80s TV teen success stories

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Doogie Howser

Neil Patrick Harris
We always knew we loved Doogie, but we never knew we’d love him as much as we did when Neil Patrick Harris played a parody of himself in “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” in 2004. Even if we’ll always see him as the cute, 16-year-old medical prodigy, he’s parlayed his recent revival into a spot as one of TV’s most awesome characters, Barney on CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother.” With a reprise on “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and his recent turn on Joss Whedon’s Internet sensation, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” Harris, 35, is on the pulse of pop culture.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Even with the luscious new locks, most people look at Gosselaar and see Zack Morris from “Saved By the Bell.” But at 34, he’s all grown up and has worked his way out of the typecast and into serious drama. TV drama guru Steven Bochco recently called Gosselaar “one of the small, handful of best actors that we have in television today.” That might have something to do with the fact that Gosselaar stars in Bochco’s latest venture, TNT’s “Raising the Bar.” But Bochco’s admiration is genuine; as he’s given Gosselaar a role in virtually everything he’s created since “NYPD Blue.”

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