The 1980’s Timeline

News, Politics, Music, TV, Movies & Deaths in the 80s

News, Politics, History, Music, TV, Movies, People who died in 1980s

What happened in 1980


  • Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States of America, after a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter…
  • Zimbabwe achieves Black African majority rule. Robert Mugabe becomes the first Prime Minister.
  • Mount St Helens erupted (Washington state, USA), 36 die
  • Bjorn Borg defeats John McEnroe to win his fifth successive Wimbledon title
  • the 22nd Olympic Games are held in Moscow, and are boycotted by over 50 nations
  • War begins between Iraq and Iran when Iraq invades Iran in an attempt to gain control over Abadan and the Shatt al Arab waterway.
  • The Rose by Bette Middler…from the movie
  • Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police
  • Fade to Grey by Visage
  • Going Underground by The Jam
  • I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
  • Rapture by Blondie
  • Turning Japanese by The Vapors
  • Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles


TV and at the MOVIES
  • The Dukes Of Hazzard (Those Good Ole Boys and the General Lee)
  • Diff’rent Strokes (What you looking at Willis?)
  • Soap , the bubbliest take off of all the soaps
  • The Love Boat sailed through another season
  • Dallas asked us ‘who shot JR?’
  • Battlestar Gallactica (I never watched that)
  • Kramer vs Kramer won the Best Movie at the Oscars
  • Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs Kramer) was Best Actor
  • Sally Field (Norma Rae) was Best Actress
  • The Empire Strikes Back told us who Luke’s father really was
  • Airplane! had us all laughing in the aisles


People who died in 1980
  • Alfred Hitchcock (b.1899, film director)
  • John Lennon (b.1940 musician, assassinated in New York)
  • Peter Sellers (b.1925, British comedian)
  • Mae West (b.1890, film actress)
  • Steve McQueen (b.1930, actor)
  • Jimmy Durante (b.1893, american comedian)


What happened in 1981


  • Pope John Paul II is shot twice in St Peter’s Square (recovers fully)
  • The Iranian President, Prime Minister and 29 others were killed in a bomb attack
  • Peter Sutcliffe is arrested in Sheffield, UK and charged with the 13 ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders.
  • The Springbok (South African) Rugby tour of New Zealand. Over 1000 people were arrested during the two months of the tour.
  • Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are married at St Pauls Cathedral.
  • Attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley
  • Civil War rages in Lebanon
  • Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat is assassinated
  • Muhammad Ali retires from boxing


  • Don’t You Want Me by Human League
  • Gloria by U2
  • Pretty in Pink by the Psychedelic Furs
  • Golden Brown by the Stranglers
  • Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  • Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode
  • Never Say Never by Romeo Void


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Those def babysitting College Girls at The Facts of Life
  • Family Ties (Alex Keaton was my hero)
  • Brideshead Revisitted (Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews…British heaven)
  • An American Werewolf in London scared the pants of everyone
  • Arthur was just soooooo funny
  • Gallipoli made sure that we should never forget
  • An Officer and a Gentleman took us up where we belong
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced us to Indiana Jones
  • Chariots of Fire was an Olympic effort


People who died in 1981
  • Bill Haley (b.1925) American bandleader
  • Joe Louis (b.1914) American boxer
  • Bob Marley (b.1945) Jamaican reggae musician
  • William Holden (b.1918) American actor
  • Natalie Wood (b.1938) American actress
  • Hoagy Carmichael (b.1899) American songwriter


What happened in 1982


  • Argentine forces invade the Falkland Islands
  • Italy’s 43rd Government since 1945 takes power
  • Neoli Farrell, of New Zealand, becomes the first paraplegic to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, in archery.
  • Israel returns the Sinai to Egypt in accordance with the Camp David agreement
  • Israel invades Lebanon and advances on Beirut to drive PLO fighters from the country
  • The Indian Government institutes a pollution free zone around the Taj Mahal


  • Back on the Chain Gang by The Pretenders
  • Puttin on the Ritz by Taco
  • Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Cruel Summer by Bananarama
  • Rock the Casbah by The Clash
  • Do you Really Want to Hurt Me by Culture Club
  • Is There Something I Should Know? by Duran Duran
  • I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow
  • Our House by Madness


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Silver Spoons (Ricky Schroeder……what a babe)
  • Remington Steele (The debonair Pierce Brosnan)
  • Cheers  where everyone knows your name
  • ET The Extra Terrestrial had us cycling to the moon
  • First Blood Introduced us to Rambo
  • Chariots of Fire won the Best Movie at the Oscars
  • Henry Fonda (On Golden Pond) was Best Actor
  • Katherine Hepburn (On Golden Pond) was Best Actress
  • Tootsie Dustin Hoffman was a real drag!!!
  • Ghandi had us noticing the life of an amazing man


People who died in 1982
  • John Belishi (b.1949, American actor)
  • Grace Kelly (b.1929, American actress and Princess of Monaco)
  • Ingrid Bergman (b.1915, Swedish film actress)
  • Henry Fonda (b.1905, film actor)
  • Leonid Brezhnev (b.1906, Soviet Leader)
  • Marty Robbins (b.1925, American country and western singer)
  • Carl Orff (b.1895, West German composer)
  • Marty Feldman (b.1934, British comedian)
  • Kenneth More (b.1914, English actor)


What happened in 1983


  • President Reagan dubs the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and proposes a revolutionary new anti-missile defense system…the strategic defense initiative, nicknamed ‘Star Wars’
  • Israel and Lebanon sign a peace treaty, yet civil war in Lebanon continues
  • Australia wins the America’s Cup after 132 years of unbroken American victory
  • M*A*S*H ends after 251 episodes
  • A bomb planted by Shi’ite Muslims destroys the U.S embassy in Beirut (87 people killed)


  • 99 Luftballoons by Nena
  • 1999 by Prince
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
  • Send me an Angel by Real Life
  • Love Cats by The Cure
  • Every Day I write the Book by Elvis Costello


TV and at the MOVIES
  • M*A*S*H closed the operating room for good
  • Kevin Costner gave his best acting performance ever in The Big Chill
  • William Hurt gave us the chills in Gorky Park
  • Babs became a boy in Yentl
  • Michael Caine was Educating Rita
  • Hill St Blues policed our tv screens


People who died in 1983
  • Karen Carpenter (b.1951) American singer
  • William Demerest (b.1892) Uncle Charlie in ‘My Three Sons’, actor
  • Ira Gershwin (b.1897) American lyricist
  • David Niven (b.1910) English actor
  • Muddy Waters (b.1914) American Blues singer
  • Slim Pickens (b.1919) American westerns film actor
  • Gloria Swanson (b.1899) American silent film actress


What happened in 1984


  • Bishop Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Los Angeles host the Olympic Games
  • Indian Prime Minister, Indira Ghandi is assassinated
  • The UK and China agree that  Hong Kong will revert to China in 1997
  • Brunei becomes an Independent Sultanate and the 159th U.N. member


  • Careless Whisper by Wham
  • Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Like a Virgin by Madonna
  • Original Sin by INXS


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Amadeus became a foolhardy, farting, genius
  • We all rang the Ghostbusters
  • Gremlins got into everything
  • The Killing Fields shook the world to the atrocities suffered in Cambodia
  • Police Academy started it’s epic movie serial
  • Night Court had us watching Bull
  • Miami Vice got those groovy pastel suits emptying off the shelves 


People who died in 1984
  • Richard Burton (b.1925) British actor
  • Yuri Andropov (b.1914) General Secretary of the U.S.S.R
  • Marvin Gaye (b.1939) American Soul Singer
  • Johnny Weismuller (b.1904) actor, famous for his portrayal of ‘Tarzan’
  • Count Basie (b.1904) American Jazz pianist and bandleader
  • Sam Peckinpah (b.1925) American film director
  • James Mason (b.1909) English actor
  • Irwin Shaw (b.1913) American screenwriter and novelist
  • Jackie Coogan (b.1914) American actor
  • Ethel Merman (b.1909) American popular singer


What happened in 1985


  • Mikhail Gorbachev suceeds Konstantin Cherichenko as General Secretary of the USSR
  • Severe winter in Europe kills more than 100 people
  • The UK starts screening blood donations for the AIDS virus
  • The Live Aid Rock Concert in London and Philadelphia raises over $600M for African famine relief
  • French sink the Greenpeace flagship ‘Rainbow Warrior’ in Auckland, New Zealand


  • Rock Me Amadeus by Falco
  • Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
  • Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy
  • One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head
  • Lay Your Hands on Me by the Thompson Twins
  • Take on Me by A-Ha


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Michael J Fox took us Back to the Future
  • Madonna was Desperately Seeking Susan
  • Jack Nicholson fought for Prizzi’s Honor
  • Harrison Ford was Witness protecting
  • Bruce Willis and Cybil Shephard were Moonlighting
  • The Golden Girls made the Florida lifestyle sound bearable
  • Kate & Allie were eighties women
  • MacGyver sold millions of Swiss Army knives


People who died in 1985
  • Orson Welles (b.1915) American film maker
  • Rock Hudson (b.1925) American actor
  • Ricky Nelson (b.1940) American singer and actor

  • Yul Bryner (b.1915) American actor


What happened in 1986


  • The world’s worst nuclear accident takes place when a reactor blows up at Chernobyl Power Station
  • US warplanes bomb Libya
  • New Zealand refuses to admit nuclear warships into port- the US and Australia suspend the ANZUS alliance
  • Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are married and become the Duke and Duchess of York
  • Space Shuttle Challenger explodes after take-off
  • Bizzare Love Triangle by New Order
  • True Blue by Madonna
  • Paradise City by Guns’n’Roses
  • Peter Gunn by Art of Noise
  • Happy Hour by the HouseMartins
  • Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera make their debut


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Sledge Hammer hammed up the LAPD
  • Paul Hogan was the Crocodile Dundee
  • Howard the Duck just plain old sucked
  • Meryl Streep was Out of Africa with Robert Redford
  • Bette Midler and Danny DeVito were Ruthless People
  • A kooky cat eating critter from outer space, Alf, became an instant craze
  • Valerie briefly streaked across our screens


People who died in 1986
  • The Challenger Crew
  • Cary Grant (b.1925) American actor
  • James Cagney (b.1940) American actor
  • Desi Arnez (b.1915) American actor
  • L. Ron Hubbard (b.1911) Science Fiction writer
  • Benny Goodman (b.1909) American bandleader
  • Ted Knight (b. ) American actor
  • Donna Reed (b.1921) American actress
  • Wallis Simpson (b.1896) Duchess of Windsor


What happen in 1987


  • Bill Gates, 32 year old founder of Microsoft becomes microcomuptings first billionaire
  • W.H.O reports that 8% of all pregnant Zairean women and 17% of Zairean blood donors are AIDS infected
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first British PM this century to be elected three times
  • Black Monday world stock market share prices crash
  • A Yugoslavian baby boy is declared the world’s five billionth inhabitant


  • I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany
  • Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
  • The Way it Is by Bruce Hornsby and the Range
  • Walk Like an Egyptian by the Bangles
  • With or Without You by U2
  • I Want Your Sex by George Michael


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were Dirty Dancing
  • Glenn Close proved to be a Fatal Attraction for Michael Douglas
  • Wall Street taught us that ‘Greed is Good’
  • South Africa’s apartheid policy was shown to the world in ‘Cry Freedom’
  • Jack Nicholson battled the Witches of Eastwick
  • Mel Gibson was a definite Lethal Weapon
  • Biology was proven wrong in My Two Dads


People who died in 1987
  • Rita Hayworth (b.1918) American film actress
  • Fred Astaire (b.1899) American actor
  • Danny Kaye (b.1913) American actor
  • John Huston (b.1906 ) American film director
  • Liberace (b.1919) American pianist
  • Jackie Gleason (b.1916) American actor
  • Andy Warhol (b.1928) American film-maker and artist
  • Lee Marvin (b.1924) American actor
  • Baroness Maria Von Trapp (b.1905) author of ‘The Sound of Music’


What happened in 1988


  • Kurt Waldheim, Austrian President, is cleared of war crimes
  • Widespread strikes by solidarity supporters take place in Poland
  • McDonalds opens in Moscow
  • Soviet troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan after nine years occupation
  • George Bush defeats Michael Dukakis for the US Presidency
  • Iran and Iraq accept a UN peace plan
  • Canada and the US sign a comprehensive free trade agreement


  • Faith by George Michael
  • Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns’N’Roses
  • Heaven in a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle
  • Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard
  • Simply Irresistable by Robert Palmer
  • Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin
  • The Locomotion by Kylie Minogue


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Fred Savage showed us all The Wonder Years
  • Tom Hanks wished he was ‘Big’
  • Kevin kline and John Cleese were chasing ‘A Fish Called Wanda’
  • Robing Williams cried Good Morning Vietnam
  • Cher and Nicholas Cage were Moonstruck
  • Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger were Twins
  • The Hogan Family joined the tv neighbourhood
  • Bruce Willis started to Die Hard
  • The Highwayman revived the spooky Twighlight Zone genre


People who died in 1988
  • Heather O’Rourke (b.1975) American film actress
  • John Houseman (b.1902) American actor and filmaker
  • John Carradine (b.1906) American actor
  • Roy Orbison (b.1936 ) American musician
  • Enzo Ferrari (b.1898) Italian Car maker
  • Trevor Howard (b.1916) English film actor
  • Kenneth Williams (b.1926) English ‘Carry On’ film actor
  • Chritina Onassis (b.) Greek Oil Heiress


What happened in 1989


  • The Berlin Wall crumbles and East and West Germany are re-united
  • Thousands of pro-democracy students occupy Tiananmen Square, Peking. The government imposes martial law and uses tanks to disperse the students. Thousands are believed to be killed.
  • Hungary becomes a democratic country
  • Romanian Communist Government is overthrown by the people
  • Solidarity is victorious in the Polish Parliamentary elections
  • F W DeKlerk becomes President of South Africa, promising reforms to the apartheid policy


  • My Perogative by Bobby Brown
  • Straight Up by Paula Abdul
  • Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Middler
  • Girl You Know It’s True by Milli Vanilli
  • The Look by Roxette
  • Two Hearts by Phil Collins
  • Wild Thing by Tone Loc
  • Love Shack by the B52s


TV and at the MOVIES
  • Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell took a Quantum Leap onto our screens
  • Robin Williams made Shakespeare fun in Dead Poets Society
  • Morgan Freeman was Driving Miss Daisy
  • The awesome Bridges became the Fabulous Baker Boys
  • We all cried in Steel Magnolias
  • Faking it became dinnertime entertainment When Harry Met Sally
  • Kirstie Alley and John Travolta had to ‘Look Who’s Talking’


People who died in 1989
  • Bette Davis (b.1908) American film actress
  • Lucille Ball (b.1911) American actress
  • Salvidor Dali (b.1904) Spanish surrealist artist
  • Laurence Olivier (b.1907) English film and stage actor
  • Mel Blanc (b.1908) American cartoon voice (Bugs Bunny)
  • Emperor Hirohito (b.1901) Japanese leader
  • Irving Berlin (b.1888) American composer
  • Samual Beckett (b.1906) Irish Nobel Playwright
  • Ferdinand Marcos (b.1917) former Philippines leader