The 1980s saw the emergence of a huge fitness boom. Suddenly, everybody was an aerobics nut dressed to the nines in leotards and legwarmers. Even celebrities threw themselves into the fad, some of them pouring their entire careers into becoming exercise gurus.
Though you haven’t watched any of their jazzercise tapes in decades, you’ll certainly remember these former fitness stars. You might just be surprised by what they’ve been up to since then, too. We hope you’ve got your sweatbands on for this reading workout!
1. Cher: She already conquered the music and movie worlds, but the Goddess of Pop added another achievement to her resume with the CherFitness line. Luckily for her, brightly colored spandex bodysuits were not too far removed from her typical wardrobe.
Cher’s star power still burns as brightly as ever! Besides recording a number of new albums, she belted out ABBA classics in the 2018 sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
2. Richard Simmons: The most colorful fitness guru out there, Richard made a huge splash with his hyper-energy levels and sequined tops. His eccentricity made him a pop culture icon, with frequent appearances on Howard Stern and David Letterman.
As of 2014, however, Richard stopped making public appearances. While some reporters speculated that his house staff had kidnapped him, it turned out that the aerobic star simply wanted a little more privacy.
3. Jane Fonda: Already the winner of two Academy Awards, Jane had to take a break from the movie biz after fracturing her foot. Aerobics got her fit again, and she subsequently launched a line of workout videos that helped spread the fitness craze.
Now past 80, Jane still headlines major Hollywood projects. She’s also in as good of shape as ever! Since 2010, Jane has released a handful of videos for yoga classes — arguably the aerobics fad for the next generation.
4. Heather Locklear: Right in the midst of her Dynasty and T.J. Hooker fame, the actress decided to ride the celebrity workout wave. She debuted Heather Locklear Presents Your Personal Workout without ever having done aerobics before!
Heather’s TV career continued to flourish with big roles on Melrose Place and Spin City. More recently, however, legal issues and substance abuse have derailed her professional efforts.
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger: This ordinary kid from Austria ballooned into the most famous bodybuilder in history. He won a string of Mr. Universe titles from 1967 to 1970, plus he had a bit of an acting career that you might be familiar with.
Following two terms as the Governator of California, Arnold is still going strong in the gym. He’s also made a welcome return to Hollywood, making good on his “I’ll be Back” promise from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
6. Raquel Welch: Almost twenty years after wowing audiences with her fur bikini-clad role in One Million Years B.C., Raquel showed she still had a body to die for. Her fitness books and videos were bestsellers, along with posters of her in workout gear.
Raquel continued her prolific acting career following the fitness boom, though she’s entered semi-retirement since the early 2000s. Even approaching 80, however, she remains in fantastic shape. Looks like she still reads her old book!
7. Tamilee Webb: VHS copies of Abs of Steel and Buns of Steel were everywhere in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and Tamilee is still going strong. She’s recently appeared on ESPN and Discovery, plus she serves as the CEO of her company Webb International.
8. Jamie Lee Curtis: At the peak of her fame, this Hollywood legend starred in Perfect, a romance set in a health club. Though the film flopped big-time in 1985, it has since developed a cult following.
Jamie still graces the silver screen, and she’s put her cardio skills to good use. In 2018, she ran all over the place to avoid Michael Myer’s knife in the sequel of the horror classic Halloween.
9. John Travolta: Of course, Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t alone in Perfect. Her love interest was Travolta, who fit right in with the jazzercise crowd after showing off his fancy footwork in Saturday Night Fever.
John has remained in peak physical shape since the fitness boom, but his recent films haven’t been nearly as robust. He notably starred in the mobster biopic Gotti, which earned the rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. Suzanne Somers: After her run on Three’s Company, the actress evolved into one of the biggest infomercial spokespeople out there. She became the face of the Thighmaster brand, and recently appeared on Dancing With The Stars.
11. Jake Steinfeld: Starting out as a personal trainer for Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford, this fitness guru built a business empire around his “Body by Jake” brand. He’s since branched out, doing some acting work and founding Major League Lacrosse.
12. Jack LaLanne: Of course, any celeb who’s started a fitness brand is merely following in the footsteps of this man. The Jack LaLanne Show ran from 1953 to 1985, and the exercise guru remained active until his death in 2011.
13. Alyssa Milano: Believe it or not, this young Who’s The Boss? star appeared in her own exercise video series titled Teen Steam. Her career is still going strong, with a lead role in the Netflix series Insatiable.
If you weren’t watching fitness videos in the ’80s, you were at least watching movies and television. Believe it or not, the stars of your favorite shows followed similar paths to success as these workout gurus.
1. In the 1980s, there wasn’t a John Hughes movie that didn’t star red-headed beauty Molly Ringwald. Then, she was a teen icon. Nowadays, she’s old enough to play the mother of a pregnant teen in The Secret Life Of An American Teenager.
2. Jennifer Grey danced her way into our hearts with the seminal 1980s romantic drama, Dirty Dancing, also starring the late Patrick Swayze. You’re more likely to find Grey in any number of made-for-TV movies now, though after a dramatic nose job she can be difficult to recognize.
3. When Claudia Wells appeared in Back To The Future, it seemed like the only direction her career was heading was up and up! Sadly, she dropped out of acting when her mother became sick. She has since made a comeback, starring in the 2015 Oscar winner, Room.
4. Jennifer Connelly’s career centered around the world of modeling when she was scouted to star opposite David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth. She has been working steadily ever since and she appears in the new film American Pastoral in 2017.
5. In the 1980s, it was hard to watch something that did not star the boyish and talented Michael J. Fox. From Back to the Future to Family Ties, he was everywhere. He semi-retired from acting in 1998 when he announced he had Parkinson’s disease.
6. Haviland Morris starred in Sixteen Candles as a serious mean girl. Today she’s put away her mean (and blonde) roots and works full-time as a real estate broker, though she still makes cameos on TV shows like Law and Order from time to time.
7. Traci Lords was originally known more for the scandal surrounding her career in the adult entertainment world than she was for her work in movies like Cry-Baby. After taking a break from acting to concentrate on music, she worked on getting back into movies.
8. Jennifer Jason Leigh first found fame in the 1980s teen classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High and her career has continued ascending since then, including the totally eerie film Single White Female, among others.
9. Judd Nelson left the ladies swooning when he played the resident bad boy in John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. Since then, Nelson has continued to work, but mostly on a smaller scale. His most recent appearance was a role on the drama Nikita.
10. Kim Basinger caught public attention in the 1980s in movies like Batman and, later, L.A. Confidential. Today she is still heating up the big screen in movies like the latest installment of the 50 Shades of Grey franchise.
11. It was only natural that Emilio Estevez become famous, as he followed in the footsteps of his father Martin Sheen and brother Charlie Sheen. These days, Estevez prefers to work behind the camera as a writer and a director.
12. Demi Moore sizzled on screen in the 1980s in movies like St. Elmo’s Fire, quickly earning her a place in the Hollywood Brat Pack. She is still a stunner today and can be found constantly gracing the pages of magazines everywhere.
13. Kiefer Sutherland took a page from the book of his father, Donald Sutherland, and since the 1980s he’s made himself a staple of the Hollywood community. While films like Lost Boys kickstarted his career, it was his role of Jack Bauer on 24 that solidified his legacy.
14. Looking at Brooke Shields, it isn’t surprising that her career started in the world of modeling. She then transitioned to acting with films like The Blue Lagoon. Nowadays, her career is still thriving and she is a mother and outspoken advocate for postpartum depression.
15. Christina Applegate made a real splash playing a ditsy blonde on the Fox sitcom hit, Married… With Children. Her career is still red hot, with roles in Anchorman and Anchorman II and the upcoming Bad Moms sequel.
16. In the 1980s, Winona Ryder was everywhere! Pick a Tim Burton movie, and she was there. However, after a pretty public meltdown and an arrest for shoplifting, she took time off from acting. Now she’s back with a starring role in the Netflix series Stranger Things.
17. Kelly LeBrock blew everyone’s socks off as a hot science experiment in the goofy sex romp Weird Science. After the film, she married actor Steven Seagal. When their marriage ended, she began having issues with alcoholism that most recently led to a DUI.
18. Lori Singer played the female lead in the Kevin Bacon classic Footloose and boogied her way into everyone’s hearts. Since then, she’s worked more so behind the scenes, primarily as a producer of several documentary films.
19. Phoebe Cates ushered boys the world over into puberty the second she whipped off her top in a daydream sequence in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Now married to the actor Kevin Kline, she has retired from acting completely.
20. Ally Sheedy starred as the resident outcast in the 1980s teen hit The Breakfast Club. However, while she’s gone on to make a few other films, she happily swapped a life in front of the camera for one of quiet anonymity once the era was over.