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The Top 20 Pop Culture Icons of the '80s Part 2 (11-20)

Updated on June 28, 2013

Remember, the list is going by first name alphabetical order.

11. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox was a television and movie star in the 1980s. His breakout role, was on the sitcom, "Family Ties." He played, Alex Keaton and was the oldest of three children. He was the star of the show. During the show's run from 1982-89, Fox won three Emmy Awards. In 1985, Fox instantly became a movie star with the release of, "Back to the Future." The movie was a big hit, grossing over $300 million dollars. The sequel followed, in 1989. Fox also starred in, "Teen Wolf", "The Secret of My Success", "Bright Lights, Big City", and finished the decade with "Casualties of War", in 1989. To say the '80s were big for Michael J. Fox, would be an understatement.


12. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, was arguably the biggest star of the 1980s, in any genre. He became a world wide mega star, following the release of the biggest selling album of all time, "Thriller", released in 1982. The album would go on to sell over 35 million copies! Jackson revolutionized the music video. His "Thriller" video, was an 11 minute small film. In 1987, Jackson released the follow up album, "Bad." The album had five number 1 singles on the Billboard Top 100 chart. It would sell over 20 million copies, solidifying Jackson as the top selling artist of the decade. In terms of overall popularity, Michael Jackson was the king of the '80s.

13. Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson, became the youngest world heavyweight boxing champion in 1986 at the age of 20.

With his ferocious fighting style he instantly became a fan favorite and the biggest draw in sports in the mid to late '80s. Tyson would come to the ring in black trunks, black boots, no socks and a cut out towel over his head. Most of his fights lasted less than four rounds. While other bouts lasted less than one! He brought an excitement back to the heavyweight division that had been missing since the retirement of Muhammad Ali. His crowning achievement was in 1988, when he knocked out the then undefeated, Michael Spinks in 91 seconds! In the late '80s, no athlete was as popular as Iron Mike.

14. Mr. T

Mr. T, was one of the most interesting characters of the '80s. Sporting his trademark mohawk and gold chains, he burst on the scene in 1982 and his impact was felt immediately. He became a star when he played, "Clubber" Lang, in "Rocky lll", with Sylvester Stallone. He almost stole the show from Stallone. The success of the film, led Mr. T to star in his own television series, "The A-Team." An instant hit, the show made Mr. T a household name. Mr. T merchandise began to fly off the shelves. With his charisma and signature catchphrases, "Hey Fool!" and "I pity the fool!", Mr. T is an unforgettable 1980s icon.

15. Oprah Winfrey

Who knew that this Mississippi native wold take the country by storm with her daytime talk show? Before her talk show became a national hit, Winfrey was a local anchor woman in Nashville, Tennessee. An aspiring actress, Oprah was nominated for an Academy Award, for her role in "The Color Purple." After relocating to Chicago and taking her show national, as they say the rest is history. The show rose in popularity quickly, surpassing Phil Donahue's show. Viewers fell in love with Winfrey's personality, interviews, and supported her weight loss efforts. Before the decade was done, she was by far the most popular daytime talk show host of the '80s and possibly ever.

16. Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan, was the 40th President of The United States. The former governor of California, defeated the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter in 1980. A conservative, Reagan believed in less government and more on self reliance and independence. A popular President, even among Democrats, he easily won his bid for a second term in 1984 against Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, in a landslide. He won 49 states, while Mondale was only victorious in one state! During his two terms, he was able to reduce inflation and unemployment. His wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan, was instrumental in the "Just Say No" to drugs campaign. Leading the United States from 1981-1989, makes President Regan as iconic to the decade as anyone else.

17. Sylvester Stallone

Rocky or Rambo, take your pick. Sylvester Stallone was arguably the greatest action film star of the '80s. Though his "Rocky" franchise began in the 1970s, the two releases in the '80s, "Rocky lll" and "Rocky IV", were very successful at the box office. He began another iconic franchise in the decade as well. In 1982, "Rambo: First Blood", was released to critical and commercial success. He would star in two more "Rambo" sequels during the decade. His other '80s films included, "Nighthawks, "Rhinestone", "Cobra", "Over the Top", and closing out with "Tango & Cash" in 1989. No matter the role, "The Italian Stallion", was as consistent as any star in the '80s.

18. Tom Cruise

Equipped with good looks and star power to match,Tom Cruise, began his iconic rise to stardom in 1983's, "Risky Business." Who hasn't saw or even imitated that classic scene of Cruise dancing in his underwear and socks? He also had a major role that same year in, "The Outsiders." Cruise became a huge star and major box office draw with "Top Gun", released in 1986. The film would eventually gross well over $300 million dollars. That same year, he was paired with the legendary, Paul Newman, in "The Color of Money." "Cocktail" would follow in 1988. His last two films of the decade, "Rain Man" and "Born on the Fourth of July" would further cement his status as an 1980s icon.

19. Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky was easily the greatest ice hockey player of the 1980s. While playing for the Edmonton Oilers, from 1979-1988, he virtually rewrote the record books. In his rookie season, he took home the Most Valuable Player award. He led the league in assists and goals scored for several straight seasons. In 1982, Gretzky, was the first hockey player to win the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year award. That same year he also was named Sports Illustrated's, "Sportsman of the Year." With the Oilers he won five championships in seven years, before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, where the legend continued. With his only rival being Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky was arguably the greatest athlete of the '80s.

20. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston, was easily the greatest r&b and pop vocalist of the 1980s. She was only second to Madonna, in terms of overall popularity. Her debut album, "Whitney Houston", released in 1985 was a smash and had a remarkable 14 week run atop the Billboard 200 chart. The album fueled by a then record three number one singles stayed on the charts through the following year. It would become the top selling album in 1986! Houston won several Grammy's and American Music Awards. This would only set the tone for an amazing run well into the 1990s. Her version of "The Greatest Love of All", is an American standard. In an era dominated mostly by male acts, Whitney Houston, made a lasting impression in the decade of the '80s.

Honorable Mention:

Bill Murray, Kirk Cameron, Janet Jackson, Prince, Carl Lewis, Joe Montana, The Police, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, Larry Hagman, Tina Turner, Tom Hanks, Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, Sugar Ray Leonard, Run DMC, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan and Teddy Ruxpin.

USA for Africa

Led by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, some of the greatest singers of the decade gathered together, to sing "We Are the World." It was the biggest selling single of the '80s and the proceeds went to the poor and hungry people in South Africa.

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    • Gratitude Journal profile image

      Gratitude Journal 3 years ago

      You're pretty dead-on in your list! Each of these peeps was a hero to me. I even bought the vest like Michael J in BTTF!

    • Man of Strength profile image
      Author

      Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Thanks for coming by. I appreciate the support.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      Man of Strength,

      First, I like to say... THANKS for sling shooting me back to the 80's! This is awesome! Gee... it's like looking through a photo album, you want to laugh as you reminisce the good times and yet cry over days gone by! Your pictures are perfect for the time, as I've said before ... you're using pictures of what they looked like at that time even though many are still around and active today. Your write ups are equally impressive and thorough... but not boring... I could read hundreds of these hubs!

      K... so I've got some opinions... want them here or you gonna ever email me? lol ( I want you to 'group' your hubs so you have 2 more at the bottom of all of your hubs.... and I'd like you to include a link in this hub for the previous and vice versa... I'd also like to suggest altering your title a little as HP starts getting ornery about repetitive titles and usually by the 3rd one... getting it passed QAP is much harder... I personally ran into that problem with my 90's hubs and another fellow hubber did as well) This is not a critique... you rocked this hub out... I love it and I wouldn't 'change' a thing... just add more of YOU to it! :D

      Up and others... sharing too!

      Cat

    • Man of Strength profile image
      Author

      Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Hi Cat,

      Thanks again for being being so wonderful. You really are awesome. The sandman clunked me upside the head pretty early tonight. Should I have made this into one loooonnngggg hub? I decided to make two parts because, combined it would've been well over 3,000 words. The video at the end is long as well. At the same time, I wonder if splitting it up will cost me views? Also, I tried to email you on your profile page but it didn't go through. Thanks again.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      No... no, I don't think you should've made it into one long hub, no way. Trust me... it's better this way. I have a couple of 'continued' hubs... I just rearrange the title a little and refer to it as a continuation in the summary... and having a link in your page to the before/after is a good idea, in my opinion. If you're like me, you'll have intentions on reading another piece, but then get distracted by another hub or email or life. If it's right there in front of them and you've already set the mood, they'll probably go check it out if they hadn't before. No splitting it up will probably gain you views. You have 2 more hubs to offer someone now rather than just one and a lot of people, I believe, want to be able to read something that's relatively easy to digest and move on. Who wants to spend all day on one page, living in this fast-paced world we do?

      I wonder what's up with that... I've had other hubbers get to me that way. At any rate, I sent you an email through your profile days ago... it should be buried in you HP mail somewhere... you can just reply to that and that'd work too!

      Don't mention it :D

    • Man of Strength profile image
      Author

      Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      I checked my mail, but still didn't get that email. I sent one to you, though.

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 3 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Love this list. I love Michael J Fox. And you couldn't tell me nothing about Rocky. Great list!

    • Man of Strength profile image
      Author

      Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Thanks Nia! Glad you enjoyed it,

    • profile image

      Vitor 2 years ago

      Amy,If you found someone that ndeeed it to complete a bed you might get as much as fifty dollars. No dealer that I am aware of would bother putting it in stock owing to the extremely limited market. You should go to Google Images and search “Simmons bed spring”. One or more might turn up and might have some dollar information connected. The spring is probably 60-80 years old and made so well that it is still useful. You can put a zippered cover over it for cleanliness and use it as a box spring.Good Luck,Marshall

    • profile image

      Freimar 2 years ago

      I have a little guy that always wants his nails painted too! Last week he told me he wanted blue because pink was for girls. LOL.[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us '0 which is not a hashcash value.

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