Can You Identify These ’80s TV Characters From Just One Screenshot?

Olivia Cantor

Image: Warner Bros. Television, Aaron Spelling Productions, Warner Bros. Television

About This Quiz

Many television characters became memorable in the '80s for various reasons. Do you remember your own reasons why you loved your faves?

When creating TV characters, scriptwriters need to design a narrative arc that will show the character's progression in line with the plot's development. They need to show how a character will clearly fit into the unfolding story or how these characters will react if certain events happen. Audiences can definitely identify with these characters when they see them making decisions. No matter if the decisions made are successful or not, viewers always appreciate the humanity of failure and cheer on the characters' victories, both large and small.

In television, there will always be good characters and bad characters. Viewers tend to cheer for the "good guys" but they sometimes love watching the "bad guys." After all, we all watch these TV shows for their conflicts. The bigger the conflict, the more hooked we all get! 

And then there are characters who simply portray lovable persons -- an aunt or uncle you'd love to have, a boy or girl you'd wish lived next door, or a skilled person you'd want to emulate or befriend. Yes, they can all be found in TV land.

In our '80s TV character quiz, you'll get to meet them all, again! Out of the 40 we have here, how many can you correctly name? Tune in to find out!

Which of​ these Keaton kids did Michael J. Fox portray in "Family Ties"?

The unforgettable Alex P. Keaton thrived on television during the time former actor Ronald Reagan was the U.S. president. Alex was characterized as a young Republican who was a fan of Reaganomics, to the detriment of his former hippie parents. Michael J. Fox catapulted to fame playing this role.

In "The Golden Girls," Betty White played which of these funny seniors?

Did you know that "The Golden Girls" had a spin-off show called "The Golden Palace"? The latter still featured the lovable Betty White in the role of Rose Nylund. Together with Sophia and Blanche, they acquired a hotel and ran it, but without Dorothy.

Zack, Screech, and Slater were all "Saved By The Bell" in one school. Which character did Mario Lopez play?

Prior to being an entertainment TV journalist, Mario Lopez acted in "Saved By The Bell" during his teen years. He also starred in a TV biopic of Greg Louganis, the Olympic-winning diver diagnosed with HIV.

What's the name of this "Miami Vice" detective?

Sonny Crockett of "Miami Vice" greatly influenced men's fashion during the '80s. One of this character's most notable impact is popularizing shoes without socks. Light-colored Italian suits were also in vogue in the show.

Ted Danson and Shelley Long played which "Cheers" barflies?

That Boston-based bar "where everybody knows you name" is known as "Cheers." Sam Malone owned it, and Diane Chambers worked there as a waitress. The two had romantic flings every now and then.

In "L.A. Law," Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey portrayed two lawyers in love. Do you know the names of these attorneys?

Legal dramas were big during the '80s and "L.A. Law" topped that list. The show had many characters but fans liked the Michael Kuzak and Grace Van Owen attorney tandem. Later in the show, Grace also had a relationship with Victor Sifuentes.

The Lawson household had a unique android family member in "Small Wonder." What's her name?

The Lawson family's additional member is the robotic Vicky created by dad, Ted. She appears to be 10 years old, the same age as son Jamie. The child actress who played her, Tiffany Brissette, exited showbiz and reportedly pursued a career in the medical field in her adulthood.

Murphy Brown once complained that this co-worker was not familiar with Motown. What's his name?

In an old episode of "Murphy Brown," Motown lover Murphy complained that their executive producer was so young that he didn't know old songs. She said Miles Silverberg believed that the California Raisins were the original singers or "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

This dude drives a cool black car that can also talk! Can you identify him?

David Hasselhoff became popular in the '80s as Michael Knight in the hit show, "Knight Rider." The black car he drove in the show also became popular because it could talk. The car was named KITT, short for Knight Industries Two Thousand.

Cousin Larry got the surprise of his life when he met a "Perfect Stranger." Who's this long lost relative?

Foreigner Balki is the lovable "new kid on the block" in American Larry's neighborhood -- and life. In "Perfect Strangers," the two distant cousins live with each other and teach each other their respective cultural practices.

She played one of the Huxtable children in "The Cosby Show." But which one?

Lisa Bonet played the rather bohemian Denise Huxtable in "The Cosby Show." They also made a spin-off show for her called "A Different World" to showcase her college life. In real life, she got married to musician Lenny Kravitz (now divorced), and actress Zoe Kravitz is their daughter.

Joan Collins sashayed as which nasty lady in "Dynasty?"

The ever-stylish Alexis became a crowd favorite in the '80s soap opera landscape. English actress Joan Collins portrayed the character beginning in the second season of "Dynasty." She reprised the iconic role in the '90s mini-series called "Dynasty: The Reunion."

Before playing cinematic spy James Bond, Pierce Brosnan played which TV detective?

"Remington Steele" banked on the concept of how people trust men more than women when it comes to detective work. Pierce Brosnan played the titular character hired to portray the dummy boss of a female private investigator. Stephanie Zimbalist played that female investigator.

Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis had regular jobs as detectives in "Moonlighting." What are their names?

Maddie and David provided the primetime sexual tension in their hit show, "Moonlighting." The show was Bruce Willis' big break as an actor while Cybill Shepherd already had a film career in the '70s prior to appearing on this show.

Jean-Luc Picard may have been a memorable captain, but this android sometimes stole the show in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Do you know who he is?

Brent Spiner played lovable '80s TV character Lt. Commander Data in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Fans often compared his character's purpose and design with Spock. They both tried to understand and comprehend intriguing and confusing "human ways."

Tony's the man of the house. But really, "Who's The Boss" here?

Judith Light played the head of the household, Angela, in "Who's The Boss." Tony Danza played her stay-in housekeeper. It's obviously a gender role reversal that prompted many laughs and insights as well.

He's the highest-ranking "Night Court" employee. Can you identify him?

The 30-something judge in "Night Court" is named Harry Stone. Despite his young age, he has an affinity for old school pop culture. Harry Anderson, the actor who portrayed him, died from a stroke in 2018 at age 65.

Which one is Christine in "Cagney & Lacey"?

Sharon Gless played Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly played Mary Beth Lacey. Gless also became popular within the LGBT community in the 2000s by portraying openly supportive mom Debbie Novotny in "Queer as Folk." Meanwhile, Tyne Daly was part of the cast of 2018's "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs."

The Seaver family had this heartthrob played by Kirk Cameron. What's his name?

Kirk Cameron was an '80s heartthrob who appeared in movies and TV shows. He catapulted to fame playing teenager Mike Seaver in "Growing Pains." In his adulthood, he focused on producing Christian-themed programs to support his religious beliefs.

Charlotte Rae's character started out in "Diff'rent Strokes." What was her name on the show?

Mrs. Garrett was the lovable housekeeper of Mr. Drummond in "Diff'rent Strokes." She then appeared in the spin-off series called "The Facts of Life," working in an all-girls' school dormitory. In both roles, she acted as the "mother hen" who tried to keep things together.

Which character did Suzanne Somers play in "Three's Company"?

Chrissy Snow is the character Suzanne Somers popularized in the late '70s in "Three's Company." She departed from the show in the 1981 season and was replaced with another character.

Can you point out Mr. T's name in "The A-Team?"

All of "The A-Team" members had nicknames to differentiate them from one another. Their nicknames often served as their characters' main trait as well. For Mr. T, he was B.A. Baracus, which they said was short for "Bad Attitude."

The Tanner kids called him "uncle." Who did John Stamos play in "Full House"?

Jesse Katsopolis was the looker of an uncle in "Full House." He was the brother-in-law of widower Danny Tanner. Joey Gladstone was Danny's best friend. The three men tried to raise Danny's kids the best way they knew how.

His first name was Angus, but people called him by his last name. What role did Richard Dean Anderson popularize?

"MacGyver" gave '80s TV fans a new kind of hero who solved complex problems with simple tools. He was known to carry only a Swiss army knife and use science to save the day. The show got rebooted in 2016 and Lucas Till now plays the ingenious agent.

Angela Lansbury played which curious writer in the '80s?

"Murder, She Wrote" became a popular '80s TV show which began in 1984 and ended in 1996. Angela Lansbury portrayed mystery/crime fictionist Jessica Fletcher who also ended up investigating nonfictional crimes from time to time.

Andy Kaufman played which humorous mechanic in "Taxi"?

Funnyman Andy Kaufman played the role of immigrant Latka Gravas in "Taxi." Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito and Tony Danza were his other co-stars on the show. Christopher Lloyd and Carol Kane later joined in as well.

She played the head designer in Sugarbaker & Associates. Can you name her?

Prior to playing Mary Jo in "Designing Women," Annie Potts appeared in a few films. One of the most notable films in her early career was "Ghostbusters" where she played secretary Janine Melnitz. She made a cameo appearance in the 2016 "Ghostbusters" all-female reboot.

They always called him Magnum, but what's his first name?

The Hawaii-set show called "Magnum, P.I." found Tom Selleck playing the role of Thomas Magnum. The show got a reboot in 2018 with Jay Hernandez taking over the titular role. The reboot is still set in Hawaii and still features a Ferrari for Magnum to drive.

Which character did Robin Williams play in "Mork & Mindy"?

The creators of "Mork & Mindy" supported Robin Williams' raw talent of doing improv in playing the alien named Mork. The show made him a household name and his character's expressions became part of that generation's popular catchphrases. He co-starred with Pam Dawber who played the human, Mindy.

Which of "The Facts of Life" dormers did Kim Fields play?

Tootie Ramsey was one of the main characters who appeared in all nine seasons of "The Facts of Life." The character always wore roller skates on the show and it was later reported that the skates were used to "help" actress Kim Fields' height challenge.

Larry Hagman played which Ewing tycoon in "Dallas"?

If you grew up watching TV in the '80s, you're probably familiar with the tagline, "Who shot J.R.?" This referred to J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman's character in the popular soap opera, "Dallas." He was the conniving and scheming oil tycoon who earned many enemies along the way.

"Hill Street Blues" is synonymous with this no-nonsense cop. What's his name?

Steven Bochco created and produced many great shows during the '80s, including "Hill Street Blues." The show revolved around the character of Capt. Frank Furillo, played by Daniel J. Travanti. The episodes often showed a day in the life of Furillo and his coworkers in the police department.

He's the head of the Bundy family. Can you identify him?

"Married...with Children" began airing in 1987 and featured a dysfunctional family. The head of the household was Al Bundy, played by Ed O'Neill. For years, he couldn't shake off the character of Al, but he was able to reinvent himself in 2009 as Jay Pritchett in "Modern Family."

Andy Griffith played this titular '80s character. Do you know which one?

Andy Griffith's career began decades before the '80s rolled in. He started acting in the '50s and had his own show in the ''60s, "The Andy Griffith Show." He owned the '80s and '90s as lawyer Ben Matlock in the successful show simply called "Matlock."

This creature's actual name is Gordon Shumway, but what did the Tanners call him?

Non-human-looking aliens becoming part of American family life was a trope popular in '80s movies and TV shows. A sitcom approach to this trope was exemplified in the 1986 show called "ALF." It featured the wise-cracking alien named ALF who ended up living with a suburban family in California.

Carroll O'Connor was "In the Heat of the Night" playing which police guy?

Carroll O'Connor played the TV role of police chief William Gillespie while Howard Rollins played detective Virgil Tibbs. In the '60s film version, Rod Steiger played Gillespie while Sidney Poitier was noted for playing Tibbs. The major premise of the TV show and film was based on a 1965 novel.

Catherine Bach played which sexy Duke?

Even if "The Dukes Of Hazzard" highlighted the Duke male cousins having adventures and skirmishes, they still had a female in tow. That's their cousin Daisy Duke was portrayed by Catherine Bach. Jessica Simpson played this character in the 2005 film version.

Originally from "Soap," Robert Guillaume continued which character in a spin-off?

Benson DuBois originally served as a wisecracking butler in "Soap," who also had cooking duties in the Tate household. He had his own spin-off show called "Benson" where he managed a governor's household affairs.

William Shatner played this one. What's his name in this '80s cop show?

Aside from playing a futuristic captain, William Shatner also played a police sergeant on TV. In the '80s, he had a show called "T.J. Hooker" in which Heather Locklear and Adrian Zmed also appeared in supporting roles.

Gavin MacLeod kept it together as the head of "The Love Boat." What was his character's name?

Audiences of the late '70s and '80s got a glimpse of cruise ship life and goings-on in the sitcom called "The Love Boat." Captain Merrill Stubing led the crew in managing the daily affairs of the ship's passengers. Famous TV producer Aaron Spelling was behind this one.

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