Before They Were Famous in the Nineties (and now), in the Eighties They Were..., Actors First Names Beginning with J
This is a list of actors from the little and big screen, and the small
roles they had before their big break. I'm not looking for
what a particular actor did outside of acting, I'm looking more for bit
roles and TV commercials. I think you could just write down waiter for
almost any actor if you really wanted to if that were the case.
This page currently edited by: IndyGent. Past editor: Banasy
He was in a movie called "Airborne" in the late 80's.
Played Jack Torrace In the 1981 horror film The Shining, and The Joker in Batman.
Appeared on "21 Jump Street" as a female gang banger in 1989. Then went on to star in "A Different World" as Lena from 1991-96.
Played the cabbie who called Eddie Murphy a dumb f--- in "Coming to America" ,
Was in the movie called 'Odd Jobs' with Paul Reiser.
He was seen briefly in Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial featuring Alfonso Ribiero. (He was the one makeing funny faces.) It led to a rolw in the short-lived Flip Wilson-Gladys Knight series "Charlie and Co."
James Avery was the voice of Shredder in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon series.
James Earl Jones
Played the voice of the evil space war lord Darth Vader in the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Come on -- everyone's got to remember him as the nasty sleazoid "friend" of Blaine's in "Pretty In Pink"!
Played in a NBC show called "Family Tree", about a blended family also starring Frank Converse and Anne Archer.
After well-received roles in dreck like "Less Than Zero" and "Tough Turf", Spader scored a big hit with "sex, lies and videotape". He also had a supporting role in "Wolf", with Jack Nicholson and Michele Pfeiffer.
Appeared in the 1983 horror film "Videodrome", with Deborah Harry A.K.A. Blondie.
Was in the movie with John Savage and Ted Danson called 'The Onion Field'.
Starred in the TV series "Square Pegs" with Sara Jessica Parker, appeard in films like "The Lost Boys", and "Less Than Zero".
Jamie Lee Curtis
Was one the orginal Scream Queen, she appeared in classic horror films such as "Halloween", "Prom Night", "Terror Train", and "The Fog".
Cousin Vicky in the First National Lampoon Vacation.
Played "Miles" girlfriend on "Murphy Brown".
She was in the Adam Ant video for "Goody Two Shoes".
Jane Leeves was in an 80's sitcom called "Throb", it was about a record company.
She was in an episode of Sienfeld as Jerry's virgin girlfriend who ended up having her first time with JFK, Jr.
"To Live And Die In L.A." and had a small role in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life." She was also in a big role on the TV show Throb Jane Leeves used to be on the Benny Hill Show as well.
Played Cleo Hewitt on "Fame"
Played one of the main people in the movie "Poetic Justice" along with Tupac Shakur.
Played Penny on Good Times
Played Willis Drummond's girlfriend on "Different Strokes",
Jason Alexander appeared in the 1980's horror film "The Burning".
Jason can be seen in a 1983 Delta Airlines commercial as a person waiting in line, looking over another man's shoulder at a newspaper advertising great Delta values. The guy next to him said "You can fly Delta for THAT?", then the spot cuts away to "Atlanta for $122.00". By the way, Jason has a FULL head of hair for this commercial.
Was in the 80's sitcom "Newhart", sporting a full head of hair, as one of the guests who kept paying off everyone at the Bed and Breakfast for any service they rendered for him.
McDonald's commercial for the "Hot side hot, cold side cold" McBLT's.
Appeared on the short-lived TV series on Fox "Drexel's Class".
Starred on the show "Sister Kate"
The episode of "McGuyver" when he goes back to his home town and we find out why he doesn't like guns. Jason Priestly played McGuyver's friend's son who gets shot and nearly dies.
Had a guest role on an episode of "21 Jumpstreet",
Jean Claude Van Dam
In the endless sea of "Rocky-type" movies from the 80's was a teen martial arts flick called "No Retreat No Surrender". I couldn't tell you the name of any other actor in the movie besides Van Dam who played the bad guy. He was a champion Russian martial artist by the name of, what else, "Ivan".
Jean Claude Van Damme
In the begining of Breaking" where they were dancing on the beach, Van Damme was one of the spectators. The camera focuses on him for like 10 seconds.
Jean Louisa Kelly
The older sister Tia who gets into trouble, in "Uncle Buck".
Before playing the main character in "Starman" he appeared in the 1982 Sci-fi film Tron.
Played the main charcter in the 1984 romantic scifi film "Starman" that was directed by John Carpenter.
Played a gang member who rapes and kills Charles Bronson's wife in the original "Death Wish".
Played In 80's TV show "Tenspeed and Brownshoe" where he played a Detective.
First movie role was as one of the subway punks in "Death Wish".
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai", and a major role in "Earth Girls Are Easy" and "Vibes" with Cyndi Lauper.
Played the Big Bad Wolf in "The Three Little Pigs" on Fairy Tale Theater (a series on either HBO or Showtime).
Jennifer starred in the shortlived sitcom Ferris Bueller and also made a movie with other TV stars such as Jaleel White (Steve Urkel), Candace Cameron (DJ Tanner), Josh Saviano (Paul Pfeiffer) and Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper) called Camp Cucamonga.
Running for her life in "The Leprechaun"
She was in "Leprechaun" (the first one).
Appeared in the 1986 film "Labyrinth" with actor and music composer David Bowie.
As a preteen, she appeared in the music video for Duran Duran's "Union Of The Snake" (she's shown leading a few little girls around).
She starred in the 80's movie "Seven Minutes In Heaven".
She first appeared as one of MC Hammer's back up dancers on an episode of "Yo! MTV Raps" in 1989. And one of the dancers for New Kids On The Block on their performance on the 1990 "American Music Awards". During the same time, she become one of the 'Fly Girls' on the Fox show "In Living Color".
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Had a main role in "Kids Incorporated".
Jennifer Love Hewitt
She was one of the choir kids in "Sister Act 2".
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Involved in the TV show, Kids, Incorporated in the later seasons.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Acting in L.A. Gear commericals in the mid to late 1980's.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Played one of the Byrd children in a series called "Byrds of Paradise".
Appeared in the 1984 film "No Small Affair".
Jeremy had a small role in the little-known movie "Nijinsky" in 1980.
Jerry O'Connell played "scaredy cat" Vern in Rob Reiner's "Stand By Me". (He was the little, fat one.)
He played a kid with supernatural abilities in the TV series "My Secret Identity".
Played Vern in "Stand By Me."
Played Baby's farther in "Dirty Dancing".
Played a snobbish girl who was always pestering Alex on Nickelodeon's 'The Secret World of Alex Mack".
Co-starred opposite of Jeff Goldblum in "Earth Girls Are Easy" and a cheezy sitcom called "The Duck Factory" and in "Once Bitten". Jim Carrey also played a fellow student in Peggy's group in "Peggy Sue Got Married"
He was one of the guys in the doo-wop band in "Peggy Sue Got Married" with Nicholas Cage.
If I recall correctly, he played the rock star in the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Dead Pool". (Lip syncing GNR's "Welcome to the Jungle".)
In the late '80s (possibly early '90s?), he co-starred in the dramatic TV movie "Doing Time On Maple Drive", which still occasionally gets shown on Lifetime.
Played an insurance salesman in an episode of "The Rockford Files".
He was one of the aliens in "Earth Girls are Easy".
Jim Carrey had a bit part in two Clint Eastwood movies. In "The Dead Pool", he played the Axl Rose-like musician that gets killed early in the movie. And in "Pink Cadillac" he was the stand-up comedian that did the Elvis impersonation--if Elvis had no arms.
Regular on "In Living Color" a comedy variety show produced by the Wayons brothers in the late 80's and early 90's.
Jim Jackson Bullock
Played dorky neighbour Munroe Ficus on the sit-com Too Close For Comfort.
Before he played the role of Ernest P. Worrel, Jim Varney appeared on the comedy series "Pink Lady...and Jeff".
Played a shifty lawyer, Victor Sifuentes, on LA Law.,
He was Sonny's ( Don Johnston's ) partner in the premiere episode of Miami Vice. Was blown up in the first five minutes. He's also in Running Scared.
Played shifty lawyer Victor Sifuentes on L.A. Law.,
Jo Marie Payton
Played the orginal role of Harriet Winslow on the ABC/CBS series Family Matters
Played the blind would-be-victim of Francis "Red Dragon" Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan) in the movie "Manhunter". She was a member of Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theater.
She played one of Peggy Sue's (Kathleen Turner's) friends in "Peggy Sue Got Married". She is the girlfriend of Wil Shriner.
I believe that she was also in "16 Candles". She was the girl with the head gear on the bus.
Was in "My Bodyguard" with Chris Makepeace (that kid from "Meatballs") and Matt Dillon.
She was the girl in the neckbrace in "Sixteen Candles" and had a brief role in "The Allnighter", an awful film with Susanna Hoffs.
In "Parenthood", he played the nephew of Steve Martin who got caught with porn videos. He is credited as "Leaf Phoenix".
In the 1986 film, "Space Camp", he played Max the young boy who wanted to be an astronaut. His screen credit was under the name Leif Phoenix.
Was in Spacecamp and Parenthood.
He was also in 'Russkies' under the title Leaf Pheonix. Brilliant film!
Long ago, he was known as Leaf Phoenix. He played, Max the little kid who wishes to go to space, and through a twist of fate, gets his wish in the movie "Space Camp".
Before she was Stephanie from "Full House," Jodi Sweetin made a guest appearance on "The Hogan Family"
Joey and Matthew Lawrence
Matthew made his debut with older brother Joey on the TV sit-com Gimmie A Break. Little brother Andrew Lawrence was born after the show was cancelled.
Joey starred along w/Nell Carter in "Gimme A Break". Also he starred in "Summer Rental", a summer comedy flick where he plays John Candy's son. He also played Blossom's brother, Joey on "Blossom".
John C. Reilly
John appeared in the movie "We're No Angels" with Robert De Nero and Sean Penn in 1989.
A very young John Cusack in the early 80's movie "Class" with Rob Lowe and Andrew MaCarthy
Sixteen Candles (Anthony Michael Halls' geek friend).
Bryce - one of Anthony Michael Hall's (Farmer Ted, The 'Geek')'s geeky friends in "Sixteen Candles".
Played the part of Gordie's deceased older brother in a flashback scene in "Stand By Me".
Guest starred on the HBO Series Tales From The Crypt.
Played a southern small town deputy on "Chiefs", a television mini-series from 1983.
He was the narrator for the horror film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" circa 1974.
Had guest appearance on "Three's Company" portraying a cop.
John played a villian who killed Rico Tubbs wife (his own sister) and child on "Miami Vice" 1987-88 season. Then appeared in "Casualties of War" with Michael J. Fox and Ssean Penn. Then starred in a movie called "Hanging with the Homeboys" in 1990.
Has been acting in movies since 1963, but was never a big celebrity until "Frasier". His 80s work includes movies like "Moonstruck", "Suspect", "Tin Men", "Frantic", and "Eight Men Out".
He was Michael J. Fox's mailroom buddy in the 1987 film "Secret of My Success" ,
Played the new partner of cop William L. Peterson (now on CSI) in the movie "To Live and Die in L.A.".
Appeared on "The Waltons", and was best known for his role of Jack Tripper on "Three's Company".
Appeared on the drama series "The Dukes of Hazzard".
Played Blackie Parish on General Hospital.
Before his General Hospital Blackie days, he was in a Coke commerical in the early 80's.
He played Blackie on "General Hospital".
Played the role of Uncle Jessie on the comedy tv series "Full House".
He played in the movie "Boy in the Plastic Bubble".
Before playing Danny Zucko in "Grease", or appearing in films like "Saturday Night Fever", he played the boyfriend of one of the snobbish girls in "Carrie".
He was in "Shout" with Heather Graham
He played the dork Glen in "A Nightmare on Elm Street", He was in the cool "Ed Wood" movie and was in "Edward Scissorhands" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" His biggest 80s role had to be on 21 Jumpstreet though.
He played in the TV show 21 Jump Street as an undercover cop. He gose undercover as a highschool student. He played a guy name Hanson. Also he was in Platton for maybe 5 mins.
He was in "Private Resort" as a young 16 year old.
Played main role in the musical "Cry Baby".
He played a friend of Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker in "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"
Appeared in a direct-to-video slasher film called "The Kill-Off" in 1989.
She was one of the many medical students/interns through the years of ER. [Ed.'s note: She used the moniker "Jorj-an Fox".]
Played a counsellor for the mentally challenged track and field team on an episode of Highway to Heaven.
He played the older brother "Brand" to Sean Astin's Mickey, In the 80's Hit "The Goonies" also with Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, and Martha Plimpton.
Played 'John' in the movie "The Breakfast Club" in which he was dubbed a member of the elusive 'Brat Pack'. He also provided the voice of 'Hot-Rod/Rodimus Prime' in "Transformers: The Movie." He also had a role in the movie "St Elmo's Fire."
Played Eddie Keaton in "Making the Grade".
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as snobby neighbour in National Lampoon's Christmas vacation.,
She was a regular on "Saturday Night Live" and also was in a spinoff of Family Ties. The title of the spinoff was "Day by Day".
She was in a movie called "Satisfaction" in the 80's with Justine Bateman (Mallory from Family Ties).
Was also on Mystic Pizza in the 80s...that's where she supposidly got her first big break,
Played Frannie Stewart on "As the World Turns". Meg Ryan and Marissa Tomei also starred.
She played Christian Slater's sister in a story from "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie". The one with the Mummy and Steve Bucemi. She was also in "The Hand the Rocks the Cradle". She was Clair's friend.
Juliette played Wayne's girlfriend on the show "The Wonder Years" in 1989. Then she was in the movie "Cape Fear" with Robert DeNiro and Nick Nolte, and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" with Johnny Depp in 1994.
She was also in an episode of "The Facts of Life". It was one where Blair was the headmistress for the Eastland School for girls. Also in that episode was Mayam Bialyk (Blossom).
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