Burger King ’80s Commercials with Actors Before They Were Stars

Burger King has the distinction of one of the worst advertising campaigns of the ’80s with the forgettable and embarrassing “Where’s Herb” promotion. Earlier in the decade, though, Burger King did a couple things right when they chose several actors to star in their commercials who went on to become stars in ’80s films and beyond.

I have professed many times my adoration for Elisabeth Shue which did not start until I saw her on screen in 1984’s The Karate Kid. Well, maybe it could’ve started earlier than that since she starred in a series of Burger King commercials from 1982-1984. Here is a 1982 commercial starring Shue who was about 19 years old at the time…

 

Here is another starring Shue from 1982…

 

And another from 1983…

 

And one more from 1984…

 

In addition to The Karate Kid (1984), Elisabeth Shue went on to star in Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Cocktail (1988) and Back to the Future Part II (1989) during the ’80s as well as many films after that including an Oscar nomination for 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas. Shue was joined by a couple other stars-to-be in some additional Burger King commercials from the early ’80s.

 

Lea Thompson joined Elisabeth Shue and a very young Sarah Michelle Gellar helping Burger King wish everybody a Happy Holidays in 1982 by singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. During the decade, Thompson would go on to star in Jaws 3-D (1983), All the Right Moves (1983), Red Dawn (1984), Back to the Future (1985), Howard the Duck (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) as well as reuniting with Shue in Back to the Future Part II (1989). Here is that holiday commercial from 1982 well before Thompson became Marty’s mom…

 

Here is another one which features Lea Thompson all by herself…

 

Andrew McCarthy joined Shue in a 1983 spot promoting that Burger King switched to serving Pepsi. McCarthy went on to make his film debut in Class (1983) followed by starring roles in ’80s favorites St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), Mannequin (1987), Less Than Zero (1987) and Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). Here is that commercial from 1983 featuring Shue with the future “Brat Pack” member…

 

Before all of those, another adorable actress, a 21-year-old Meg Ryan, starred in a 1982 Burger King commercial. She went on to a role on As the World Turns from 1982-1984 followed by film roles in Top Gun (1986), Armed and Dangerous (1986), Innerspace (1987) and a breakout in When Harry Met Sally (1989) among others. She went on to become a true movie star in the ’90s including several popular roles opposite Tom Hanks. Before she got to yell, “take me to bed or lose me forever” Meg Ryan got to tell us about the “Aren’t You Hungry for a Whopper” game in this 1982 commercial…

 

Though he didn’t go on to become a star until the ’90s, a 1989 commercial for Burger King starred a 17-year-old Ben Affleck. As an added bonus, here is that commercial which at least aired at the end of the ’80s decade…

 

 

 

Meg Ryan, Elisabeth Shue, Lea Thompson, Andrew McCarthy. They all went on to star in some of our favorite ’80s films and have had successful careers well beyond. And they all starred in Burger King commercials before they hit it big. Their efforts weren’t enough to get the Home of the Whopper past the golden arches, but I think it is still pretty awesome. And, yep, you now know it happened in the ’80s. Aren’t you hungry?

About OldSchool80s 19 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.
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