Webster defines the word icon as ‘an object of uncritical devotion.’ Unable to do wrong in the eyes of the devotee, there were many different 80s icons to adore.
80s Music Icons
Who doesn’t want to be a rock star? The most obvious 80s icons were some of the hottest performers of the day.
They made some awesome music while they propelled trends and made news.
Madonna has to be at the top of the list. Songs like ‘Borderline,’ ‘Like a Virgin,’ ‘Material Girl,’ ‘Everybody,’ and ‘Holiday,’ were belted out loud and proud by her followers. She was also in a cult favorite movie, “Desperately Seeking Susan.’
She set the whole pop princess fashion trend of the 80s with fingerless lace gloves, skirts over leggings, and crucifixes as accessories. She also sent most of us running to the salon at the mall to go bleach blonde.
She was one of the most influential, but there were other great females to look up to. There was Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Paula Abdul, and Grace Jones.
Michael Jackson was a big icon in the 80s – everybody knows ‘Bad,’ ‘Thriller,’ ‘Beat It,’ ‘Human Nature,’ ‘Billie Jean,’ and ‘Man in the Mirror.’ His extended music video for ‘Thriller’ was epic and an overnight hit.
Prince knew how to command attention and had us partying like it was 1989 with ‘1999,’ ‘Purple Rain,’ “Little Red Corvette,’ ‘When Doves Cry,’ and ‘Kiss.’
More 80s music icons include Boy George, George Michael, and legendary bands like U2 and Duran Duran.
80s Actors and Actresses Icons
Some actors and actresses had us worshipping them and waiting in lines at the theater. The ‘brat pack’ was the nickname given to a group of actors and actresses in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’ movies, among others.
This group included Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and the most prominent, Molly Ringwald.
Paul Ruebens gave us Pee Wee Herman, an unforgettable and hysterical icon of the decade, while David Hasselhoff played the cool Michael Knight in ‘Knight Rider.’
Some actresses that were prominent icons in Hollywood were Jamie Lee Curtis, Whoopie Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Sigourney Weaver, and Jodie Foster. They were in all the biggest movies and best shows on television.
80s Sports Icons
Ever the good influence, Mary Lou Retton was the diminutive gymnast who captured hearts – and a gold medal – at the 1984 Summer Olympics. There was also Wayne Gretsky, who led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup wins.
Golf gave us icons like Jack Nicklaus, Fuzzy Zoeller, and Seve Ballesteros while tennis had John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors – even with their tempers – as well as Steffi Graf, Chris Evert Lloyd, and Martina Navratilova.
Along with Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana, these 80s icons were fixtures throughout the decade. Whether in real life or character, they were admired by the masses, giving us more than mere entertainment.