She does it all. Barbra Streisand not only headlines but directs “Yentl,” turning the Isaac Bashevis Singer/Leah Napolin play into a screen tuner. The 1983 project puts Streisand on the short list of actresses who have directed themselves in a movie. Her predecessors include Ida Lupino (“The Bigamist), Barbara Loden (“Wanda”) and Elaine May (“A New Leaf”).
Tom Cruise scores his first big hit, playing a high school pimp in “Risky Business.” The 1983 comedy has some rocky previews and it is producer David Geffen who insists that Cruise’s Joel get into Princeton in the final reel.
Having exec produced the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoffs “Rhoda” and “Lou Grant,” James L. Brooks makes the big switch to movies with “Terms of Endearment,” wearing all three hats — producer, director and screenwriter — that bring him three Oscars.
After working the early-morning shift for six years at the “Today Show,” Tom Brokaw takes over as sole anchor of “NBC Nightly News” on Sept. 5, 1983. It’s a post he will hold for more than two decades.
On March 25, 1983, Michael Jackson introduces his “moonwalk” on the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” TV special. Later that year, his landmark “Thriller” video debuts, helping to make the LP, released the year before, the bestselling album of all time.
Harvey Fierstein becomes the first person to nab the lead actor Tony for starring in his own Tony-winning play, “Torch Song Trilogy.” A few weeks later, another gay-themed project by Fierstein, “La Cage aux Folles,” for which he penned the book, opens Aug. 21, 1983, and runs 1,761 perfs.
While 20th Century Fox claims 1983’s top grosser, “Return of the Jedi,” Paramount makes big coin with three smaller-budget films: “Terms of Endearment,” “Flashdance” and “Trading Places.” Eddie Murphy commits to making his next five pics at Paramount, and “Flashdance” producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer sign a three-year deal at studio, which leads to “Beverly Hills Cop.”
As he did with “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” George Lucas turns his sci-fi story over to Lawrence Kasdan to pen 1983’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” in which Harrison Ford makes his final appearance as Hans Solo. In its many incarnations, the “Star Wars” saga grosses upward of $4.2 billion at the box office.
In 1983, after being fired by Disney, John Lasseter segues to Lucasfilm to work on the all-CG “The Adventures of Andre & Wally B.” Three years later, George Lucas sells his Computer Graphics division to Steve Jobs.