Strapped with bold colored tights, leg warmers, and an excessive amount of sweatbands, 80s stars brought it when it came to working out. Let’s check in to see where they are today.
Jane Fonda – Then
By the time Jane Fonda released The Jane Fonda Workout, she had already established herself as a household name as an actress. Her workout video became the highest selling home video with over one million copies sold. Baby Boomers were so eager to get their hands on her workout tape that they began buying VCRs in heaps to sweat along with Jane. Her workout video series of 23 videos sold an incredible 17 million copies in total.
Jane Fonda – Now
Jane Fonda eventually took a long break from exercise videos to focus on her acting career and her private life. 15 years after her last workout video, Fonda released two new films on DVD in 2010. With the new format came a new target audience, older women. Fonda retired from acting in the early 1990s, but made a return to the big screen in 2005’s Monster-In-Law. She currently stars in the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie with comedian Lily Tomlin.
Kathy Smith – Then
Not all workout stars from the 80s came from film backgrounds like Jane Fonda. Kathy Smith took her interest in running and expanded it into a workout video empire. Since 1980, her workout tapes have sold more than a million copies. She created an exercise and nutrition program called Project: You! Type2. Project: You! Type 2 works with the American Diabetes Association to help those suffering from Type 2 diabetes manage their lifestyle within the confines of their disorder.
Kathy Smith – Now
Few workout stars have come close to Kathy Smith’s success within the workout industry. She is called the “titan of the workout industry” due to her incredible success. Throughout her career, Kathy Smith has made over $500 million through a combination of her fitness tapes, books, equipment, and apparel. Her workout success landed her in the Video Hall of Fame. She is the International Council on Active Aging’s spokesperson, a position she landed due to the success of her book, Moving Through Menopause.
Jamie Lee Curtis – Then
By the time Jamie Lee Curtis appeared in Perfect, a 1985 film starring John Travolta, she had become a huge movie star due to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Perfect told the story of the rise of Los Angeles health clubs in the 1970s and was based on a series of articles in Rolling Stone magazine in the 70s. The film did not do well, but it placed Curtis into the aerobic culture. The athletic community was grateful for the press it brought them.
Jamie Lee Curtis – Now
Thanks to her appearances in Carpenter’s Halloween series as Laurie Strode, Curtis became widely known as the “Scream Queen.” In addition to Halloween, she starred in Prom Night, Terror Train, and Roadgames, solidifying her claim to the name. In 2015-2016, she even appeared in a series called Scream Queens. Curtis has actively continued acting in films and television. Unfortunately, she has not appeared in any exercise-related films in some time. We just have to settle for more Halloween films.
John Travolta – Then
It would be impossible to make this list with the inclusion of Jamie Lee Curtis and without her onscreen partner in Perfect. Travolta played the Rolling Stone reporter that meets Curtis’ fitness instructor character. He joins the club and following some crotch thrusts naturally falls for her. What you might remember from the critical and box office flop is the knee-weakening wink he tosses at her as he participates in her class. For a time, Travolta was truly irresistible.
John Travolta – Now
Perfect came at an imperfect time in Travolta’s life. Following a decade of incredible success, he began finding himself in many disappointing projects, including Perfect. The always-charming Travolta would dig himself out of his rut with Look Who’s Talking. It led to over a decade of even greater success than he had in the 70s. Pulp Fiction put him on the map with young and old moviegoers. No college dorm hall would ever be void of Vincent Vega.
Tamilee Webb – Then
Tamilee Webb became a household name in the exercise world due to her involvement with two acclaimed fitness series, Buns of Steel and Abs of Steel. Her involvement in Greg Smithey’s workout videos put her right at the epicenter of the 80s and 90s workout craze. The series were heavily promoted through infomercials and led to over $10 million in VHS sales. This helped her secure a position as a fitness expert for FitTV, a property of Discovery Communications.
Tamilee Webb – Now
Tamilee Webb has no intention of giving up on the fitness lifestyle anytime soon. Most recently, Webb released Buns of Steel 3, Abs of Steel 1, and Arms and Abs of Steel as a bundled item. They are available on DVD as one collection. You might not think that a fitness guru would also be quite brilliant, but Webb certainly is. She has a master’s degree in exercise science and also runs her own company. She is the CEO of Webb International.
Cynthia Kereluk – Then
Just north of the border, Cynthia Kereluk began cultivating a fanbase as the exercise guru of Canada. Cynthia Kereluk’s stunning figure came from a combination of hard work and by having great genes. Kereluk’s beauty was so undeniable that she won Miss Canada in 1984 and competed in Miss Universe later that year. Between 1985 and 2000, Kereluk hosted an exercise program titled Everyday Workout. It aired in both Canada (on WTN) and the United States (on Lifetime) giving her a large multinational audience.
Cynthia Kereluk – Now
Beyond aerobics, Kereluk never had much of a career. Her looks landed her a few small parts in B-movies such as Overnight, Mark of Cain, and The Pink Chiquitas, but her acting career never took off. She was able to live off of her three-decade spanning show for some time though. With her show in the rearview, Kereluk found another way to get her blood pumping – love. She married Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers in 2007 at a surprise ceremony in British Columbia.
Jake Steinfeld – Then
With a brilliant marketing campaign, Jake Steinfeld launched a fantastic career as a fitness guru. His company, Body By Jake pushed him to the top of the fitness industry, making him an icon in the process. Many people credit Steinfeld with popularizing the personal fitness training industry. Jake started his own fitness lifestyle network, the 24-hour FitTv, making plenty of cash off of it by selling it to News Corp. He then started ExerciseTV, an on-demand fitness television network.
Jake Steinfeld – Now
Jake Steinfeld had such a knack for business that he turned his training business into a massive company called Body By Jake Global. Throughout his life, Jake has been quite the entrepreneur. In addition to his fitness networks, Jake also started a weight loss program called FitOrbit. In 2001, Jake founded the first professional outdoor lacrosse league, Major League Lacrosse. Steinfeld was one of only 22 Americans chosen to be an Olympic torchbearer for the 2012 London games. He now hosts a podcast.
Raquel Welch – Then
Raquel Welch is one of the most beautiful women ever to walk the planet. As a side project from her acting career, Welch wrote a book, Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program, giving tips and instruction on aerobic and yoga exercises as well as lifestyle tips. She also produced a handful of fitness and yoga videos based on the book which was directed by Andre Weinfeld. Welch got her break in Hollywood in Fantastic Voyage (1966).
Raquel Welch – Now
Now 77, Raquel is still stunning. As she aged, her acting became significantly better. No longer was she speaking only three lines and appearing in scant bikinis like in One Million Years B.C. Raquel was becoming a true movie star in addition to becoming an icon. She won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in The Three Musketeers. 13 years later, Welch received another Golden Globe nomination for Right To Die. Men’s Health listed her as the number two best looking woman of all time.
Denise Austin – Then
With a nickname like “America’s Fitness Sweetheart,” you can expect that Denise Austin was quite a big deal. With her captivating blue eyes and infectious smile, Austin launched a career in physical fitness. Following her graduation from California State University, Long Beach, Austin began teaching fitness classes, releasing exercise tapes and writing books. Her television program, Getting Fit with Denise Austin, ran on ESPN2 and still airs on ESPN Classic. President George W. Bush named her to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Denise Austin – Now
Denise Austin still loves being a part of the fitness world. She told SHAPE magazine, “I still have so much fun promoting fitness. It never goes ‘out of style’ or gets old!” Austin’s ESPN show eventually moved to Lifetime Television and was renamed Fit and Lite. The show was canceled in 2008, but Austin moved on to other projects. She released her most recent workout tape in 2014 called Yoga Booty Lift. She continues to stay naturally fit and eat well to this day without skipping meals.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Then
It is impossible to talk about 80s stars without the inclusion of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Before his incredible acting career, Arnold was an exceptional bodybuilder. As a 20-year-old, he won the Mr. Universe title. He is considered one of the greatest bodybuilders ever, capturing the Mr. Olympia title seven times. Arnold still holds the record as youngest Mr. Olympia ever, winning in 1970 at age 23. He retired from professional bodybuilding following the 1975 Mr. Olympia event. Surprisingly, he returned in 1980 to take the crown one last time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Now
As great of a bodybuilder as he was, Arnold was looking for stardom beyond barbells. The beginning of his career was a little tough due to his thick accent, but he persevered and become one of the biggest action stars of the decade. His life took another turn when he announced his candidacy for Governor of California. Soon the Terminator became the Governator. He served as California’s Governor from 2003 to 2011. After stepping out of public office, Arnold returned to Hollywood.
Lou Ferrigno – Then
Better known for his onscreen successes, Lou Ferrigno, was a great bodybuilder before heading to Hollywood. After graduating from high school, he was Mr. America. Only four years later, he would move on to winning Mr. Universe. At one point in his career, he trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. His attempt to defeat him as Mr. Olympia became the subject of a documentary, Pumping Iron. The film gave Ferrigno fame he never expected and led to his Hollywood life.
Lou Ferrigno – Now
After Pumping Iron, Ferrigno landed his biggest role as Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk. He was a perfect fit for the role as his bulging muscles were quite appropriate for Banner’s green alter ego. Ferrigno is proud of his work as the Hulk. In 2000, he began playing a fictionalized version of himself on The King of Queens. Kevin James’ character would frequently berate him with Hulk-related jokes. He hasn’t fully left his bodybuilding past behind. He appeared on the cover of Flex magazine in 2017.
Judi Sheppard Missett – Then
The exercise movement in the 80s would only be so powerful without the influence of Judi Sheppard Missett. Sheppard Missett launched one of the most successful fitness franchises of them all – Jazzercise. She founded a company which would eventually have 8,300 franchisees across the world all toting her fitness routines combining dance, resistance, and strength. Each routine bounces along to upbeat popular music for a total body workout. She initially trained franchisees remotely through VHS tapes.
Judi Sheppard Missett – Now
Sheppard Missett is looking good and feeling great to this day. In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Sheppard Missett wrote about her long relationship with fitness and how it impacted her career. Incredibly, Judi claims that “I feel about 30. Then I look in the mirror, and I don’t see a 30-year-old. What I do see is someone who looks pretty good, is active and healthy, and has a serious spark to her.”
Tonya Harding – Then
Tonya Harding was born into a blue-collar family in Portland, Oregon and began skating at age three. She learned many skills from her father like hunting and car mechanics but always wanted to skate. Harding started turning heads in the late 80s as a skater and by the 90s was one of the best in the world. After a disappointing 4th place finish at the 1992 Olympics, she came gunning for the gold in 1994. Unfortunately, scandal followed her to Lillehammer.
Tonya Harding – Now
Leading up to the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Harding’s biggest competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, was tragically struck with a club to her knee. Rumors swirled leading up to the competition that Harding was involved in the beating. Eventually, it was revealed that Harding’s ex-husband hired the man who beat Kerrigan. Harding finished eighth at the Olympics. She eventually pled guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution. In the early 2000s, she started a boxing career, leaving the sport with three wins and three losses.
Nancy Kerrigan – Then
She might have been billed as an ice princess, but Kerrigan was far from royalty. Her father worked tirelessly at multiple jobs so that Nancy could skate. His determination and her hard work helped Nancy become one of the best skaters in the world. Her performance at the Junior National Championships in 1987 put her on the map. In 1989 she finished four at the senior National Championships and would soon dominate the sport. She earned a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics, setting the stage for 1994.
Nancy Kerrigan – Now
Of course, Kerrigan would soon be tangled up in the Tonya Harding drama. Nancy’s face became plastered across the world as she wept in pain, crying “Why, Why, Why?” She recovered from her injuries at took the silver medal in Lillehammer. After retiring from competition, Kerrigan joined the production of ice shows. She worked on Champions on Ice, Broadway on Ice, and a musical adaptation of Footloose. Recently, she competed on Dancing with the Stars, but was eliminated in the seventh week.
Chris Evert Lloyd – Then
Chris Evert began training for tennis before she started 1st grade. Her father was a former tennis player and began coaching her when she was five. After winning the U-16 National Championship, Evert was invited to play in the US Open in 1971. Incredibly, she lost in the semi-finals although she had just started driving. Evert won 18 Grand Slams titles over the course of her career, notably starting a rivalry with Martina Navratilova. She has the record for most consecutive years with a Grand Slam title.
Chris Evert Lloyd – Now
Nearly 20 years after she entered her first Grand Slam, Chris Evert retired from tennis in 1989. She had dominated for two decades, winning 154 singles titles including her Grand Slam titles. Chris also took home 32 doubles titles. One crazy note from her career: Evert reached the semifinals 273 times out of 303 tournaments in her career. She was married three times, all to professional athletes. Currently, Evert runs a tennis academy in Florida and works on ESPN as part of their Grand Slam broadcasts.
Charlene Prickett – Then
Charlene Prickett was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1940s and focused her career on simple workouts that anyone can do. With simple workout moves, Prickett’s workouts attracted many older people as well as those looking to add athletics to their daily routine slowly. Not everyone loved Charlene’s workouts. Many claimed that the videos had too much talking in them and not in a constructive and motivating manner. Her videos were still popular but were off-putting to many.
Charlene Prickett – Now
Charlene not only instructed classes in her videos, but she also wrote and directed them. During her time as a fitness star, she was known as the “Queen of the TV Gym.” Her workout video credits include It Figures, Step It Off, The Pricket System series, and Step Right. She released fewer films in the late 90s but came back with a few in the early 2000s. Today, her whereabouts are unknown. She has stayed out the public, and even her website domain does not work.
Cathy Lee Crosby – Then
As a young girl in California, Cathy Crosby excelled at tennis and began playing competitively. She ranked as high as seventh in the United States. After she graduated from the University of Southern California, Cathy became focused on one of the biggest tournaments in the world, Wimbledon. Around the same time, she began landing roles in various television shows. Everyone wanted to have her pretty face around. Vince McMahon brought her onboard as a guest commentator at Wrestlemania 2.
Cathy Lee Crosby – Now
Crosby reached her goal of playing in Wimbledon, doing so twice, but eventually left the sport in the late 60s. She became a big star as the host of That’s Incredible, an 80s reality show in which people performed various stunts and showed off their unusual talents. She also played Wonder Woman before Lynda Carter became known for the part. She had a high profile relationship with NFL star Joe Theismann, which ended with her suing him for $4.5 million.
Marianna Komlos – Then
At the tail end of the 80s, Marianna Komlos began lifting with the intention of being a bodybuilding. She began a carer in bodybuilding in 1993, winning the middleweight title at the British Columbia Championships in 1997. The editor in chief of Flex, Jerry Kindela, said about Komlos, “Marianna’s one of the most beautiful bodybuilders I’ve ever seen.” She eventually moved into a career as a fitness model and WWE star. She was known as Marianna or “Mrs. Cleavage,” the manager of Beaver Cleavage.
Marianna Komlos – Now
Tragically, Marianna did not have the chance to live a full life. Her career as a bodybuilder and model would come to a halt due to a bout with breast cancer. It was one battle she could not win. Komlos died in 2004 at the young age of 35. Fortunately, Marianna was able to enjoy married life briefly before her passing. She married mixed martial artist and stunt performer Paul Lazenby months before she died. Komlos will always be remembered for her combination of strength and beauty.
Sharon Bruneau – Then
Sharon Bruneau started her career as a fashion model, but after contracting a bad case of pneumonia, she lost a lot of weight and had to quit. Upon her recovery, Bruneau began strengthening her body with weights and starting competing in fitness competitions. She later appeared on the covers of Muscle & Fitness and Flex, and had been signed by Weider Health and Fitness publications who took a chance on her and was one of their first every female representative from 1991-1998.
Sharon Bruneau – Now
After competing in the 1994 Ms. Olympia contest, Sharon switched to fitness competitions but then gave it all up a year later in 1995. From then, she took on some small acting roles in movies including Tornado Run (1995), Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995), Nemesis III: Prey Harder (1996), and R.S.V.P. in 2002. Recently, Sharon has found a new love for inspiring others through motivational speaking and workshops which she does internationally, speaking about health and fitness and how it impacted and changed her life.
Debbie Dobbins – Then
Coming from the Philippines at a young age, Debbie Dobbins adapted quickly to life in Oregon. She became heavily involved in sports in high school and college, playing track and field and basketball. After school, she got sucked into the new aerobics fad and started taking classes. Dobbins moved to Los Angeles at 24 to pursue work in the fitness industry. She found a job as an instructor and a fitness model, as well as working as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Raiders.
Debbie Dobbins – Now
Debbie Dobbins seemed prime to take over the fitness world, coming in second at the 1993 Miss Galaxy Fitness competition. She sadly never got the chance to fight for first again. Dobbins died at the end of 1993 due to smoke inhalation from a fire at her house. People were shocked by her death, and Hard Copy magazine even speculated that foul play led to her death, a claim that has never been confirmed. The fitness world lost a young titan too soon.
Richard Simmons – Then
80s workout tape collections were incomplete without Richard Simmons. His eccentric personality and outrageous fashion were only topped by his unrelenting energy and ability to command a workout class.
Richard Simmons – Now
Even though he has retreated from public life since his heydays in the 80s, Simmons continues to embrace his inner extrovert, complete with his famed sparkling outfits. Since 2014, Simmons seemingly fell off the face of the earth. He stopped appearing at major public events and eventually began avoiding the public altogether. Simmons continued to own his Slimmons gym, but it closed in 2016. In 2017, police visited his home for a “welfare check.” Death rumors aside, police found Simmons alive and well.
Tracy Austin – Then
Tennis was in the blood of the Austin siblings. Tracy and her four siblings all became professional tennis players, but none would reach Tracy’s level of success. She elevated her game above her siblings and won two US Open titles. When she first won in 1979, Austin became the youngest US Open female champion ever, a distinction she still holds today. She also threw in a 1980 Wimbledon Championship in mixed doubles in for good measure. Austin is the youngest inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Tracy Austin – Now
Austin could have gone down as one of the greatest tennis players ever. However, injuries let her body down. Between her back and recurring sciatica, Austin was no longer as effective. She tried to make a comeback in 1988, but it ended after Austin was involved in a near-fatal car accident. Austin was not ready to leave tennis completely, so she became a commentator for NBC and USA Network during their coverage of the US Open and French Open. In 2010, she started working for the Tennis Channel.
Heather Locklear – Then
Throughout the 80s, Heather Locklear was one of the most popular actresses in television. Whether as Sammy Jo Carrington in Dynasty or Stacy Sheridan in T.J. Hooker, Locklear always puts on a good show. With her incredible physique, women wanted to be her and men wanted to be with her. Her workout videos, Personal Training Sessions, had people believing that they could look as stunning in a leotard. They might not have looked as good, but she whipped them into shape.
Heather Locklear – Now
Celebrity trainer Garrett Warren of the Woodland Hills Athletic Club might know the secret to her sustained success. He said, “Heather is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but also one of the most professional. She was always on-time, incredibly committed and very driven when it came to her workouts.” At 56, Locklear still looks incredible. It’s been some time since her last workout video, but Locklear still is hard at work in television.
Olivia Newton John – Then
Regardless of her output for the rest of her life, Olivia Newton-John will always be known as Sandy in Grease. While no one can forget the first time they saw her strut her stuff in all black, Newton-John is also known for her most successful studio album, Physical. The title track spent ten weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. She then layered the suggestive lyrics on top of an aerobics themed video as she pranced around in her exercise attire.
Olivia Newton-John – Now
Olivia Newton-John has long moved on from her ultra 80s Physical period but continues to tour and make music. Her most recent album, a Christmas album with Australian pop singer John Farnham titled Friends for Christmas, peaked at number 1 in Australia. In 2015, she appeared as a guest judge on both RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing with the Stars. You recently could have caught her live during her Las Vegas residency at The Flamingo Hotel.
Suzanne Somers – Then
By the time Suzanne Somers became the spokesperson for the Thighmaster, she had already established herself on the silver screen. She starred on ABC’s Three’s Company as Chrissy Snow for the first five seasons. According to Complex.com, “As the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster, she [Suzanne Somers] is largely responsible for the invention of the infomercial … we would never have had the joys of ShamWow, Shake Weight, and Miss Cleo’s Psychic Friend’s Network if she hadn’t blazed that trail.”
Suzanne Somers – Now
Suzanne Somers is best known for her roles on Three’s Company and Step by Step but never truly let herself be defined by one job or one industry. In addition to acting, she also is an author, singer, businesswoman, and spokesperson. She made her Broadway debut in 2005 in The Blonde in the Thunderbird, a one-woman show. She continues to stay in the news for a variety of controversial stances on medical treatments and subjects, but will always be remembered for the Thighmaster.
Tony Little – Then
Confidence was never lost on Tony Little. His ability to rock that ponytail alone qualifies him as confident. In addition, Little referred to himself as “America’s Personal Trainer.” When you lead to $4 billion in the sale of fitness products, you can rock whatever hairstyle you want. Little began making fitness videos while recovering from a car accident. He is known for his product the Gazelle, an elliptical, which was sold on home shopping television networks.
Tony Little – Now
Tony Little was deeply affected by his father leaving him and his mother when he was young. Still, Little was able to rise above it to become the success that he is today. Due to his cartoonish large smile, ponytail, and absurd workout infomercials, Little has always been the target of parody. Fortunately, he is able to laugh at himself, as well as poke fun at others in the industry such as Fabio and Richard Simmons. He appears in a TV show here and there.
Fabio Lanzoni – Then
Most people did not even realize that Fabio Lanzoni had a last name. He became world famous as a model and became known only by a mononym, Fabio. His incredible physique drove women crazy as he graced the cover of magazines and became famous for his connection with romance novels. When he was not lending his name to novels, Fabio was writing an exercise book and fitness video titled Fabio Fitness. No one will ever forget that head of hair.
Fabio Lanzoni – Now
Romance novels put Fabio at the top of the game, but he wanted more. He took his hair and his looks with him to Hollywood. Fabio has appeared in numerous films and television shows in his career. Generally, Fabio appears as himself because it is so hard to separate a character from his persona. Memorably, he became the spokesperson for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! He has many business ventures, including a brief attempt at fashion retail with Sam’s Club.
Cher – Then
Only so many people can pull off the mononym. Cherilyn Sarkisian is a bit of a mouth, but Cher captivated the public with not only her exceptional singing voice and acting skills but also her interest in fitness. Cher was every bit the 80s star, but her popular fitness book, Forever Fit: The Lifetime Plan for Health, Fitness, and Beauty was released in 1991. She followed it up the next year with two workout videos – CherFitness: A New Attitude and CherFitness: Body Confidence.
Cher – Now
The 71-year-old Cher has never really left the spotlight. She might not be releasing any exercise films anytime soon, but she rocks a banging body. Cher fans were in for a treat at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. She made her first award show performance in over 15 years, singing Believe and If I Could Turn Back Time. With her stunning bodysuit, Cher announced, “I can do a five-minute plank, ok?” letting the crowd know that she’s still got it.