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What Happened To These Forgotten ’80s Action Stars?

Believe it or not, the 80’s ended quite a while ago. Somebody born in the early 1980’s is now pushing 40. While the picture quality of films back then looks, well, dated compared to today, there were plenty of 80s gems that are worthy of recognition, like all the action movie stars. A few of these action heroes made a mark on Hollywood and never left, like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, while others slowly faded out of the spotlight and blended into society. Vernon Well, who? Read on to learn more about the 80s’ favorite action stars and what they’re up to these days…

Photo: IMDb

Jenette Goldstein

Known as the tough, bandana-wearing Space Marine named Vasquez in Aliens, this actress broke gender norms and stereotypes long before it was commonplace. She could do pull ups, verbally own Bill Paxton’s character, and still look beautiful while doing it. Goldstein also starred as Meagan Shapiro in Lethal Weapon 2 and Janelle Voight in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

As for what she’s doing today? Not all heroes wear capes – some wear bras. Goldstein stepped back from acting to start her own company, Jenette Bras, after she realized that department store lingerie doesn’t accommodate women with unique sizes. The brand has the catchy slogan, “The Alphabet Starts with D,” and shows that Goldstein is still as heroic as ever.

Photo: IMDb

Sonny Landham

On the other hand, Landham isn’t doing nearly as well as Goldstein. He played Billy Sole, the tracker from the mercenary team that was slaughtered in Predator, in addition to playing smaller roles in other action films like The Warriors and Firewalker. He stopped acting in the 1990s in pursuit of a political career, but it didn’t go quite like Landham had hoped.

While he was campaigning for a Kentucky Senate position on the Libertarian ticket in 2008, he went on a college radio show. There, he chose to go on a racist and deranged rant about Middle Eastern people. The Libertarian Party withdrew their support, and his political and acting career went into decline. Landham passed away in 2017 from congestive heart failure.

Photo: IMDb

Peter Weller

Weller has always been artsy. He initially wanted to be a jazz musician before he turned his focus to acting. Weller eventually landed the role of Officer Alex Murphy, also known as Robocop, in a moment that defined his career and led to him star in dozens of films and TV series.

After RoboCop 2 didn’t live up to the original, Weller brought his talent behind the camera to direct a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy. He also used his master’s degree in Renaissance Art History to moonlight as a literature and fine arts professor at Syracuse University for a while… showing that he’s a true (pun intended) Renaissance man.

Photo: IMDb

Timothy Dalton

He’s Bond, James Bond. Timothy Dalton excitedly took over the iconic role from Roger Moore in the 80s, after failing to make it to movie star status after a nearly 20-year acting career. He played 007 in two movies, both receiving critical acclaim from critics. No surprise there – Dalton was classically trained and totally ready to prove himself in this role of a lifetime.


After declining a third Bond movie, he kept acting in smaller roles such as the 1994 miniseries Scarlett and the 2007 film Hot Fuzz. As of 2019, he has appeared as Niles Caulder/The Chief in the DC Universe action series Doom Patrol.