oscar in Simon’s celebrated film, The Goodbye Girl. In all, this rare talent was nominated four times for an Oscar. Most recently, Mason has appeared on the Netflix hit series Grace and Frankie and on the TV sitcom The Middle.
Ann-Margret Known for: Tommy Net worth: $20 million Ann-Margret loved theatre and performed throughout her teens. As fate would have it, she became an iconic American sex symbol, a.k.a. “sex kitten.” Launching that attention, undoubtedly, was a role in Viva Las Vegas . Her sizzling hot film relationship with Elvis Presley got steamy off camera too. Elvis was 28, and Ann-Margret was 22. Striking fame in Bye Bye Birdie and as a chart-topping vocal artist, Ann-Margret was invited to sing at John F. Kennedy’s birthday in the White House. Meanwhile, Elvis and Ann-Margret tumbled wildly in love. The matter, however, didn’t bode well for them in the press, and the steaming hot 2-year affair cooled down. Under enormous pressure, Elvis decided to stick it out with Priscilla.
In the 1970s, she would upend the "sex kitten" label with dramatic successes in Hollywood playing serious roles. To wit, she was nominated for two Academy Awards—Carnal Knowledge and Tommy. During the 1960s, Ann-Margret modeled for Triumph bikes. She loved riding a Triumph in the 1966 movie, The Swinger. She’s been an avid motorcycle enthusiast ever since.
Goldie Hawn Known for: Private Benjamin Net worth: $60 million Blondes ruled the Seventies. This beauty ruled as a comedian. She’s best known for satirizing the dumb blonde stereotype. As one of the hottest actresses of the Seventies and Eighties, Goldie Hawn’s career peaked with Private Benjamin (1980). Hawn co-produced and starred in the endearing comedy which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Less well known is the fact that she started out as a go-go dancer in New York City. When she relocated her dance career to California, she found a new career. Acting. Landing a major role in Cactus Flower, she hit the ground running winning her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Needless to say, her career took off. Goldie’s life partner is Kurt Russel. They paired up permanently in 1983 when their stupendous Hollywood careers collided on the set of Swing Shift.
Dianne Wiest Known for: Hannah and Her Sisters and Edward Scissorhands Net worth: $18 million She is Brad Pitt’s favorite actress and Woody Allen adores her talent. Who, might you ask, is this industry darling? Meet, Dianne Wiest. Kansas City, Missouri-born Dianne Wiest had big dreams of being a ballet dancer. Instead, as a senior in high school going off to the University of Maryland, she decided to study theatre. At the university, she hitched up with a Shakespearean troupe which eventually led to Broadway and her stage debut in 1971. She played Emily in Our Town and Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
After landing some small film roles, the incomparable filmmaker, Woody Allen, discovered Wiest. He cast her in Hannah and Her Sisters to all kinds of acclaim, including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also won the award for Allen’s 1994 black comedy crime-film Bullets Over Broadway. She’s a rare winner for the prize in a comedy a film. In 1990, second only to Johnny Depp, she was exceptionally loved as Peg Boggs, the kind Avon lady, in Edward Scissorhands.
Brooke Shields Known for: The Blue Lagoon and Pretty Baby Net worth: $25 million Throughout the 1980s Brooke Shields was like the supermodel-next-door. She was simply adored. As a teenage actress, she starred in The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love . She took a break from her career to graduate from Princeton University.
She performed in her first modeling gig when she was eleven months old. At 12, she played the controversial role of a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby. The Manhattan-born model and actress was the youngest fashion model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine at 14. By 16, she was one of the most well-known faces and a household name. She was on the cover of every major fashion magazine. Shields is a vegan and an animal rights activist. She protested the fur industry in 1989. But PETA called her out for modeling a mink coat at the Copenhagen Fur show. They called her a “fur pimp.” Geez. Savage.
Janet Suzman Known for: Nicholas and Alexandra Net worth: $2 million South African-born British actress Janet Suzman went to school in Johannesburg and moved to London to train in theatre at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. In 1963 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company where she became a celebrated actress.
Suzman starred in many British-telly drama productions like Saint Joan , The Three Sisters, Macbeth , Hedda Gabbler and Twelfth Night. In her debut film role as Empress Alexandra in Nicholas and Alexandra , Suzman received showers of praise plus a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Not bad. In her later years, she has taken on directing. Her first project, a televised production of Othello was filmed in South Africa at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.
Catherine Deneuve Known for: Belle de Jour and Repulsion Net worth: $75 million Parisian-born, French and American actor Catherine Deneuve was so revered for her beauty in the 1980s, she became the representation of Marianne, France’s national symbol. Her elegant style has also been incorporated by luxury brands like Chanel No. 5 and Yves Saint Laurent, for whom she modeled.
Famously, especially in France, Deneuve starred in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. In America, she won fame with her performance in Indochine. Her role as a murderous schizophrenic in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion is perhaps her best remembered, but her greatest performance remains in Belle de Jour by Luis Buñuel, where she plays a housewife who’s an afternoon prostitute. She worked primarily in French and European cinema, but In America, she co-starred with Jack Lemmon in The April Fools and with Burt Reynolds in Hustle. In the 1980s she co-starred with David Bowie and Susan Sarandon playing an award-winning rendition of a bisexual vampire.
Louise Fletcher Known for: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Net worth: $1 million Now, here’s an actor who played a character we all love to hate—quite possibly the very one we love to hate the most. In 1976, Louise Fletcher introduced to the world of cinema the most wretched of all iconic screen villains, the evil Nurse Ratched. Lording over the psychiatric ward that held Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy and his band of fellow patients, Nurse Ratched’s epic clashes with the incorrigible patient are indelible.
Louise Fletcher won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and also the BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress. Her rendition of the heartless Nurse Ratched made her one of three actresses ever to win all three awards. An astounding performance, indeed. It was Fletcher’s performance in Thieves Like Us (1974) that caught the attention of Milos Forman, director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Kim Basinger Known for: The Natural and Batman Net worth: $40 million Growing up as an extremely shy girl from Athens, Georgia, Kim Basinger managed to take on beauty contests and win the Junior Miss Georgia title. By the time she was 20, she was a top model appearing on the cover of every fashion magazine. But Basinger wanted more than a modeling career, so the Cover Girl moved to Hollywood.
Breaking into TV, she landed parts on the groovy Charlie’s Angels series. She broke into the film industry with a role as a Bond girl. But it was Tim Burton’s box-office hit Batman that propelled her toward the stardom she sought. Notably, her role as a femme fatale in L.A. Confidential is universally hailed as brilliant. Basinger is a vegetarian and an animal rights activist. She posed for PETA, sans fur, supporting their anti-fur campaign.
Peter Ostrum Known for: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Net worth: $1 million Child actor, Peter Ostrum, took a very different path than some of his American counterparts. As a boy in the 1970s, he won the role of Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory after being selected by talent scouts while performing with children’s theatre in Cleveland, Ohio. He was 12. The movie studio offered Ostrum a three-film movie contract once filming concluded. Ostrum turned it down. He credits the decision to having spared him the tough transition from child actor to adulthood.
Making the movie on the Munich set in West Germany set was a good experience. During the filming, he developed a close relationship with Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka). Ostrum considered going back to Hollywood for a showbiz career, but he never made the move. With the massive proceeds, he acquired a horse. It became his love and passion, ultimately leading to a career in veterinary medicine. Royalties are yet trickling in from the 1971 film.
Talia Shire Known for: Rocky Net worth: $20 million “Adrian!” Yes, Talia Shire played Adrian, Rocky Balboa’s adoring girlfriend, in the most famous boxing movie of all time. But she also played Connie Corleone in The Godfather , another unbelievably epic movie.
Notably, Shire was born a Coppola and is the sister to the godfather of film, Francis Ford Coppola. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Godfather: Part II . For her moving portrayal of Adrian in Rocky , Shire won a boatload of accolades: The New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.
Sarah Miles Known for: Hope and Glory Net worth: $6 million Swinging Sixties performer, Sarah Miles is a BAFTA and Academy Award-nominated, English actress who remained in film until the early Seventies. It’s a wonder she was able to achieve such fame. As a child, she was unable to speak until the age of nine because of a stammer and struggled so desperately with dyslexia she was expelled from four different schools. Finally, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), she excelled and was nominated for the BAFTA Newcomer Award in 1962 in Term of Trial .
She won an Oscar nomination for her role in David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter which was an adapted script from “Madame Bovary” set during the Easter Rebellion of 1916 in Ireland. Miles’ husband, screenwriter Robert Bolt, adapted the play. It was a high point for Miles. After divorcing Bolt, Miles’ career flatlined but then sparkled one last time with Hope and Glory (1987).
Jeff Bridges Known for: The Last Picture Show and “The Dude” Net worth: $70 million Born in Los Angeles to a silver screen family, Jeff Bridges quite literally grew up in Hollywood. As a child, he was in and out of studios and on and off film sets tagging along with his parents and older brother. Bridges had his big break with The Last Picture Show playing Duane Jackson in a coming-of-age role that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It typecast him as a clever slacker with a loose-cannon tendency that would find its climax as “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski , a pop-cult phenomenon.
He was also nominated for an Oscar in Starman, although his performance in Fearless is considered his best by some. Bridges has studied Buddhism and practice Transcendental Meditation. Politically, he supports ending childhood hunger. He was the spokesman for the No Kid Hungry campaign for Share Our Strength. He’s also a supporter of the environment and backs the Amazon Conservation Team.
Alan Arkin Known for: The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming Net worth: $15 million Brooklyn-born and L.A.-transplant, Alan Arkin, moved out West with his family when he was 11. His father lost his teaching job in the early 1950s for refusing to answer questions about his political affiliation. It was young Alan’s introduction to the “Red Scare.” Arkin loved music and played the guitar. In 1956, he co-wrote the famous “Banana Boat Song.” His fame would come later. Acting lessons began at age 10, and he hooked up with the Second City comedy and theatre troupe in the Sixties.
It happened in 1966 with The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. His performance as a Soviet submariner earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He was nominated again for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. He received a BAFTA and an Oscar for Best Actor in Little Miss Sunshine, cracking us up as a foul-mouthed grandpa with a bit of a heroin addiction. In TV he was recognized for his part in The Pentagon Papers with a Primetime Emmy and, more recently, he’s been nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor in The Kominsky Method, two SAGs and one Golden Globe.
Debbie Harry Known for: Blondie, “Rapture” and “Call Me” Net worth: $20 million Best known as Blondie, Debbie Harry shot to fame after the band of the same name came together. Straight out of the 1970s New York punk scene, Debbie Harry and all-girl band, the Stilettos, were rocking the stage in a downtown club in 1974 when Chris Stein discovered her. He was captivated. Together they formed Blondie. As lovers, bandmates and wonderful friends, they created a unique style of music that jolted the scene. Selling over 40 million albums, tunes like, “Atomic,” “The Tide is High,” “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me” continue to inspire generation after generation. Her song “Rapture” is considered the first rap song to hit number one on the charts.
Debbie Harry actively promotes supporting women. In 1980, she hosted a tea party inviting all the prominent women musicians of the time. There weren’t many, but Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux were there. The girls had a fabulous time. She’s memorialized by Andy Warhol. His acrylic and silkscreen ink portraits of her are considered one of Warhol’s most accomplished celebrity portraits. Today one print is worth over $6 million. When the pop icon sat for Warhol at The Factory she said, “He was the master of understatement.” The two met when they bumped into each other on Broadway and 13th Street.
Judd Nelson Known for: The Breakfast Club Net worth: $8 million Inveterate “Brat Packer” Judd Nelson debuted his bad-boy persona on The Breakfast Club . It came to life in 1985, when “Brat Pack” architect John Hughes’ totally ’80s flick hit the big screen rousing teen infatuation everywhere. The obsession mounted as another Hughes movie called, St. Elmo’s Fire , starring Nelson alongside Rob Lowe, Demi Moore and Andrew McCarthy opened. Sixteen Candles kicked off the frenzy over Hughes’ trademark style a year previous.
Judd Nelson was raised in middle-class, Portland, Maine. He studied philosophy at the university, but after he graduated he took off to New York City for an acting career. Hitting it big was not what he expected. Reflecting back he is famously known to have said, “My Brat Pack buddies and I didn’t exactly handle celebrity very well. Success at an early age is far more difficult to handle than failure.”
Robert Downey, Jr. Known for: Less Than Zero Net worth: $300 million Child actor, Robert Downey, Jr. appeared in his first movie at age 5. On the rise with our pack of 1980s teen icons, he starred in John Hughes’ classic sci-fi comedy Weird Science. Downey peaked in the quintessential Gen X role from Less Than Zero (1987), the Eighties-era opus.
In Chaplin , a maturing Downey earned an Oscar nomination and won the BAFTA for Best Actor. Drug abuse problems derailed his career to a degree, but his comebacks, most significantly with Marvel, have erased any losses. He’s one of the highest-grossing actors in the world. Robert Downey, Jr., was born in Manhattan to a filmmaker father and an actress mother. Drugs and alcohol were everywhere growing up. His dad let him smoke pot at six. He played in amazing 1990s flicks like Natural Born Killers with Woody Harrelson, and Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino.
Robert Redford Known for: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sundance Film Festival Net worth: $170 million As a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I distinctly recall a crowd-favorite potluck dessert called, “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford.” He was more than a household name. He was a household heartthrob.
Robert Redford began acting on Broadway and television, most notably in The Twilight Zone in 1962 and on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park . Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made him a verifiable movie star. He followed it up in 1972 with Jeremiah Jones and in 1973 with two number one box office hits, The Way We Were and The Sting , making him No. 1 at the box office for three consecutive years. Capitalizing on his success, he championed environmental causes and founded the Sundance Institute for aspiring filmmakers. Today, the festival of the same name is one of the world’s most prominent film festivals. Politically, Redford actively supports environmentalism, Native American rights, and LGBT rights. He’s a trustee of The National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental group based in N.Y.C. He also backs the arts and supports various political causes and campaigns.
Pam Grier Known for: Jackie Brown and Coffy Net worth: $10 million Pam Grier was the queen of the early 1970s Blaxploitation movies. Women in Cages and The Big Dollhouse featured her lively character roles, making her the first African American to play an action hero. In Coffy , Grier plays a vigilante taking out justice on a coke dealer for addicting her sister. Black Mama, White Mama is another Blaxploitation film of Grier’s. Like a 1970s version of Orange Is the New Black , this movie takes place at a women’s prison on a fictional tropical island. Though Blaxploitation sounds bad, it had elements of black power and women’s power. The film style went out with the 1970s.
Miami Vice was a crazy-popular hit TV series that ran during the heart of the Eighties, from 1985 to 1989. Pam Grier became a regular on the show. It’s difficult to explain its mass appeal like it would be difficult to explain the mass appeal of PewDiePie in 30 years. Miami Vice featured Don Johnson, a hunk of a private detective with slicked-back hair in a slick white-white suit wearing designer shades and a Rolex watch—totally ’80s—and, at his fingertips, an ever-ready, even more slick, gleaming chrome handgun. Also in the 1980s, Grier played the evil Dust Witch in Ray Bradbury’s story, Something Wicked This Way Comes, a 1983 Disney production. In the 1990s, she was Jackie Brown. Quentin Tarantino’s crime-thriller was created as a direct nod to Blaxploitation films. Award nominations and an NAACP Image Award revived her career. Factoid: Pam Grier was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Ms. Magazine, 1975.
Drew Barrymore Known for: E.T. Net worth: $125 million Drew Barrymore was born into Hollywood stardom. Almost every member of her family has showbiz creds. Her godfather, for example, is none other than Steven Speilberg. He’s also director E.T. , but no one could have predicted the rebellious ’80s teen icon she would become. She was so damn cool that Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love asked her to be the godmother of their baby daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. And she’s still wildly popular, agelessly appealing to each new generation.
Despite being born to Hollywood royalty, no one could have predicted she would star in the highest-grossing film of the 1980s. Fame doesn’t come without its problems. Childhood actors are doubly cursed. For Drew Barrymore, superstardom landed her in drug and alcohol rehab by age 13. She was nine the first time she got drunk, at Rob Lowe’s birthday party, incidentally. Shortly thereafter, she was a regular at the club scene. (The hedonistic Eighties were kind of a crazy decade). She’s lucky she survived to adulthood. The fact that she’s been one of the most prolific and continuously working stars in the business, is another blessing. Drew has a philanthropic heart and has supported a wide variety of charitable organizations. Fighting hunger is one. After being named Ambassador Against Hunger for the U.N. World Food Programme, Barrymore donated $1 million to the cause.
Cloris Leachman Known for: The Last Picture Show and Young Frankenstein Net worth: $21 million This actress/comedian is best known for her hilarious role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore show. Her Phyllis character was so popular Leachman went on to do her very own spin-off sitcom called Phyllis. She also appeared in the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein and continued to work with Brooks for many years.
On television, she was known as Beverly in the wildly popular 1980s show The Facts of Life. In the film, she portrayed Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). Leachman set a record winning eight Primetime Emmy Awards. She also won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Phyllis. Her performance in The Last Picture Show earned an Oscar. Her last role was performed in the 2018 movie I Can Only Imagine, a Christian-themed movie based on the pop-sensation song of the same title. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa on April 30, 1926. She grew up in Des Moines and lived there until she attended Illinois State to study drama, and then graduated from Northwestern University. She started her film career soon after, but not before winning Miss America in 1946.
Geneviève Bujold Known for: Anne of a Thousand Days Net worth: $2 million At 71 Geneviève Bujold said, “I am incapable of doing things I don’t want to do. I live modestly, so that I’m never forced to do a job to pay a mortgage, and I don’t own anything.” Her point being, “All the external decorations are less important than giving yourself the gift of time.”
Canadian-born Bujold spent her childhood in Montreal’s Hochelaga Convent. It was a stifling experience. She finally got kicked out after getting caught reading an unapproved novel. She became a stage actress and then a French film actress. When she played Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days in 1969, her performance was so spectacular she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. It was her American film debut. She went on to do other American movies like Earthquake, Coma and Dead Ringers.
Anthony Michael Hall Known for: Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club Net worth: $8 million “Brat Pack” go-to geek Anthony Michael Hall starred in most of John Hughes’ blockbusters, beginning with National Lampoon’s Vacation playing one of Chevy Chase’s kids. Hughes kept him in mind for Sixteen Candles , The Breakfast Club and Weird Science . But Hall, who has a slight resemblance to future tech-geek Mark Zuckerberg, turned down roles Hughes wrote for him in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink . (Enough with the typecast!)
Of the “Brat Pack” experience, Hall said, “I had the time of my life.” However, as with many of our iconic child actors from the Eighties, Hall took a two-year break to deal with a drinking problem. He returned to screen with Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands playing a villain. Six Degrees of Separation was another box office hit. One of Hall’s charitable efforts includes assisting at-risk youth by offering literacy programs. His initiative offers an opportunity to learn literacy in films, music, lyrics, scriptwriting, and novels.
Carol Kane Known for: Hester Street and Wicked Net worth: $5 million Carol Kane took on theatre as a child growing up in N.Y.C. She continued to study acting at the prestigious HB Studio until making her theatrical debut in the 1966 production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie . She played a teenager who was raped and left pregnant in the WWII Wedding in White when she was 20 years old. Kane received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the independent film, Hester Street (1975), leaving people agreeably surprised.
Kane received two Emmys and a Golden Globe nomination for her work on Taxi. She appeared on the television series from 1980 to 1983. The Princess Bride and Scrooged from the late ’80s garnered her plenty of attention. To all kinds of acclaim, she played Madame Morrible. Her face is recognized everywhere as the evil headmistress in the insanely popular Wicked Broadway musical. She premiered with the original tour on March 9, 2005.
Matt Dillon Known for: The Outsiders and There’s Something About Mary Net worth: $40 million “Brat Pack” tough guy Matt Dillon arose from The Outsiders a national teen idol. Along with the rest of the club, his career was catapulted to new heights. His film debut in Over the Edge , though it was not widely screened, got him known as an edgy, cool dude. The 1979 movie is hip again with a fervent retro cult following.
He starred in My Bodyguard, Rumble Fish, and The Flamingo Kid. He played the cute lead in a lot of movies. In Gus Van Sant’s crime drama, Drugstore Cowboy, he plays an addict on the search for drugs. One of his most memorable comedy roles is “Pat” in There’s Something About Mary. He’s still acting! In 2018 he starred in The House that Jack Built. He won an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Globe nomination for Crash. He received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album having narrated the inveterate Jack Kerouac’s, On the Road.
Cyndi Lauper Known for: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Kinky Boots and LGBTQ+ Activism Net worth: $30 million Pop music superstar Cyndi Lauper “be-bopped” herself into a spectacular career. Suffice it to say you cannot find an ‘80s mixtape without at least one track rocking her distinctively pitched voice. “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “True Colors” played on heavy rotation throughout the decade. She won Best New Artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards and Best Female Music Video at the 1984 MTV Music Awards (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”). As a self-proclaimed misfit—her hair’s different, her voice is different, her sweet and honest nature is a bit of an aberration in the rock world—she somehow fits in.
Lauper is a rare talent. She’s one of very few singers who have won an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy. Her role on the sitcom, Mad About You, earned her an Emmy and her music and lyrics for the Broadway musical, Kinky Boots, won a Tony. Raised in Queens by a single mom, she struggled to make it, at times living on the streets as a young adult. Maybe that is why she is one of the most compassionate people. She wrote the song “True Colors” for her good friend Gregory who died of AIDs. The loss inspired her to dedicate her life to helping the gay and lesbian community. Today she’s a leading advocate for LGBTQ+ people’s rights. Her organization, True Colors United, seeks to end homelessness, emphasizing youth homelessness. She founded it in 2012 after she learned that 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.
Christopher Walken Known for: The Deer Hunter Net worth: $50 million Christopher Walken snagged his first showbiz gig as a circus lion tamer when he was 16. Next, he liked to dance, so he trained as a dancer before moving on to stage performance. He broke into showbiz proper as a stage actor in an off-Broadway musical starring alongside Liza Minnelli. The next thing he knew, he was starring opposite Sean Connery in The Anderson Tapes .
Walken played the deranged and homicidal brother of Annie (Diane Keaton) in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. He would develop a catalog of similar character roles. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor playing a psychologically unstable steelworker returning home from Vietnam in The Deer Hunter. Walken starved himself for a week to develop a gaunt appearance for the role. He’s played epic villains, most memorably in Batman Returns and as James Bond’s villain, Max Zorin. However, George Lucas considered casting Walken as good-guy Han Solo and he played Madonna’s guardian angel in her “Bad Girl” music video. He’s also loved for his seven SNL appearances. He’s responsible for delivering the epic, “I gotta have more cowbell” line.
Candy Clark Known for: American Graffiti Net worth: $3 million At 18, Candy Clark moved to N.Y.C. to become a fashion model. The sky was the limit. When she landed a starring role in the raucous rock ‘n roll coming-of-age movie American Graffiti (1973) she worked with budding Hollywood legends, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. That year, Screen World declared her one of the most promising movies stars in the industry. She turned out to be more like a one-hit-wonder. Well, two.
It was an exciting time. By 1975, Clark and Jeff Bridges hooked up and shared a pad for a couple of years. In 1976, she fell in love with director Nicolas Roeg when they were filming his stellar project The Man Who Fell to Earth. Clark starred in the movie and famously played David Bowie’s part the day he was too ill to film.
Elliot Gould Known for: M*A*S*H* Net worth: $20 million Brooklyn native Elliott Gould made his stage debut in 1962 starring in I Can Get it For You Wholesale. It was a significant time in his life as he starred in the Broadway musical with his future wife, Barbara Streisand. The recognition brought starring roles in Drat! The Cat! And Little Murders . By 1969 he formed his own film production company, and, more notably, signed a contract to play Trapper John in Robert Altman’s seminal film M*A*S*H* . It was a smashing hit.
He flopped with Move, and I Love My Wife, but then rebounded in The Long Goodbye. He played opposite Diane Keaton in both, I Will, I Will…for Now, and Harry and Walter Go to New York. More flops. His portrayal of an aging mobster in Warren Beatty’s Bugsy brought him showers of accolades. In American History X starring Edward Norton, Gould delivered a remarkable appearance. He’s hosted Saturday Night Live a total of six times and guest-starred on Friends. He and Barbara Streisand didn’t stay married. They divorced in 1971. He went on to marry and divorce Jennifer Bogart two times.
Michael Caine Known for: Alfie and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Net worth: $75 million British film icon Michael Caine was born in South London. As a young lad with a certain idealism about communism, he was sent off to fight during the Korean War. He returned to England loathing the ideology, hating combat, and searching for a new vocation. He decided to try his hand at theatre procuring a job as an assistant stage manager. More than 130 films later, Michael Caine is a master at his craft and holds the rare distinction of earning an Oscar nomination for five consecutive decades. Recognized by his cockney accent, his films have collectively grossed over $7.4 billion worldwide.
Caine received his first Oscar nomination for playing a heartless heartthrob in Alfie. It cemented his Hollywood career, Gambit, Play Dirty and Get Carter followed. In the 1990s, Hannah and Her Sisters snagged him his first Oscar win. He played a respectable Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol, and audiences liked him in the Batman trilogy as Alfred, the fatherly butler. As a rare conservative among the ranks of Hollywood liberals, Caine’s politics include a protest on paying taxes. He once left the U.K. until Margaret Thatcher cut the tax rate for top-earners.
Rob Lowe Known for: The Outsiders and the “Brat Pack” Net worth: $60 million Rob Lowe was catapulted to fame as a teen idol in the ’80s with the rest of the “Brat Pack.” The group starred in one insanely popular coming-of-age flick after another, truly defining a generation. Sixteen Candles , St. Elmo’s Fire , and, of course, The Breakfast Club featured these young men and women, most of whom became serious Hollywood legends in their own right. Our heartthrob, Mr. Lowe, ran into a dab of trouble on the way up, but he’s been recovering as an alcoholic for over two decades. Oh, and that sex-tape scandal-thing? Just think of it as a blip on the map that helped him hit his bottom.
He’s arguably more popular now than ever. His Twitter following is impressive, and fans love him on Parks and Recreation and Grinder. West Wing gave his career the lift it needed after Wayne’s World rescued him from the sex scandal thing. Lowe’s never shied away from politics. In fact, his first sex scandal incident occurred on the night before the 1988 DNC nomination of Michael Dukakis, a man he was endorsing at the convention. Operative word: “was.” Currently, he backs a Homeowners Defense Fund for government transparency in Santa Barbara and is a spokesman for the breast cancer awareness organization, Lee National Awareness Day.
Michael J. Fox Known for: Family Ties and Back to the Future Net worth: $65 million Before Michael J. Fox played Marty McFly, he was Alex Keaton on the wildly popular 1980s sitcom Family Ties . The Canadian-born actor played a hilarious young-Republican growing up in a throw-back hippie family. The show ran from 1982 to 1989. Fox won three Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe for the role. In the midst of it, he starred in one of the most successful movies of all time. Back to the Future was a genre-smashing sci-fi adventure comedy with a franchise that has stretched over three decades producing a Trilogy, an attraction at Universal Studios, and an animated TV series.
He also won a Primetime Emmy, two SAGs and three Golden Globe Awards for his role on Spin City . During the filming of the 1991 romantic comedy Doc Hollywood , Fox noticed an uncontrollable twitch in his finger. When he went to the doctor, he learned of his Parkinson’s diagnosis. After the sad news, he founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help advance research on the debilitating disease.
Cicely Tyson Known for: Sounder Net worth: $10 million Discovered as a fashion model, Cicely Tyson shot to the top of the modeling profession with her strikingly beautiful and unique look. She found her way to the stage by 1957. Tyson got her foot in the door appearing on television programs like the miniseries movie Roots which was a 1970s national sensation. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for her work in Roots. In 1972, Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her role in the critically acclaimed movie Sounder .
She also appeared in acclaimed films like Fried Green Tomatoes and The Help. Miles Davis fell in love with Cicely Tyson. The world-renowned jazz musician photographed Tyson for his album, Sorcerer. They were married in 1981.
Kitty Winn Known for: The Panic in Needle Park Net worth: $1 million Kitty Winn also starred in the iconic horror flick, The Exorcist , but she got her foot in the door performing with the renowned American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. While performing at the A.C.T., she was recognized by Hollywood producer Dominick Dunne who cast her as the lead in The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino. Outshining the young Pacino, Winn was named Best Actress at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival for the film about struggling heroin addicts.
Besides the role of Sharon Spencer, in both The Exorcist and its sequel, Winn starred in the little-known film adapted from the even less-known British play, They Might Be Giants . She decided to retire in the late 1970s to raise a family. Winn returned to stage in 2011 at the San Jose Repertory Theatre with a Best Actress award by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle for The Last Romance .
Stevie Nicks Known for: Fleetwood Mac and “Landslide” Net worth: $75 million “At the ripe and totally young age of 70,” as Ms. Nicks puts it, she became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This time the rock icon entered the reverent Hall as a soloist. Fleetwood Mac was enshrined in 1998. Between the two, Stevie Nicks and Mac have over 40 chart-topping singles. Stevie Nicks is one of the best-selling musical acts ever. Fleetwood Mac formed in 1967 and dominated the charts throughout the Seventies and Eighties.
She may be rock and roll royalty, but she looks just like an enchanted fairy goddess on stage. Ahead of long, flowing blonde locks frame her lovely face, waif-like. Donned in beguiling gowns that cascade around her, only the sound of her voice can compare. It’s hauntingly beautiful. Her 1975 “Landslide” song continues to be one of the most popularly covered songs in rock. Stevie wrote the song on the guitar while watching the snow falling in Aspen. It took her about five minutes.
Jon Bon Jovi Known for: Bon Jovi Net worth: $410 million Jon Bon Jovi, lead singer of the New Jersey rock band Bon Jovi, is a staple of the 1980s. Without his songs “Bad Medicine,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” wafting through the airwaves, would the Eighties have been the Eighties? Well, let’s not get too philosophical. The band formed in 1983 and became a super-pop-sensation from the hard rock/metal genre. Their third album Slippery When Wet was a worldwide smash hit selling 20 million copies. In all, the band released 14 studio albums and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame.
Jon Bon Jovi branched out into a solo career and in movies and television shows. He made appearances in Sex and the City and The West Wing. Bon Jovi is also recognized for his charitable endeavors. With too many causes to list, he formed his own foundation, The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, and helps out with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and has raised money for Oprah’s charity.
Liza Minnelli Known for: Cabaret Net worth: $50 million Born in Hollywood to Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli, Liza Minnelli befell a charmed life. She was fourteen months old when she debuted in the film on In the Good Old Summertime (1949). At sixteen, when she was trying to make it on her own in N.Y.C., she received some recognition for the play “Best Foot Forward.” But it was when her mother invited her to sing with her at a show at the London Palladium when serious recognition bumped her career. Shows sold out, audiences adored the mother/daughter duo, and it was announced to the world that Liza was coming-of-age with her own talents.
At nineteen, Liza won a Tony, and at 23 she was nominated for an Academy Award playing Pookie Adams in The Sterile Cuckoo. Her greatest performance was saved for Cabaret. Liza won an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe for her performance as Sally Bowles. The Seventies were very busy for the pop star. Her stage duets with Frank Sinatra were well-loved. But it was in Scorsese’s, New York, New York where she so memorably shined with her signature song.
Elton John Known for: “Rocket Man” Goodbye Yellow Brick Road , “Tiny Dancer,” “Candle in the WInd” and Lion King Net worth: $500 million The Seventies and Eighties unofficial mascot, Elton John, defined the era with his songs, by the clothes he wore and with his flamboyant array of eyeglasses. At age four he picked up piano. By the 1970s the pop music icon released seven consecutive No. 1 albums in the United States. It’s practically unprecedented. Sir Elton John and songwriter Bernie Taupin met through a weekly newspaper ad. They were 20 and 17 when they met, respectively, and their union of piano and lyric created almost 400 songs in the decades since. Before the serendipitously epic collaboration, John played in a band called Bluesology.
He’s won every major award: A Grammy, a Tony, an Academy and a Golden Globe. His song “Circle of Life” in The Lion King film won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The soundtrack included other sensational hits like “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” making him a smash hit of the 1990s as well. He produced Gnomeo & Juliet, the precious animated kids' film featuring his tunes. Of all the iconic media the 1980s produced, one element of the decade stands out in a terrible contrast, the AIDS epidemic. People were dying, mysteriously at first. When the epidemic came into its full, terrifying light, the research was shocking. Having unprotected sex and other fluid transfer causes it, and there is no cure. The diagnosis was a death sentence. Elton John says he risked having unprotected sex in the ’80s and realizes now he is lucky to be alive. With friends dying around him, he lived to support the cause of AIDS eradication. After his friend Freddie Mercury died in 1991, John founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Sally Kellerman Known for: M*A*S*H*. and Major “Hot Lips” Net worth: $2 million M*A*S*H is an Indispensable 1970s television series. But without the award-winning1970 film about the medical personnel who manned the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War, there may never have been that decade-long bestowal to television.
Sally Kellerman dazzled audiences as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, a severe Korean War nurse in M*A*S*H*. Her performance as head nurse of the 4077th earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In other awards, she won the Golden Laurel for Best Comedy Performance. The film jump-started her career, although she turned down a bulk of the roles in order to focus on her singing career. She signed a contract with Verve Records and dated Grand Funk Railroad rocker Mark Farner, but we remember her best in movies like Welcome to L.A., The Player, Prêt-à-Porter and in her Twilight Zone roles.
Anthony Hopkins Known for: The Silence of the Lambs Net worth: $160 million Sir Anthony Hopkins, knighted in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth, yet terrifies us by his horrifying portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Decades on, a mere thought of the psychological mastermind sends shudders of fright down one’s spine. Hopkins’ depiction of that mad serial slayer (or is it “splayer”?) is an immortal fixture in the halls of American cinema, never mind that it was brought to us by a man from Wales. His accent only made him sound more terrifying. Suffice it to say he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Hopkins’ acting career began many years before he starred with Jodie Foster in that iconic 1991 horror film. He studied stage acting under the renowned Sir Laurence Oliver until he transitioned to television in 1967. He played an impressive Richard I in a 1968 movie called The Lion in Winter. It was nominated for Best Picture and starred Katherine Hepburn as well. It got him noticed. He starred in The Remains of the Day, The Elephant Man and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Kevin Bacon Known for: Footloose Net worth: $30 million Kevin Bacon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was a kid, he wanted to be a pop star. At age 17 he left home for the Big Apple looking to make it there (because if you make it there, you can make it anywhere). As a high school student, he developed a passion for the arts and wanted to become a serious actor. In N.Y.C. he found some theatre gigs and a big role in the slasher horror flick Friday the 13th . Things were picking up. He debuted on Broadway with Sean Penn and Val Kilmer. He played “Chip” in the classic frat house comedy, National Lampoon’s Animal House . Soon, he landed the monster smash hit, Footloose and became a pop star.
He’s starred in JFK, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, and Mystic River, to name a few blockbusters. He won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG for Taking Chance, an HBO original movie. In 2007 he founded a charitable organization called SIxDegrees.org, based on the trivia game and subsequent meme, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
John Kapelos Known for: The Breakfast Club Net worth: $1.1 million John Kapelos played Carl, the shady but comical school janitor in The Breakfast Club . It’s not the only John Hughes movie we remember him from. He also appeared in Sixteen Candles and Weird Science .
The 1980s character-actor appeared in 1990s movies as well. One of his best was The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) which received acclaim from Roger Ebert and The New York Times. He starred in Roxanne with Daryl Hannah and Steve Martin and Nothing in Common with Tom Hanks. In television, he’s appeared on Miami Vice, Queer as Folk, Desperate Housewives and The X-Files. Currently, he teaches acting and improv classes at the AIA Studios. He also manages his independent record label, Carpuzi Records.
Jean Simmons Known for: The Happy Ending Net worth: $12 million British film star, Jean Simmons, found fame in 1946 starring in a film version of Great Expectations . Her role as young Estella invited rave reviews. It opened doors. After several roles in decent movies, she hit the big one—playing Ophelia in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet . It earned her an Oscar nomination.
Voted fourth-most popular star in Britain, she became a 1950s Golden Age Hollywood star with King Solomon’s Mines. It scored her an MGM contract. Relocating to L.A., she hooked up with Howard Hughes who acquired her contract. Androcles and the Lion was her first Hollywood production. Hughes could have treated Simmons better. She extricated herself from his contract after a court case. With 20th Century Fox she found leads in box-office hits The Robe and Désirée. She starred with Marlon Brando as Napoleon Bonaparte. Simmons received her second Oscar nomination for The Happy Ending (1969). She’s remembered in Guys and Dolls and Spartacus. The actress struggled with addiction and spoke out publicly to support others. She became a patron of the British drugs and human rights charity. Just days before her 81st birthday in January 2010, Simmons died from lung cancer.
Morgan Freeman Known for: Driving Miss Daisy and Shawshank Redemption Net worth: $200 million Seated high on the pantheon of Hollywood greats is the revered Morgan Freeman. Immortalized as a film legend in Driving Miss Daisy , his heartwarming performance as Miss Daisy’s gentle chauffeur earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Freeman’s dream was to be an actor. He moved to N.Y.C. to follow it. Working odd jobs and doing some dancing and musical theatre, he gradually made it in showbiz. It took decades of dreaming before he hit it big in 1987 with Street Smart. The acclaim for his role Fast Black was phenomenal, and he considers it his breakthrough part. Some of Freeman’s charity work is dedicated to disaster aid, especially in Grenada after the 2004 hurricane. He’s concerned about environmental issues and raises awareness. One issue is the declining bee problem. Beekeeping is a way he helps give back to help solve the problem.
Lynda Carter Known for: Wonder Woman Net worth: $10 million The Seventies would not have been the Seventies without Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter brought the D.C. Comic title to life playing the first-ever female superhero on TV. Her original performance of the character captivated audiences for three glorious seasons. Advancement for women? Yes! As a mythical enforcer of justice, Wonder Woman was not only beautiful but important too. Secretly known as Diana Prince, Wonder Woman was the embodiment of goodness as well.
Life before Wonder Woman found Lynda Carter struggling to make it in showbiz. Winning Miss World USA helped. Music was her first interest. She toured with a band playing quite a few gigs until she became disenchanted with the idea. She won beauty contests instead. Today she has a multi-million-dollar net worth. Then, however, she had only $25 left in her bank account when she got the call that landed the Wonder Woman role. Carter is a spokesman for irritable bowel syndrome due to her mom’s affliction, a staunch advocate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a Pro-Choice rights activist for women, a backer for legal equality for LGBT people, and she advocates for alcoholism recovery. She has been sober for 20 years.
Anjelica Huston Known for: Prizzi’s Honor and Witches Net worth: $50 million As a deity of the Hollywood pantheon, Anjelica Huston was born and raised into stardom, Santa Monica, California, to be specific, the heart of it all. She is the daughter of ballerina Enrica Soma and actor John Huston. Her career would find her in a long-term relationship with the singular Jack Nicholson and married to renowned sculptor Robert Graham until he died in 2008. But it’s her distinctively striking beauty—severe and self-confident—with raven-black hair that sets her apart.
Winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Prizzi’s Honor (1985) made her a third-generation Oscar-winner in the Huston family. The film was directed by her father and starred Jack Nicholson. She received BAFTA nominations for Crimes and Misdemeanors and Manhattan Murder Mystery, both Woody Allen films. And in Witches, portraying the Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl’s well-loved children’s book, earned her another round of acclaim. She was also loved in The Addams Family as Monica Addams.
Kurt Russell Known for: Silkwood Net worth: $70 million Constant lover and forever companion to knock-out Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell is a strapping gent who once had a shot at a professional baseball career. Sidelined by a torn rotator cuff, his showbiz career went front and center. Russell was busy as a youngster. He’s one of those rare childhood stars who survive in the industry to enjoy a lucrative film career. He landed one of his first roles in the Elvis Presley movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) when he was eleven. In 1966, he starred in a Disney TV show. He met his future love, 21-year-old Goldie, on another film set, but at 16, he was a little young. It should be no surprise that he was voted “Best Looking” by the Class of 1969 at Thousand Oaks High School.
He found his way into several box office hits. In the Seventies and Eighties, Russell starred in amazing hits like Silkwood and Overboard . He played Lt. Bull McCaffrey in the hugely popular firefighter movie, Backdraft . Wyatt Earp, in Tombstone , was also a very popular role. And he’s well-loved in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and the Stargate franchise. Goldie and Kurt share a double star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The honor was celebrated at the May 2017 ceremony.
Harrison Ford Known for: Star Wars and Indiana Jones Net worth: $230 million Star Wars . Raiders of the Lost Ark . Two of the best movies of the Seventies and Eighties. Respectively. The mass appeal of those two mega-franchises made Harrison Ford one of the most in-demand actors ever (practically inventing the concept of a movie franchise, alongside George Lucas, in the process). Five of his flicks are all-time box office top-grossing films. The man’s a legend. Every dude wanted to be cool like him. Every gal swooned in the presence of the silver screen king. A collective sigh released when Princess Leia finally broke the romantic tension by kissing him in The Empire Strikes Back .
All this has led to substantial net worth. However, Ford had all but quit acting to support his wife and kids by becoming a carpenter when he got set up with George Lucas. It started with American Graffiti and climaxed with the mega-franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones. It was like a godsend collaborating with Lucas. When he landed Han Solo on Star Wars, who knew he’d become an American demigod? The friendship of Hans and Chewbacca remains one of the most indelible memories of any summer movie release.
Jami Gertz Known for: The Lost Boys Net worth: $2 billion Jami Gertz was discovered as a child actor who landed roles on epic 1970s sitcoms like Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life . After studying drama at NYU, she began picking up significant parts in substantial films like Less Than Zero and The Lost Boys . Another blockbuster she starred in was Twister . She landed Crossroads and Jersey Girl also.
Gertz played that girl who wouldn’t share even “one square” of toilet paper with Elaine on Seinfeld. She could have played that girl Rachel Green on Friends but passed up the part. She did play Judy Miller on TV sitcom Still Standing. In 1989, Jami Gertz married executive Antony Ressler. Her billionaire hubby is a co-founder of a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm. The couple part-owns the MLB Milwaukee Brewers team. It’s not all fun and games. In 2012, Gertz and Ressler have named the #1 Most Generous Celebrities in the world, and in 2010, they were the top-donor of any celebrity couple.
Linda Blair Known for: The Exorcist Net worth: $16 million Linda Blair starred in The Exorcist , one of the all-time scariest movies. Playing a possessed demon child, the success of the classic 1973 horror film catapulted the child model and actress to international fame. She was just 14 years old when she won a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for the performance. She also won several roles and starred in Born Innocent and Airport 1975 . In Born Innocent , she played a sexually abused runaway teenager. The National Organization for Women and other organizations protested it for its depiction of female-to-female sexual abuse.
Fame wasn’t easy for Blair. A drug bust at 18 found her blacklisted in Hollywood. She managed it with B-movies. The experience produced lead roles in two cult classics. Chained Heat is a 1983 women-in-prison flick, and Savage Streets is an action movie in which she portrayed a vigilante femme fatale. In 2006, she showed up on the CW hit series Supernatural. She also hosted the 2000 Fox TV series, The Scariest Places on Earth.
Robert Duvall Known for: The Godfather , The Apostle and Lt. Col. Kilgore Net worth: $70 million Another iconic film legend is Robert Duvall. He delivered one of the most definitive lines of the Vietnam era. The mythic phrase was victoriously belted out by the ruthless Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (1979): “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!” The war may have ended in 1975, but Duvall’s line lives on. The ’70s were prolific for Duvall, primarily in the production of malicious characters we love to hate. In The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, the phenomenal character-actor played the attorney for the Corleone mafia family. That role in Francis Ford Coppola’s classic mob film earned him an Academy Award nomination.
In MASH he played the vicious Major Frank Burns, and on Network he played the repugnant television executive Frank Hackett. He even played the contemptible Josef Stalin in Stalin. It’s his comedic nuances, the way he inserts a bit of humor into the bad guys that make his portrayals so epic. Are we surprised he was considered for Dr. Hannibal Lecter? Out of seven Oscar nominations, he was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in Tender Mercies. Duvall’s big breaks included appearing on The Twilight zone and making his screen debut in To Kill a Mockingbird. His career has spanned six decades. And at 84, he became the oldest actor ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Jeannie Berlin Known for: The Heartbreak Kid Net worth: $2 million Jeannie Berlin calls her mother, actor/playwright/director Elaine May, her favorite acting mentor, and closest friend. In 1972, Berlin earned a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for her comedic performance in Elaine May’s comedy The Heartbreak Kid .
Berlin appeared in 1970s movies Getting Straight , The Strawberry Statement , Portnoy’s Complaint, and Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York . In the latter, she played the lead. In television, she appeared in the series Columbo . With a decent comeback, Berlin has starred recently in Thomas Pynchon’s ’60s throwback adaptation, Inherent Vice (2014). She starred in Margaret , as well as Woody Allen’s Café Society .
Paula Prentiss Known for: The Stepford Wives Net worth: $8 million In the 1960s Paula Prentiss was known as a comedic talent after starring in comedies like, Where the Boys Are and What’s New Pussycat? She teamed up with romantic-comedy co-star Jim Hutton for several similar films. She was loved as a comedian, although her talent for drama won acclaim as well. Especially in The Stepford Wives , a film that resonates today as a cult classic. She starred opposite big names like Steve McQueen and Rock Hudson.
She earned an Emmy nomination when she co-starred with her husband, Richard Benjamin, in the CBS sitcom He & She. The show only lasted a season, but their love has endured since 1961. They were married on October 26, 1961. The couple also appeared together in Catch-22.
Warren Beatty Known for: Reds and Bonnie and Clyde Net worth: $70 million He made his film debut in Splendor in the Grass starring opposite Natalie Wood. Warren Beatty has a certain staying power, an omnipresence in Hollywood, an evergreen appeal. He could be the leading man at any age. Yet he’s not your average sex-symbol. He’s simply an unassuming and extraordinarily attractive man. True, male leads have a much longer shelf life, but let’s not digress. Starring in and producing film classics like Reds , Shampoo , Dick Tracy , Bonnie and Clyde , Heaven Can Wait and Bugsy , Beatty’s recognized for those 20th-century staples.
After turning the role down for literally decades, in recent years Beatty finally agreed to portray Howard Hughes. But not for Warner Bros. who had been asking him to do it since the ’70s. Instead, Beatty co-produced, wrote, directed and starred in the 2016 film Rules Don’t Apply. Alec Baldwin, Matthew Broderick, Martin Sheen and his wife Annette Benning also starred. His opus Reds not only earned him a Best Director Academy Award, but also a personal gift of a box of cigars from Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Another role he turned down, two times--once for Oliver Stone, and once for Ron Howard—is Richard Nixon. Beatty refused because he thought the scripts were not compassionate enough. He admits being on Nixon’s former enemy list, but he has grown to feel sympathetic toward the ousted President.
Cher Known for: “I Got You Babe” Net worth: $360 million It’s hard to say whether Cher is more successful as a singer or as an actress. She’s definitely a master of reinvention. The come-back-kid has hit bottom in the industry only to bounce back with another hit. She’s the only recording artist with a No. 1 hit song spanning across six consecutive decades. She’s one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, and she’s won an Emmy, an Academy Award, a Grammy and three Golden Globes. Cher got her start in show biz after meeting Sonny Bono as a teen. The Sonny and Cher show climaxed in 1965 with “I Got You Babe.” She was 19. In 1974, the marriage fell apart, and so did the gig. Cher would bounce back, obviously, like a bouncing ball, but at the time it seemed like the Cher show had gone kaput. Undeterred, the fashion maven rocked on. Her movie career exploded with her second film performance in Silkwood . Co-starring with Meryl Streep, Cher won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for the same category.
She’s a pop culture icon who's impossible to pin down. A new Broadway musical called The Cher Show attempts to do just that. The script provides three “Chers.” They call her: Babe Cher, Lady Cher, and Star Cher. Cher supports many causes. From humanitarian organizations to medical charity groups, she’s been an activist throughout her career. She’s the spokesperson for Keep a Child Alive organization, a program that helps children and families with HIV/AIDS. She’s also involved with Habitat for Humanity and Operation Helmet. She won the GLAAD Vanguard Award for her work supporting rights for gays and lesbians. Her daughter, Chaz Bono, who is now her son, transitioned from lesbian to transgender.
Ali MacGraw Known for: Love Story Net worth: $6 million Born Elizabeth Alice MacGraw in New York, she became a fashion model first, posing for Vogue and working as a stylist for the magazine. She also assisted fashion virtuoso and editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar .
Ali MacGraw rose to stardom in the late ’60s, achieving international fame starring in Love Story (1970). Kicking it off with the film Goodbye, Columbus (1969), she won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. She’s also known for being married to pop culture icon Steve McQueen, although they divorced in 1978. He was her third husband. In a recent interview with People she said, after 31 years of sobriety, she wished she and McQueen had both grown old sober. He died in 1980.
Ally Sheedy Known for: The Breakfast Club Net worth: $7 million If you’re like me, Ally Sheedy’s quirky “Allison,” an adorably messed-up high school misfit, was your favorite Breakfast Club character. Apparently, she was surprised to find herself a misfit in Hollywood, for real. Author and actress, Sheedy, has not been afraid to be vocal about the industry’s penchant for body shaming, and she has spoken out as a #MeToo survivor. It’s no surprise. Her mother was active during the civil rights era with the feminist movement. Ally, in tow, attended her fair share of organized events.
Sheedy’s crowning achievement is an independent film called High Art. She played troubled photographer, Lucy Berliner. Her performance as the artsy lesbian with a heroin addiction was met with raving reviews. The 1998 film received the Independent Spirit Award, recognition from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and praise by the National Society of Film Critics. Sheedy is a card-holding “Brat Pack” member but loathes the term. She starred in St. Elmo’s Fire, Bad Boys (with Sean Penn) and WarGames. She dated Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi in the 1980s.
Liv Ullmann Known for: The Emigrants Net worth: $20 million Celebrated muse of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullmann was known as “The Norwegian Angel.” Before she worked with the renowned director, Ullmann gained recognition for playing Nora in the Henrik Ibsen play, A Doll’s House .
Collaborating with Bergman, Ullmann starred in ten of his films, including her most distinguished achievements. Of mention are Persona, The Passion of Anna, and Autumn Sonata. In all, she was nominated 40 times for acting awards. In Bergman’s movies The Emigrants and Face to Face, Ullmann was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award in both films. Since the early 1990s, Ullmann’s directorial ambitions commenced with a film called Sofie. Faithless, her second effort, was acclaimed at Cannes. Her latest movie, a 2014 film adaptation of Miss Julie, was received with praise by Norwegian critics. An ongoing project that is near and dear to her heart is a film version of A Doll’s House. Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet were cast.
Gene Hackman Known for: Unforgiven, French Connection, and The Conversation Net worth: $80 million Gene Hackman is done with acting. He put in his 60 years and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. But, you know, if the perfect character rolls by he might just grab it. He certainly does not want to play some grandpa. What he loves to do is write, paint, and race cars. In 2016, he won the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race.
Hackman was born in 1930 to parents who ran a newspaper printing press. He dropped out of high school for the Marines (lying about his age to get in) but left the service after a year. He and his high school buddy, Dustin Hoffman, were slated “least likely to succeed,” yet somehow, he made it to Broadway. A fortuitous role in a 1964 Broadway play called Any Wednesday kicked off his career. It led him to a small role in Warren Beatty’s film Bonnie and Clyde which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Academy nomination. He won the Oscar for Detective “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection. By age 40, he had cemented himself as a cinematic legend.
Malcolm McDowell Known for: A Clockwork Orange and Caligula Net worth: $70 million Malcolm McDowell is an Englishman who became Hollywood’s “go-to bad guy” after his role in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange , playing a sadistic and sociopathic gang leader with a penchant for Beethoven. As for the “bad guy” label, he told KQED news, “I think, honestly, if you start your career playing sort of hugely immoral characters, which are always, of course, the most interesting, then you kind of get stuck with it. And if you play them with a certain relish then you really are in trouble.”
McDowell also gained notoriety as Caligula (1979). The very controversial Italian film about the rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor was so explicit that Penthouse produced it. During his reign, Caligula strove to increase an emperor’s unrestrained power and used it tyrannously in sadistic acts of murder and sexual perversion. He was known for his excessive sexual proclivities as well as for killing people for amusement. The perfect fit for McDowell. He also played in Star Trek Generations, Halloween II and Mississippi Murder. Look out for Fair and Balanced, in which McDowell is cast as the infamous Robert Murdoch.
Diane Keaton Known for: The Godfather and Reds Net worth: $50 million Diane Keaton is quirky, she’s funny, she’s truly adorable. Her breakout film was one of the most significant cinematic events of the Seventies and Eighties, The Godfather . She played Kay Corleone in all three of The Godfather trilogies. She was discovered by her work with Woody Allen. She co-starred with the storied director in Play it Again, Sam (1972). After The Godfather , Keaton continued to star in Woody Allen films like Sleeper, Love and Death , and Annie Hall , the latter winning the Best Actress Academy Award.
As a lover of old architecture, she is active with the Los Angeles Conservatory which refurbishes and saves historic buildings. She also enjoys writing and is a regular contributor at The Huffington Post . She also got into real estate development in the Los Angeles area, purchasing and renovating old mansions. Madonna scored one of her Beverly Hills remodels.
Bruce Dern Known for: The Great Gatsby and The Cowboys Net worth: $20 million Bruce Dern hasn’t slowed down. He starred in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ; plus, The Mustang , The Peanut Butter Falcon , and The Artist’s Wife . The latter three all 2019 releases! As one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, Dern’s filmography, starring in over a hundred films spanning six decades, is a trailing list. He’s popular as the villain, having cemented that image as the bad guy in 1960s westerns like Cowboys , in which he notoriously shot John Wayne in the back. When told Americans would hate him for that, he famously quipped, “Yeah, but they’ll love me in Berkeley.”
Dern trained as a stage actor at The Actor’s Studio under Elia Kazan. He debuted in Kazan’s Wild River and became a talented television actor on shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He won a Best Actor Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for Nebraska as well as being nominated for an Oscar. In Coming Home, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He received acclaim for The Championship Season also.
Whoopi Goldberg Known for: The Color Purple and Sister Act Net worth: $45 million Whoopi Goldberg is known for a lot of things, but did you know she built her career performing small parts on Broadway and laying bricks in a funeral home? We all know Whoopi’s ’80s stand-up acts were phenomenally funny. And we know that she worked the improv circuit for some time before she hit the big screen with blockbuster movies like Sister Act and Ghost .
In The Color Purple, she proved her dramatic forte with an Oscar nomination. She continued to prove her genius. She’s now an EGOT club member. Hosting the popular talk show, The View earned her a Daytime Emmy Award and a lot of love. She produced Thoroughly Modern Millie, winning a Tony Award. And she won an Academy Award for Ghost. But with all these awards and accolades on her side, did you know it was her original, one-woman Broadway production, “The Spook Show,” that launched her movie career? The show became so popular, it made it all the way to HBO. The network taped her performance and called it, Whoopi Goldberg. It premiered on HBO in1985.
Diane Ladd Known for: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Net worth: $20 million Diane Ladd’s claim to fame is starring in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore . Her fabulous portrayal of a small-town American girl named Flo earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. It was so well-loved, a wildly popular 1970s TV series called Alice soon followed.
Ladd’s supporting role in Roman Polanski’s classic neo-noir mystery Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway premiered the same year as Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore . It was the most highly acclaimed film of 1974 and the biggest commercial success. In the 1990s, Ladd was honored with an Oscar nomination for two films, David Lynch’s road film Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose .
Piper Laurie Known for: Carrie Net worth: $10 million Piper Laurie lost her virginity to Ronald Reagan. President Reagan’s original career as an actor is well known, but it was only more recently in her memoir, Learning to Live Out Loud when Piper Laurie revealed the relationship details. On the set of Louisa starring Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Julie Adams, and James Best, he seduced young Piper. In the movie, he played her father. One word: “awkward.” He insisted she calls him “Ronnie.”
The three-time Oscar nominee took a 15-year hiatus during the Civil Rights movement to protest the Vietnam War, feeling it was important to prioritize her efforts. Coming back to star in the terrifying horror movie Carrie, Laurie earned another Oscar nomination. She starred in The Hustler with Paul Newman and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. She also starred in Children of a Lesser God. On TV, she played George Clooney’s mom on ER. We can see her in Will & Grace, Cold Case, and Law & Order.
Cybill Shepherd Known for: The Last Picture Show, Moonlighting and Taxi Driver Net worth: $40 million As a 1960s supermodel, Cybill Shepherd donned the cover of every leading fashion industry magazine. One of those covers caught the eye of film director, Peter Bogdanovich. Instantaneously, he found the “Jacy” character for The Last Picture Show role he was casting. By the 1970s, she became the decade’s quintessential American beauty replete with blonde hair and glassy blue eyes. In Taxi Driver, Shepherd played a character whose preternatural beauty entranced and obsessed Robert DeNiro’s character. By 40, she became L’Oréal’s confident and drop-dead-gorgeous spokeswoman.
The title of her autobiography gives a vivid sense of who she is: Cybill Disobedience: How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood, and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think. She’s been honored for her activism supporting human rights awareness, like gay rights and a woman’s right to abortion.
Jodie Foster Known for: Taxi Driver and Silence of the Lambs Net worth: $100 million Do you remember that darling Coppertone ad with a dog tugging at the back of a pig-tailed toddler’s bikini? That was Jodie Foster. She started young in film as well. Her role in Taxi Driver (1976), in which she played a child prostitute as a twelve-year-old, is memorably recognized with an Academy Award nomination. Foster took a break from acting to graduate from Yale. Returning as a serious actor, she played a rape survivor In The Accused (1988). The role delivered her an Oscar for Best Actress, her first of two.
Her most widely acclaimed and well-known movie, partly due to the fact that it’s impossible to un-see, is the epic horror flick, The Silence of the Lambs. Her portrayal of the FBI Academy student, Ms. Clarice Starling, won her another Best Actress Academy Award. Trying her hand at directing, Foster has directed film and television. She’s worked with Netflix directing episodes of Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Black Mirror. While at Yale, an obsessive fan stalked Jodie Foster. On March 30, 1981, he sought to impress her by assassinating President Ronald Reagan. The president escaped wounded.
Meryl Streep Known for: Winning the most Oscar nominations Net worth: $90 million Playing opposite Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer is another actor of our cinematic pantheon, the incomparable Meryl Streep. “Mrs. Kramer” is but one masterful performance by the renowned film goddess.
Meryl, short for Mary, is a nickname her father came up with since every other woman in the family was named Mary. After enrolling at the Yale School of Drama, she started acting in the 1960s but hit it big in the 1970s. In 1977, Julia turned out to be her breakout film. By 1978 she received her first Oscar nomination for The Deer Hunter. In all, she has been nominated for a record 21 Academy Awards and 31 Golden Globe Awards. She won eight Golden Globes. Besides Kramer vs. Kramer, she has won an Oscar for Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady. Her work ethic is impeccable. She’s known to prepare obsessively. At first, Dustin Hoffman was annoyed by her tireless intensity.
Jamison Newlander Known for: The Lost Boys Net worth: $1 million Long before Buffy was a thing, Jamison Newlander played a vampire hunter fighting off vamps alongside his brother. The Lost Boys (1987) starring Corey Feldman as his brother, Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Haim was popular! The film franchise includes two sequels, a comic book series, plus a television series in the works.
Newlander graduated from Beverly Hills High School and moved to the East coast to study acting. In 1996 he became an award-winning playwright with his play, “Remember This.” He starred with River Phoenix in the TV movie, Circle of Violence: A Family Drama shortly before Phoenix’s death. In Valerie , he starred with Jason Bateman. Newlander had a bi-weekly podcast called “The Jamison Newlander and Some Other Guy Show” that streamed on Saturdays. He’s currently working on getting another podcast online called “Current Frequencies.” Also on the Internet, he created a Wikisoap, the first-ever soap opera of its kind.
Vanessa Redgrave Known for: Julia Net worth: $20 million Acclaimed actress Vanessa Redgrave was born great. The fact was announced during curtain call at a London theatre on January 30, 1937. None other than Laurence Olivier told the audience: “Tonight a great actress was born.” The proud father was Olivier’s co-star, Michael Redgrave. The words proved prophetic. Redgrave has won practically every performance award. The Royal Shakespeare Company-trained actress has not only won an Academy Award, but she’s won two Emmys, two Golden Globes, two Cannes Best Actress awards, a Tony, a SAG, and a Laurence Olivier theatre award.
She premiered on film with oddball comedy Morgan! (1966). She won an Oscar for Julia, starring opposite Jane Fonda. The film was an enormous success—critics loved it too. The Jewish Defense League did not. Redgrave was personally threatened for her work in the Holocaust drama. She has been an outspoken opponent to the War on Terror. Her support for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has caused her various backlash. In 1995 Redgrave was elected to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Brad Pitt Known for: Thelma and Louise and Fight Club Net worth: $240 million Producer and actor, Brad Pitt has one of the world’s most recognized faces. It’s a pretty one, too. We first recognized it, and the rest of him, in Thelma and Louise as a hitchhiking charmer who Geena Davis’ “Thelma” falls for. The one-nighter proved instructive! In A River Runs Through It , Robert Redford’s 1992 blockbuster, Pitt proved his knack for serious acting, becoming the turning point in his career. Big roles began coming his way. He starred in Kalifornia next. Another significant turning point occurred after starring in the cult-favorite, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles .
Prior to the onset of success, the Gen X favorite got bit parts in big movies like No Way Out, Less Than Zero and No Man’s Land. He bailed on a journalism degree at the University of Missouri just two units shy of a degree in order to move to L.A. to become an actor. He wouldn’t need the advertising degree. But he did have to work as a mover and an El Pollo Loco chicken mascot before becoming one of the wealthiest men in the business. After 20 years in Hollywood, he’s starred in massive hits like 12 Monkeys, Seven, Snatch, and the Ocean’s Eleven film franchise based on the original Rat Pack movie. Look for Pitt in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood next!
Ralph Macchio Known for: The Karate Kid and The Outsiders Net worth: $3 million Starting out young as a commercial kid, Ralph Macchio advertised for Bubble Yum and Dr. Pepper. Landing a role on the popular 1980s show Eight is Enough made him an actor. After playing “Johnny” in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders , he was catapulted to fame with the rest of the “Brat Pack.” It lifted him to his most popular role-playing Daniel LaRusso in the super-lucrative Karate Kid franchise. His touching portrayal alongside sensei Mr. Miyagi, leaning to “wax on” and “wax off” holds a heaping load of nostalgia.
The movie, in turn, morphed into the popular Cobra Kai TV series. He was also memorable in My Cousin Vinny with Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. Macchio got into producing and directing. He stars in Cobra Kai and appears on television shows like How I Met Your Mother and Dancing with the Stars.
Christina Applegate Known for: Married… with Children Net worth: $20 million Remember Kelly Bundy? Christina Applegate played one of the funniest teenage girls (ever), on one of the funniest TV shows (ever). OMG. No comedienne flips the “dumb blond” stereotype like Applegate. Alas, the sitcom Married… with Children ended after running for eleven glorious seasons. But why did it have to end? Maybe adolescence doesn’t last long enough.
Applegate guest-starred in 21 Jump Street and hosted SNL . She starred in Wild Bill , Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!, Jane Austen’s Mafia! and Bad Moms . She’s won many accolades for her performance in Samantha Who? , and she won a Primetime Emmy for her role on Friends . Applegate is a breast cancer survivor. She supports breast cancer charities like Stand Up to Cancer , a fundraising TV show. She founded Right Action for Women to help with pre-cancer screening. She also helps out World Animal Protection and Adopts a Classroom.
Ellen Burstyn Known for: The Exorcist Net worth: $20 million Ellen Burstyn got her to break as a dancer on The Jackie Gleason Show during the mid-1950s. Soon after, parts on various Broadway shows began falling her way leading to amazing opportunities in film. She landed the lead in The Last Picture Show (1971 and her performance brought showbiz attention plus Oscar and Golden Globe award nominations. After starring with Jack Nicholson in The King of Marvin Gardens , she came across the big one: The Exorcist . Quite possibly the scariest movie of all time, the supernatural horror flick earned Burstyn further accolades and a slew of new roles.
For her role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore directed by Martin Scorsese, Burstyn won the Best Actress Oscar. Three years later, in 1978, she received the Best Actress nomination for Same Time, Next Year, and in 1980 and in 2000 she received it for Resurrection and Requiem of a Dream, respectively. Politically, she was active in the 1970s with the movement to free Rubin “Hurricane” Carter from jail. The convicted boxer is the subject of the Bob Dylan song, “Hurricane.”
Gena Rowlands Known for: A Woman Under the Influence Net worth: $10 million Gena Rowlands made her stage debut in 1952 touring with The Seven Year Itch . Moving on up, she starred with Paul Stewart in the TV series Top Secret which ran for a year in the mid-1950s. She found her film debut in The High Cost of Loving (1958).
After various TV parts including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour , she nabbed a role as a socialite on ABC’s Primetime soap opera, Peyton Place . The bulk of her work happened alongside her husband, actor and director John Cassavetes. They created ten films together, from A Child is Waiting in 1963 to Tempest in 1982. Notably, Rowlands’ performance in their film A Woman Under the Influence is one of the greatest performances of all time. Her later career includes a Woody Allen movie called Another Woman and role-playing the former first lady in The Betty Ford Story .
Lee Grant Known for: In the Heat of the Night and Shampoo Net worth: $15 million Before she was blacklisted from Hollywood in 1952 for refusing to testify against her husband, Lee Grant was a rising star. In 1951, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Detective Story starring Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker. The film also got her recognized at Cannes, winning the Best Actress Award at the 1952 film festival. The blacklist lasted 10 years. Returning to film, she starred in Valley of the Dolls , Shampoo , and In the Heat of the Night . On TV, she appeared regularly on Peyton Place . On stage, her performance in The Maids won her an Obie Award, and on the big screen, she won her first Oscar for her performance in Shampoo .
Grant started as a ballerina and stage performer. Most recently, she starred in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Politically, she was probably a little less vocal after delivering an impassioned eulogy in 1952 for J. Edward Bromberg whose sudden death, she suggested, was caused by the stress of being called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. They called her next.
Geena Davis Known for: The Fly , Beetlejuice and Thelma, and Louise Net worth: $30 million With wide dimpled smiles framed by tussles of curly locks and a sweet-as-pie nature on top, Geena Davis was the sweetheart of Eighties and Nineties cinema. She studied drama at the university, as she always wanted to be a movie star. After graduating, she became a fashion model. It was a perfect fit. With her beautiful face and stature that measures a full six feet in height, Victoria Secret was very happy to take her on as a model. It was lucky too. Tootsie Director Sydney Pollack, thumbing through pages of new models, discovered Davis. After the big break, she scored big roles in smash hits like Fletch and The Fly .
It’s hard to say whether Davis is more iconic in her Oscar-nominated roles of Beetlejuice or in Thelma and Louise. The Accidental Tourist won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. And, not to be forgotten, is A League of Their Own. A “10” on the adorable meter. Geena Davis has been a serious advocate of gender equality and female empowerment. She is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. It collaborates with the Industry to increase positivity in female character roles and to reduce old stereotypes.
Susannah York Known for: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Net worth: $20 million Susannah York was an English stage and film star who made it big in Hollywood during the 1960s. She’s known for her demure yet sensually inclined persona of the Swinging Sixties. Her remarkable performance in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? earned her a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and a nomination for an Oscar. In Images , she won the 1972 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
York starred in the Oscar-winning film Tom Jones in 1973. She played Superman’s mother in Superman and its sequels. She was respected for breaking out of her 1960s mold with her later career. The well-loved actress was politically liberal and spoke out against nuclear proliferation. York died of multiple myeloma in 2011, she was 72.
Molly Ringwald Known for: Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club Net worth: $11 million “Brat Pack” high priestess, Molly Ringwald, is an ’80s teen icon who is known for her extensive work with John Hughes, the director of epic Gen X films such as Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club . Ringwald starred in both films. She was the birthday girl in the former and the lead “cool” chick in the latter.
Writing for the New Yorker, Ringwald described the film saying, The Breakfast Club is “a movie about five high-school students who befriend one another during a Saturday detention session, with plenty of cursing, sex talk, and a now-famous scene of the students smoking pot.” She goes on to describe how awkward it was to view the film with her coming-of-age daughter, especially the scene in which her character smokes pot for the first time. She wasn’t the only pot-smoker. The all-star cast included Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, and Anthony Michael Hall. Today she’s the mother of Archie on the CW series Riverdale, and prior to becoming the queen of teen, she starred on the 1970s hit TV series The Facts of Life.
Valerie Perrine Known for: Lenny and Superman Net worth: $6 million Galveston, Texas-born army-brat, Valerie Perrine grew up on a military base in Japan but also bounced around to Paris and Rome, ending up in Arizona as a teen. Not too far down the road was Las Vegas, so she started her career in entertainment as a Vegas showgirl. A Playboy spread led to television roles. She’s the first woman to fully expose her breasts on TV.
In 1972, she portrayed soft-core porn actress Montana Wildhack in the film version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Her big break came with Lenny, playing Honey Bruce, the wife of old school comedian and social satirist, Lenny Bruce. She won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA Newcomer Award, and was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, as well as the Golden Globe Award.
Marisa Tomei Known for: My Cousin Vinny Net worth: $20 million Another “totally ’80s” actress is Marisa Tomei. The girl with an Italian background and a Brooklyn accent so pronounced her mom had to remind her to tone it down, simply enamored audiences. The adorable accent came in handy playing Mona in, My Cousin Vinny . Tomei was funny as heck and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1984, she had a role in The Flamingo Kid with verifiable “Brat Packer,” Matt Dillon from The Outsiders. It was a small part with one line, but it got her recognized, as did the 1980s TV shows, A Different World and the daytime soap opera, As the World Turns. Though co-starring with Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny (1992) was a high point, she earned a SAG nomination for Unhook the Stars. And was listed as one of the twelve most “Promising New Actors of 1991.”
Richard Dreyfuss Known for: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and What About Bob? Net worth: $5 million Richard Dreyfuss has had an astounding career in the film industry. He debuted in The Graduate, but he had a tiny part. It was only one line! After that, it’s a list of blockbuster hits. He scored a role in American Graffiti , Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws . A drug habit veered him off course for a few years, but he came back strong with memorable roles in comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills , Stand by Me , and the hilarious, What About Bob? And, of course, we recall his fabulous performance in Mr. Holland’s Opus .
Brooklyn-born and Queens-raised, Richard Dreyfuss was brought up by a Jewish family with a father who was an attorney and a mother who was a peace activist. His father wasn’t fond of New York, so they moved to Europe and then to Los Angeles. Dreyfuss found himself in the Hollywood area, attending Beverly Hills High School. He began acting at the Temple in Beverly Hills and soon picked up small acting parts. Dreyfuss is very active politically, so much so that he founded his own non-profit called The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative to improve such involvement in high school. He’s savagely opposed to a Trump presidency but is vexed by Hollywood liberals and regrets his vote for Hillary.
Winona Ryder Known for: Beetlejuice Net worth: $18 million The darling of the 1980s grew up on a Northern California commune with no electricity during the 1970s. Winona Horowitz’s parents were friends with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary who is her godfather. When she was ten, the family moved to Petaluma, and she enrolled in acting classes. In 1985 she auditioned for a movie by sending a VCR recording of herself reciting a monologue she found in a J.D. Salinger novel. She didn't get the part, but the director was impressed and cast her in Lucas . It was then she decided on “Winona Ryder.” The movie was her breakout film, co-starring with Charlie Sheen.
Her goth-chick performance in Beetlejuice was undeniably lovable. In Reality Bites, she nailed eighties attitudes. She was the perfect “Jo” in Little Women. She won an Oscar nomination for The Age of Innocence and Little Women. Audiences still adore her in the sci-fi, horror, Web/TV Netflix series, Stranger Things. Ryder dated Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, and Soul Asylum’s frontman Dave Pirner. Today she’s, like, married to Keanu Reeves. Philanthropically, she’s been active supporting indigenous people’s rights.
Madonna Known for: “Borderline” and “Like a Virgin” Net worth: $590 million Madonna, the primo diva of the Eighties, single-handedly made glam rock mainstream while inventing the hippest fashion trends. She was the real deal. I mean, who else would’ve thought shearing the fingertips off of lacy black gloves would create a “cool” new accessory? Her “look” and her catchy chart-busting pop songs played continuously on the radio, but more significantly, the material girl entertained over a brand-new medium. MTV. Decked out in rank new styles, Madonna’s lively singing and playful dancing to electronic-pop songs lit up the tube.
MTV and Madonna materialized during this decade of rapid technological change. Her second album, Like a Virgin, sold a record-breaking 21 million copies worldwide. On the Virgin Tour, N.Y.C. colleagues, the Beastie Boys opened up for her. Today, she’s the wealthiest woman in the music business. Madonna proved her talent on the big screen as her career progressed. She starred in Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985, a film which portrays her image. By 1992, A League of Their Own was a number-one box-office hit. Madonna played the title role in Evita (1996), for which she won many accolades and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
Jennifer Grey Known for: Dirty Dancing Net worth: $10 million Jennifer Grey was not an official “Brat Packer,” but she was an Eighties movies superstar. Besides the Dirty Dancing sensation starring opposite Patrick Swayze ( Outsiders ), Grey also starred in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , a 1986 teen comedy. One of those era-defining flicks that continues to generate a following. During the filming, she was secretly dating Matthew Broderick (Ferris). She also dated other Eighties celebs like Johnny Depp and Michael J. Fox.
She starred in It’s Like, You Know for one season. On season eleven of Dancing With the Stars , she and her partner won the competition. In a medical exam prior to taping the show, her doctor found a suspicious mark on her thyroid. It turned out to be malignant. She had it removed immediately and has been cancer-free. Born in Manhattan to a Hollywood family, she’s the daughter of Academy Award-winning actor Joel Grey and former actress and singer, Jo Wilder, both from Jewish backgrounds. Not only that, but her grandfather was comedian and musician Mickey Katz. As a student, Jennifer Grey attended a prestigious dance and acting school located on N.Y.C.’s Upper East Side.
Sylvia Miles Known for: Midnight Cowboy Net worth: $15 million Quite possibly, the most notable event of Sylvia Miles’ career happened at the Academy Award Ceremony when she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1969 Midnight Cowboy movie. Her role was very short. She was on screen for a total of six minutes playing Cass. Just enough time to get Joe Buck (Jon Voight) up to her penthouse for a little roll in the hay. She earned another Oscar nomination for Farewell, My Lovely .
The 1960s actress who is known to be a bit bawdy and a tad flamboyant are remembered for her role as a real estate agent in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street and Andy Warhol’s Heat. In later years, she played on Sex and the City and One Life to Live. She died on June 12, 2019. She was 94.
Dyan Cannon Known for: Heaven Can Wait and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Net worth: $16 million Cannon’s illustrious career has spanned over five decades. It’s found her reigning amongst the royal presence of industry kings Steve McQueen, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds, Jackie Mason, Chevy Chase, Gene Hackman, and Harvey Keitel.
Besides being nominated Best Actress by the Academy twice, Dyan Cannon produced, directed, wrote, edited and starred in Number One, a film about adolescence and sexuality. It was her third nomination for an Academy Award, Best Short Film in a Live Action Category. Most people remember her Oscar-nominated performances in Warren Beatty’s Heaven Can Wait or in the pop-culture classic, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice which was her breakout movie. She’s also well-recognized by her marriage to leading man, Cary Grant, who was 33 years her senior when they tied the knot in 1965.
Johnny Depp Known for: 21 Jump Street and Edward Scissorhands Net worth: $200 million The 1980s made Johnny Depp famous. By the 2000s he was the highest-grossing actor in the world. His versatility and staying-power make him a unique Hollywood legend. In the 1980s, the TV show 21 Jump Street was all-the-rage. Depp played a wildly popular undercover cop. The role made him a sexy teen idol. He was recognized for the role after appearing in the horror movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street .
His first love was music and playing the lead in garage bands. However, a chance meeting with Nicolas Cage-led him to an acting career. After the Freddy Krueger flick, he landed the greatest gig ever (the one only Depp could make great) playing the title role in Edward Scissorhands . It kicked off a long and wonderful collaboration with director Tim Burton. He shined in the Hunter S. Thompson biopic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and he raked in the treasure with the Pirates franchise. Depp made a wonderful Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory . In total, Depp received three Oscar nominations, ten Golden Globe nominations, and a SAG win for Pirates .
Rae Dawn Chong Known for: American Flyers and The Color Purple Net worth: $4 million Rae Dawn Chong is the first daughter of our favorite stoner and actor/comedian Tommy Chong. Born in Canada, she’s a part-Chinese, part-Scots-Irish and part Black-Canadian. On-screen, she’s known for Quest for Fire and Choose Me . Other popular 1980s films include The Color Purple , Commando and Beat Street .
Mick Jagger chose Chong for the lead in his music video, “Just Another Night.” She has actively supported many charitable organizations. Two of her preferences are Habitat for Humanity and Byron Katie’s work with prison inmates.
Lily Tomlin Known for: Nashville and The Incredible Shrinking Woman Net worth: $15 million Lily Tomlin’s stand-up gig paved the way for a career as a fantastic comedic actress. Her talents shine brightly in Nashville playing a gospel-singing mother of two deaf kids. The stellar performance garnered a Best Actress Academy Award nomination.
Tomlin starred with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda in the beloved office comedy 9 to 5. An alternative title might have been: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. It’s rip-roaring fun as the three women spar futilely with their sexist boss. Tomlin won accolades for The Late Show with nominations for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. She was also recognized at the Berlin Film Festival. A Tony Award greeted her performance in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe when it hit Broadway in 1985. Tomlin was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Sigourney Weaver Known for: Ghostbuster and Queen of Sci-FI Net worth: $50 million Though not an official member of the “Brat Pack,” Sigourney Weaver was a hot ’80s movie star with a sizzling following. Back in the late-Seventies, Woody Allen set her up in a role in Annie Hall . It was a small part, all of six seconds on screen, but it got her noticed! Before long, Sigourney co-starred with Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously It received a Palme d’Or-nomination at Cannes. Ghostbusters wasn’t far behind. In 1983, it took over the nation, a monster-blockbuster. That summer, N.Y.C. looked like an unofficial movie tie-in gift shop, vendors on every corner peddling Ghostbuster merch.
Since then, Weaver’s become a royal deity of the sci-fi genre. She’s the destroyer of aliens, reptilian humanoid warlords, and the Carpathians. She’s survived every alien assault, including being cloned eight times in Alien Resurrection. She’s a gorilla lover. Weaver is an honorary chairperson to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. She’s also into helping those in extreme poverty and protecting the environment. Women’s, and other people’s rights are also a focus of her charitable side.
Sissy Spacek Known for: Coal Miner’s Daughter Net worth: $15 million Sissy Spacek was born Mary Elizbeth, but her brothers called her “Sissy,” and the name stuck. She hoped for a career in the music business but settled for film instead, after the music gig sputtered out. She enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and found her way into Andy Warhol’s Factory as an extra. At that point, small film parts began rolling in.
She played the teenage girlfriend of Charlie Sheen’s mass murderer character in Badlands. But it was the supernatural horror movie Carrie that gained her enough praise to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. In Coal Miner’s Daughter, she truly nailed it with an Jennifer Greyscar win playing Lorretta Lynn. Loretta Lynn personally approved the role, and Sissy got to do some singing. Other popular films she starred in are JFK, In the Bedroom and Crimes of the Heart.
Michael Douglas Known for: Fatal Attraction and Gordon Gekko Net worth: $300 million Oliver Stone’s iconic Wall Street definitively encapsulated an epoch of American capitalism. It was ugly and dark, and its antihero didn’t fare well, but Michael Douglas absolutely nailed it as the ruthless stock market titan Gordon Gekko. Fierce delivery of a line such as, “When I get a hold of the son-a-bitch who leaked this, I’m going to tear his eyeballs out! I’m going to suck his f***ing skull!” made his performance an epic gift to cinema. The Academy agreed. Douglas took home the Oscar for Best Actor.
Opening at the peak of the materialistic me-generation in 1987, Wall Street was synonymous with the times, it was like an incisive snapshot of wealth and power inside the dark entrails of American financial markets. At a time when “downsizing” was like a euphemism meaning, ‘hundreds of people will lose their job,’ Gekko depicts a merciless Wall Street trader. Questioned about why he wants to wreck a major company, Gekko, pictured above in slicked back hair (hair gel was huge in the ’80s), barks back, “Because it’s wreckable!! Alright!!” Michael Douglas has plenty of other epic films under his belt. He produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for chrissakes, winning the Best Picture Oscar. And, in Fatal Attraction, his character’s travails left viewers with an indelible fear of a new kind of terror. Romancing the Stone was huge, as was Basic Instinct. Currently, he’s active in humanitarian and political activism and stars in The Kominsky Method.
Jane Fonda Known for: Antiwar activist, Feminist, Klute and On Golden Pond Net worth: $200 million Born into a Hollywood family dynasty, Jane Fonda was destined to cinematic greatness. Her father was Henry Fonda, and her mother was socialite Frances Ford Seymour. Jane’s marriages were equally influential. She married politician Tom Hayden and billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, in that order, but then divorced them both. Her first husband was French film director Roger Vadim. In the 1980s, Ms. Fonda added: “fitness expert” to her curriculum vitae. She released Jane Fonda’s Workout video in 1982. You may be asking yourself: Did it sell well? Yes. Resoundingly. It was the best-selling VHS video—ever. It sold something like seventeen million copies.
As a serious anti-war activist during the Vietnam War era, she traveled to Vietnam to support P.O.W.s. Photographed sitting on top of a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, she came back with the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” Other unflattering epithets greeted her as well. "Hippie scum" comes to mind, for one. Her efforts landed her on the Hollywood blacklist. The 1972 image in Vietnam was as ubiquitous as the iconic "victory" image of the man she was protesting, President Richard Nixon. Besides being a 1970s counterculture renegade, a fitness guru, and a fixture in Hollywood, the Academy Award-winning actress is also a long-time feminist, active with causes such as V-Day.
Robert De Niro Known for: The Godfather Part II , Raging BullI and “You Talkin’ to me?” Net worth: $300 million Cinematic “tough-guy” titan Robert De Niro is known for working closely with legendary director Martin Scorcese. His lucrative career revved for takeoff with Copolla’s The Godfather Part II where he played a younger version of Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone. It secured him a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. It was then he hooked up with Scorsese for Mean Streets , Good Fellas , Raging Bull , and, of course, Taxi Driver . The latter gave us De Niro’s mostly improvised Travis Bickle monologue with the classic, “You talkin’ to me?” line. He was nominated for Best Actor in Taxi Driver , but he won the Oscar in 1981 for Scorsese’s Raging Bull . He was also nominated for Scorsese’s Cape Fear . Suffice it to say the pair is a legendary team. A 2019 Netflix project, The Irishman , is their latest collaboration.
He’s also known for extreme conditioning for roles. He spent four months perfecting his Sicilian dialect for Vito Corleone’s dialogue, he learned to play the saxophone, for Cape Fear he paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look terrible, and he worked as a cabbie to prepare for Taxi Driver . De Niro is a long-time liberal. So, what does he think of Trump? Here goes: “He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig, he’s a con, he’s a mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care, . . . doesn’t pay his taxes, he’s an idiot.”
Emilio Estevez Known for: The Breakfast Club Net worth: $18 million This “Brat Packer” grew up in the midst of wild success. N.Y.C.-born Emilio Estevez went to the Philippines as a kid because his dad, Martin Sheen, was filming Apocalypse Now . His brother, Charlie Sheen, grew up on movie sets too. And Sean Penn and Rob Lowe were always around, like brothers. Estevez and Lowe were part of The Outsiders ensemble, with Emilio playing “Two-Bit” and Lowe as “Sodapop.” His career was preordained.
In The Breakfast Club , he played “the jock.” He was a law student and the waiter at St. Elmo’s Bar in the prominent coming-of-age St. Elmo’s Fire movie. It wasn’t the only movie he starred in with Demi Moore to whom he was once engaged. They met up again in Wisdom (1986) and Bobby (2006). Both of which he directed. Later he directed, wrote and starred in Men at Work (1990) with Charlie Sheen. In 2018 he released The Public . He starred in the film with Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater. Estevez is less willing to jump into TV or Netflix projects than some of his ilks. He doesn’t want the attention.
Ronee Blakley Known for: Nashville Net worth: $1 million Ronee Blakley rose to Hollywood’s attention playing a fictional country music superstar in the 1975 movie Nashville . The truth is, Blakley’s a Juilliard-trained musician who won the affections of the one and only Bob Dylan. He cast her in his movie Renaldo and Clara as “Mrs. Dylan,” and they recorded songs together. She sings background vocals in songs like Hurricane .
For the role of Barbara Jean, Blakley won Best Supporting Actress nominations across the board—an Academy, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Blakley starred in the legendary slasher horror flick A Nightmare on Elm Street. Most recently, we can find her in Scorsese’s Netflix film Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.
Lance Kerwin Known for: James at 15 Net worth: $1 million Popular 1970s child actor, Lance Kerwin grew up the youngest of five brothers in sunny Newport Beach, California. The ’70s heartthrob came in number 82 on VH1’s 2005, The Greatest: 100 Greatest Kid Stars.
James at 15 was once a wildly popular teen TV drama series. The made-for-TV pilot movie starred with well-liked child actress, Melissa Sue Anderson from Little House on the Prairie. The series was renamed James at 16, accordingly. He also starred in the TV movies The Loneliest Runner and Salem’s Lot. Currently sober, he’s a Christian pastor living on the Hawaii rehab ranch called U-Turn For Christ. He’s also a timeshare salesman for Wyndham Resorts on Kauai.
Janice Rule Known for: Missing Net worth: $10 million Dancer and actor, Janice Rule began dancing at the Chez Paree nightclub at the tender age of 15. She studied dancing and acting and made the cover of Life as an up-and-coming star.
Rule became a psychotherapist by trade but hit it big in the 1960s getting her break in Hollywood with Joan Crawford’s 1951 movie Goodbye, My Fancy. While she was successful on Broadway with such shows as Picnic, The Flowering Peach and The Happiest Girl in the World, she preferred film. In the 1950s she began appearing in many movies including A Woman’s Devotion. She also appeared on a Twilight Zone episode. Rule starred in The Swimmer, 3 Women, and American Flyers. In Missing, a true story, political thriller, she portrayed journalist, Kate Newman. Rule died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 2003.
Dustin Hoffman Known for: The Graduate and Tootsie Net worth: $50 million The Graduate propelled Dustin Hoffman into superstardom. Fame was an unexpected surprise. He found himself longing to go back to the stage after the notice barraged him with a slew of “crappy” parts. The film itself was an unexpected hit. Hoffman’s exceptional performance and a soundtrack featuring Simon and Garfunkel helped make it an enduring smash hit.
And he has so many more amazing films! The seminal drama Kramer vs. Kramer and the unparalleled Rain Man earned him a Best Actor Award at the 1980 and 1989 Academy Awards ceremonies. Tootsie , his cross-dressing role, plays Dorothy Michaels who is actually Michael Dorsey looking for work as a starving actor and trying his luck as a woman. It was uber-popular. But Midnight Cowboy , All the President’s Men and Lenny didn’t do too bad either. We’re not going to mention the sexual harassment allegations and subsequent scandal. I mean, who wants to talk about sex scandals?
Maggie Smith Known for: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Professor McGonagall Net worth: $18 million British actress, Maggie Smith, achieved an outstanding success on the London Stage. Her illustrious career has spanned six decades. She’s appeared in more than 50 films. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie , and she won a Best Supporting Actress Award for California Suite .
Smith was born in Essex and now resides in London. Her mom was a secretary, and her dad taught at Oxford University. Maggie Smith’s extensive work has made her the quintessential British film and television actor. Just think of her as the Countess in Downton Abbey. Professor McGonagall, her role in the Harry Potter film series, is also indicative of her acting milieu. As a ’90s flashback, her pretentious but bending role as Reverend Mother in the classic comedy Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg had us rolling in the aisles.