100 Three-Name ‘80s Stars

(A list of notable people from the 1980s whose names feature three parts.)

Three is a magic number—if Schoolhouse Rock! or De La Soul are to be believed. It certainly worked its magic for a number of stars in the 1980s who were known by their three-part names.

The criteria for this compilation was simply: people of note during the decade who had three parts to their name. Those who may not technically tally three separate names—whether by hyphenation, unique capitalization, inclusion of ‘nicknames’ or the use of particles (like de, la, van, von and the)—?were included in *honorary mention below.

They must also have used their triple moniker during the 80s. (For example: 21 Jump Street star Holly Robinson Peete was known simply as Holly Robinson then.)

(Note: Though extensive, this is not a comprehensive list.)

Without further ado, here are ladies of the eighties who went by three names: (listed alphabetically by the secondary portion)(with parenthetical credits specifically for their work during the ‘80s)

Lesley Ann Warren (Clue, Victor Victoria)
Penelope Ann Miller (Biloxi Blues, Big Top Pee-wee)
Meredith Baxter Birney (Family Ties)
Barbara Bel Geddes (Dallas)
Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, Moscow on the Hudson)
Rae Dawn Chong (Soul Man, American Flyers)
Sandra Day O’Connor (Supreme Court Justice)
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface, The Abyss)
Tammy Faye Bakker (wife of televangelist Jim, The PTL Club)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Footloose)
Sally Jessy Raphael (talk show host)
Wendie Jo Sperber (Bosom Buddies)
Mary Kay Place (Private Benjamin)
Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show)
Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (It’s a Living, Oliver & Company)
Mary Lou Retton (gymnast, Scrooged)
Jean Louisa Kelly (Uncle Buck)
Lynne Marie Stewart (Pee-wee’s Playhouse)
Catherine Mary Stewart (The Last Starfighter)
Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster)
Susan Saint James (Kate & Allie)
Mary Stuart Masterson (Some Kind of Wonderful, Chances Are)
Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie)
Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People)
Moon Unit Zappa (National Lampoon’s European Vacation)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3)

And here are some gentlemen from back then with thrice-as-nice-names:

Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Phillip Baker Hall (Falcon Crest)
Jon Bon Jovi (singer, Bon Jovi)
Big Daddy Kane (rapper)
Harry Dean Stanton (Pretty in Pink)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Batman)
Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba, Young Guns)
Joe Don Baker (In the Heat of the Night, Fletch)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars, Coming to America)
Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver)
David Lee Roth (singer, Van Halen)
Chao Li Chi (Big Trouble in Little China, Falcon Crest)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer: Cats, Starlight Express)
Jam Master Jay (DJ, Run-D.M.C.)
Anthony Michael Hall (Weird Science, The Breakfast Club)
Phillip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice)
Kool Moe Dee (rapper)
Charles Nelson Reilly (All Dogs Go to Heaven)
David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H)
David Patrick Kelly (48 Hours, Commando)
John Patrick Shanley (writer, Moonstruck)
Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.)
John Paul Jones (musician, Led Zeppelin)
Stevie Ray Vaughan (musician)
Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer)
Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society)
Terence Trent D’Arby (singer: “Wishing Well,” “Sign Your Name”)

Here are some guys that used a letter (or two) as part of their names: (listed alphabetically by those letters)

B.B. King (musician)
C. Thomas Howell (Soul Man, Secret Admirer)
D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out, Lonesome Dove)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future)
Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Family Ties)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner, Fletch)
R. Lee Ermey (Fletch Lives)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist, Coach)
T.K. Carter (227, Punky Brewster)

Honorary Mention

*As cited above, the following may be considered ineligible for the triple threat status due to varying stipulations and/or punctuation. They were included for thoroughness and debate.

JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist, The Big Chill)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard, Family Matters)

Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business)
Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)
Eriq La Salle (Coming to America)
Sabrina Le Beauf (The Cosby Show)
Simon Le Bon (singer, Duran Duran)
Dick Van Dyke (The Golden Girls)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Joyce Van Patten (St. Elmo’s Fire)
Max Von Sydow (Flash Gordon, Dune)

Kermit the Frog (The Muppet Show)
André the Giant (The Princess Bride, WWF)
Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay (Pretty in Pink)
Oran ‘Juice’ Jones (singer, “The Rain”)
Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita (The Karate Kid)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball player, Airplane!)
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Saved by the Bell)
Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack)
Florence Griffith-Joyner (athlete)
Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (athlete)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
Mark Linn-Baker (Perfect Strangers)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Saturday Night Live)
Mary-Louise Parker (Longtime Companion)
Jan-Michael Vincent (Airwolf)
Jean-Michel Basquiat (artist)
Olivia Newton-John (Xanadu)
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Summer School)
Pee-wee Herman (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure)
Yo-Yo Ma (musician)

And these may just be completely a stretch: (enjoy)

Fab 5 Freddy (hip hop artist)
Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere)
John Cougar Mellencamp (singer: “Small Town,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”)
Robert Downey Jr. (Chances Are, Less Than Zero)
Captain Lou Albano (wrestler WWF)
Mount St. Helens (volcano)

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2 thoughts on “100 Three-Name ‘80s Stars

  1. I knew my life was complete when Richard Dean Anderson and Joe Don Baker wound up on a list together. :-)

    Oh, and Baker was also in Final Justice, from 1984, and is a terrible movie. But MSTies like me will always know him for the other movie to be on MST3K, Mitchell. :-)

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I still know today 99% of these names and what they’ve been in.

    I still know today maybe 1% of names and terms I learned in high school.

    Yup, brainial allocation of important data – successful.

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