Actors and Their 80s Beginnings
Fortunately, the 80s were pre-internet and pre-digital, so little awkward
proof remains (except for what gets dug up and posted on facebook).
But if you were a budding celebrity, there’s plenty of celluloid
documenting your rockin’ 80s look. In fact, some of today’s biggest
names got their start in the 80s in some unlikely places:
Before Dr. Ross, Clooney was learning The Facts of Life. Clooney
plays George Burnett (1985-1987) a construction worker who built hot
tubs in Kuwait but was deported for de-veiling a cute girl. He’s hired
to renovate Mrs. Garrett’s store,
and despite the shaggy near-mullet and aggressively tucked-in plaid
shirts, Clooney is as ridiculously handsome then as now.
Long before Morpheus entered The Matrix, Laurence Fishburne
entered Pee-wee's Playhouse. From 1986 to 1987, billed as
“Larry Fishburne,” he played Cowboy Curtis with a major Gheri curl and
major cheeriness. And one of the show’s best lines: Cowboy
Curtis says of his big feet, “you know what they say, big feet…big
Speaking of The Matrix, Neo himself also inhabited an 80s
classic. In 1986, Reeves played Matt in River's Edge, one of
the decade’s finest teen films. Matt is a kid who’s terribly burdened
with the knowledge that his friend murdered another friend of theirs.
Matt and the other kids even go see her abandoned body but argue about
whether to turn the killer in.
Before his killer role as Michael Bluth, the only real grownup on TV’s
Arrested Development, Jason Bateman played older-than-his-years
Derek Taylor on Silver Spoons. From 1982 to 1984, Bateman was
the smarmy foil to Rick Schroder’s wholesome Ricky. The role shows
Bateman’s impeccable comic timing, even at age 12—like the ice
cream-parlor scene when he tells a slow customer “it is my sincere hope
that you’ll drink [your water] before it evaporates.”
The pretty woman paid her dues waiting tables as Daisy Arujo in Mystic
Pizza, the 1988 coming-of-age film set in Mystic, Connecticut.
She’s not starlet-skinny in this role, but more importantly she gets the
best line. After nearly colliding with her sister, Daisy says, “What?
Think I got eyes in my butt?” It’s a line to be proud of, even after
you’ve grown up and won an Oscar.
Sarah Jessica Parker:
Nowadays, we know her from Sex and the City, but Sarah Jessica
Parker has enjoyed a stellar career that has spanned decades. She has
starred in numerous films, like 1994’s Ed Wood, 1991’s L.A.
Story, and 1984’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun. I just read a
fabulous article in Vogue about her busy professional life and
bustling family (she’s married to fellow actor Matthew Broderick). Her
I Don’t Know How She Does It seems tailor-made for her.
However, we first got to know SJP in
Square Pegs, a comedy about two nerdy high school friends that
aired for just one season in 1982-1983. Sarah Jessica played Patty
Greene, awkward but intelligent Square Peg, who longed to be part of the