Of course the 80s had a bunch of huge stars. The Brat Pack dominated the magazines, Tom Cruise was in all the most popular movies, and Michael J. Fox had time traveled into our hearts, but there was one man who was in many of your favorite movies even though he wasn't as huge of a name.
Steve Guttenberg started his career in 1978, but it was in the 80s that he truly became a star. When he starred in Police Academy, everyone realized just how great he was. He made the sequel for that, followed by Cocoon, which was another success.
He also got to play the creator of the glorious robots in Short Circuit, which means he was close friends with Number Five (yes, I am jealous.)
Three Men and a Baby came out in 1987 and it was the biggest success of his career. Co-starring with the meticulously-mustached Tom Selleck, and Ted Danson, he stood out and made his mark.
But why is it that there was such a big break between this and his next project? Well, he made a conscious decision to take a step back, for a surprising reason.
Guttenberg decided that the fame was too much for him in 1990, and that it was time to take a bit of a step back. “You gotta remember, I left home at 17. So I missed a great deal of my own growing up,” he told The AV Club. “I missed so many things with my family. I’d become everything I ever wanted to be…But I wanted to just be a little closer to my family…And I decided I’d like to work when I want to work…So I did theater that I really wanted to do and I did some small independent movies that I really wanted to do and I wrote and I painted and I got to see my parents all the time.”
“I’ve had a great deal of notoriety and hubris left as packages on my doorstep,” he said. “I’m very careful to only open a bottle and not drink the whole gallon.”
Even though he was careful with what he chose, it didn't mean he was gone for good. In 1995 he returned to the big screen, joined by the Olsen twins and Kirstie Alley for an underappreciated little movie called It Takes Two.
While it was a bit of a commercial let down, he didn't let it get him down. “I would have absolute moments and small periods of ‘No-one is coming to the store, why isn’t anyone coming to the store?’” Guttenberg said. “But I never let it become too much of me because I have other things to deal with. I have parents, sisters, friends, people I care about and love.”
Instead he kept forging ahead, turning to TV to play a few smaller roles, including one show where he played himself called Party Down. While many of his roles weren't proving to be as lucrative as they were in the 80s, his theater career has flourished. He has played parts in everything from Shakespeare to Woody Allen's plays.
He recently appeared on the HBO show Ballers, with Dwayne Johnson, and he has no intention of stopping. “I want to get older. I want to be the dad, the grandpa, those are great roles. I want to be the older guy. I am the older guy.”
While not making movies, TV shows or acting in plays, Guttenberg is actively involved in charity work for animals and to help improve opportunities for homeless youth. He also got engaged to reporter Emily Smith in 2016.