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Hunky 80s Icons: Male Celebrities Who Ruled the Decade

Among 80s icons, male celebrities had to fight for screen time with the loud (in a good way!), big-haired, and super talented women of the era. But even while Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, and other lavish ladies were tearing up our most colorful decades, these male icons of the 80s still managed to carve out their fair share of attention.

Richard Dean Anderson

Anderson starred as MacGyver during 80s TV show where he played secret agent Angus MacGyver, a role that catapulted him to 80s icon status.

Since the 80s, Anderson has starred in many TV series and films including Stargate SG-I as Colonel Jack O’Neill, Grey’s Anatomy for a season (as Dr. Derek Shepherd), The X-Files as Agent Fox Mulder, and more recently he is known for his starring role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Lieutenant Mike Tao.

Tom Cruise

Cruise was one of the 80s top movie stars who had a string of blockbusters including Top Gun and Mission Impossible – he has continued to act in 80s themed movies such as “A Few Good Men” where his character is again called LTJG Daniel L. Kaffee, and the new series “Mission Control.”

Harrison Ford

Ford is 80s icon because of his role as Indiana Jones in the four movies and also Han Solo in Star Wars.

Since 80s Ford has acted in many more blockbuster films including “Blade Runner,” “Patriot Games,” “Presumed Innocent”

Tom Hanks

Hanks 80s contribution was his starring role in the 80s comedy series Bosom Buddies and then of course as 80s movie star he continued to appear in many films such as Big, Sleepless In Seattle, Philadelphia.

Kevin Costner

Costner is an 80s icon because of his work in several movies, including Dances With Wolves for which he won Best Picture Academy Award (1990) and Bull Durham where he played a player who tries to find himself by teaching young pitchers how to throw curveballs.

Kurt Russell

Russell’s best known roles are that of Snake Plissken from Escape From New York, 80s action hero Stuntman Mike from Death Proof and 80s movie icon Jack Burton in Big Trouble In Little China.

Michael Jackson

Even in a decade loaded with amazing music, Jackson dominated 80s radio waves and 80s TV with a string of smash singles, dancing on the edge of brilliance in music videos.


The Purple One made 80s pop even more sparkly, adding an element no other performer could touch: amazing dance moves!

Prince’s 1984 album “Purple Rain” is still regarded as his masterpiece and includes 80s icons like When Doves Cry and Let’s Go Crazy. The artist himself also included songs from outside the decade such as 1999 which came out in 1982 during the height of 80s new wave movement in 80s music.

Michael Jordan

Jordan was an 80-90 crossover sensation with both a successful basketball career and endorsement deals including Nike Air Jordans shoes which were made popular during this time period. His contributions include being voted Greatest North American Athlete by ESPN SportsCentury – where he topped Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens etc., having NBA Championships, NBA Finals MVPs, NBA All-Star Games and being a part of the Olympic gold medal winning US Men’s Basketball team.

Boy George

Boy George was a 80s icon as the front-man for 80s band Culture Club. He is also known for his androgynous appearance, which created controversy in 80’s Britain where there were strict gender roles.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson was 80s icon as the lead on Miami Vice, which made him a staple in American pop culture. After 80’s he continued his acting career with notable roles in Nash Bridges and Ally McBeal.

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck was an 80s icon for his starring role as Thomas Magnum in the 80’s TV series, Magnum PI. After the 80’s he appeared on Friends and most recently Blue Bloods.

Pee-Wee Herman

Pee Wee Herman came to fame in the 80s as the star of his own hit kids show, Pee-Wee’s Adventures. He has since done some acting but mostly been out of the public eye until a few more frequent gigs in recent years.

John Hughes

Hughes was the director of a slew of iconic 80s teen movies including Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. His work has continued to garner attention with the recent Netflix release of “The Christmas Chronicles.”

Patrick Swayze

Swayze transformed from “just” a dancer into an accomplished who was known for his roles in Dirty Dancing and Ghost – he passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 57 on September 14th 2009. He had a strong career before then and even after death continues to be an icon among actors. We will never forget him as Johnny Castle or Sam Wheat either!

(Like Hunky 80s Icons? Then you might like our article on 80s Blockbuster Movies You Totally Forgot About, click here.)

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