Unlike the decades that have taken place since then, much of the pop culture from the '80s was dominated by younger people. For instance, many of the biggest stars in the world today were young when they first hit their stride in the '80s, including the likes of Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, and Tom Hanks.
Although there are several former '80s teen stars who’ve passed the test of time, there are many others who’ve faded from the public eye. Of course, just because most people have lost track of many stars they used to love it doesn’t mean that affection for them has disappeared. With that in mind, it is time to take a look at this list of where 20 forgotten teen stars from the '80s are now.
20 C. Thomas Howell
When it comes to film debuts, it doesn’t get much better than C. Thomas Howell’s first movie as it was 1982’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. From there, he would go on to appear in a slew of memorable '80s films including the likes of The Outsiders, Red Dawn, The Hitcher, and the highly problematic film Soul Man.
Continuing to act from time to time to this day, so far in 2019 he has appeared in a trio of little-seen shows, SEAL Team, Bosch, and The Terror.
19 Christina Applegate
Definitely one of the most talked about shows of the '80s and '90s, over Married... With Children’s 10 season run it courted controversy on numerous occasions.
From there, she would go on to appear in movies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy before most recently starring in the Bad Moms movies on top of being set to appear in a show named Dead To Me.
18 Elisabeth Shue
When it comes to female teen actors from the '80s, Elisabeth Shue may just have been the object of more people’s crushes than any other. Memorable for films like the Back To The Future series, The Karate Kid, Cocktail, and Leaving Las Vegas among others, Shue always stole the spotlight even when she shared the screen with huge stars.
Able to consistently land roles in the years since she first became a star, for quite a while the quality of her roles went downhill so you may not have realized she was still acting.
17 Robert MacNaughton
The 2nd actor from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial to appear on this list, unlike C. Thomas Howell Robert MacNaughton actually played one of that film’s main characters. However, even though he starred in one of the most successful films of all time, MacNaughton would go on to attain very little success in the acting world.
16 Phoebe Cates
Right from the start of her acting career, there was something about Phoebe Cates that the camera and audiences loved. As the star of her first film, Paradise, from there she would go on to appear in movies like Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Gremlins, among others.
Choosing to step away from the spotlight in order to raise the two children she had with her husband Kevin Kline, Cates only came out of retirement to appear in a 2001 film and 2015 video game.
15 Emilio Estevez
As the son of an acting legend, Emilio Estevez may have grown up in the shadow of Martin Sheen but as a member of The Brat Pack he went on to be a star in his own right. Memorable for his roles in '80s movies like The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, and Young Guns, at the time he truly was a bankable star. Still able to attain success in the '90s, he went on to star in films like the Mighty Ducks franchise.
14 Lea Thompson
Throughout Hollywood history, there are few film franchises that are more beloved than the Back To The Future trilogy. As one of the stars of those films, Lea Thompson also appeared in other movies like All The Right Movies and Howard The Duck during the rest of the '80s. Still able to remain in the spotlight the following decade, she remade her career when she signed up to star in the successful sitcom Caroline In The City.
13 Ally Sheedy
For those of you who don’t remember them, during the '80s there was a group of teen actors known as The Brat Pack who were known for working and partying together. The 2nd person from that group to appear on this list, Ally Sheedy was made famous as one of the stars of films like WarGames, St. Elmo's Fire, and Short Circuit.
Most recently seen on the small screen when she appeared in an episode of SMILF, Sheedy also had a small role in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
12 Curtis Armstrong
Definitely an actor who has always known his place in the business, Curtis Armstrong has never tried to pretend like he was meant to be the next huge leading man. Instead, during the '80s he found his niche as a socially awkward but wildly confident character in movies like the Revenge Of The Nerds series, Risky Business, Better Off Dead, and several others.
Still very happy to stay within his lane, in recent years he was the host of a “reality” show called King Of The Nerds.
11 Heather Langenkamp
A legend of the horror movie world, Heather Langenkamp hit the jackpot when she landed the lead role in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Continuing to fight off Freddy Krueger on the big screen in two other films in that series, in 1994’s Wes Craven's New Nightmare Langenkamp even played a fictionalized version of herself.
In some ways a bigger deal now than ever before, since 2010 Langenkamp has worked on 17 different films including playing the character Moto in Star Trek Into Darkness.
10 Judd Nelson
When it comes to the group of actors known as The Brat Pack, most of them were matinée style actors whereas Judd Nelson became famous for playing rebellious characters. Known for films like The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, The Transformers: The Movie, and New Jack City, by the mid-'90s Nelson had largely fallen out of the limelight.
9 Tempestt Bledsoe
Even though the show that made her famous now has a dark asterisk by its name due to the conduct of its star, the fact remains that Tempestt Bledsoe starred in one of the most successful shows of all time. Cast as Vanessa Huxtable in The Cosby Show, Bledsoe always did a fantastic job in the role. Despite that, like several other former teen and child stars, she struggled to find another notable role after the job that made her a star came to an end.
8 Andrew McCarthy
As the last member of The Brat Pack to appear on this list, Andrew McCarthy shared the screen with people like Rob Lowe and Demi Moore among others. Best remembered for films like St. Elmo's Fire and Less Than Zero, McCarthy definitely made his mark on '80s cinema.
Most recently able to garner attention for his roles in shows like Gossip Girl, Orange Is The New Black, and The Blacklist, he has also filmed an upcoming series named The Family.
7 Susan Ursitti
Unlike the vast majority of the people on this list, Susan Ursitti owes all of her fame to a single role. Sure, she appeared in some notable shows like Charles In Charge and 21 Jump Street but those one-time guest shots did very little for her career. Instead, she is notable for one thing: playing Boof, the eventual girlfriend of a high school student who turns into a werewolf and uses his newfound abilities to play basketball.
6 Jennifer Grey
First able to make a name for herself when she appeared in the movie Red Dawn, from there Jennifer Grey went on to play the female lead in Dirty Dancing. Incredibly enough, however, after riding high with those roles, Grey’s career quickly hit the skids because she got nose surgery that rendered her virtually unrecognizable.
Clearly not a quitter, even after many of her fans stopped being able to point her out in a crowd, Grey has continued to get smaller roles in movies and TV shows to this day.
5 Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Definitely one of the strangest '80s teen movies, Weird Science focused on a pair of nerds who use their computer to turn a doll into a real-life woman. One of that movie’s main stars, alongside Kelly LeBrock and Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith must have thought his acting career was about to take off.
Instead, after appearing in a few TV shows and movies, Mitchell-Smith’s acting prospects seemed to go nowhere and he mostly retired from the business.
4 Nicole Eggert
Someone who appeared in a slew of '80s shows, Nicole Eggert’s career started out when she appeared in series like Fantasy Island and The New Leave It To Beaver. From there, she was chosen to star in the popular sitcom Charles In Charge and once she left that series behind she joined the cast of the memorable series Baywatch.
Never able to regain the same level of traction in the acting world after that, in the 2010s Eggert chiefly showed up in “reality” shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Splash, and Botched.
3 Mia Sara
If you asked the average person to list movies that they consider quintessentially '80s, there is a very good chance that it wouldn’t take long at all for Ferris Bueller's Day Off to come up. Cast as the titular character’s girlfriend Sloane, to say that many people had a crush on Mia Sara at the time feels like a huge understatement. From there, she went on to star in other films like Legend and Timecop and spent many years playing largely forgettable character on the big and little screen.
2 Judge Reinhold
For a guy who at the height of his career looked totally average, it really is amazing how many huge movies Judge Reinhold has starred in. Best known for Beverly Hills Cop and The Santa Clause series, he was also a part of Ruthless People, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and Gremlins. No longer a big star, Reinhold has increasingly popped up in projects making fun of himself, like Clerks: The Animated Series and Arrested Development.
1 Jami Gertz
In some ways a movie that is in a class of its own, 1987’s The Lost Boys had a lot of comedic moments but it also showed some incredible vampire action. As one of the stars of that film, Jami Gertz played a teenager who was so enthralling that she roped in the movie’s main character which led to him becoming a vampire. Also seen in other movies like Less Than Zero and Twister, Gertz went on to star in Still Standing for years.
Sources: AOL, Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, TMZ, People, Digital Spy, E! Online