Whatever Happened To Molly Ringwald…?

I’m a sucker for John Hughes movies. In fact, pretty much any film that involves a bad flock of seagulls haircut, obscene amounts of ripped denim and a soundtrack featuring some questionable saxophone music is fine by me. So, it will come as no surprise to hear that just the other day I sat down to watch  that bastion of 80s kitsch, The Breakfast Club. This isn’t my favourite 80s film (that would have to be St. Elmo’s Fire), but it’s definitely in my top 3.  Anyway, as I was getting ready to press the play button, my eyes were draw to that embodiment of young enlightenment with her shimmering auburn locks staring out at me from behind the plastic film of the DVD cover. That’s right… Molly Ringwald. And then I thought, ‘Hey, whatever happened to Molly Ringwald?’. You may have asked yourself the same question (or it’s quite possible you have a full and exciting life, and so have never asked yourself that question), but there it was. So, in the interests of fairness, I decided to not only find out what happened to Molly Ringwald (I’ll save her until last), but what happened to the whole Breakfast Club. Here goes…

Judd Nelson – ‘John Bender’

The moody ‘bad boy’ of the group, Nelson has been a pretty legit actor since the Breakfast Club days. He took a lead role in St. Elmo’s Fire (opposite Demi Moore) in 1985, the same year as The Breakfast Club, after which he went on to take roles in some pretty small films throughout the later half of the 80s. But by the time the 90s rolled around, he was taking roles in films like New Jack City (the last film in which Wesley Snipes was truly bad-ass) and Airheads. Nothing too major turned up in the 2000s but Nelson has recently taken the odd part in a few TV shows, including 2 And a Half Men… but I won’t hold that against him.

Ally Sheedy – ‘Allison Reynolds’

I totally forgot this woman was in Short Circuit. Apart from that, Sheedy had a pretty flat 80s before turning to the small screen, taking roles in a number of made for TV films. After that, Sheedy took to the stage appearing in the Broadway production of ‘Headwig And The Angry Itch’, being the first female to tackle the title role. She’s also written two books and she once dated the guitarist from Bon Jovi. Who knew.

Emilio Estevez – ‘Andrew Clark’

There isn’t really much to say about the ‘jock’ of the group. Young Guns followed by The Mighty Ducks, that’s about it. But when you’re the brother of Charlie Sheen, you’ve probably got enough to keep you busy right there.

Anthony Michael Hall – ‘Brian Johnson’

The only other film I could think of that this guy had been in was Sixteen Candles, but it turns out he spent the 80s in a tonne of decent movies including Weird Science (John Hughes, again) and, back in 1983, he starred as Rusty Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation along side Chevy Chase. After getting over a pretty hefty drinking problem, Hall seems to have turned down more films than he ended up taking such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink and even the staring role in Full Metal Jacket. He did take a part in Edward Scissorhands (me neither), but apart from that, it looks like it’s all been pretty quiet.

Molly Ringwald – ‘Claire Standish’

So we’ve finally arrived at Molly Ringwald (unless you just skipped all the others, which is what I would have done). It turns out Ringwald only appeared in three John Hughes movies, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen candles and Pretty In Pink, but that was enough to propel her up to teen-idol status  in the mid 80s. After the height of her stardom, she apparently went the same way as Anthony Michael Hall and turned down a couple of huge roles: Ghost and Pretty Woman. After that, Ringwald seems to have found a home on the small, rather than the silver, screen taking parts in a few TV shows and made for TV films. But in the 2000s her career took an upward swing after she segued onto Broadway starring in Cabaret and Sweet Charity. Apprantly, she was pretty good. It seems Ringwald isn’t adverse to a bit of irony too, as she currently plays the mother of a teenager, not too dissimilar to her Breakfast Club character in the teen drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Ringwald has also written two books, the most recent of which ‘When It Happens To You: A Novel In Short Stories’ has been compared to Jennifer Egan… and she won the Pulitzer Prize.

So there, you go, a complete(ish) run down of the entire gang from The Breakfast Club.   It’s amazing what a mixture of boredom and Wikipedia can do… all together now ‘don’t you, forget about me… ‘

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