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Baby Names: Celebrities from the 1980s
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When the musical-romance "Grease" hit the big screen in 1978, audiences went wild for the catchy music and lovable characters, leading to a slew of celebrity-inspired baby names in the '80s. Leads John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played charming bad boy Danny and sheltered sweetheart Sandy, with a trusted group of friends that included Jamie Donnelly as Jan, Jeff (Jeffrey) Conaway as Kenickie and Michael Tucci as Sonny.
With roles in such popular films as 1985's "Weird Science" and 1987's "Less Than Zero," Robert Downey Jr. became a staple of '80s teen classics. Calvin Klein model Brooke Shields caught the eye of many during the 1980s. But she proved she was more than just a pretty face with her role in the 1980 drama "The Blue Lagoon." Vanessa Williams made a splash of her own when she broke racial barriers by becoming the first African-American to be named Miss America.
Heather Locklear made herself a household name on the television shows "Dynasty" and "T.J. Hooker." Since her debut as the star of the epic '80s film "Flashdance," Jennifer Beals has appeared in more than 50 films and television series. John Stamos became a star playing Uncle Jesse on "Full House," which kicked off its first season in 1987.
Musical stars' names rose in popularity as their songs rose up the charts. Whitney Houston was the only artist to have seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard 100 Hits. She also holds the Guinness world record for the most awarded female act of all time. David Bowie created his own eclectic approach by experimenting with musical styles and enjoyed new popularity with songs such as "Under Pressure" and "Let's Dance." British rock star Rod Stewart had 62 hit singles and sold more the 100 million records worldwide.
Sports in the '80s provided a rich source of baby names. Tim Raines played on six Major League Baseball teams and gained the nickname "Rock" before becoming an MLB coach. Lawrence Taylor, a Hall of Fame linebacker for the New York Giants, and Larry Bird, of the Boston Celtics and the Olympic "Dream Team," share a popular '80s boys' name. Wide receiver Jerry Rice, who played primarily for the San Francisco 49ers, was named the greatest player in NFL history by the NFL Network. His quarterback with the 49ers, Joe Montana, earned the nickname "Joe Cool" because he never got rattled. Jimmy Connors, winner of 17 Grand Prix tennis titles, and Jim McMahon, the "punky QB" for the Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, represent the popular '80s name James.
Many Michaels emerged as role models during this decade, helping drive the name to the top of the Social Security list for baby boys in the '80s. Sports fans worshipped the skywalking skills of Michael Jordan on the basketball court, and his last name, Jordan, was given to both girls and boys. Mike Tyson became heavyweight champion of the world. Michael Jackson became the "King of Pop." Michael J. Fox won over audiences as Alex P. Keaton on "Family Ties" and as Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" movies.