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8 Movie Star-Filled Music Videos from the 1980s

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Musicians aren’t the only entertainers who like to flex their performing muscles; actors occasionally can’t resist the lure of regular MTV rotation. That was the trend for a while during the 1980s, anyway. Most of the title songs from films that hit the Top 40 were turned into music videos simply by splicing together a hodgepodge of clips from the movie, but there were some actors who took the trouble to actually appear in the accompanying videos. Whether it was a chance to ham it up with their favorite singers or because the studio ordered them to participate, the results were usually more interesting than the standard collection of movie clips.

1. “GHOSTBUSTERS” (1984) // RAY PARKER JR.

Ray Parker Jr. was not particularly interested in writing/recording the theme song for Ghostbusters; his forte was songs about romance, not the paranormal. So he was even less enthusiastic about appearing in the video for the song. When he saw the sparse set outlined in neon, he worried that he was going to look silly prancing around while miming the lyrics. So he suggested to director Ivan Reitman that maybe if he could get some of the guys from the movie to appear in the video, even if just long enough to shout “Ghostbusters!,” the audience would understand that the clip was supposed to be humorous.

Reitman liked the idea and ran with it, popping a cassette of the tune into a boombox and calling on various industry friends (or actors who happened to be working nearby, such as John Candy on the set of Brewster’s Millions), with a small camera crew in tow. George Wendt, like the other cameo actors, did not get paid for his appearance, which later got him into hot water with the Screen Actors Guild and set the wheels in motion for SAG to begin organizing the music video industry.

2. “WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING” (1985) // BILLY OCEAN

The Jewel of the Nile producer Michael Douglas was savvy enough to have kept his eye on MTV and the previous videos that had helped to promote films (particularly Eddy Grant’s “Romancing the Stone”) and thus was the driving force behind the video accompanying Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough.”

Douglas enlisted his The Jewel of the Nile co-stars Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito to perform with him as a “doo-wop” type of backup group. The trio of actors had three hours of rehearsal to learn their Temptations-style moves, and they actually sang along to the track as it played, rather than simply lip-syncing. “We were singing our a**es off,” Douglas told People magazine in 1986. “You begin to believe in yourself until they turn the sound off and you’re there croaking.”

3. “ST. ELMO’S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION)” (1985) // JOHN PARR

David Foster, the record producer in charge of the soundtrack of the 1985 Brat Pack angst-filled film St. Elmo’s Fire, approached British singer/songwriter John Parr with the idea of writing a theme song for the movie. Interestingly enough, Foster didn’t provide Parr with any scenes from the movie; instead he showed him some film footage of Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen who, inspired by fellow Canadian Terry Fox’s “Marathon of Hope,” launched a 26-month “Man in Motion” trek across 34 countries on four continents in his wheelchair.

When it came time to film the video for the song, it had to be shot within a 24-hour timeframe, due to some of Parr’s previous commitments. The stars of the film assembled on a set structured to resemble a decrepit version of the old watering hole they frequented in the movie. Parr later admitted that he didn’t recognize any of the actors—the “Brat Pack” had not yet made an impact in the U.K.—and thought that they were “just kids." Having starred in a few school plays in his youth, he even offered them a couple of acting tips. (Mare Winningham, who played Wendy in the film, was actually three months pregnant while filming St. Elmo’s Fire, and even more so when the music video was shot, which is why she’s holding a folded-up winter coat in front of her tummy during her close-up.)

4. “SPIES LIKE US” (1985) // PAUL MCCARTNEY

John Landis directed both the film and the music video for the title song of Spies Like Us. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd traveled to London to lark about Abbey Road Studios with Sir Paul McCartney. The U.K. refused to air the video until it was reedited to remove scenes of Chase “playing” the keyboard and Donna Dixon and Vanessa Angel singing backup, because they were not members of the Musicians Union.

5. “THE GOONIES ‘R’ GOOD ENOUGH” (1985) // CYNDI LAUPER

Steven Spielberg invited Cyndi Lauper to be the musical director for the soundtrack to his 1985 adventure film The Goonies. Lauper was disappointed with the final result, not only because Spielberg cut most of the music from the film—making the soundtrack “meaningless” in Lauper’s opinion—but because the title of her song “Good Enough” was changed to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” Studio execs believed that listeners wouldn’t associate the song with the movie unless “Goonies” was in the title; Lauper thought the new title sounded “cheesy.”

Nevertheless, she filmed a long-form, two-part video for the song, which featured not only members of the movie’s cast but also several WWF stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Captain Lou Albano, and André the Giant. “We were spaced out because it was Saturday after a long week,” Sean Astin recalled, “but we flipping loved that song and wanted to do lots of vids with the Great Cyndi Lauper!"

6. “PRINCES OF THE UNIVERSE” (1986) // QUEEN

Queen was commissioned to provide the soundtrack to the 1986 film Highlander, and “Princes of the Universe” (which was played over the main titles) was the only track on the album to be credited solely to Freddie Mercury. The video that accompanied the song was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who also helmed Highlander, and was filmed at London’s Elstree Studios.

There was great attention to detail (not to mention expense) on the set when it came to recreating the Silvercup rooftop scene with scenes of the medieval crumbling castle in the background. Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor were dutifully clad in official Connor MacLeod trench coats (“Macs” to U.K. readers) for the occasion. Highlander star Christopher Lambert flew in from Paris just to film a quick “sword battle” with Mercury for the video. Lambert told Entertainment Tonight that he totally enjoyed the experience; that it was like being witness to a private Queen concert.

7. “SWEET FREEDOM” (1986) // MICHAEL MCDONALD

“Sweet Freedom” wasn’t technically the theme song to Running Scared, the 1986 buddy cop film starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines; that honor belongs to Fee Waybill’s “Running Scared,” which played over the opening credits. But the lead singer of The Tubes didn’t have the Top 40 marquee value of Michael McDonald, who’d fronted the Doobie Brothers for seven years and had several top 10 hits under his belt. “Sweet Freedom” was produced by Rod Temperton, who wrote Michael Jackson’s hit “Thriller,” and was heavy with the percussive synth-bass that was the 1980s movie backdrop “sound.” Crystal and Hines joined McDonald to “sing” along on the chorus, luckily in more toned-down plumage than they sported in the film during this Key West musical montage.

8. “CITY OF CRIME” (1987) // DAN AYKROYD AND TOM HANKS

Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks aren’t known for being singers, much less rappers, but they gamely recorded the closing theme for their 1987 big-screen version of Dragnet. Paula Abdul devised the choreography for the music video, recycling some of the moves she taught ZZ Top for their “Velcro Fly” video.

During a 2015 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Hanks busted a few rhymes from the song “that will haunt him for the rest of his life” and also revealed that “City of Crime” was the first video he ever saw on YouTube—courtesy of his children, who couldn’t wait to taunt him with it.

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7 Things You Might Not Know About Audrey Hepburn
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Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Though she’ll always be known as the little-black-dress-wearing big-screen incarnation of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about Audrey Hepburn, who passed away in Switzerland on January 20, 1993.

1. HER FIRST ROLE WAS IN AN EDUCATIONAL FILM.

Though 1948’s Dutch in Seven Lessons is classified as a “documentary” on IMDb, it’s really more of an educational travel film, in which Hepburn appears as an airline attendant. If you don’t speak Dutch, it might not make a whole lot of sense to you, but you can watch it above anyway.

2. GREGORY PECK WAS AFRAID SHE’D MAKE HIM LOOK LIKE A JERK.

Hepburn was an unknown actress when she was handed the starring role of Princess Ann opposite Gregory Peck in 1953’s Roman Holiday. As such, Peck was going to be the only star listed, with Hepburn relegated to a smaller font and an “introducing” credit. But Peck insisted, “You've got to change that because she'll be a big star and I'll look like a big jerk.” Hepburn ended up winning her first and only Oscar for the role (Peck wasn’t even nominated).

3. SHE’S AN EGOT.

In 1954, the same year she won the Oscar for Roman Holiday, Hepburn accepted a Tony Award for her title role in Ondine on Broadway. Hepburn is one of only 12 EGOTs, meaning that she has won all of the four major creative awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Unfortunately, the honor came to Hepburn posthumously; her 1994 Grammy for the children’s album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales and her 1993 Emmy for Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn were both awarded following her passing in early 1993.

4. TRUMAN CAPOTE HATED HER AS HOLLY GOLIGHTLY.

Blake Edwards’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s may be one of the most iconic films in Hollywood history, but it’s a miracle that the film ever got made at all. Particularly if you listened to Truman Capote, who wrote the novella upon which it was based, and saw only one actress in the lead: Marilyn Monroe. When asked what he thought was wrong with the film, which downplayed the more tawdry aspects of the fact that Ms. Golightly makes her living as a call girl (Hepburn had told the producers, “I can’t play a hooker”), Capote replied, “Oh, God, just everything. It was the most miscast film I’ve ever seen. It made me want to throw up.”

5. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY’S LITTLE BLACK DRESS SOLD FOR NEARLY $1 MILLION.

Audrey Hepburn in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
Keystone Features, Getty Images

In 2006, Christie’s auctioned off the iconic Givenchy-designed little black dress that Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for a whopping $923,187 (pre-auction numbers estimated that it would go for between $98,800 and $138,320). It was a record-setting amount at the time, until Marilyn Monroe’s white “subway dress” from The Seven Year Itch sold for $5.6 million in 2006.

6. SHE SANG “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JFK IN 1963.

One year after Marilyn Monroe’s sultry birthday serenade to John F. Kennedy in 1962, Hepburn paid a musical tribute to the President at a private party in 1963, on what would be his final birthday.

7. THERE’S A RARE TULIP NAMED AFTER HER.

Photo of Audrey Hepburn
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In 1990, a rare white tulip hybrid was named after the actress and humanitarian, and dedicated to her at her family’s former estate in Holland.

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11 Things You Didn't Know About Dolly Parton
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Brendon Thorne, Getty Images

Over the past 50-some years, Dolly Parton has gone from a chipper country starlet to a worldwide icon of music and movies whose fans consistently pack a theme park designed (and named) in her honor. Dolly Parton is loved, lauded, and larger than life. But even her most devoted admirers might not know all there is to this Backwoods Barbie.

1. YOU WON'T FIND HER ON A DOLLYWOOD ROLLER COASTER.

Her theme park Dollywood offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages. Though she's owned it for more than 30 years, Parton has declined to partake in any of its rides. "My daddy used to say, 'I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,' I am the same way," she once explained. "I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus."

2. SHE ENTERED A DOLLY PARTON LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST—AND LOST.


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Apparently Parton doesn't do drag well. “At a Halloween contest years ago on Santa Monica Boulevard, where all the guys were dressed up like me, I just over-exaggerated my look and went in and just walked up on stage," she told ABC. "I didn’t win. I didn’t even come in close, I don’t think.”

3. SHE SPENT A FORTUNE TO RECREATE HER CHILDHOOD HOME.

Parton and her 11 siblings were raised in a small house in the mountains of Tennessee that lacked electricity and indoor plumbing. When Parton bought the place, she hired her brother Bobby to restore it to the way it looked when they were kids. "But we wanted it to be functional," she recounted on The Nate Berkus Show, "So I spent a couple million dollars making it look like I spent $50 on it! Even like in the bathroom, I made the bathroom so it looked like an outdoor toilet.” You do you, Dolly.

4. SHE WON'T APOLOGIZE FOR RHINESTONE.


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Parton is well-known for her hit movies Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5, less so for the 1984 flop Rhinestone. The comedy musical about a country singer and a New York cabbie was critically reviled and fled from theaters in just four weeks. But while her co-star Sylvester Stallone has publicly regretted the vehicle, Parton declared in her autobiography My Life and Other Unfinished Business that she counts Rhinestone's soundtrack as some of her best work, especially "What a Heartache."

5. SHE IS MILEY CYRUS'S GODMOTHER, SORT OF.

"I'm her honorary godmother. I've known her since she was a baby," Parton told ABC of her close relationship with Miley Cyrus. "Her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) is a friend of mine. And when she was born, he said, 'You just have to be her godmother,' and I said, 'I accept.' We never did do a big ceremony, but I'm so proud of her, love her, and she's just like one of my own." Parton also played Aunt Dolly on Cyrus's series Hannah Montana.

6. SHE RECEIVED DEATH THREATS FROM THE KU KLUX KLAN.

A photo of Dolly Parton on stage
Getty Images

In the mid-2000s, Dollywood joined the ranks of family amusement parks participating in "Gay Days," a time when families with LGBT members are encouraged to celebrate together in a welcoming community environment. This riled the KKK, but their threats didn't scare Dolly. "I still get threats," she has admitted, "But like I said, I'm in business. I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody."

7. TO PROMOTE LITERACY, SHE STARTED HER OWN "LIBRARY."

In 1995, the pop culture icon founded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library with the goal of encouraging literacy in her home state of Tennessee. Over the years, the program—built to mail children age-appropriate books—spread nationwide, as well as to Canada, the UK, and Australia. When word of the Imagination Library hit Reddit, the swarms of parents eager to sign their kids up crashed the Imagination Library site. It is now back on track, accepting new registrations and donations.

8. PARTON'S HOMETOWN HAS A STATUE IN HER HONOR.

A stone's throw from Dollywood, Sevierville, Tennessee is where Parton grew up. Between stimulating tourism and her philanthropy, this proud native has given a lot back to her hometown. And Sevierville residents returned that appreciation with a life-sized bronze Dolly that sits barefoot, beaming, and cradling a guitar, just outside the county courthouse. The sculpture, made by local artist Jim Gray, was dedicated on May 3, 1987. Today it is the most popular stop on Sevierville's walking tour.

9. THE CLONED SHEEP DOLLY WAS NAMED AFTER PARTON.

In 1995 scientists successfully created a clone from an adult mammal's somatic cell. This game-changing breakthrough in biology was named Dolly. But what about Parton inspired this honor? Her own groundbreaking career? Some signature witticism or beloved lyric? Nope. It was her legendary bustline. English embryologist Ian Wilmut revealed, "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's."

10. SHE TURNED DOWN ELVIS.

After Parton made her own hit out of "I Will Always Love You," Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, reached out in hopes of having Presley cover it. But part of the deal demanded Parton surrender half of the publishing rights to the song. "Other people were saying, 'You're nuts. It's Elvis Presley. I'd give him all of it!'" Parton admitted, "But I said, 'I can't do that. Something in my heart says don't do that.' And I didn't do it and they didn't do it." It may have been for the best. Whitney Houston's cover for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992 was a massive hit that has paid off again and again for Parton.

11. SHE JUST EARNED TWO GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS.

Parton is no stranger to breaking records. And on January 17, 2018 it was announced that she holds not one but two spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition: One for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart (she beat out George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Elvis Presley for the honor) and the other for Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist (with a total of 107). Parton said she was "humbled and blessed."

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