The 1980s were full of brilliantly talented leading men, in some of the best TV shows our childhood had to offer. The 80s also gave us some of the greatest fashions of all time, but as you’ll see if you dare to scroll any further, some of those leading men chose to ditch clothes completely in order to show off what lay underneath. Below are 20 hilariously wonderful photos displaying some of our favourite small-screen leading men in all their glory.
20. David Hasselhoff
Calm down ladies and gents, it’s just The Hoff in his underpants and a leather jacket! We don’t know whether he was advertising underwear, or was simply confident enough to be photographed in this way, but this must be one of the greatest photos that we’ve ever seen.
David Hasselhoff of course starred in Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986 as Michael Knight. He once described Knight Rider as “a phenomenon. It’s bigger than Baywatch ever was”.
Baywatch solidified Hasselhoff’s status among the world’s foremost television personalities of that period, running for a total of 11 years from 1990 until 2001.
At its 1996 peak, Baywatch had an estimated weekly audience of 1.1 billion viewers in 142 countries, meaning that Hasselhoff once held the Guinness World Record for being the most-watched man on television.
Much like his on-screen alter ego, Hasselhoff is a man who feels at home in the water, listing scuba diving and white water rafting as just a few of his many sporting interests.
19. Scott Bakula
This isn’t the first (or last) hairy chest in this article, as Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula dons the classic 1980s music album cover pose to display his torso in all its glory.
Because his character Sam Beckett was in almost every scene of every episode in Quantum Leap, Bakula often had to work seven days a week, causing him to once say “I always likened that show to running a marathon: You just tried to get through the season in one piece.”
Despite having four kids to two wives, Bakula claimed he was rarely at home during the first three seasons which led to him deciding to prioritise his family on future projects.
In his interview for Playgirl magazine, he revealed that he would be up for some on-screen nudity, however this sadly never came to fruition.
Bakula has since settled down and apparently no longer bares (or bears…) all for the press, currently residing in LA with his wife.
18. Tom Selleck
A quite glorious picture of Tom Selleck we’re sure you’ll agree, as he pulls apart his cream-coloured shirt to reveal what lies beneath.
Believe it or not, George Lucas wanted to cast Selleck as Indiana Jones, but he had to turn down the part because his contract for Magnum, P.I. prevented him from taking any other work.
Some of you nineties kids might also remember Selleck from his role as Dr Richard Burke on Friends.
His character’s behaviour is somewhat questionable as he starts a relationship with his best friend’s daughter.
However, this clearly didn’t stop Selleck from becoming one of the most adored 80s TV hunks.
17. Dirk Benedict
Here’s Dirk Benedict before he landed his role in legendary 80s TV show The A-Team, draped in a blue and yellow jumper which was clearly too warm for him to wear properly.
Did you know that an actor called Tim Dunigan originally played Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck in The A-Team’s pilot episode?
Producers decided fairly quickly that he looked too young to be playing a Vietnam veteran, so Benedict was hired to replace him.
Benedict has overcome some serious health issues in order to be the legendary actor we all know today.
In the 1970s, he was diagnosed with cancer which he cured with a micro-biotic diet after rejecting conventional medical treatment.
16. Jan Michael Vincent
Here’s a glorious photograph of the late Jan Michael Vincent, taken before he became a household name by starring in Airwolf, which aired from 1984 until 1987.
Vincent served time in the Army, but we’re sad to report that no, unfortunately he didn’t get to fly any Helicopters. His service with the California Army National Guard ended in 1967.
Vincent earned $200,000 for every episode of Airwolf, which at the time made him the highest-paid actor on American television.
Yet again, Vincent is another medical marvel, having survived a car crash which resulted in him breaking his neck in 1996.
He sadly died on 10th February 2019 at the age of 73, after suffering a cardiac arrest whilst in hospital. He is survived by his third wife, Patricia Ann Christ, as well as Amber Vincent, his daughter from his first marriage.
15. Rex Smith
Most of you will know Rex Smith for his role as Jesse Mach in the brilliant TV show Street Hawk, but he actually first made his name in the world of music.
He even reached the top 10 in 1979 with his song You Take My Breath Away.
Smith is working hard to get Street Hawk remade, even starting a petition which needs 100’000 signatures before it can be presented to a TV network.
Smith had an affair with Karen Lakey in 1980, which resulted in a child, Brandon.
Smith had no idea of his son’s existence until he was approached by Brandon at a concert, and noticed he bore an uncanny resemblance.
14. Richard Dean Anderson
Another actor who wasn’t shy about exposing his chest (or his amazing 80s mullet), Richard Dean Anderson was best known for playing Angus MacGyver, the guy who got out of sticky situations by making some really crazy stuff.
MacGyver aired between 1985 and 1992 and was extremely successful, building up a loyal following which lasts until this day and resulted in two TV movies, as well as games, toys and books.
MacGyver served in the Vietnam War as a Bomb Technician, a semi-decent explanation for why he appeared to be a genius when it came to science and solving complex problems.
The main pull of the show was the way he would make amazing things out of ordinary day-to-day objects, utilizing whatever he could find around him (but usually including his swiss army knife, matches and duct tape).
Anderson was actually set to embark on a promising Hockey career, but his plans were thwarted when he broke both of his arms (ouch!).
13. John Schneider
To kids nowadays, John Schneider is best known for his portrayal of Superman’s dad in the superhero show Smallville, and that’s if they know him at all though.
Back in the day, however, it was his character of Bo Duke in Dukes Of Hazard that won him America’s hearts.
Dukes Of Hazzard follows the antics of a family and family business in a fictional part of Georgia, which might explain the strange outfit choices.
It is very hot there of course, which accounts for the shirtlessness, and the hats might just be a clever way to prevent sunburn.
During the peak of his Dukes of Hazard days, Schneider also embarked on a successful music career, recording his debut album Now or Never in the early eighties.
12. Don Johnson
Don Johnson is one of the most all-American names in television, and it’s also one of the most eighties names out there to boot.
To match the audacity of his name, Johnson appeared in an equally all-American Miami Vice – a crime drama about undercover cops in Miami.
Press images featuring both of the show’s two stars were famously ridiculous, and pictures of each star by themselves actually seem downright restrained by comparison.
However, it just doesn’t get better than these promo shots, which inexplicably feature Johnson in a full suit in the middle of the ocean, and wearing flares and trainers in front of a palm tree growing out of a car.
He clearly has a penchant for billowing, white suits, perhaps going for a Middle-Eastern look.
11. Mr. T
Mr T‘s somewhat unusual fashion choices have made him an enduring eighties icon, even after many of the decade’s stars have been forgotten.
With that said, it’s worth remembering just how groundbreaking these looks were, and how few eyebrows they actually raised at the time.
For a while, press images like this ensured that Mr T was the poster boy for intimidating masculine energy, and was the TV star most likely to actually get in a fight.
Now, with the actor doing Snicker’s commercials and generally playing up his schtick for comedy, that serious bravado seems worlds away.
His intimidating appearance clearly fooled most people, and one time he was even offered $75,000 to assassinate a target.
10. Patrick Duffy
On the whole, eighties television of a certain kind meant only two things: big drama, and big hair. That was especially true of Dallas, a show set in Texas where literally everything was bigger.
Patrick Duffy’s hair was certainly voluminous, but apparently it just wasn’t attention-commanding enough on its own, hence the outfits.
The suede chaps can be understood given Dallas’ distinct southern flair, but there’s no explanation in the world that could properly excuse those swimming trunks.
Not only are they a truly unflattering banana colour, but they look as though they’re made of wool, as well as looking like they might have stretched in the wash.
Duffy came from humble beginnings and was actually working as a house decorator when he landed his first major acting role.
9. Paul Michael Glaser
By the end of the 1980s, Paul Michael Glaser was too busy testing out the director’s chair to be acting in much TV, preferring to create super eighties delights of his own – like the Arnold Schwarzenegger starring Running Man.
However, his seventies TV work, primarily Starsky and Hutch, cast a long shadow over the eighties.
As a result of the action detective show, we were treated to delightful press images like this, in which Glaser decided that wearing a denim shirt under a cardigan that makes him look like either a second-rate Star Gate character or just someone with a very overenthusiastic nan.
We can only hope the fashion industry takes note of his iconic chunky cardigan and oversized collar look.
These days, Glaser has a slightly less glamorous style and composes poetry, as well as working on some children’s novels.
8. Lyle Waggoner
Okay, so this one isn’t quite the eighties, but Waggoner was the 60s and 70s heartthrob who had us all glued to our TV screens.
A one time peddler of encyclopedias, he made his debut on-screen appearance in low budget sci-fi and beach party movies.
Some of these dubiously titled flicks included Women of the Prehistoric Planet and Swamp Country.
He gained further exposure (quite literally) after he appeared semi-nude in a 1973 edition of Playgirl.
Despite his pin-up status, Waggoner is not the ladies man you might expect him to be, having been married to his wife, Sharon, for over 50 years.
7. Gary Conway
This iconic eighties actor is best known for his roles in Over the Top and Ninja 2: The Confrontation.
At the peak of his physical prime, Conway posed for Playgirl’s 1973 issue.
By the point, he was no stranger to nudity, having posed for famous physique photographers Bruce of LA and Robert Henry Mizer in the 1950s and 1960s.
The pair supplied nude and semi-nude muscle images for art and muscle magazines.
These days, Conway’s work requires him to remain fully clothed (we hope!), as he is the owner of his own wine company.
6. Burt Reynolds
Reynold’s beautifully sculpted chest hair and inviting smile means he surely deserves a spot on this list.
Known as a ladies man, Reynolds was often cast purely for his effect on women. He started his career in the theatre, before moving onto TV in the late 50s.
He guest-starred on popular shows, including Flight, M Squad and Pony express.
Reynolds won Golden Globe awards for his performances in Evening Shade and Boogie Nights.
He sadly passed away in 2018, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 82.
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger
So, Schwarzenegger might be more of a movie star than a TV icon, but where would this list be without him?!
He has one of the most famous chests in show business and with his muscle-bound limbs, we wouldn’t fancy bumping into him in a dark alley.
With a thick Austrian accent, Arnie might be considered an unusual choice of movie star.
However, his strapping physique and angular age cheekbones means he excelled in front of the camera.
Not afraid to bare all, he’s even been coined the Guinness Book of World Records’ most perfectly developed man in the world. Wow, what a title.
4. Christopher George
George is best known for his role in The Rat Patrol, a film that’s ultimately contributed to his death in 1983. During filming, he was involved in a vehicular rollover which resulted in concerns over the condition of his skull and spine.
In his heyday, George certainly wasn’t afraid to get his chest out for the lads (and ladies), hairs and all.
With classic goods, and a mop of unruly blonde hair, it’s no surprise that George was one of the biggest hunks of his time.
One of the most well-known movies was The Exterminator, where his character is tasked with tracking down and stopping a violent killer.
His last movie, Embalmed, was released just two months prior to his death.
3. Miles O’Keeffe
Of course, Tarzan himself just had to be featured amongst this list of outrageously buff eighties stars.
O’Keeffe certainly never missed the chance to take his shirt off, and spends the entirety of the movie swinging from treetops whilst scantily clad, to say the least.
Prior to embarking on a career in Hollywood, O’Keeffe worked as a prison counselor and was a semi-professional rugby plater.
This might go some way to explain his pretty impressive abs.
He gained cult status in the early 2000s after being the target of TV host Graham Norton’s prank calls.
2. Mark Harmon
Harmon was chosen as People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1986, which means he is officially one of the most ripped men in the industry.
He’s certainly not afraid of appearing in the buff, having appeared nude in The Presidio and NCIS, to name just a few.
His first TV appearance was in a commercial for Kellog’s Product 19 cereal, where he starred alongside his father.
Harmon attributes his fit physique to his strict running regime, which saw him run between 50 and 70 miles every week in his prime.
Harmon had a promising football career in his sights, but he turned down the chance of a scholarship in order to focus on his studies.
1. Richard Gere
Gere started off as a musician and quickly became accustomed to a life in the limelight.
He began his acting career on the stage, most notably starring in a production of Grease in 1973.
One of his most prominent roles was in Pretty Woman, in which he starred alongside Julia Roberts.
Gere was ranked as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1991, and Sexiest Man Alive in 1999.
Gere cuts a distinguished figure, cheekily bearing his chest in several shots.