What the Hell Happened to Molly Ringwald?

Molly Ringwalkd -  2014

Molly Ringwald defined a specific period in pop culture history.  She didn’t win a lot of awards or work with a lot of legendary directors and co-stars.  But Ringwald’s cultural impact was far greater than her filmography would suggest.  If you were in high school in the early-to-mid eighties, Molly Ringwald was IT.  There was Ringwald and there was everyone else.

But just a few short years after appearing on the cover of Time Magazine, the moment passed.  Ringwald went from IT-girl to has-been practically overnight.

What the hell happened?

ringwald - annie

Ringwald started acting on stage at age 5.  She played the Dormouse in a production of Alice in Wonderland.  The next year, she recorded an album with her jazz musician father and his band, the Fulton Street Jazz Band.

At age 10, Ringwald was cast in the West Coast Production of Annie in 1978.  You might expect that the red-headed actress would have played the title role.  But no, Ringwald was Orphan #5.

ringwald - diffrent strokes

A casting director spotted Ringwald in Annie which lead to roles on TV.  The show, Diff’rent Strokes, was a ratings-winner for the hit-starved NBC.  They ordered a spin-off centered around Charlotte Rae’s character, Edna Garrett.

ringwald - facts of life

The show was The Facts of Life.  The first season, which ran from 1979-1980, featured a much larger cast of students.  After appearing in Diff’rent Strokes, Ringwald made the cut for the first season of The Facts of Life.

But the first season was not a ratings success.  So the show was retooled around a smaller cast.  Ringwald was among the students who did not return for the second season.

 

In 1980, Ringwald recorded songs for two Disney albums.  She sang on the patriotic Yankee Doodle Mickey as well as a Christmas album.

MCDTEMP EC005

In 1982, Ringwald appeared in her first motion picture, Paul Mazursky’s modern-day take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Ringwald played John Cassavetes’ teenage daughter.  When her parents separate, they leave New York for Greece where her father begins an affair with Susan Sarandon.  Raúl Juliá also appears as an eccentric hermit living on the island.

Reviews for The Tempest were mixed and the movie was not a success at the box office.  But Ringwald was nominated for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year – Female.  She lost to Sandahl Bergman who was nominated for Conan the Barbarian.

Next: Sixteen Candles

Posted on January 20, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 70 Comments.

  1. Great post, and you’ll find a goldmine of new entries with some of the actors in those 80s movies. The term ‘dickbrain’ was used for the first time in recorded history in one of those films, but I can’t remember which one.

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    • I have tried to avoid doing too many Brat Packers all at once. But researching Broderick had me thinking about Hughes which lead me to Ringwald naturally. Also, frankly, I didn’t have a ton of time to write this weekend and Ringwald’s career was relatively short so…

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  2. Great post; I can ONLY recall her from the teen movies you mentioned; although I admit I really liked The Breakfast Club, and will still watch on Encore as it pops up from time to time.

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    • Like most people, I stopped paying attention after Ringwald parted ways with Hughes. But I have heard some good things about some of her post Hughes movies. I have to think she didn’t get a very fair shake. But then, that can be said of most of the Brat Pack.

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      • Who exactly was the Brat Pack????

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        • Didn’t we have this conversation in the Demi Moore article? ;)

          It’s hard to pin down who exactly was in the Brat Pack. The term was originally coined by a writer in reference to the actors in The Outsiders, Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. A lot of young actors at the time can be lumped in depending on how loosely you use the term.

          Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy were all Brat Packers.

          Outside the core group, you had Keifer Sutherland, John Cusack, Jami Gertz, Mare Winningham, Jon Cryer, James Spader, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, Matthew Broderick, and Robert Downey, Jr,

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          • Actually, I thought the term originated with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., but maybe I’m thinking of another pack. Anyhow, your list is long…I was under the impression that the 80s pack was only five actors.

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            • The term “Brat Pack” was a play in Sinatra’s Rat Pack. The writer meant it as a derogatory term for young Hollywood. It stuck and took on a life of its own. No one in the group wanted the label. They began fighting against it immediately, but it was unavoidable since they kept making movies together.

              At a minimum, the BP is the combined casts of Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire.

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              • I honestly don’t remember St. Elmo’s Fire other than the disappointment of it. I loved, and still love, Breakfast Club. I like a thought-provoking film with a library for a set….I wish more movies relied on scripts and acting rather than big explosions.

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                • I was the right age for The Breakfast Club but just barely. I didn’t actually see it in theaters. I saw it a few years later on video when I was closer to the target age. I was too young for St. Elmo’s Fire. By the time I saw it, the Brat Pack craze was over, I was older than the target audience and the movie hadn’t aged well. So the only nostalgia I have for St. Elmo’s Fire is for the song and the heyday of the BP. That’s not much.

                  Watching TBC now makes me wince a little. It’s a great movie for teenagers. But as a middle aged man, it’s kind of embarassing. I read somewhere that TBC is about a bunch of stereo types complaining about how other people view them only as stereotypes. I think that’s a valid criticism. But when you’re a teen, it’s pretty deep stuff.

                  Also, TBC is a victim of all the copycats it inspired. What was fresh in the days when all teen comedies were like Porky’s is cliche today.

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                  • I was never a fan of the Breakfast Club- even though it was totally my era and it must have rated highly among my friends.

                    Does it have funny parts? Sure? Does it try to go deeper than most teen movies? I guess.

                    But- and this is common with Hollywood movies- it gets a lot of cheap laughs off of stereotypes – and then tacks on a “can’t we all get a long?” ending- much, much too fast.

                    Everyone is dating each other at the end? Cmon- Ally Sheedy has the fastest makeover in movie history- its a like she became a Stepford wife.

                    Judd’s character basically has a psychological breakthrough- good for him- but ridiculously fast. He just saved a fortune in therapy costs.

                    Just too much- I’ll go with Uncle Buck or Christmas Vacation.

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                    • I agree with everything you said. I really liked Breakfast Club when I was a teen. But other than nostalgia, it doesn’t offer me much today.

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  3. So glad you are back to posting these “What the Hell Happened To”. Really look forward to reading these!

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  4. She was in the Stand. Mini series based on the Stephen king novel. Anyone seen it? Is it any good. I was surprised nobody mentioned it.

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    • There were two things I meant to put in the artcile and missed. One was The Stand and the other was that she passed on Pretty Woman about the same time her career was stalling out.

      The Stand was like any other Stephen King mini. It was made on a TV budget. If you like those TV minis like It and The Shining, The Stand lives up to that standard. I watched it all the way through once and have caught bits and pieces on cable from time to time. I can’t imagine ever rewatching the whole thing again.

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  5. Do you think it would revitalized her career if she had? Starred in Pretty Woman I mean.

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    • No, I don’t. And from the interviews I read, neither does Ringwald.

      The thing to remember about Pretty Woman is that it was kind of a miracle that it worked at all. I remember talking to a studio guy about it back when it was called $3,000. Gere was seen as a has-been. Roberts was an unkown. And no one expected anything from a rom com about a prostitute. The studio guy I was talking to was much more excited about I Love You to Death.

      The main thing that Pretty Woman had going for it was Julia Roberts and the chemistry she had with Richard Gere. Without Roberts, I think Pretty Woman would have been the flop everyone expected it to be.

      I think Ringwald was right to turn it down. Honestly, I don’t think audiences wanted her to succeed in 1990. I don’t think it mattered what she did.

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  6. I think I pretty much agree w/ your assessment here. The Brat Pack label was merciless to most of that crews careers. More than that however some of them were really not very good actors. Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy…they were the pretty faces of the day. Most of them have had long careers that have outlasted the 80’s, but the fact remains they aren’t that great. Even Demi Moore who has probably had the most success isn’t very good in my opinion. Rob Lowe and Robert Downey are about the only two I can think of who are decent actors and successful. John Cusak might be in there too.

    Ringwald was never my favorite of that bunch to be honest. Always came across as bitchy and princess’y to me. Her best role was that cameo send-up she did in Not Another Teen Movie as far as I’m concerned. As for The Stand I have seen it a few times because the book was one of my favorites as a teen. It’s a 4 part mini series and is available on Netflix streaming if anyone subscribes and wants to see it. It’s not terrible, but gets cheesier the older you get. Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe and a few other named actors are in it. It’s worth seeing once if those apocalyptic type shows are your thing.

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    • We’re in agreement for the most part. Estevez directs now and I have heard decent things about Bobby. Nelson and McCarthy were just Tiger Beat material. The guys who had something to offer are still relatively successful; Lowe, Downey, Cusack. The Brat Pack label was killer for Ringwald and Sheedy.

      At the time, I didn’t really think much of Ringwald, Sheedy or Moore. But going back and rewatching some of those old movies, they did have talent. I have been especially impressed with Demi Moore who I wrote off as talentless during her Striptease days.

      Getting back to Ringwald, it didn’t matter how talented she was. Audiences didn’t see her as an actress. They saw her as part of the John Hughes package. And since she couldn’t make teen comedies forever (and also since audiences were getting sick of the 80’s Hughes glut), she was doomed. She was the MacCaulay Culkin of the 80’s. But I give her credit for handling it well.

      As for The Stand, I agree. I liked the book (although I never liked the ending). The mini is worth watching if you like King a lot. But it’s pretty cheesy. Not bad for what it is.

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      • The CineFiles – The John Hughes Films Part 1!:

        This…. this is EPIC!! Because you demanded it! It’s a two part episode on the John Hughes canon! OUTSTANDING! And we couldn’t have been more excited about a topic like this. Seriously. It beats Italian zombie flicks.

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    • Speaking of Molly Ringwald’s “Pretty in Pink” co-star and fellow Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy:

      http://styleblazer.com/131294/shunned-by-hollywood-15-of-tinsel-towns-most-notorious-pariahs/11/

      Of all of John Hughes’ Brat Pack, Andrew McCarthy may have been at the top of the heap. In films like Pretty In Pink, Mannequin, St. Elmo’s Fire and Less Than Zero the heartthrob distinguished himself with his good looks, intelligence, and sensitive demeanor. Unfortunately, McCarthy’s boyish good looks combined with a longstanding alcohol problem and an admitted “casual disinterest” in fame. By the time the early-90s rolled around, McCarthy’s leading man days seemed long behind him. The actor soon developed a reputation for being difficult when he was forced to switch to television, a rumor that was cemented when he was fired from a guest spot on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Nowadays McCarthy has left his leading man ambitions behind in favor of TV guest spots, the occasional supporting roles, and a career as a travel writer.

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  7. Well, it’s finally over. I thin the post is ready, If you want to have a final check and then launch it for me it’s ok

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  8. What happened to Molly Ringwald? You said it well. The public lost interest for the Brat Pack. What happened to that type of 1980s culture? One year. 1992.

    I was born in 1988, and my first memory is from 1990. As a Reagan baby, I grew up in the early/mid 1990s with a love for 1980s pop culture. I can remember calling into a local radio station in 1995 and requesting Billy Idol music to which my 1st grade teacher found out and rolled her eyes. I remember my parents watching Must See TV every Thursday night with shows like “Cheers” and “The Cosby Show” and “Night Court” and “L.A. Law” and that seemed to very quickly usher in a completely different type of more progressive, youthful entertainment like “Friends”, “Caroline in the City”, and “ER” very quickly. Literally by 1994, any shred of 1980s sitcoms were dead.

    At the time, people seemed very cynical about anything from the 1980s. Looking back, I think it began around 1992. That year, the following Television series ended:

    The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
    Night Court (1984-1992)
    Growing Pains (1985-1992)
    Johnny Carson (1962-1992)
    MacGyver (1985-1992)
    Golden Girls (1985-1992)
    Who’s the Boss? (1984-1992)

    The following year, TV lost “Cheers”, “Doogie Howser”, “Major Dad”, “The Wonder Years” and other memorable 1980s-era TV sitcoms.

    Music changed drastically. We went from Phil Collins and Bryan Adams (Even at my young age, the radio poured out Bryan Adams “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” and Phil Collins, “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” at a constant rate.) and from then we arrived at Ace of Base and Coolio within a two year period. All of a sudden if I asked my then-teenage sister to switch the song on the radio from R. Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind” to John Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good”, she would have told me to shut up.

    You can also look at the political scene of the times. The picturesque portrayal of the eight years of the Reagan Era of the 1980s that ushered in four more years of George H.W. Bush abruptly ended in November 1992 with the defeat of Bush, the election of Bill Clinton and the 1981-1993 Reagan/Bush years were officially over. With that, so were the TV shows, movie stars, Brat Packers, Musicians and all the love and joy that came with that time period.

    That’s just my opinion. 1992 killed pop culture in more ways than one. Why, I don’t know. Perhaps you can only take so much.

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    • I recently saw an interview with Barry Gibb where he lamented that at the end of every decade, pop culture likes to clean house. At first, I thought the comment was kind of self serving. The Bee Gees saw their career end in the 60s, come back in the disco era only to face a huge backlash in the 80s and then kind of come back in the 90s in a nostalgic way. But the more I though about it, Gibb had a point about these cycles.

      I think it tends to be more true in music. Few musical acts carry on for decades. And those that do usually reinvent themselves like the Bee Gees did. Actors generally have an easier time keeping their career in tact from one decade to the next. But certain actors really flame out when the decades change. Ringwald and the Brat Pack were examples. So was Steve Guttenberg who reigned in the 80s and disappeared in the 90s.

      Nostalgia is a tricky thing. I enjoy indulging it as much as anybody. But nostalgia lies. There are things from the 80s I look back and remember fondly. But I’d never want to go back to living in the 80s. There was definitely a shift in pop culture from the 80s to the 90s. But I wouldn’t say pop culture died. It just changed as it always does. Lots of great things happened in the 90s that brought us to where we are today.

      For example, I would never want to go back to TV of the 80s. Today’s TV is so much more complex and interesting than what we watched in the 80s. Yes, there were great shows then and there are crappy shows now. I can’t watch most of the crap my wife likes. But we have far more choices. Not to mention the great shows on pay TV stations which are often deeper and more engaging than big screen Hollywood epics.

      It’s the circle of pop culture life, my friend. And it moves us all.

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      • But is it just an urge to purge, or is there a pattern in the type of music that was popular at the end of each decade and needed purging?
        -The 70s ended with disco. The influence of punk which worked its way into new wave and the guitar pop of the early 80s was a welcome change.
        – By the end of the 80s, radio was dominated by corporate rock, dance music, and hair metal. Grunge/alternative couldn’t come fast enough for me.
        – Unfortunately, even alternative became homogeonized and collapsed, getting replaced by still more frothy dance pop at the end of the 90s.
        Since then, I’ve pretty much ignored the pop mainstream, often being unable to match popular songs with the artists who recorded them. My own purge has taken place.
        I realize all of the above is based on my own taste, but there has seemed to be a pattern.

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        • Agreed. As I was writing my previous comment, I realized I was in danger of rambling. Or rambling on more than usual. So, I just stopped myself before I went into a full-on rant. But the point I was making (or failing to make) was that these cultural shifts are good and natural. It can be painful for the artist who gets caught in the crossfire. But it’s healthy for pop culture to keep moving forward. Like the shark bit in Annie Hall.

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        • Did Nirvana/Grunge really kill off 1980s culture?

          http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php?t-706502.html

          10-30-2013, 11:59 PM
          What we think of as stereotypically “80s” pop culture was already well on the wane by the time Nirvana broke on a national level. Bush Sr. never had the same charm as the “Gipper” did. A stock-market crash and a recession put an end to yuppie culture. The Crack and AIDS epidemics had lead to too many deaths to be swept under the rug anymore. Hair metal was always considered a massive joke, even at the height of its popularity. As early as 1988, the whole “greed is good, style over substance, everything to excess” demi-monde had become tired and there was a surge in neo-hippie nostalgia for a less cynical time period. Suddenly all the keyboards and synths gave way to earnest folk rock acts like 10,000 Maniacs and Tracy Chapman.

          Even before Nirvana, there were a few bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More that were playing stripped down, harder-edged ‘(but still pop’) rock music. There was a definite desire to get away from the bombastic MTV style music. IMO, Nirvana (and really all of Seattle grunge) didn’t really ‘kill’ the ’80s. It was the other way around – they came along at the right time when people were hungry for something new. So, no, Nirvana did not “kill” the ’80s, so much as the nasty hangover aftermath set the scene up for Nirvana to arrive.

          And yes there were still a lot of lingering ’80s-ish’ things lingering in pop culture even after Nirvana hit it big, but stereotypes die hard. By comparison, just look at all the ’70s era cop shows that were depicting hippie communes as late as 1976. Once a pop culture sensation takes root, it doesn’t fade away from movies, TV or pop music as quickly as it does in the real world. (I predict that even well into the 2020s, we’ll be seeing sitcoms depicting long-bearded hipsters though there will probably very few around.)

          10-31-2013, 12:43 AM
          There’s a common urban legend that hairspray, neon and the excesses of the ’80s died in the autumn of 1991 when Cobain came to the scene, however a lot of videos on YouTube of old malls I have seen from 1992-93 still have a strong late ’80s appearance to them. Mall hair, hot colors and old school hip hop influenced clothing galore. Not only that Guns n Roses, The Cure and quite a few other ’80s bands were still quite popular when Nirvana were racking up hits and still made similar music to what they made in the ’80s. I’ve never heard it claimed that Nirvana singlehandedly killed off everything that was popular from the ’80s, and anyone who says that is either using hyperbole or doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I doubt many hip hop fans of the era gave a damn about Nirvana, and hip hop obviously survived as a genre. Grunge did not. FWIW it’s my recollection that grunge peaked in popularity about 1993 or ’94, although I lived in a not-very-big city in the South so we weren’t really on the cutting edge of things. But most of the US isn’t on the cutting edge of things either.

          As thelurkinghorror says, grunge is often credited with killing off hair metal, but the whole big hair and spandex look was already in decline at that point and I don’t remember that any established metal fans abandoned their favorite bands in favor of newer grunge and alt rock groups overnight. It’s my recollection that most metal fans didn’t stop being metal fans at all, they just accepted the harder grunge songs as being worthy of listening to as well. Actually, I think a big reason grunge became so popular was that it was influenced by metal AND punk AND college/alternative rock, so fans of all these genres could find something to like about grunge.

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      • TV has an interesting history the past 20 years- it started to try to get away from the linear plots and 2D characters- but really could only do that when the DVR/DVD became standard.

        The people who enjoyed Lost are not so much smarter than people who watched the Cosby Show- they just are able to pause/rewind or rewatch more complex parts. They can catch up on story arcs.

        I remember seeing the first half/last half of 2 part TV shows- often I didn’t see the end until I watched the DVD 20 years later!

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        • This is true to a large degree, And yet, serialized TV existed before VCRs. And even in this era of streaming, procedurals dominate over serialized story telling. I do think the ease with which we can catch up on shows now allows for more complex storylines. I think probably the bigger influence is competition from cable shows like HBO and now AMC. The networks have to keep up.

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    • You can argue that the same sort of thing happened to fellow WTHHT and teen starlet Alicia Silverstone once the ’90s ended. Considering that “Clueless” is for better or worse, so horribly dated (and she initially gained attention in Aerosmith’s videos, back when MTV still played videos) and defined by its time period doesn’t really help. I think culturally, the ’90s ended on 9/11 (if the ’92 officially, culture-wise, marked the end of the ’80s). I say this because Bill Clinton just was out of office and George W. Bush was now the President. Plus, 9/11 (and the subsequent wars and economic downturn) forever changed society and made us even more pessimistic and cynical.

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      • To an extent, this is true. I actually think Silverstone sank before the decade ended. But she was definitely a product of the 90’s. I think her reign can be narrowed to the mid-nineties where Ringwald defined youth cinema in the 80s (with Hughes obviously). Also, Ringwald was part of a bigger group that suffered a collective backlash. Silverstone was just a single actress and not part of a huge cultural thing.

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        • I think the backlash was over the fact that these movies were aimed at teens- and adults find them a bit tedious.

          I mean- almost NO ONE admits to liking St Elmo’s fire- which I guess was popular back when because everyone was so pretty.

          Breakfast Club is more popular- but I cringe at what I think is more stereotype exploitation than a “deep ” teen dramedy.

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  9. One thing that you overlooked is that Molly Ringwald was offered or tested for (besides Julia Roberts’ role in “Pretty Woman” and Lea Thompson’s role in “Some Kind of Wonderful”) Demi Moore’s role in “Ghost” (incidentally, her character’s name was Molly), and Laura Dern’s role in “Blue Velvet” (as the story goes, Molly’s mother was disturbed by the script and didn’t show Molly it for her consideration).

    Molly also during the ’90s, tried to make a comeback on a short-lived ABC sitcom called “Townies” (which also starred a pre-“Dharma and Greg” Jenna Elfman and a pre-“Gilmore Girls” Lauren Graham).

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    • I’m always a little reluctant to talk about roles actors and actresses passed up on. It’s interesting in a what could have been kind of way. But it also paints a false picture. Had Ringwald taken any of those parts, it’s doubtful that it would have saved her career. Instead, it probably would have sunk those movies. Although I think Some Kind of Wonderful would have preformed better than it did had Ringwald accepted it. And it probably would have extended her time on the A-list a short while.

      When I get over the rise and fall portions of the career, I tend to hit fast forward. Ringwald did some TV work in the 90s like The Stand and Townies. But they were pretty minor footnotes. What tends to happen is that we discuss them in the comments section. I vaguely remember Townies as one of many Friends wannabes.

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  10. What one person typed in Molly Ringwald’s IMDb message board:

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000208/board/flat/74256080?p=1

    Looking back on the films she did immediately after Pretty in Pink, she made some awful decisions:

    “King Lear” (1987)– babbling nonsense, that no one can sit through;

    “The Pick Up Artist” (1987)– Totally unfunny mess, stupid script;

    “For Keeps” (1988)– Lousy idea for a film

    “Fresh Horses” (1988)– Very odd movie, Molly miscast

    “Strike It Rich” (1990)– Obscure British film that no one remembers;

    “Betsy’s Wedding” (1990)– Unfunny comedy with has-been actors (Alan Alda, Madeline Kahn, Ally Sheedy, Burt Young)

    Another IMDb user believes that Molly simply she saw herself as “authentically ’80s” and did not want to move on beyond that ’80s style. This is because she knew that years from now, the youth that loved her in her hit ’80s movies: “Breakfast Club”, “Pretty In Pink”, and “Sixteen Candles”, would always see her as being that same teen idol of the ’80s. In a weird way, the same thing could be argued regarding fellow WTHHT subject Alicia Silverstone (who was a big teen star in the 1990s thanks to “Clueless”) concerning the ’90s:

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000208/board/flat/40044220?p=1

    Maybe Molly’s “arrogance” (if you want to call it that) in relation to her fallen out w/ John Hughes as well as turning down other ultimately “star making” film roles that I previously mentioned destroyed her career. To put things into proper perspective, when you reach a certain level of success and eminence, most actors think that they’re too good for certain things and can reject any prospective big role by a major studio regardless of the substance and depth of the project and anticipation.

    At the same time, Molly’s decision to turn down “Some Kind of Wonderful” is a bit understandable since by that time, she had already become typecast as the “Teen Queen”, mostly due to all her previous John Hughes roles:

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000208/board/flat/182243494?p=1

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    • She definitely picked some turkeys. Maybe if she whad picked some better projects, audiences would have been more accepting. I don’t think Pretty Woman would have worked with her in it though.

      I’m not sure how arrogant she was in her fall out with Hughes. She was a teen, so I’m sure she could have handled it better. But he was a middle-aged man and a real hothead by all accounts. Also, she did ask to be cast in Ferris Bueller. So it’s not like she wouldn’t work for him at all. She just didn’t want to keep making the same movie over and over again – which is what Hughes did.

      I think she really needed to break completely from the Brat Pack. Maybe if she had pulled a Drew Barrymore and reinvented herself with a Poison Ivy type role. But Ringwald didn’t seem willing to take those kinds of roles and I’m not sure they would have been a good fit.

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      • Lord knows what happened between the two (or her agent and Hughes) – but Some Kind of Wonderful could have easily been retitled Another John Hughes movie- I like Mary Stuart Masterson (was that Molly’s role?) – but the plot of that film is lame (and the love triangle is lost to me- since I’d just make out with MSM in scene one)

        Did Hughes have Molly under a 7 picture contract? He really didn’t foresee her wanting to try something different?

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        • I have to admit I have never watched SKoW. I had already started my Brat Pack backlash by then. In retrospect, I missed out on Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson. So maybe I should watch it.

          I won’t pretend to be able to get into Hughes’ head. The guy was a mystery even to those who knew him. But he seemed to just expect things to go his way. Also, while he was an artist, he was also a very commercial guy. When something worked, he mined every last bit of it. If the Brat Pack backlash had never come, he would have made those movies until he died.

          I can understand feeling a bit betrayed by Ringwald. He made her what she was. How dare she deny him? On the other hand, I can certainly understand why she would want to move on to something else.

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      • #206

        http://www.lipstickalley.com/showpost.php?p=17144956&postcount=206

        The real reason why Molly Ringward and John Hughes never worked together again was because he became obsessed with her. He didn’t even like it when her and Anthony Michael Hall were dating. He would buy her gifts, a dog, etc.

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    • 10 Awesome Actors Who Fell Hard From The Spotlight:

      http://whatculture.com/film/10-awesome-actors-who-fell-hard-from-the-spotlight.php/3

      8. Molly Ringwald

      Another victim of the Brat Pack curse. In truth, this entire list could have been complied from the afflicted but Molly gets special mention because she was the queen of the club. She was numero uno of teen actors and the apple in John Hughes’s eye. Which is kind of strange as she is not the classic beauty; all red hair, freckles and horsey features.

      Hughes wrote Sixteen Candles specifically for her – even though at that point she was a relative unknown and he’d just seen her picture in a magazine. Next came The Breakfast Club and then Pretty in Pink. She was John Hughes’ muse and methinks he wanted her to be something a little bit more, but I digress.

      No one was riding higher than Molly when the Brat Pack tornado careened into town and turned her world upside down. Like others, she tried to short circuit her membership of the club by appearing in offbeat fare such as PK and the Kid, Fresh Horses and even The Pick-Up Artist with Robert Downey Jr. Unfortunately, these films weren’t written by John Hughes…..and they stunk.

      She was also the victim of her own success, believing she was the star, not Hughes. In fact said in an interview at the height of her teen fame that she wanted to break away from her mentor. This stung Hughes and he never worked nor spoke to her again. That he went on to write and direct Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Planes, Trains & Automobiles – as well as pen the behemoth Home Alone – whilst she floundered in early retirement in France shows that she was a tad misplaced in her judgement of who was the real star of the show.

      Like

    • Molly Ringwald:

      http://www.datalounge.com/cgi-bin/iowa/ajax.html?t=11330760#page:showThread,11330760

      Pouty-lipped, red-headed darling of ’80s teen cinema. Appeared on the cover of Time magazine at just 18 years old. John Hughes’s obvious muse (I still think he harbored a major crush on her), she later passed on some major film roles that could have made her an even bigger star (Ghost, Pretty Woman). She did teen angst better than most females of her generation.

      by: Anonymous replies 139 02/23/2012 @ 08:42PM

      Never liked her. Very one-note actress.

      by: Anonymous reply 1 02/23/2012 @ 09:04PM

      She went in to all those films believing she was the muse. Nearly every actor and actress she worked with ended up hating her.

      by: Anonymous reply 4 02/23/2012 @ 09:16PM

      She never would have been good in Pretty Woman or Ghost and those awful films would have been even worse with her as the leading lady.

      Like most child stars, once she entered adulthood, she completely lost any of the charm and naivete she ever had. She became a very ordinary (and rather ungainly) actress in her twenties.

      by: Anonymous reply 11 02/23/2012 @ 09:30PM

      Nothing sums up the 80s for me more than Molly Ringwald, perhaps in a way similar to James Dean screams 50s.

      I think it’s fine that she really faded into oblivion after that.

      Everyone should make such a contribution to the world.

      (I know, MARY!)

      by: Anonymous reply 37 02/23/2012 @ 11:56PM

      It’s kind of a strange career. She’s now a supporting character on ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Waste.

      by: Anonymous reply 46 02/24/2012 @ 06:07AM

      But she sure couldn’t dance. When she did the tour of Sweet Charity, one reviewer said Ringwald’s dancing was like watching a deer trying to maneuver and jump over a frozen snow bank.

      by: Anonymous reply 47 02/24/2012 @ 08:45AM

      I could see her doing Ghost but not Pretty Woman. She has zero sex appeal.

      16 Candles, Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink still hold up. Her other movies, not so much. Betsy’s Wedding was on TV not too long ago and it was unwatchable.

      by: Anonymous reply 61 02/24/2012 @ 01:48PM

      Just saw her in The Pickup Artist, with Robert Downey Jr. She has no chemistry with him. No sex appeal. Gummy. Little round red puff of hair. Uptight. It is not believable that she f***s him in his car, in Central Park, a half hour after meeting him. It is not believable that she is the lust interest of an obsessed gangster, or an obsessed RDJ.

      by: Anonymous reply 81 06/12/2012 @ 10:46AM

      There were rumors of her dating Warren Beatty when she was very young in Hollywood. The James Dean comparison is appropriate because he only made three films, and her legacy is made of three also: Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink. Her performance in Sixteen Candles is pretty bada**. She trash talked, stood up for herself, was ignored by her family, was blatantly insecure and cried during dances. Girls didn’t talk like that back then in movies, and definitely didn’t look like her that were popular.

      by: Long Duk Dong reply 96 09/20/2012 @ 01:08AM

      In watching Molly Ringwald in some of her more “grown-up” films I must say that she seems very awkward and not at all cute. Between the Ronald McDonald hair in “The Pick-up Artist” and the gummy smile in “Fresh Horses” I just cannot see her as a leading lady. She tried to be really sexy in ‘Fresh Horses” but it just didn’t work. I’ve also noticed that she towers above her male co-stars. She must be very tall which adds to her freakishness.

      by: Anonymous reply 119 02/28/2013 @ 10:48PM

      When her career was white hot, she was supposed to meet the screen legend, Miss Lillian Gish. Molly stood her up, as she couldn’t be bothered. Molly is a thoroughgoing c*** and is extremely bitter that her career did not reach superstar status.

      by: Anonymous reply 139 11/28/2013 @ 05:15PM

      Like

  11. 4 Reasons Why John Hughes Wasn’t So Great:

    http://whatculture.com/film/4-reasons-why-john-hughes-wasnt-so-great.php

    In lieu of the hate I will probably receive for this I would just like to state that John Hughes is a personal favorite of mine as both a director and writer. This list is by no means intended to be a hate fest just to slam the dearly departed. If anything it will probably make you appreciate Hughes all the more.

    No director is perfect (I think) and each has their flaws. By highlighting them and discussing them I think you come to appreciate the individual better as an artist who despite his/her personal and professional failings was still able to produce captivating and entertaining works of art. If anything it can probably give the fans of Hughes out there something to shoot for. If you were indeed looking to pick up where Hughes left off in the teen drama genre then you would do well to avoid these pitfalls that continually marred Hughes’ work throughout his career. Others of you out there who aren’t fans of Hughes will probably be glad to see the guy taken down a peg or two. Not that you’re a hater but you do realize that there are other better directors out there who made great material for teens to enjoy. Or maybe you’re just a hater.

    Whatever the case I’m sure you readers will find the list captivating and challenging in hopefully the best way possible. If not and this list provokes you to some violent reaction then I suggest you take Charlie Sheen’s advice off Ferris Buller’s and talk to someone….

    Like

    • Yeah, no. John Hughes was simply great and brought the teenage view to the screen and just like a young adult fiction writer, he never forgot what it was like to be that age. If that writer thinks his adult characters were idiotic, so what? That’s not limited to Hughes. Plus, it’s a realistic portrayal of how teens view adults anyway.

      Like

      • I’m mixed on Hughes. He was capable of making some pretty great movies. And I give him a lot of credit for making movies for teens and young adults that actually spoke to that demo. At the time, teen comedies were all like Porky’s or Fast Times (only rarely as good as Fast Times). Hughes’ approach was so successful he changed the genre.

        As you point out, Hughes was speaking directly to teens. That means his characters could be one-note. The plots were cliched. And yes, the grown-ups were dumb. If you were a teen watching those movies in the 80s you didn’t notice any of that or if you did, you didn’t care. That is how the world looks to your average teen. Hughes got that.

        But Hughes came off the rails with Home Alone. It was such a huge success, he spent the rest of his career trying to duplicate it… and failing. The last years of his career were filled with hack work. Baby’s Day Out? Really? (Granted, Hughes didn’t direct.)

        Hughes was a complex guy capable of great kindness and terrible temper tantrums. He could be petty and held grudges. He was had the soul of an artist, but was also extremely commercial.

        In the end, he gave us Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Beuller and Planes Trains and Automobiles. Not to mention the Vacation movies. That’s enough for me to overlook all the Curly Sues in the world.

        Like

        • Definitely have to agree with you on the abombination that was Baby’s Day Out. Unfortunately we have the DVD and I’ve suffered through it more than once. My daughter was 7 or 8 when we got it and maybe that’s the target audience because she loved it and still watches it although it’s been several years. The good news is that she no longer insists I watch it with her. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was one of my all time favorites back in the day, now that you’ve reminded me, it might be time to see it again.

          Like

          • Hey, if it connected with its target audience (which was always a Hughes strength) it can’t be all bad. I haven’t seen it myself, so I will withhold judgement. PT&A was a great movie. I dig it out every great once in a while. Always around Thanksgiving. Probably my favorite John Candy movie.

            Like

  12. Sitcoms Online Message Boards – Forums > 1980s Sitcoms > The Facts of Life:

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showpost.php?p=4761809&postcount=2

    They act like she just disappeared. I think she’s still on “Secret Life”, and I know she wrote a very successful book called “Getting the Pretty Back”. I mean, they can’t expect her to have the same kind of success now that she had back in the 80’s. I don’t think any of the Brat Pack has had that kind of success to be honest.

    Like

  13. What happened to Thora Birch?–and other actors that seemed to disappear for no reason…:

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=15153548&postcount=67

    Well, Andrew McCarthy wasn’t much of an actor. He always seem to come across as annoyingly smug and not very bright. There was just something about him that made even the most non-violent person want to smack his face. That being said, back during his heyday in the late 80s and early 90s I thought if they ever did The Dan Quayle Story, he would’ve been perfect for the lead.

    As for Molly Ringwald, she made some bad choices that would’ve likely taken her career to the next level (e.g., she–or rather her mother–rejected Blue Velvet because she found its script “icky”). There was also the Lilian Gish Incident where she was supposed to meet the legendary actress for some sort of multiple generations of actresses event. Instead, she blew off the meeting without telling anybody much to Gish’s disappointment. Granted, she was only 18 at the time and the vast majority of 18-year olds would’ve had no idea who Lilian Gish was but the way she handled it really was a dumb mistake. Many people in Hollywood got the impression she already had a swelled head and started looking for other actresses in her age group who didn’t seem to have an attitude. It just so happened that an actress named Winona Ryder came along at that same time and Ringwald’s stock dropped rapidly.

    Like

    • Agreed all around. Where does the line start to smack Andrew McCarthy in the face?

      Like

      • Re: The Blind Item Reveal Thread.

        http://www.lipstickalley.com/showpost.php?p=18539634&postcount=131

        April 1, 2014

        It was supposed to be the movie that cemented them as a couple and move them forward from the roles they had been playing. Instead, it was the end for all practical purposes of their careers. When the movie wrapped they both went their separate ways. When it first started, everything was great. The A list couple were excited to be filming together in the kind of movie they thought would bring them awards and acclaim and vault them into a level of acting they hadn’t been able to reach with previous roles.

        Both members of our couple were A list at the time. Our actress was forever talking about her craft and how she thought she was better than the roles in which she was being cast. This was before the internet and the tabloids didn’t really focus on the couple. If they had, they would have seen both of them using drugs on a daily basis. Our actress met a co-star on the set and there were sparks. Here was a man. Someone who was worldly. He was not the star he or force he is today in movies but his intensity was there and she ended up in his bed within days after they first had a scene together on set. Our actor in the couple didn’t handle this well and the drug use increased to the point where his performance started to suffer. It took hours to film scenes that should have taken thirty minutes. To get back at our actress he started sleeping with an actress on the set. She was older than our actor but it didn’t matter to him. He was trying to make his partner jealous. It didn’t work. Meanwhile, the co-star he was having a fling with was falling in love with him and thought they had a future together. She was a mess for a year after filming ended and she found herself dumped.

        It is amazing to see how one film and what happened on the set derailed the careers of actors who thought they were moving forward and instead never achieved anything close to what they had before filming started.

        Molly Ringwald/Andrew McCarthy/”Fresh Horses”/Viggo Mortensen/Patti D’Arbanville

        Like

    • On why Molly Ringwald never became a regular movie star:

      http://www.samizdata.net/2002/12/on-why-molly-ringwald-never-be/

      Michael Jennings tackles, albeit only in passing, one of the late twentieth century’s most enduring and to many most mysterious of questions: why did Molly Ringwald, given the excellence of her performances in such fine movies as Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink, never make it as big in the movies as she should have? Why, from the late eighties onwards, was the Ringwald career ride mostly downhill?

      I think I can throw some light on this problem.

      Molly then

      Ms. Ringwald was a totally convincing and attractive teenager, certainly from where I was sitting. However, she did have one drawback. She was one of those females who, through no fault of her own, gives the impression of being just one misfortune away from bursting into tears. In a teenager this quality is tolerable, even endearing. Why can’t those bigger boys see what a fine and sweet girl Molly is? Why are those rich bitches from the posh side of the tracks being so nasty to Molly? Poor Molly. Somebody do something. You, handsome rich boy, dump your shallow girlfriend and give Molly a ride in your red Porsche. And as for you Andrew McCarthy, for once in your life show a bit of backbone!

      Unfortunately for Molly, however, as teens turned into twenties, and then thirties, and then whatever the lady is now, she still gives off the same victimhood vibe, and whereas this used to tug at the heartstrings; now, on those rare occasions when we still witness it, it merely gets on the nerves. What had formerly seemed innocently melancholy – an artless appeal for aid and comfort – now seems frozen into a manipulative routine that ought to have been caste aside. Girl-girls are fine, one of nature’s greatest bounties. But girl-women? Let’s just say that this is the kind of thing that has to be done right. So when Molly the Woman hove into view, still with the exact same lacrimosity threat problem, the reaction was: Grow up woman. Stop your whining. This is not the stuff of which lady film stars are made.

      Molly now

      Please understand, Ms Ringwald (after all we’re talking about a woman who may now have time on her hands and could well be reading this – especially if she thinks she might learn from this posting how she could become a movie star), please understand that I am not offering a personal criticism of your personal qualities, which are probably not at all as I have described them. I am talking about your screen persona, the way you come across in the cinema, in front of the cameras. You come across, on screen, as one of life’s victims, and what is worse as a victim not so much of circumstances as of an inadequately developed character. Sorry, but there it is.

      (It occurs to me that another bratpacker of that vintage and another would-be movie star, Rob Lowe, now to be seen in the political TV drama “The West Wing”, has suffered in recent years from a rather similar problem. Coming of age, beautiful. Come of age, not convincing. Not the finished article.)

      But please understand also, Ms. Ringwald, just how fabulous you were in your all-too-brief years of glory. Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink are two of my all time favourite movies.

      Like

    • I actually remember reading an interview with Winona that she disliked Hughes movies- she thought the characters were a bit 2D. I don’t remember if she mentioned turning any of his roles down- but there is an overlap in their careers.

      Like

      • I could see that. Ryder came along just as the Brat Pack backlash was starting. She was getting better roles than what you would expect to find in Hughes movies.

        Like

  14. Good article and yeah, because of her being typecast Ringwald’s career would have imploded, anyway, but you sugar coate the real issue. She bit the hand that fed her. Period. She decided she had outgrown the man who made her career and no one else worthwhile would touch her.

    Good life lesson.

    Like

    • Ringwald did bite the hand that feeds her to an extent. But I don’t think I’m sugar coating that. I do downplay it a little for a couple of reasons. One, she was a teen who had basically been handed a ridiculous amount of success. She couldn’t be expected to understand what was going on. Hughes on the other hand was a grown man who took the “betrayal” a lot more personally than he should have. Two, I don’t really think she made the wrong call. Hughes was going to keep casting her in the same movie over and over again until audiences stopped showing up. And then he would have dropped her like a sack of potatoes. Ringwald might have gotten a couple more hits out of staying with Hughes. But the end result would have been the same no matter what. I can’t blame her for trying something else.

      Like

      • I remember reading about Hughes when he died- he had some interesting character flaws. At the height of his success- and it was high- he sounded like a real diva.

        He would almost be a good subject for WTHH, Director version. He basically retired from directing- although he wrote a lot of scripts.

        Like

  15. Molly will be profiled this Sunday on Where are They Now on Oprah’s OWN net…….check local listings for time!!!

    Like

  16. After her breakout in The Decendants,anyone believe that Mol’s Secret Life castmate Shailene Woodley can avoid the
    missteps that Mol had made post-John Hughes,’specially with the much-hyped Divergent due out next March?????

    Like

  17. Wow, Lebeau, with all that talk of reinvention, how could you miss MALICIOUS? Well, easily, really, as everyone else did, but your article essentially says Molly took most of the ’90s off, when, in fact, she worked steadily throughout it. She was in THE STAND. MALICIOUS was an entry in the then-booming “erotic thriller” genre, another effort at reinvention. For the first (and, as far as I know, only) time, she threw in some nudity, and managed to get press for it.

    Like

  18. Let’s give out a happy 46th to Le Mol today!!!!!

    Like

  19. Check out this interview of Mol on Merv Griffin not long after 16 Candles came out &
    filming had wrapped on The Breakfast Club…………..

    Like

    • Funny. He’s so old and she’s such a typical teen.

      Like

    • Merv Griffin had such a reputation for being really square amongst us 80s kids, but boy did he get big interviews in his day.

      Like

      • Merv hit his stride in the 60’s & 70’s but by the time of this chat he knew he was out of
        element & within a year & a half of this clip he pulled the plug on his chat fest……..at
        least he still had his Wheel of Fortune to run!!!!

        Like

  20. New project for Le Mol…………….

    http://comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=118581

    Like

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