If you’ve been wondering what your favorite ’80s sitcom actresses are up to today, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the women we loved, hated, or crushed on back in the day and you won’t believe some of their stories!
Pam Dawber – Then
Pam Dawber is actually famous for roles in two different 1980s sitcoms. She first starred as Mindy McConnell alongside the then-unknown Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy from 1978 until 1982, and then played Samantha Russel in My Sister Sam from 1986-1988.
Pam Dawber – Now
While she was best known for her work in television, Pam Dawber also has a few movie roles under her belt, having starred in numerous films including 1992’s Stay Tuned and 1999’s I’ll Remember April. In her most recent work, Dawber reunited with the late Robin Williams in 2014 in an episode of his comedy series The Crazy Ones. Unfortunately, the show was canceled shortly afterward. She also made a guest appearance in a 2016 episode of The Odd Couple.
Tempestt Bledsoe – Then
Tempestt Bledsoe is best known for the role she landed when she was just 11 years old in 1984 on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show as Vanessa Huxtable, the fourth child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable. Bedsoe stayed on The Cosby Show, appearing on a regular basis until its final season in 1992. She was also featured as her original character Vanessa in A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show, which ran from September 1987 until July 1993.
Tempestt Bledsoe – Now
Starting in the mid 1990s, Tempestt Bledsoe hosted her own daytime talk show called The Tempestt Bledsoe Show. She has appeared in Oxygen’s Husband for Hire, Disney Channel’s animated series, The Replacements, and VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club. The Style Nework reached out to Bledsoe in 2010 and she became the new host of Clean House. Bledsoe holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from New York University and is currently in a relationship with Darryl M. Bell who co-starred on A Different World.
Mary Tyler Moore – Then
Mary Tyler Moore’s television career began with the role of “Happy Hotpoint”, a tiny dancing elf featured in commercials for Hotpoint appliances in the 1950s. Moore continued working in minor television roles until Carl Reiner cast Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961. Four years after the show’s end, Moore pitched her own sitcom along with her husband Grant Tinker and CBS liked what they saw. The Mary Tyler Moore Show ran from 1970-1977, with ratings in the top 20 for six years.
Mary Tyler Moore – Now
Mary Tyler Moore remains a household name to this day. She continued to act in television, film, and theater throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. On January 25, 2017, Moore sadly passed away from cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia at the age of 80. She will forever be remembered as an amazing actress who pushed boundaries with characters who broke the stereotypical images of women and denounced gender norms. She was also an active philanthropist and advocate for animal rights.
Kim Fields – Then
Prior to her most famous role as Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey, Kim Fields co-starred in a sitcom called Baby, I’m Back, which only lasted 13 episodes and didn’t even air until the late 1980s. Fields also appeared in a Mrs. Butterworth’s commercial and in 2 episodes of Good Times. From 1979 until 1988, Fields acted on The Facts of Life. Fields was actually so short that the producers put her on roller skates most of the time to avoid difficult camera angles.
Kim Fields – Now
During her time on The Facts of Life, Fields sang and released two songs, “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not”, and “Dear Michael”, both of which became minor hits. Today, Fields boasts an impressive resume as both a talented actress as well as director. Most recently, she joined the cast of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta for season eights but did not return for season nine. She also participated in season 22 of Dancing with the Stars, finishing in 8th place.
Jane Curtin – Then
Crowned as “Queen of the Deadpan”, actress and comedian Jane Curtin came on the scene as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in 1975. During her time on SNL, Curtin was praised by the show’s writer, Al Franken, for her work ethic and “strong moral center.” While most SNL stars eventually move on to the big screen, Curtin chose to remain on television, starring as single mother Allie Lowell in Kate & Alley alongside Susan Saint James from 1984 until 1989.
Jane Curtin – Now
After Kate & Alley, Jane Curtin joined the cast of another long-running television series in 3rd Rock from the Sun in 1996. She then went on to narrate two episodes of Understanding in 1997 and starred alongside Fred Savage in a short-lived ABC sitcom called Crumbs, which only ran for 13 episodes in 2006. Most recently, she’s appeared in major films I Love You, Man, and The Heat as well as in episodes of The Good Wife and Broad City.
Mindy Cohn – Then
In 1979, Mindy Cohn joined the cast of The Facts of Life as Natalie Green, one of Edna Garrett’s students. Cohn stayed on the sitcom for its entirety, until 1988. Her role as Natalie was very progressive and broke several boundaries which sitcoms that came before would rarely go near including body-image, relationships, and adoption. While Natalie Green was known for her full-figure, she was confident with a healthy self-image, saying, “Who wants to be a skinny pencil? I’d rather be a happy Magic Marker!”
Mindy Cohn – Now
Mindy Cohn’s work as Natalie on The Facts of Life earned her the 43rd spot on VH1’s List of 100 Greatest Kid Stars. Following The Facts of Life, Cohn appeared in 1986’s The Boy Who Could Fly as well as several appearances in other popular TV shows including Charles in Charge and 21 Jump Street. In her most recent work, Cohn was the voice on Velma Dinkley in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 2002 to 2015. She also plays Thelma in 2017’s Hollywood Dirt.
Nancy McKeon – Then
Before getting her big break, Nancy McKeon was featured in numerous commercials alongside her brother Philip. She also took some minor roles in soap operas in the 1970s before moving to Las Angeles with her family in 1975. McKeon was offered the role of tomboy Jo Polniaczek on The Facts of Life after impressing a casting director with her ability to cry on cue in a Hallmark greeting cards advertisement. On The Facts of Life, McKeon’s character, Jo, was short-tempered, mischievous, and somehow lovable.
Nancy McKeon – Now
Following her time as Jo Polniaczek, Nancy McKeon was almost cast as the title role in the TV adaptation of Working Girls. The role ended up going to the then-unknown Sandra Bullock. In 1994, McKeon auditioned for the role of Monica Geller in Friends, but again missed by a hair, this time to Courteney Cox. A year later, McKeon starred in her own series, Can’t Hurry Love, which only lasted one season. Her last role was in the 2011 TV film Love Begins.
Justine Bateman – Then
Justine Bateman, the older sister of famous actor Jason Bateman, began her acting career playing the superficial Mallory Keaton on Family Ties from 1982 until 1989. During her sitcom stint, she also appeared on 1984 episodes of Tales from the Darkside and It’s Your Move in addition to hosting a 1988 episode of Saturday Night Live. While her successful career as an actress would continue on for many years, the part of Mallory Keaton will always be her most notable role.
Justine Bateman – Now
After Family Ties, Justine Bateman had great success in the film, television, and theater industries. Through the 1990s she starred and guest-starred in several television shows including Lois & Clark, The New Adventures of Superman, and Men Behaving Badly. Bateman has also appeared in a number of television episodes for various programs throughout the 1990s and 2000s including Rugrats, Arrested Development, Desperate Housewives, Californication, Psych, and Modern Family among others. On tope of acting, Bateman has also remained busy writing, producing, and directing.
Shelley Long – Then
Shelley Long began acting with a Chicago comedy troupe called The Second City. In 1975 she wrote, produced, and co-hosted a local program called Sorting it Out, for which she won three Regional Emmys. Long also appeared in a number of advertisements through the 1970s and guest starred on an episode of The Love Boat. Her big break came with a role in 1979’s The Cracker Factory. This lead to several big opportunities, including her most famous role as Diane Chambers on Cheers.
Shelley Long – Now
After five seasons, Long left Cheers, stating that she felt the show was too repetitive. Long then acted in the film Troop Beverly Hills, and returned to television in 1990, with a strong performance in Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase. Long had several roles throughout the early 1990s and in 1993 returned to Cheers for the series finale. She has guest starred in a number of recent television series and even produced and acted in the 2016 film Different Flowers.
Phylicia Rashad – Then
Phylicia Rashad first began acting in Broadway theater in the late 1970s and has continued through the 2000s, with numerous credits including The Wiz, August: Osage County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gem of the Ocean, and Raisin in the Sun. Her television career began when she joined the cast of One Life to Live in 1983. A year later, she landed her most recognizable role as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, which ran for eight years until 1992.
Phylicia Rashad – Now
Since her time on The Cosby Show, Phylicia Rashad has appeared in numerous movies but even more so in television. Her credits include episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, Psych, the television film adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun, and Empire. In 2017, she appeared in sports doping mockumentary film, Tour de Pharmacy, in addition to five episodes of the Amazon Studios action comedy-drama series Jean-Claude Van Johnson. She has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and has won three NAACP Image Awards.
Soleil Moon Frye – Then
Soleil Moon Frye began her acting career at just two years old. Her first television movie was titled Missing Children: A Mother’s Story and was released in 1982. Frye continued work as a child actress in made-for-TV movies until she landed the role that defined her career as a child actress. At seven years old, Frye auditioned for the title role of NBC’s Punky Brewster, and beat out over 3,000 girls. While the series struggled with ratings, Frye’s character, Punky, was a big hit among kids.
Soleil Moon Frye – Now
Punky Brewster ran for just two seasons with NBC before being canceled and subsequently picked up by Columbia Pictures Television, where it ran for another two seasons. Soleil Moon Frye has also done her fair share of voice over work voicing the lead role in It’s Punky Brewster, as well as the character of Zoey in The Proud Family. She had a handful of sitcom guest-appearances throughout the 1990s and in recent years, has also added directing and writing to her resume.
Susan Saint James – Then
At age 20, Susan Saint James launched her acting career with a role in the 1966 TV movie Fame Is the Name of the Game and the series that followed two years later. Through the late 1960s, she had a few other television appearances. While Saint James had begun to make a name for herself, appearing in numerous 1970s TV movies, it wasn’t until 1984, when she landed a part in Kate & Alley, that she had truly become a well-established actress.
Susan Saint James – Now
In 1986, Susan Saint James took an unexpected job, joining Vince McMahon to commentate for the Word Wrestling Federations’s WrestleMania 2. For her role in Kate & Alley, which ran for five years, Saint James received three Emmy Award nominations, but announced her retirement from acting following the sitcom’s finale in 1989. In recent years, Saint James has been highly involved with the Special Olympics and has occasionally appeared on TV shows such as The Drew Carey Show and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Olivia D’Abo – Then
While she may be best known as the rebellious older sister of Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years, Olivia d’Abo got her start in acting with the supporting role of Princess Jehnna in the 1984 film, Conan the Destroyer. Not long after, d’Abo appeared in the not-so-critically acclaimed romantic drama film, Bolero. D’Abo then took portrayed hippie Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years for the show’s first four seasons from 1988 to 1991 and returned as a guest star twice in the final two seasons.
Olivia D’Abo – Now
D’Abo has made appearances in television since her time on The Wonder Years including small roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Twilight Zone, and Eureka. She has also acted on Broadway, taken on supporting roles in films such as The Spirit of ’76, Greedy, and The Big Green, and provided voice-over work for numerous video games and animated series. A jack-of-all-trades, Olivia d’Abo has also added a music career and weekly podcast to her growing resume.
Priscilla Barnes – Then
Priscilla Barnes got her big break after Bob Hope spotted her at a local fashion show in 1973. Soon after, she moved to Los Angeles and began taking small parts in films such as The New Original Wonder Woman, The Seniors, and Delta Fox. In 1981, Barnes was cast as Terri Alden, the permanent replacement for Suzanne Somers, on Three’s Company. While she had previously struggled to break through into big roles, Barnes became instantly recognizable when she joined Three’s Company.
Priscilla Barnes – Now
In 1998, Priscilla Barnes was featured on E! True Hollywood Story, where she revealed that her time on Three’s Company was the “three worst years” of her life, that she constantly felt “uncomfortable” on the set, and that she even asked to be released from her contract, a request which was denied. While Terri Alden will always be Barnes’ most prominent role, she has certainly had her fair share of success, with consistent supporting roles in both television and film.
Nicole Eggert – Then
Nicole Eggert landed her first movie role when she was just eight years old in Rich and Famous. That same year, Eggert performed the voice of Margaret in the first animated version of the Dennis the Menace trilogy, titled Dennis the Menace in Mayday for Mother. No stranger to ’80s sitcoms, Eggert held a reoccurring role on Who’s the Boss? as a close friend of Alyssa Milano’s character, before landing her most notable role as Jamie Powell in Charles in Charge.
Nicole Eggert – Now
Following the finale of Charles in Charge in 1990, Nicole Eggert moved on to a role as a lifeguard in Baywatch. She has starred in numerous made-for-TV and straight-to-video movies in addition to hosting the 1989 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, and guest-starring on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. In recent years, Eggert has appeared on shows such as Boy Meets World, Gilmore Girls, and the 2010 season of Celebrity Fit Club. In 2014, Eggert opened her own ice-cream truck business.
Danica McKellar – Then
Before Jimmy Fallon declared her character of Winnie Cooper to be “the coolest girl in any TV show ever,” Danica McKellar was just a kid taking weekend acting classes at the Lee Stratsberg Institute in Los Angeles. She landed her most prominent role on The Wonder Years in 1988, and the show ran until 1993. On the ABC sitcom, McKellar played the love interest of young Fred Savage, and her first kiss was actually on camera. It was exactly as nerve-racking as it sounds!
Danica McKellar – Now
Since leaving The Wonder Years, Danica McKellar has spoken of her struggle to move from being a child actress to an adult actress. She’s been able to find work but mostly in small supporting roles, rarely lasting more than a few seasons. In 2005, McKellar dressed in lingerie for a feature in Stuff magazine, later saying it was an attempt to get “grittier” roles. On top of acting, McKellar has also written four books which encourage middle schooler kids to take an interest in mathematics.
Lisa Bonet – Then
Actress Lisa Bonet got her acting start following a short career in beauty pageants. As a child, she appeared in a few television guest spots which ultimately paved the way for her big break when she was cast as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. While the show ran from 1984 until 1992, Bonet abandoned The Cosby Show in 1987 to star in the spinoff series, A Different World, which followed the life of Denise Huxtable as she left for college.
Lisa Bonet – Now
Following the announcement of her pregnancy in the midst of filming A Different World, Bonet left the series but returned to The Cosby Show a year later, only to be fired in 1991 for “creative differences.” Bonet then went on to take a number of jobs in straight-to-video productions. Since then, she has appeared sparingly on TV and in movies through the 1990s and 2000s. On her 20th birthday, Bonet eloped in Las Vegas with singer Lenny Kravitz but divorced in 1993.
Donna Dixon- Then
Before blonde bombshell Donna Dixon was a sitcom starlet, she represented the State of Virginia in the 1976 Miss USA Beauty Pageant and came up short. A year later she returned to the Miss USA Beauty Pageant, this time representing the District of Columbia and won the 1st runner-up Miss World USA. Dixon landed her first major television role on the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies, alongside Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. Bosom Buddies lasted for two seasons and ran from 1980 until 1982.
Donna Dixon- Now
Donna Dixon’s first job following the cancelation of Bossom Buddies was a star role in the film Doctor Detroit. While filming the 1983 comedy, Dixon met and married Dan Aykroyd. The two would go on to work together for numerous films and television shows. Throughout her career, which lasted for 17 years, Dixon was featured in Twilight Zone: The Movie, Spies Like Us, Wayne’s World, Exit to Eden, and The Nanny. She retired in 1997 and now has three daughters with Aykroyd.
Geena Davis- Then
Geena Davis got her big break back in 1982. She was working as a model when director Sydney Pollack decided to cast her in the role of a soap opera actress for his comedy film Tootsie. She then portrayed Wendy Killian in just two seasons of the short-lived local television sitcom Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill ran from 1983-1984. Throughout the early years of her career, Davis was also featured on episodes of Knight Rider, Riptide, Family Ties, and Remington Steele.
Geena Davis- Now
Through the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Geena Davis made a successful transition from television to film, with feature roles in Fletch, The Fly, and Beetlejuice. Davis won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1988’s The Accidental Tourist. Davis disappeared from television in the 1990’s only to return in 2000 for 22 episodes of her self titled show, The Geena Davis Show. In recent years, Davis has appeared in Stuart Little, Commander in Chief, and several low-budget projects.
Meredith Baxter- Then
Meredith Baxter started her career as an actress in 1972 with a break-out role in the CBS sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie. While the series was short-lived, only lasting one season, she would go on to marry her co-star, David Birney. The couple married in 1974 but divorced in 1989. In the early years of her career, Baxter also appeared in episodes of The Young Lawyers, The Doris Day Show, and The Partridge Family. She is most well-known for her role on NBC’s Family Ties.
Meredith Baxter- Now
Meredith Baxter portrayed Elyse Keaton on Family Ties from 1982 until 1989. Prior to Family Ties, Baxter’s role as Nancy Lawrence Maitland on Family earned the actress two Primetime Emmy nominations. Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, Baxter has appeared all over the place in made-for-tv films like One More Mountain, soap operas like The Young and the Restless, sitcoms like Spin City, and reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen. In 2009, Baxter publicly came out as lesbian and in 2013, married Nancy Locke.
Marisa Tomei – Then
Marisa Tomei began her career as an actress when she dropped out of Boston University to take a brief gig on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns from 1983 until 1985. She portrayed Marcy Thompson, a controversial teenager who accused Dr. Bob Hughes of inappropriate conduct. Tomei then moved on to a regular role in A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show. She portrayed Maggie Lauten for 21 episodes in 1987 before moving on to bigger and better things.
Marisa Tomei – Now
As one of the most relevant and recognizable names on our list, Marisa Tomei is no stranger to the big screen, having been featured in numerous major motion pictures almost every year since the 1990s. Some of her most famous credits include 1992’s My Cousin Vinny, 2003’s Anger Management, 2008’s The Wrestler, and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. With nearly twenty major movie awards already won and two 2018 films already in post-production, Tomei is showing no signs of slowing down.
Kirstie Alley – Then
Before Kirstie Alley took on her best know role of Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers, she played Lieutenant JG Saavic in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Alley started on Cheers in 1987 and stayed until the series finale in 1993. For her portrayal of Rebecca Howe, Alley won both a Primetime Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe. Alley also had a number of roles in movies during the late 1980s and through the 1990s.
Kirstie Alley – Now
Following her work in film during the 1990s, which included roles in Sibling Rivalry, It Takes Two, Deconstructing Harry, and Drop-Dead Gorgeous, Kirstie Alley returned to NBC to star in another sitcom called Veronica’s Closet. Through the 2000s, Alley appeared in a number of reality shows about her life. From 2004-2007, Alley was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and her dramatic weight fluctuations were highly publicized. Her most recent movie role was in 2002’s Back by Midnight and 2015’s Accidental Love.
Alyssa Milano – Then
At just seven years old, Alyssa Milano was taken to an audition for a national touring production of Annie by her babysitter. Her parents never knew she did the audition until she beat our over 1,500 girls for one of four parts. Her acting career had officially launched and, upon returning from the Annie tour, Milano appeared in television commercials, off-Broadway productions, and her film debut in Old Enough. She then landed a part in the ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss?.
Alyssa Milano – Now
On Who’s the Boss?, Alyssa Milano became a teen idol with her portrayal of Tony Danza’s daughter, Samantha Micelli. As one of the most recognizable names and faces on our list, Milano has stayed relevant in Hollywood, with work in music videos, animated series, major motion pictures, and television. Her biggest and most recent credits include roles in Hall Pass, New Year’s Eve, My Name is Earl, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, and the upcoming Netflix series Insatiable.