The 1980s were a heyday for sitcoms, and we will never forget the great ladies who graced our television screens at that time. Many of these adored actors have now moved on to new projects, carving themselves prosperous careers independent of their memorable performances.
Come along with us as we take a journey down memory lane and learn what our favorite actresses from 1980s sitcoms are doing these days. Their stories continue to enthrall and inspire followers across generations, from personal successes to career redefinitions.
1. Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei started her acting career when she left Boston University in order to work for a brief period of time on the CBS serial program As the World Turns from 1983 to 1985. She played Marcy Thompson, a contentious adolescent who accused a doctor named Bob Hughes of acting improperly. The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World then gave Tomei a regular part. Before leaving for more rewarding roles, she appeared in 21 episodes of 1987’s Maggie Lauten before leaving.
Marisa Tomei, one of the more current and popular actors on our list, is no newcomer to the big screen, having been in a number of significant films on an annual basis since the 1990s. Her most well-known roles are those in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny, the 2003 film Anger Management, the 2008 film The Wrestler, and the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. Tomei isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with almost twenty big movie awards already under her belt and two 2018 features underway in post-production.
2. Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley portrayed Officer JG Saavic in the 1982 film titled Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan before landing her most well-known role as Rebecca Howe in the television show Cheers. Beginning in 1987 and continuing through the 1993 series finale, Alley was a part of Cheers. Alley received a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award for her depiction of Rebecca Howe. In addition, Alley played a number of other characters in films from the late 1980s through the early 1990s.
After appearing in Sibling Rivalry, It Takes Two, Deconstructing Harry, and Drop-Dead Gorgeous during 1990s, Kirstie Alley returned to NBC to act in Veronica’s Closet, another sitcom. Alley made several appearances in reality programs about her life in the 2000s. Alley served as a spokesman for Jenny Craig from 2004 to 2007, and her remarkable weight changes were widely reported. Her most recent film roles were in Accidental Love (2015) and Back by Midnight (2002).
3. Jane Curtin
Actor and comedian Jane Curtin, dubbed the “Queen of the Deadpan,” debuted in 1975 as an actor on the set of Saturday Night Live. Al Franken, the show’s writer, commended Curtin throughout her tenure on SNL for the show’s work ethic and “strong moral center.” Curtin elected to stay on television, playing a single mom, Allie Lawrence in Kate & Alley with Susan Saint James from 1984 through 1989. Most SNL stars eventually make the transition to the big picture.
Following Kate & Alley, Jane Curtin rejoined the cast of 3rd Rock from the Sun in 1996, a long-running television program. After that, she narrated a single episode of Understanding in 1997 and co-starred with Fred Savage in the 2006 ABC sitcom Crumbs, which aired for just 13 episodes. She most recently made appearances in segments of The Good Wife and Broad City as well as in the blockbuster films I Love You, Man, and The Heat.
4. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker first gained notoriety on the 1980s sitcom Square Pegs, despite having performed on stage since she was a little child. Parker portrayed Patty Greene, a young woman who struggled to blend in with her high school’s popular circle. Despite the show only running for one season, Parker’s career quickly grew.
Sarah Jessica Parker is regarded as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors. She is best known for playing Carrie Bradshaw in the highly acclaimed television series Sex and the City. She made a comeback to television in 2016 via the HBO series Divorce. Along with acting, Parker has established herself as a fashion icon and started a number of clothing and fragrance lines. Parker’s most recent appearance was in the And Just Like That… episode of the Sex and the City revival, which broadcast in late 2021.
5. Delta Burke
Although Delta Burke appeared in the 1980s comedies Filthy Rich and 1st and Ten, Suzanne Sugarbaker on the show Designing Women was her breakthrough performance. Burke received praise from both fans and reviewers for her performance as the former beauty queen and partner of an interior design firm. Burke moved on to appear in the comedies Women of the House and Delta after playing the part for five seasons. Later, she made appearances in the movies What Women Want and Steel Magnolias on Broadway.
Burke moved on to star in a number of television shows and films after leaving Designing Women. Burke struggled in the 2000s to achieve the same degree of stardom and the number of jobs she had in the 1980s and 1990s. Burke has mostly avoided the spotlight after a protracted fight with a number of physical and mental health issues, focusing instead on her own clothing company. Her most recent film role was in Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, a Netflix original series, playing Ellie.
Wrapping It Up!
As we say goodbye to the era of ’80s sitcoms, it’s encouraging to see the great actresses who kept us entertained back then still succeeding in both their personal and professional lives. These women have embraced life outside of their popular comedy characters, engaging in new artistic endeavors and volunteering for charitable causes.
The impact they had on our lives endures even though their paths may have diverged from the small screen. As we warmly recall the delight they offered us during those unforgettable ’80s sitcom years, let us appreciate their tenacity, passion, and lasting legacy.