Most Iconic Teen Idols Ever

Jul 17, 2021James Montalvo

For as long as there are teens, there can be teen idols. The term started to gain popularity with stars like Elvis in the 50s. Teen idols' fanbase is strong and very dedicated. When they find one worthy teen idol, they tend to be very into them. As soon as teens are recognized to be an idol, they automatically put in magazines, TV shows, and movies. So let's take a trip through time as we present to you the most iconic idols ever. Is your favorite here?

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THE FAB FIVE

Duran Duran is an English band that rose to fame in the U.S. Part of the reason these dashing young men grew so popular was that their music videos were released on the then-new network for the young and rebellious, MTV. "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" became the biggest songs ever. They were soon known as the Fab Five and tagged as one of the most popular groups around.

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TWEENS AND TEENS

Menudo has existed for over 30 years in many different forms. However, they reached the peak of their popularity in the 1980s. This Puerto Rican group consists of tweens and teens. The group featured in tv shows, magazines, and concerts all over the US. They even made a cameo in Silver Spoons. This is also the group that gave Ricky Martin his path to stardom!

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THE PRECURSOR TO POPSTARS

You'd be surprised to find out that Frank Sinatra started his singing career as a teenager. He could well be one of the most successful teen idols o this list. They even made a name for his fans - the bobbysoxers. One day, at a concert at the Paramount Theater in NYC. Almost 30,000 bobbysoxers went out of school and flocked to Times Square to see Ol' Blue Eyes.

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THE PROTOTYPICAL TEEN IDOL 

Who could dare to leave out the tragic dreamboat that was James Dean? He was a first for Hollywood. An undoubtedly gorgeous young man who was seen as a rough and tumble type, but was boyish and sensitive. He's best known for appearing in the 1955 films East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause, before dying at the tender age of 24 - shattering the hopes and dreams of countless fans.

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"THE KING" 

Elvis Presley definitely elevated the level of hysteria that recording artists would cause in their fans. With his crazy legs and thrusting hips, he would make the ladies in his crowds go mad and make the parents want to change the channel as soon as possible. Presley was just 21 years old when he released his first album. Kicking off his legendary career.

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MULTI-TALENTED 

Pat Boone was a man who could do anything. His career started reaching greater heights when he started hosting and singing on The Pat Boone-Chevy Hour when he was just 23. He was the second best-selling artist of the entire decade, second only to Elvis. His career saw him sell about 45 million albums.

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FULL-BLOWN TEEN HEARTTHROB

Joey Lawrence was another teen idol whose claim to fame was being total eye candy on tv. It was thanks to a show called Blossom, which ran from 1991-95. He even had a popular catchphrase of "whoa". Naturally, he tried his luck in the music industry as well, releasing an album in 1993. The Morning Call called him a full-blown teen heartthrob.

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THESE BEAUTIFUL LADIES

Nothing says '90s female attitude like the musical R&B and Hip-hop girl group, TLC. They had that raw talent, they were beautiful and exceptionally stylish. This made them darlings of the media and the dream ladies of thousands of young teens of the world. They're famous for songs like "Creep" and "Waterfalls."

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AS IF!

Alicia Silverstone was the quintessential 90s teen movie Queen! She will forever be engraved in the minds of girls and boys who grew up in the 90s thanks to an ultra-popular comedy called Clueless. Maybe you've seen it once or twice. To this day, the actresses' fashion choices and outfits are being fawned over. 

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GOOD YOUNG ACTOR 

Tall, handsome, and blonde. Tab Hunter made quite the name for himself in the late 50s and 60s thanks to his charm on and off the screen. He won the hearts of teenage girls all over the US thanks to him starring in the musical, Damn Yankees in 1958. He released the single "Jealous Heart" in the same year which reached the Hot 100.

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TOP YOUNG SINGER 

Frankie Avalon was just 19 years old when he had four of his released songs be on the top 10 songs. His songs "Venus" and "Why" are on the top one hits while his song "Just Ask Your Heart" is in top seven and the song "Bobby Sox To Stockings" is on top 8. He was able to make fun with his teen icon status a few decades later in the release of Grease, in which he plays the Teen Angel singing "Beauty School Dropout."

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AN ICON IN HIS OWN RIGHT

Fabian Forte found his success at a perfect time. While he was still a teenager, older stars like Elvis were slowly getting out of the picture. The age gap between him and his contemporaries is what he used to become a teen icon releasing hits like "Tiger," "I'm a Man," and "Turn Me Loose."

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HUGE FEMALE TEEN IDOL 

Annette Funicello was the first female teen idol huge star. The 19-year-old released multiple albums and appeared in Disney series like Zorro and The Magical World of Disney. Her most iconic roles were in the film Beach Party with fellow teen idol Frankie Avalon which aired in 1963. Though even before that, Funicello was already popular. She became part of "The Mickey Mouse Club" for years and received thousands of fan letters. 

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ONE OF THE YOUNGEST TEEN STARS BACK THEN

Luke Halpin started when he was 15 years old and cast in the 1963 classic Flipper. He had been in some projects before that but it was undoubtedly his big break. It also had a TV show that aired from 1964 through 1967, and a sequel released in 1964, both starring Halpin alongside trusty dolphin sidekick Flipper.

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THE PURELY POP GROUP 

Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and David Marks of the Beach Boys were the members of the Beach Boys group. They are known for their beachy, Californian music that was beloved by teenagers but dismissed by rock critics. Their second album, "Surfin' U.S.A.," was released including the song of the same name that has become one of their signatures.

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THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison of The Beatles made the world a different place with their music. Without them and their music, it feels like something is missing. The Beatlemania is what the fans of the band are called for. The group’s performance in The Ed Sullivan Show was watched by 73 million people. The Beatles are the top-selling music artist of all time, and sold 178 million records by 2017, over 50 years after they debuted in the US.

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THE BOY-CRAZY TEENAGER

Sally Field is known as a highly-respected actress today. But back in the day, she was known as Gidget from the sitcom of the same name, which premiered that year. The 19-year-old Field played Gidget, a boy-crazy teenager living in Southern California, for just a single season, but her character spoke to teen girls everywhere, even in the decades after the show went off the air.

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THE DOUBLE THREAT

Paul Petersen was at the Academy Awards for being a part of The Donna Reed Show. It was a show that made him rise to stardom in the '50s staple wherein he played the teenage son Jeff Stone in the film. While on the show, he was considered a double threat. Later on, he began a modestly successful singing career as well. The show ended after eight years and Peterson was 21 years old by that time. 

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GET CHARMED

When Alyssa Milano was a 16-year-old actress who was starring on Who's the Boss as the daughter of Tony Danza's character, it became a role that made her even more famous. She started with this role in 1984. While in 1988, she also starred in two TV movies, Crash Course and Dance 'til Dawn. She also launched her singing career which is a move appropriate for a teen star. 

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A COOL TEEN IDOL

River Phoenix was known as a young actor because of his role in Stand by Me when he was 15. He was not just a common teen idol but one that is very cool in an alternative way. In 1898, he was nominated in the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Running on Empty. It was an unforgettable awards night that he attended for he went to the ceremony looking very chic with his girlfriend Martha Plimpton. Sadly, Phoenix died unexpectedly four years later at the young age of 23.

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THE MONKEY YOU'D LOVE

Davy Jones was the lead singer of the band The Monkees who also starred in a hit show of the same name. After a year of the show's premiere, he had captured the hearts and minds of teenagers all around the world. One of their released songs "Daydream Believer" became the No. 1 single in 1967. In an interview with the fans of the group by CNN, they obviously chose the lead singer as the cutest and has the nicest personality. Yahoo Music named Jones the number one teen idol of all time in 2008.

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USED HIS PLATFORM WISELY

Jay North was best known for his lead role in the sitcom Dennis the Menace. He was just 17 years old and his teen idol status has just started to grow. He also starred in the adventure series Maya that year as an American who is searching for his missing father in the jungle. His time as a teen idol might be brief but he used his platform for good by becoming a philanthropist.

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WALT DISNEY TEEN ACTOR

Ron Howard grew up before the viewers' eyes. He was a part of The Andy Griffith Show. Every kid wished to be like him. The show ended when Howard was 14 and the next year, Howard appeared again in two of the biggest TV shows at the time, Gunsmoke and Daniel Boone. He was also a part of Happy Days five years and many were delighted to have him back on their screens again.

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TEEN ACTOR AND SINGER

Bobby Sherman became famous for being an actor and singer at the same time. He actually appeared on every show that could solidify his teen idol statuses such as American Bandstand, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, and The Ed Sullivan Show. His most popular songs were released in 1970 including "Julie, Do Ya Love Me," "Easy Come, Easy Go," and "Hey, Mister Sun." 

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STARTED AT 14

Leif Garrett has been a celebrity since he was five years old. It was only natural for him to turn into a teen idol when broke into puberty. He was young but captured the hearts of many fans plus he also became covers of teen magazines like Tiger Beat. It was all thanks to the series Three for the Road and his singing career.

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THE ANGEL

Farrah Fawcett became a big hit in 1976. It was a time where Charlie's Angels premiered and became famous. The same year, her iconic bathing suit poster was released. It reportedly sold 12 million copies. It can either be because everyone had a crush on her or people wanted to copy her layered hairstyle.

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A NEW HOPE

Mark Hamill started to become a teen idol after Star Wars premiered in 1977. It was a new movie with a new movie star and a soon-to-be huge franchise. He actually had done plenty of TV work before playing Luke Skywalker but this became his first hit starring role in a film. While the sci-fi movie is a hit, Hamill became a teen idol and an action figure many times over.

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THE TEEN IDOL OSCAR NOMINEE

The year 1978 is a lucky year for John Travolta. He became huge and was nominated at the Oscars for his starring role in Saturday Night Fever. He released his massive hit musical Grease in June the same year. He also starred on Welcome Back and Kotter at the time. This is why there is no surprise he made it onto Tiger Beat, too.

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THANKS TO HAPPY DAYS 

Scott Baio had his break as a teen idol when he joined Happy Days as the Fronz's cousin Chachi during its fifth season. This popularity led to the spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi. This only lasted for one season though. He continued to have a wide variety of roles in upcoming years which include becoming a reality show host in Confessions of a Teen Idol, which also featured former teen idols trying to become famous again.

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PUNK ICON

Debbie Harry is one of the celebrities that switch from singing to acting as a teen. It was a time where young men being the usual teen idols and a wider variety of male and female musicians, actors, and groups are very popular. The band Blondie released the hits "Call Me" and "The Tide Is High" in 1980 and the lead singer Debbie Harry became a punk icon for both her music and her style.

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EQUALLY TALENTED GROUP MEMBERS

The Jackson 5 is a group that must be really familiar to you if you graduated in the year 1971. It was the year The Jackson 5 were at their peak. They were nominated for a Grammy in 1971 for "ABC," and they even had their own TV special called Goin' Back to Indiana. In the same year, the youngest member Michael Jackson also began his solo career. The 13-year-old kid made things never be the same after that.

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FROM THE OSMOND FAMILY

Donny Osmond came from the then famous Osmond family. He became a teen idol in his own right. He also joined his brothers' singing group named "The Osmonds" when he was just six years old. By 1972, Osmond was 15 years old and had a solo career. He had solo hits including songs like "Go Away Little Girl" and "Puppy Love."

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KNOWN FOR BEING KEITH PARTRIDGE

David Cassidy was famous for being part of The Partridge Family. He took the spot by playing the role of Keith Partridge on the series. It undeniably made him a hugely popular teen idol. He even performed the hit song "I Think I Love You", which was on The Partridge Family albums. He also released his own solo music.

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THE BRADY BOYS

Barry Williams and Christopher Knight are the actors behind Greg and Peter Brady, which became teen idols during The Brady Bunch's run. If you graduated in 1974, this actually spanned your whole high school experience. They both rarely act again but they are always remembered for appearing in those blue title sequence squares. They will be remembered as the people that became a part of a series that many people enjoyed.

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CRITICIZED BUT SUCCEEDED

Rick Springfield is an Australian singer who gets the 1981 spot for being an iconic teen idol. That year "Jessie's Girl" was released and he was loved by many fans, mostly girls. As a teen idol, Springfield told Billboard in 2015 that people look at him and think he's successful but not that talented. For him, it was really unfair. He said that it is not a bad thing to be popular because of how young girls liked him. Sinatra started that way too and it's not considered a bad thing to start as a teen idol.

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THE FIRST POP QUEEN

Madonna is adored by everyone. She was one of the biggest teen idols in history and obviously one of the most popular musical icons of all time. She is not just popular because of her music but also because she was also responsible for popularizing several fashion trends. From rubber bracelets to hair tied with big scarves to lace everything, everyone loved that and tried to copy her. Her first album released included the songs "Holiday," "Lucky Star," and "Borderline." It obviously became a hit of course.

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FIRST OF THE PACK

Remember the Brat Pack? A collection of the biggest teen actors of the 80s? Well, while they're a bunch of names worth mentioning. We'll first mention Rob Lowe. He starred in St. Elmo's Fire in 1985 with a bunch of fellow Brat Pack members too. He actually said on Justin Long's podcast while reminiscing his teen idol status that he happens to be the guy who is occupying a place in the Zeitgeist at that moment for every hormonal teenage girl.

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NEXT FROM THE PACK: THE TEEN QUEEN

Molly Ringwald is another Brat Pack member who had the peak of her career in 1986. She starred in Pretty in Pink after 1985's The Breakfast Club, and 1984's Sixteen Candles. All of these were written or directed by John Hughes. Ringwald told CBSN Chicago in a 2019 interview that she thought she'd have special insight into raising a teen and it is all because of her former teen idol role. 

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BOY BAND FEVER

The '90s era is known to have so many pop bands that rose to fame. New Kids on the Block was one of them and we just can't get off the boy band fever. On the release of their fourth album, "Step by Step," they performed their "Magic Summer" tour with 100 dates in the U.S. alone. They even have their own animated series on ABC. 

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THE BOYS FROM THE BACK

We can't get into the discussion of boy bands from yesteryear without mentioning the Backstreet Boys. They are arguably the most successful pop boyband of all time. To this day, the band has legions of fans all over the world. Who couldn't fall in love with after songs like "I want it that way," "Get Down," and "Show me the meaning of being lonely?"

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WILD FANS FOR THIS ONE

Luke Perry is a teen idol that was discovered when Beverly Hills, 90210 became the teen series of the '90s. He played the role of Dylan McKay in the show. At one point in his career, the actor said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that 10,00 fans came to see him at a mall. They were so wild spazzing that he had to be removed from the scene in a laundry hamper by police. Well, that obviously screams teen idol.

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TAUGHT LIFE LESSONS

Saved by the Bell cast is looked up during Saved by the Bell show run from 1989 to 1993. Its cast includes Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffani Theissen (Kelly Kapowski), and Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater), which eventually became popular teen stars. Each cast taught life lessons to their young viewers each week through the show. And off-screen, they were living the celebrity life like appearing in teen magazines and being interviewed. They eventually get used to it so well. 

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REGULAR COVER OF TEEN MAGAZINE

Jonathan Taylor Thomas or JTT, as his fans called him, was just 15-years-old when he starred on Home Improvement and voiced Pinocchio in a new version of the Disney classic. He also voiced young Simba in The Lion King two years prior. With his popularity, the actor was a regular cover of teen magazines. And according to The Morning Call, JJT received 50,000 pieces of fan mail each month. 

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EVERY GIRL'S DREAM TEAM

Spice Girls was undoubtedly the biggest group in 1997. "Spice" and "Spiceworld" are their first two albums that were both released in the US and became a hit. Basically, all the songs they're known for became hits for American fans during one year until it eventually became a hit all over the world. Spice Girls are also known for their trendy clothes. 

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THE ONE AND ONLY BRITNEY

Britney Spears was one of the biggest pop princesses during her younger years. Her fame brought her around the world and garnered the adoration of millions of people. She's a grammy award-winning singer, an actress, and more recently, a Las Vegas headliner. Though she had her darker days, Britney is a true idol with fierce fans to this day.

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Some of these iconic teen idols on the list have already passed away. But this doesn’t mean that they are also forgotten. Most of them are still considered legendary icons. We are thankful for all their contribution to the industry and for inspiring a lot of people. Their songs, movies, and shows brought so much joy to every household before and a lot grew up with their influence. Every once in a while, we like to reminisce about their unforgettable contributions to the entertainment industry and remember the good old days. 

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