5 1980s Sitcom Stars Who Found A New Life As Hallmark Stars

Sitcoms in the 1980s were mostly lighthearted and family-friendly, and viewers could either forget their real-life problems or relate to the characters on screen who had the same ones. Many of the actors who starred in the most popular shows of the decade were quite young at the time and have since moved on to bigger and better things, one of them being Hallmark movies and TV shows.

The Hallmark Channel is known for its feel-good romantic storylines that often come in holiday packaging, so it's no wonder many of the '80s stars made the network their new home. From "Full House" sisters to a vixen cabby from "Taxi," these five sitcom faces went on to become prominent Hallmark figures, at least for a little while. Some of them switched things up along the way, causing major drama in the process and ultimately ruining some of their decades-long relationships.

Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar is a best-selling author, a mathematician, and a Hallmark veteran we can't get enough of. However, before all of that, she was Winnie Cooper in "The Wonder Years." The hit ABC sitcom ran from 1988 to 1993 and perfectly encapsulated what it was like growing up in American suburbia. While the plot itself was set in the 1960s and 1970s, many who grew up in the decade of decadence will agree that this coming-of-age sitcom takes them back to their rad days.

McKellar was only 13 when the series aired, and she actually took a break from acting after it came to an end. She decided it would be best to focus on her studies, which ultimately helped her find her self-worth after "The Wonder Years." Lucky for us, McKellar eventually found her way back to Hollywood and ended up becoming a Hallmark Channel staple. She starred in over a dozen of Hallmark's movies, including much-loved holiday romances like "Christmas She Wrote," "Christmas at Grand Valley," and "Crown for Christmas."

The star's last appearance on the network was in 2021, after which she made the move to Great American Family in order to be more involved in the projects she stars in. As reported by Us Weekly, the actor signed a multi-picture contract with the media company. One of the movies, "The Winter Palace," has already aired, while the next one, titled "Royal Christmas Ball," is scheduled to premiere on Thanksgiving weekend 2023.

Candace Cameron Bure

Not many sitcoms were as loved by audiences as "Full House." It debuted in 1986 and focused on a single dad raising three young girls, a real-life challenge that hadn't previously received much attention on mainstream television. The oldest of those girls was DJ Tanner, brilliantly played by a young Candace Cameron Bure. If you think she looks familiar, it's because Bure went on to become a Hallmark star, appearing in 30 of the network's movies.

Her first appearance on the Hallmark Channel was in 2008 as Holly in "Moonlight & Mistletoe." However, her portrayal of Aurora Teagarden, a librarian with a knack for solving murders, is unquestionably Bure's most notable Hallmark performance. She appeared in 18 installments of the "Aurora Teagarden Mysteries" since the franchise's launch in 2015. Sadly, seven years later, Bure decided it was time to leave Hallmark for Great American Family (formerly Great American Country).

When speaking to Variety, the star revealed the move was solely business-related. "I've been under contract with Hallmark for a very, very long time. And those have been absolutely wonderful," Bure said. "It just so happened that my contract was expiring when Great American Family started up." While her Hallmark chapter is closed, at least for now, she admits she's open to revisiting the character of Aurora Teagarden in the future. Never say never!

Marilu Henner

"Taxi" was the ultimate 1980s sitcom — it was something like "Friends" of the '80s. The series originally aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982 before moving to NBC for its final season in 1983. Marilu Henner played Elaine Nardo, the show's only female lead and a single mother and aspiring artist who drives a taxi for a living. Given her vocal abilities and all-around enchanting execution, Henner's portrayal of the role was effortless and more than memorable ("Lullaby of Broadway" is our favorite performance of Henner's in "Taxi").

Later in her career, Henner found a new life as a Hallmark star. She's appeared in the network's holiday-themed romances like "A Kiss Before Christmas," "Love, Lights, Hanukkah!" and "A Kismet Christmas." However, her biggest role on the Hallmark Channel was that of Aida Teagarden, Aurora Teagarden's mother (meaning Henner worked closely with Candace Cameron Bure, another '80s sitcom star turned Hallmark veteran).

When Bure left Hallmark in 2022, the "Aurora Teagarden Mysteries" franchise was canceled with no sense of closure. To fans' delight, Hallmark did eventually revisit the series with a prequel movie, "Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Something New," in June 2023. Henner returned as Aida despite much of the cast being replaced, including Bure.

Holly Robinson Peete

Not just any cop sitcom, "21 Jump Street" was a series about young-looking police officers who were able to blend in with adolescent troublemakers and nail them down for their crimes. While most eyes were glued to the young Johnny Depp, we couldn't get enough of Holly Robinson Peete. From 1987 to 1991, Peete was Officer Judy Hoffs, infiltrating high schools and breaking hearts in a pretty stellar way.

Following the series' end, Peete went on to have an impressive career in Hollywood as well as on the Hallmark Channel. She starred in 15 movies produced by the network and even got her own reality show that ran for two seasons, "Meet the Peets." The actor's first Hallmark movie was a network staple called "Angel of Christmas," which aired in 2015. Three years later, Peete starred in her first "Morning Show Mystery" installment, with five more ensuing in the following years. The crime-solving series wasn't Peete's only Hallmark franchise; she headlined four of the "Christmas in Evergreen" movies too.

Unlike some of her colleagues, Peete won't be leaving Hallmark anytime soon. The 1980s icon values inclusivity, which is why she's publicly called out Candace Cameron Bure, who insinuated that same-sex couples were untraditional in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "Go make the content that you want to make, but why insist on castigating others? It's the judgment for me," Pete wrote on social media, per People, adding, "Proud to be on [the] Hallmark Channel, which understands the importance of diversity and inclusion of everyone."

Jodie Sweetin

Another "Full House" alumni who went on to have a career on the Hallmark Channel is Jodie Sweetin. The actor played Stephanie Tanner, the often troubled middle daughter of the Tanner family and sister to DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure). The show got a reboot in 2016 under the title "Fuller House," in which both Sweetin and Bure reprised their roles. The Tanner-Fuller family entertained their old and new audiences on Netflix for five seasons until wrapping it up in 2020.

Around the same time "Fuller House" was filming, Sweetin was busy becoming a Hallmark star. Her first appearance on the network was in the 2017 movie "Finding Santa," followed by five more flicks. Sweetin's also the lead of Hallmark's new franchise "The Jane Mysteries," in which she plays Jane DaSilva, a singer who inherited a detective agency and is about to get more than she bargained for, as one usually does in Hallmark crime dramas.

Despite their longtime friendship, Sweetin didn't hesitate to pick sides when Bure gushed about traditional values to the WSJ. According to Us Weekly, Sweetin reposted Holly Robinson Peete's since-deleted Instagram statement, in which the actor called for representation, noting, "Love is love." Sweetin again emphasized where she stands when an independent movie she stars in, "Craft Me a Romance," was sold to none other than Great American Family. She told People that she was aggrieved by the sale and that she would donate her earnings from the project to LGBTQ+ organizations.