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.


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. 127 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.


    • 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…


  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.


    • 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.


      • Who exactly was the Brat Pack????


        • 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,


        • 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.


        • 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.


        • 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.


        • 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.


        • 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.


        • 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.


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


  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.


    • 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.


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


    • 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.


      • Pretty Woman Was Supposed To Be A Much Grittier Film:

        It’s the 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman and as a result, we’re looking back at the romantic comedy responsible for launching the amazingly successful career of its leading lady Julia Roberts. Among the many interesting details surrounding the Gary Marshall-directed film is the fact that it was initially supposed to be much, much grittier.

        In remembering the 1990 film Pretty Woman, fans probably likely recall it as a delightful romance story following the wealthy businessman and silver fox Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), who falls for his incredibly lovable escort with a heart of gold, Vivian Ward (Roberts). While that’s essentially what the movie became, it wasn’t always so glossy and romantic. In fact the film wasn’t even originally supposed to be a romantic comedy, but rather a dark drama. According to Yahoo Movies, the original script written by J.F. Lawton was actually titled $3,000, in reference to the amount of money the characters agree upon for their spending the week together. Doesn’t have the same ring to it as Pretty Woman, does it?

        Not only did the title of Pretty Woman go through changes, the lead character Vivian made quite a transformation from script to screen as well. Turns out on the page she was initially a coke addict—which may have had something to do with why Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald and Meg Ryan all passed on the role. The character was so offensive, actress Daryl Hannah reportedly called the it degrading to women.

        Remnants of the original film’s grit can be seen through Vivian’s cocaine-addicted twitchy behavior, which Edward repeatedly comments on in numerous scenes. The darker side of the film is also revealed through some of the scenes that hit the cutting room floor, one of which involved a group of drug dealers who attempt to collect their debt by confronting Edward and Vivian—one of them threatening the pair with a skateboard equipped with a pop-out knife. Crafty and dangerous!

        Pretty Woman may have been intended to be a darker, more cautionary tale about prostitution and class in Los Angeles but the truth is it benefited greatly from its ultimate transformation into the iconic romantic comedy we know today. Grossing over $450 million dollars, it’s difficult to argue it could have come even close to generating that kind of money had it held tightly to its original state. Had Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis, or Al Pacino been cast in the role of Edward (the former two considered, the lattermost turned it down), the film would have, again, likely had a much different tone. Thanks to Marshall, Roberts and Gere we can look back fondly on the now-iconic 90s rom-com… and potentially look forward to it becoming a Broadway musical.


  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.


    • 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.


      • 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.


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

      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.


    • Andrew McCarthy and Emilio Estevez can act. Check out “The Joy Luck Club” and “Young Guns,” respectively. Better actors than Rob Lowe and Demi Moore imo.


  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


  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.


    • 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.


      • 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.


        • 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.


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

          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.


      • 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!


        • 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.


    • 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.


      • 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.


        • 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.



        They’re both movies that strike me as being part of the optimistic culture of the 90’s, of which there indeed was plenty of optimism because Gosh darnit, the Cold War was over and the new millennium was right around the corner and sure to be amazing! And not to get too dark….but then 9/11 happened.

        Of course there was a lot of cynicism in the 90’s too, we all know the stereotypical image of a Daria like teenager from the era who’s favorite word was “whatever”, there was also fears that this new millennium thing might go wrong somehow, hence stuff like Y2K fears, but that’s one of the many things I find fascinating about the 90’s, the juxtaposition between the optimism and the cynicism.

        By the way, one of the last examples of that type of attitude I can think is Schwarzenegger’s The Sixth Day, which was both about that very 90’s sci fi obsession, cloning and also claimed Arnold’s character was a veteran of the “rainforest wars”, the whole idea of America going to war to save the rainforest is so….cute.


    • Thread: When did the 80s actually end?

      I was born at the beginning of 1990, and I’m 23 years old, and from what I remember, the 90s definitely didn’t end right in the year 2000. The year 2000 was pretty much identical to 1999, and the early 2000s still had a lot of 90s flavor. I have no problem considering the year 2000 part of the 90s when it comes to the pop culture. It wasn’t measurably different whatsoever. I’d say the 00s started in 2001 in a political sense and maybe 2003 in a cultural sense, when crunk and emo got popular and blogging became a popular hobby.

      Even 2005 had a lot of 90s artists hit the charts. I don’t think the 90s felt like a distant time until maybe ’06.

      Was it similar for the 80s into the early 90s? 1990 still seems pretty 80s to me, aside from the fact that was the year that hip hop music and culture really exploded in my opinion. But other than that, I don’t think the 90s really began until 1991, and the 80s weren’t totally dead by any means until 93/94.

      And since the mid 90s to late 00s in many ways, forms a distinct “Millennial Era”, you could practically induct the whole early 90s as part of the “greater eighties” when compared to the 15 years or so afterwards. But then again I wasn’t really around then – am I dead wrong?

      I don’t think you can just draw a line at 12/31/89 and say “this is 80s culture” on one side and then “this is 90s culture” on the other. Even though I was born in 1990, I’ve always felt like I was born in the 80s, since I was born so early that I can actually remember the 90s quite well. I relate to people born in the 80s moreso generationally than I do to people born well into the 90s. People born from 82-91 are “90s kids” primarily while people born from 92 onwards would have nostalgia for the early 00s that I do not.


  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).


    • 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.


    • 10 Actors Who Stupidly Turned Down Iconic Roles

      Molly Ringwald – Pretty Woman

      The Role: Vivian Ward

      For a while there in the 80s, Molly Ringwald was the princess of Hollywood, thanks to her performances in classic fare like Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club before the tail-end of the 80s brought less successful films, followed by obscurity for the best part of the past two decades. it would have been an awful lot different for Ringwald if she had decided to accept the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman, which eventually led to an Oscar-nomination and a sparkling career for Julia Roberts, who didn’t turn it down.

      Perhaps the chance to play a prostitute made Ringwald balk, given her family’s sensibilities: David Lynch had apparently sent her the screenplay of Blue Velvet to try and get her interested in playing Sandy, but Molly’s mother read it first, and refused to show it to Molly because she was disturbed by it.

      Who knows, if she’d accepted the role, Molly could have went on to have greater longevity in her career, going on to make important films like Erin Brockovitch, rather than becoming a footnote from the 80s and a figure of fun in Family Guy.


      • She didn’t turn down Pretty Woman. She turned down $3000, the original script, in which Vivian was a cokehead and the film ended with Edward pushing her out of his car and throwing the money after her. Michelle Pfeiffer and Meg Ryan also turned down this version; were they stupid?


        • This is an excellent point which I bring up all the time.

          Additionally, if Ringwald – or anyone else who passed on the movie – had starred in it, it probably wouldn’t have been the massive hit it was with Julia Roberts. What made the movie a phenomenon was America falling in love with Roberts. We had already fallen in and were currently out of love with Ringwald at the time.


        • I immediately assume that “Pretty Woman” became what it became (a modern day take on the “Cinderella” story) due to Garry Marshall’s influence. It has been stated on here that Marshall had a habit for better or for worse, of taking otherwise gritty material and “sweetening it”. Another example is “Frankie and Johnnie” in which Michelle Pfeiffer was cast as a supposedly plain, world-weary waitress over Kathy Bates, who played the part in the off-Broadway play.


  10. 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.


    • 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?


      • 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.


      • I heard that John Hughes also became disillusioned and burned out on the Hollywood system, especially after his friend John Candy suddenly died in 1994 from a heart attack.


    • #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.


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

    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….


    • 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.


      • 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.


        • 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.


        • 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.


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

    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.


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

    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.


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


      • Re: The Blind Item Reveal Thread.

        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


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

      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.


    • 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.


      • 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.


    • No, she did not deliberately stand up Lilian Gish. It gets repeated a lot, the story of how the legendary Lillian Gish was cruelly ignored by thoughtless, arrogant Molly Ringwald. Okay, Gish being a legend is true, but the charge of Molly bailing on the interview without notice, out of arrogance, ignorance or carelessness, is not.

      “Early in my career I was asked to do an interview with Lillian Gish and I was really excited. But then everything got screwed up, I smashed my finger in a door, the taxi took me to the wrong end of town, it was the middle of winter, I couldn’t get another taxi, and I was heart-broken because they said she didn’t want to do it anymore. So I got flowers and wrote her a note and said how sorry I was, and they just wrote this sort of… like… horrible piece on how I stood up this sweet old woman who had a plate of cookies waiting for me. I mean they couldn’t have written it to be worse. They got a much better article out of me that way than if I’d showed up, and it started this feeling that I was a bratty actress who didn’t care and left people waiting. I’ve never been the kind of person who would do that.”

      That was People magazine, early 1987. A retrospective issue in honor of the 100th anniversary of Hollywood (not of the motion picture industry; just Hollywood, the city). They arranged an interview between Gish, the oldest living ingenue, and Ringwald, the current ingenue. I did find a link to the original People magazine article.,,20095610,00.html And I think I see why people remember the incident the way they do.

      “The appointment was for noon. Miss Gish waited patiently until almost 3 p.m. Then she said sadly, ‘I guess she doesn’t care because I’m old.'”

      If only they hadn’t printed that quote! I’m sure “doesn’t care” was how it looked to Gish, at that moment, but it wasn’t true, and there was no basis for “because I’m old”. The circumstances were bad all the way around. Ringwald had no crew: no assistant, no driver, and if she had a publicist, s/he must not have been there on site. And she didn’t have a cell phone, and she didn’t know her way around NYC. And funnily enough, Gish’s age did have something to do with it. Interviews often take place at a neutral, public site like a restaurant, but at Gish’s age, she wasn’t going out much. If the interview had been at the Russian Tea Room (still existed back then), the cab driver would have already known where it was. But when you start with a broken finger, then try to get to an unfamiliar address in an unfamiliar city, in December…Sometimes when things go wrong, they keep going wrong. Perhaps Ringwald could have followed up better, with a more effective apology. And perhaps if Christopher Reeve had pulled up his horse before that jump, he would have walked away that afternoon.

      Just wanted to put that out there, because I seem to encounter this anecdote every time Ringwald’s name comes up in a whatever-happened-to discussion. It’s often given as an explanation for why her career stalled. I actually don’t think it hurt her professionally, only in the public eye. She did six movies in three years after this incident, and IMO, they are what stalled her career. Nowadays, people have a vague memory of what Gish said at the time, and they haven’t heard Ringwald’s version of events. So it makes her look bad, but looking bad is not being bad.


    • “What happened to Thora Birch?” I watched both Ghost World and American Beauty recently. She was solid and pretty in movies made by people more talented than herself — much like Ringwald. Is that supposed to guarantee you a career?


      • It obviously doesn’t or Birch and Ringwald both would have had better careers. The one thing I will say is that Hollywood is a lot less forgiving of an actress who is just a pretty face than they are of actors of a similar talent-level. But even for top tier talent, there’s no guarantee.


    • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

      I feel like Molly Ringwald is like the teen equivalent of Shirley Temple- beloved child star that nobody wanted to see grow up. (Although it really is a shame- Shirley did a wonderful job in The Best Years of Our Lives, and I bet she could’ve had an adult career with the right role and a public willing to accept her as a woman and not a little girl.

      Speaking of the movie’s stars, I feel like Andrew McCarthy was probably screwed by both his alcoholism, and I think he had a hard time with not being able to do the cute young guy act.


  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.


    • 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.


      • 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.



      Ironically, she played different types of characters in those movies, at least in terms of class. Sixteen Candles, she was middle class, Breakfast Club she was upper class and Pretty in Pink she was lower.


  15. 10 Awesome Actors Who Fell Hard From The Spotlight:

    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.


    • John Hughes Films: Ranked From Worst To Best

      Sixteen Candles

      Okay, now we’re getting into what John Hughes did best: the coming-of-age teen film. Curly Sue and She’s Having a Baby failed to resonate with critics and audiences in part because they dealt with adult characters and themes. Hughes undoubtedly excelled when writing dialogue for teenagers and young people. He just had an ear for it.
      That talent is on full display in Sixteen Candles, the first film directed by Hughes.

      Another talent on display is that of his young cast, notably eighties teen queen Molly Ringwald, who cuts a very sympathetic figure as the unlucky in love Sam, who struggles with her chaotic adolescent existence (and her crush on a popular senior) on her sixteenth birthday – which her preoccupied family have forgotten about.

      The dialogue is good, but the plotting is a bit haphazard and the film has also retroactively been criticized/condemned for supposed racial stereotyping with the character of Long Duk Dong, as well as an unsettling scene that seems to implicitly condone date rape.

      Those negatives aside (and there is no getting around them when watching the film in 2015), Sixteen Candles is an enjoyable film thanks in large part to the performances and Hughes’ knack for writing believable, funny dialogue for teenagers.


    • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

      It seems like the feud started purely for professional reasons, then became something else. John Hughes definitely put Molly Ringwald on the map, but she also became typecast as “the actress from John Hughes movies.” Molly said on the Professor Blastoff podcast that she would go to auditions where casting people would flat out tell her that they couldn’t imagine her playing any other role except a character in a John Hughes movie. And she felt that hurt her career. So she began to turn down parts in John Hughes movies, and that led to them not speaking for 20 years. But apparently, they made up before he died.


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


  17. 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?????


  18. 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.


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


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


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


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


      • 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……
        least he still had his Wheel of Fortune to run!!!!


  21. New project for Le Mol…………….


  22. We’re obsessed with Molly Ringwald now more than ever:


  23. This Hughs dude sounds a bit creepy TBH. A grown man puts a random teen’s picture on his desk for “inspiration”. Try telling that story without the 16 candles context

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I think Terrence’s quote above covers a good chunk of what stopped working for Molly:

    ||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.||

    Also, I think she was also an example of something somewhat unusual: a young person who grew out of her good looks instead of further into them. When I was a teen in the theater, I thought Molly was absolutely stunning. In her 20s and 30s, she was still attractive but just didn’t become a raving beauty (and not due to weight gain or anything like that).

    Thus, I think she grew out of both the acting style and the looks that worked for her in the Hughes movies.


  25. Ringwald made questionable decisions on scripts. For instance she did The Pick-up Artist because she had a crush on Robert Downey Jr., and she took on Fresh Horses hoping to play a character that imo she failed at playing. She apparently couldn’t run back to Hughes, because he was mad at her for not just hanging around being grateful to him and being his muse as long as he wanted. She is also very blunt, which I assume some people have interpreted as “difficult.” Ringwald doesn’t have all that much range as a comedic or dramatic actress, she’s just a competent actress who’s gorgeous.


    • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

      Molly Ringwald’s adult role in “The Pick-up Artist” opposite Robert Downing Jr. in a very non John Hughes persona was very good. She wasn’t Meryl Streep but I think she was a competent enough actress with some appeal beyond her teens; I think part of the problem was that she was a female teenage star icon, like say, Winona Ryder, and by the early 30’s HW doesn’t quite know what to do with actresses in that mold. Whereas Male actors can really get going in their careers in their mid thirties…

      Apparently her agent or mother turned down “Blue Velvet” which she was offered first. Now that would have been interesting…


  26. Celebrate ’80s Teen Queen Molly Ringwald’s Most Memorable Roles:

    Thanks to her work with director John Hughes, Molly Ringwald was one of the most iconic teenagers in film history. The thing that set Ringwald apart was how relatable she was. Yes, her films were fantasy versions of high school: the unpopular girl gets the popular boy (except for The Breakfast Club), overcomes some kind of adversity, and ends up a hero. However, teen girls could see themselves in her shoes. She had the same insecurities, same desires, and in some cases, the same family issues. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we didn’t have Jake Ryan pining away for us. Despite that, she was still the everygirl in the pink dress with a sharp tongue and a desire to succeed.

    While her career waned after the 80s, Ringwald’s impact on popular film should not be discounted. She has a role in the upcoming Jem and the Holograms reboot, so hopefully a career resurgence is on the way. Until then, check out these films and decide whether or not she made the right decision at the end of Pretty in Pink. #TeamDucky

    Sixteen Candles

    Samantha Baker is having a bad day. Her “perfect” older sister is getting married, her weird family is in town, and everyone has forgotten her birthday. Luckily for her, her seemingly unattainable crush, dreamboat Jack Ryan, reciprocates her feelings. Sure, she may make the mistake of giving her underwear to a nerd, but at least Jake is waiting to take her away from it all in the end.

    The Breakfast Club

    Outside of Dashboard Confessional lyrics, The Breakfast Club may be the best representation of teen angst in pop culture. Since its release in 1985, the classic archetypes of the Princess, the Athlete, the Brain, the Basket Case, and the Criminal have permeated the cultural landscape. Ringwald’s spoiled but sad Claire is a great example of how this film added depth to the stereotypes.

    Pretty in Pink

    Ringwald played opposite fellow Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy as Andie, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, who falls in love with Blane, country club member and popular prep. Despite Jon Cryer at his most appealing and James Spader at his most villainous (sorry, Ultron) crowding the screen, Ringwald manages to stand out in her iconic pink dress.

    The Pick Up Artist

    While this movie may not hold up as well as some, no one can deny that the chemistry between Ringwald and a young Robert Downey Jr. is worth a watch. While I will never believe for a minute that a girl like Ringwald would be in debt to the mob, at least they’re cute.

    For Keeps?

    Ringwald keeps this film from going into total after-school-special-mode as Darcy, a pregnant and married teen. Instead of immediately becoming preternaturally wise and selfless at the prospect of motherhood, Darcy is still as spoiled and bratty as any teen. Maybe not the most likable, but perhaps realistic.

    Fresh Horses

    Ringwald and McCarthy reunite, this time for a Serious Film (TM). It’s a better experience if you pretend that it’s Andie and Blane from Pretty in Pink meeting up years later for a torrid affair. Those two were never going to last anyway. Bonus Viggo Mortensen in one of his earliest roles!

    Betsy’s Wedding

    Directed by Twitter hero Alan Alda, Ringwald returned to her comedy roots with Betsy’s Wedding. She plays to type as a lovable weirdo with an eccentric, homemade wardrobe who clashes with a family of WASPs.

    Not Another Teen Movie

    Ringwald’s cameo ties with Chris Evans in a whipped cream bikini as the best moment in this parody film. No one else is more qualified to comment on the ridiculousness of teen movies. F*cking teenagers.


  27. Molly Ringwald is also a published author of fiction. She wrote a novel in 2012 entitled ‘When it Happens to You.’ I found it at the library one day at random and when
    I saw her named as the author, thought “what the ….? “. But I decided to give her a shot and I was so glad that I did! I really enjoyed the story. She has a fantastic and easy-going writing style.
    My overall opinion of her changed after that. I always thought she was a pretty good actress, but she really is a well-rounded talent IMO.


  28. Molly Ringwald talks to Us about going back to the ’80s with #JemTheMovie:


    • The ‘Jem And The Holograms’ Film Is Tanking And The Director Is Getting Death Threats

      It’s been a rough weekend for John Chu. After spending nearly a decade developing and making Jem and the Holograms, the film is tanking at the box office in its opening weekend. Even tanking would probably be putting it lightly at this point, as the movie is set to have the worst opening weekend for a wide release…ever. Not exactly the career boost the director of multiple Step Up films and GI Joe: Retaliation was hoping for.

      On top of the insult of low box office receipts, Chu also has to deal with the weight brought by angry fans going all out to make sure he knows how disappointed they are with the film. As Chu told the Film Independent Forum during his Filmmaker Keynote this weekend according to THR:

      “I get fans sending me hate mail, I get death threats, I get racist remarks — it’s a really fun business,” he said. “Reviewers have been harsh, to say it lightly.”

      Not cool, fans. Even though the film version of the popular ’80’s cartoon may not be the best possible adaptation of the material, no one should receive death threats over a movie. After all, the crux of the original cartoon is that Jem and the rest of the group were good and fun, unlike rival band The Misfits. These fans are just real life versions of The Misfits, and no one should strive for that comparison.

      Watch Chu’s complete keynote speech below and spare some sympathy for a director who tried his hardest to make a good movie even if it didn’t work out so well this time. Or, if you’re one of the angry fans, you can go watch the original cartoon and forget the movie even happened. Most of the country is apparently already unaware it exists.


      • Jem and the Hologram live action movie (spoilers)

        Post by Marc Quill’s Hat on yesterday at 5:06pm
        yesterday at 2:49pm StarSpangled Clash With A Plan said:
        yesterday at 1:37pm kidglov3s said:
        I think that’s the bummer? Because Josie and The Pussycats was so good. I want to say it’s criminally overlooked but more and more I’m reading people talk it up so I think it’s starting to get more attention and appreciation.

        When it first came out, I don’t think a lot of critics truly got it. It was both a loving tribute and an elaborate roasting of all the commercial teen pop tropes that were big in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, and at the same time the movie had sort of a bouncy and bubbly tone that stayed true to the original concept.

        The filmmakers realized their source material was ludicrous, so they made their adaption even more so. Whereas it looks like the makers of this Jem flick took a bizarre musical fantasy and scrubbed it down into a Saturday night ABC Family original movie.

        If anything, the Jem movie is basically playing straight what Josie & the Pussycats parodied back in 2000.


  29. Mixed about the infamous Molly Ringwald

    To confess something wicked, I’m actually kind of on the fence about Molly Ringwald as an actress. There was a time back in the eighties when she was a hot property, and was on her way to the big leagues before failed attempts to broaden appeal to audiences after her breakaway from director John Hughes sank any chance of that occurring. After that, Ringwald started appearing in really, really low quality fare, mostly television movies and direct to video releases. In recent years, she appears to have been slowly resurfacing from the abyss. Whether or not that’s a good thing is a point of contention. Of the three John Hughes films she did, only one, The Breakfast Club, can truly be considered great, and even then, she was being backed up by other actors. Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink are good, but looking back at them now, they’re definitely more flash than substance. In high school, when I mentioned that I was a Ringwald fan, I was the butt of much derisive laughter. It’s as if Ringwald has significantly devolved in stature from an up-and-coming talent to a punchline about everything wrong with 1980s actresses, and a shadow of her former self.


  30. Ringwald is among the who’s who of WTHH subjects (Zellweger, Kilmer, Ryder, Fraser, Winger, Campbell) to appear on WatchMojo’s Another Top 10 Movie Stars Who Dropped Off the Map


  31. Cast Of Sixteen Candles: How Much Are They Worth Now?

    Molly Ringwald

    Estimated Net Worth: $11 million. We all know and love Molly Ringwald for the roles she played in our favorite teen movies back in the ’80s like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. She’s also had starring roles in a few small films like Bad Night, Jem, Cowboy Up, Cut, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Office Killer, Malicious and For Keeps. When it comes to television, she landed two lead roles, first in the series The Stand, then Townies and more recently as Anne Juergens in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her biggest career breakthroughs have been starring in John Hughes films back in the ’80s, although she’s continued to work, she will always be most well recognized for her teen movies. She’s still managed to remain successful and has an estimated net worth of $11 million.


    • Cast Of Pretty In Pink: How Much Are They Worth Now?

      Molly Ringwald

      Estimated Net Worth: $11 million. This ’80s ‘it girl’ was miss popular when it came to choosing actress for teenage flicks back in the day like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. As her career carried on she took on more film roles in movies like Bad Night, Jem, Cowboy Up, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Office Killer, Malicious and For Keeps. Lately, she’s been more focused on building a career in television with roles in series like The Stand, Townies and most recently as Anne Juergens in The Secret Life of American Teenager. Her biggest career moments were definitely back in the ’80s, but she’s managed to continue on working and remain successful with an estimated net worth at $11 million.


  32. Blockbuster Buster: Jem and the Holograms (2015)


  33. Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: Jem and the Holograms (2015)

    Even though we just did the review, we couldn’t contain our anger on this one… LOTS of anger.


  34. Why We Don’t Hear About Molly Ringwald Anymore

    Molly Ringwald was once a staple of American cinema, thanks to classic ’80s movies such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Nowadays though, you hardly hear from her anymore. How did she go from bonafide movie star to distant memory? Here’s what we know.


    • 6 ’80s And ’90s Stars Making A Comeback

      Molly Ringwald

      Molly Ringwald rose to fame in the ’80s after starring in a number of teen films like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and For Keeps. She was quickly deemed a teen icon and member of the “Brat Pack.” Ringwald continued to act in the ’90s, but there’s no doubt she was at the peak of her fame in the ’80s. In the early 2000s she started working on stage in Broadway musicals and her on-screen credits dropped dramatically. She was cast in The Secret Life of the American Teenager from 2008 to 2013, but made her big return to television in 2016 with a lead role on the television series Raising Expectations and more recently in the new series, Riverdale.


  35. .@TheCW’s #Riverdale casts @MollyRingwald in a key role:


  36. What Happened to Molly Ringwald – News & Updates

    If you watched movies during the 1980’s, you’ve probably heard of Molly Ringwald. She was considered one of the greatest teen actresses of her time, and today she is a member of the Brat Pack. Molly was arguably one of the most famous actresses among teens during her time, but today, she isn’t nearly as talked about as she once was. Has Molly Ringwald retired for acting? She’s getting older, so that wouldn’t be too unreasonable to assume. In this article, I’m going to be answering that key question, among others. I’ll go over Molly’s rise to success (as well as her slow decline) while also making sure to take the time to update her fans as to what she has been doing more recently. Without further ado, let’s see what this former teen actress is up to.



    Even at the peak of her popularity, I had always found red-headed brat-packer Molly Ringwald to be one of the most irritating, WASPy, asexual icons the 80s had to offer. To see her in film, I felt, was to begin to know why Americans are always getting murdered or taken hostage in foreign countries. After Pretty in Pink I was ready to go volunteer for the Ayatollah and start picking off Americans myself.

    Fortunately, Molly’s flight to lasting stardom was halted when it dropped off the mainstream radar in 1988. Years later, like 40+ year old actresses trying to jump-start their careers by posing in Playboy, Molly appeared topless in Malicious, a straight-to-video Fatal Attraction ripoff targeted at the 20-something demographic. Say what you will about the movie, but it did change my whole perspective on her: instead of wanting to smack her off the screen as before, I now find that I can put up with her in small doses as long as she’s naked. Which is why she’s on this site, and why, except for a token few, the only pictures here are from Malicious. Those seeking other, non-Malicious pictures (or non-malicious commentary) can find them at the sites listed below.


    • But what’s the use of her being topless when she has no breasts? Or has that changed since her teens?

      MR’s character in Breakfast Club was originally supposed to be a busty cheerleader, and the lipstick stunt was left over from that. In the original script, “Cathy” was to unbutton her blouse, exposing cleavage and lace. “Claire” puts the lipstick…where, exactly? In a bra that holds nothing, I suppose, but it’s hardly suggestive.


  38. I have NEVER been able to understand the Molly Ringwald thing. She’s not particularly pretty- not in the Hollywood, way, and maybe in the girl-next-door way when she a was a teenager, but never after 25 or so. But so much worse: SHE IS A TERRIBLE ACTRESS! How can no one else see this?? In The Stand, I could hardly take her scenes; she recited her lines like she was riding them. Now whenever I see her, I can’t get over how she ever had a career to begin with. I literally came to this site just to try to understand. I still don’t. Maybe it has to do with the style of acting in a different era, just like Clark Gable or Audrey Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor did a different kind of acting in their day than would be acceptable now. “Classically trained” so to speak. I was only born in 1982, so maybe that’s it. But I love old movies; I hate Molly Ringwald. So I don’t get it.


    • The knock that I’ve read regarding Molly Ringwald as an actress is that her characters in “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink” while seen as progressive for the time, are now (as TVTropes likes to put it) viewed as “wangsty, egotistical Jerkasses”. And even in “The Breakfast Club” (which was really more of an ensemble piece than a full-blown Molly Ringwald vehicle) her performance was seen as one of the weaker elements.

      I think that it all comes to Molly not really having enough of a “likable vibe”. She in hindsight (or maybe even at the time if you look more into it), often come off as bitchy, sour, and rude, even if she is playing a role. And in “The Stand”, from what I’ve others have said, her performance just came off as hollow, not convincing, and plastic.


  39. Molly Ringwald pays tribute to former Pretty in Pink co-star Henry Stanton

    Molly Ringwald is mourning the death of her former co-star Henry Stanton.

    On Sept. 16, 2017, in a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Ringwald remembered the actor who played her father in the 1986 film Pretty in Pink.

    “Having the chance to work with Harry Dean has been a highlight of my career. In everything he touched, Harry radiated soulfulness and complete authenticity,” the actress said. “I will miss him.”

    John Cryer, who starred as Duckie alongside Stanton and Ringwald in Pretty in Pink also released a statement writing, “One of the most lovely, surreal moments I’ve ever had in Hollywood was the night I went to a party that had a country band sort of twanging away in the corner. At one point this ghostly, gorgeous voice cut through the din. I turned to see Harry Dean Stanton on the tiny stage playing with the band,” the actor said in a statement to ET. “I’d come to know Harry as an incomparable character actor with a grizzled seen-it-all demeanor. But I was unprepared for his beautiful, affecting singing voice. It was the very definition of soulful. And I suppose I’ll feel a little better knowing that soul has found peace. Rest In Peace Harry.”


  40. Molly Ringwald Recalls Jeffrey Katzenberg Comment in Revealing Essay About Hollywood Harassment

    In a statement to THR, Katzenberg said, “That Molly Ringwald had to read those words attributed to me and believe I said them is horrifying, mortifying and embarrassing to me.”
    In an essay for The New Yorker, Molly Ringwald reflected on her own experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood, including an explicit comment once made by Jeffrey Katzenberg.

    “The head of a major studio — and, incidentally, someone who claims himself to be horrified by the Harvey allegations — was quoted as saying, ‘I wouldn’t know [Molly Ringwald] if she sat on my face,'” she said of a Movieline article in the 1990s, which included a reported quote from Katzenberg at the end of a paragraph about the song “Molly” by alternative rock group Sponge (included below). “Maybe he was misquoted. If he ever sent a note of apology, it must have gotten lost in the mail.”

    In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Katzenberg said, “That Molly Ringwald had to read those words attributed to me and believe I said them is horrifying, mortifying and embarrassing to me. Anyone who knows me now or back then knows I do not use language like that as a matter of course, or tolerate it. Ms. Ringwald, 22 years too late, I am deeply, deeply sorry.”

    The actress, currently appearing on the CW series Riverdale, also recalled when, at 13 years old, “a fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection;” at 14 years old, “a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set,” and later being asked by a director “to let the lead actor put a dog collar around my neck,” though it had nothing to do with the project’s plot.

    Lena Headey Details Encounter With Harvey Weinstein: “I Got Into My Car and I Cried”
    Her New Yorker piece, titled “All the Other Harvey Weinsteins,” comes after more than 40 women have accused the disgraced Hollywood mogul of sexual harassment and assault, dating back decades.

    “I could go on about other instances in which I have felt demeaned or exploited, but I fear it would get very repetitive. Then again, that’s part of the point,” she explained of harassment being pervasive in Hollywood. “I never talked about these things publicly because, as a woman, it has always felt like I may as well have been talking about the weather. Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected president.”

    She continued, “My hope is that Hollywood makes itself an example and decides to enact real change, change that would allow women of all ages and ethnicities the freedom to tell their stories — to write them and direct them and trust that people care. I hope that young women will one day no longer feel that they have to work twice as hard for less money and recognition, backward and in heels. It’s time.”

    In the op-ed, Ringwald also recalled working with Weinstein on the 1990 movie Strike It Rich. Ringwald was 20 years old at the time and fresh off starring in Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. “Thankfully, I wasn’t cajoled into a taxi, nor did I have to turn down giving or getting a massage. I was lucky,” she wrote. Still, she was warned that Harvey Weinstein and brother Bob “were becoming powerful and were difficult to work with, and that it was inadvisable to cross them,” and saw how Harvey Weinstein changed the film’s name, script, edit and advertising.

    “I was always a little mystified that Harvey had the reputation as a great tastemaker when he seemed so noticeably lacking in taste himself,” she wrote. “But he did have a knack for hiring people who had it, and I figured that’s what passes for taste in Hollywood.”

    Ringwald later sued for being denied her gross percentage of the film, and never worked with the Weinsteins afterward.

    Katzenberg — the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios and CEO of DreamWorks Animation, who now runs the digital media firm WndrCo — previously told The Hollywood Reporter that he “was paralyzed” when Weinstein asked him and other top Hollywood executives to publicly vouch for him ahead of his termination from The Weinstein Co. He responded to Weinstein’s request by saying, “You have done terrible things to a number of women over a period of years. I cannot in any way say this is OK with me. … It’s not at all, and I am sickened by it, angry with you and incredibly disappointed in you.”


    • Former Disney and Dreamworks head Jeffrey Katzenberg is forced to deny he made crude sexual remarks about Molly Ringwald after ’80s darling wrote about industry abuse she faced since age of 13



      By Molly Ringwald

      The tale of Harvey Weinstein is now a thread that has tangled its way through Hollywood, connecting women, mostly actresses, in a depressingly common way. We all seem to have a Harvey story, each one a little different but with essentially the same nauseating pattern and theme. Women were bullied, cajoled, manipulated, and worse, and then punished. My Harvey story is different, mostly because of timing. I was in one of the first films that Weinstein produced. I accepted a supporting role in a small movie based on “Loser Takes All,” the short novel by Graham Greene. I was twenty years old. The idea of playing a supporting role in a small British movie appealed to me after having just made a big splash in the John Hughes movies. Plus, I was an enormous fan of Greene’s writing. When we began filming, in France, I was warned about the producer, but I had never heard of him and had no reason to fear him. The feeling on the set was that he and his brother Bob were becoming powerful and were difficult to work with, and that it was inadvisable to cross them. During a dinner at the Chèvre d’Or, in a tiny medieval village, there was a tense, awkward moment when Harvey became testy toward our British co-workers and accused them of thinking of us Americans as just the “little guys in the colonies.” It was sort of meant as a joke, I suppose, but it made everyone cringe, and all I could think was that the guy was volatile. Thankfully, I wasn’t cajoled into a taxi, nor did I have to turn down giving or getting a massage. I was lucky. Or perhaps it was because, at that moment in time, I was the one with more power. “The English Patient,” Weinstein’s first Best Picture winner, was still a few years away. The worst I had to contend with was performing new pages that Harvey had someone else write, which were not in the script; my co-star, Robert Lindsay, and I had signed off to do a film adapted and directed by one person, and then were essentially asked to turn our backs on him and film scenes that were not what we had agreed to. We hadn’t even finished filming, and the movie was already being taken away from the director. After that, the film was completely taken away, recut, and retitled. Weinstein named it “Strike It Rich,” because he insisted that Americans couldn’t stand to have the word “loser” in a title. He also changed the poster: he had my head stuck onto another body, dressed in a form-fitting, nineteen-fifties-pinup-style dress, with a hand reaching out to accept a diamond, like Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” I wouldn’t have posed for a picture like that, since it had nothing to do with the character I portrayed; it struck me as ridiculous false advertising. (I was always a little mystified that Harvey had a reputation as a great tastemaker when he seemed so noticeably lacking in taste himself. But he did have a knack for hiring people who had it, and I figured that’s what passes for taste in Hollywood.) In any case, the film tanked. I had a percentage of the gross, and, as it turned out, you still make money if you have a gross percentage. I found this out about a year later, when my lawyer called to tell me that I had been denied the percentage owed to me. She asked if it was O.K. if she went after the Weinsteins. I ended up suing them for the money, which I got, and I never worked with Harvey or the company again. While my own Harvey story may be different, I have had plenty of Harveys of my own over the years, enough to feel a sickening shock of recognition. When I was thirteen, a fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection. When I was fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set. At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to become a sexually viable young woman, at every turn some older guy tried to help speed up the process. And all this went on despite my having very protective parents who did their best to shield me. I shudder to think of what would have happened had I not had them. In my twenties, I was blindsided during an audition when I was asked by the director, in a somewhat rhetorical manner, to let the lead actor put a dog collar around my neck. This was not remotely in the pages I had studied; I could not even fathom how it made sense in the story. The actor was a friend of mine, and I looked in his eyes with panic. He looked back at me with an “I’m really sorry” expression on his face as his hands reached out toward my neck. I don’t know if the collar ever made it on me, because that’s the closest I’ve had to an out-of-body experience. I’d like to think that I just walked out, but, more than likely, there’s an old VHS tape, disintegrating in a drawer somewhere, of me trying to remember lines with a dog collar around my neck in front of a young man I once had a crush on. I sobbed in the parking lot and, when I got home and called my agent to tell him what happened, he laughed and said, “Well, I guess that’s one for the memoirs. . . .” I fired him and moved to Paris not long after. After I moved to Paris, I put my career on the back burner, but I came back to the U.S. occasionally to work. The magazine Movieline decided to feature me on its cover, I guess because anyone who leaves Hollywood after having success seems intriguing on some level. In that article, the head of a major studio—and, incidentally, someone who claims himself to be horrified by the Harvey allegations—was quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t know [Molly Ringwald] if she sat on my face.” I was twenty-four at the time. Maybe he was misquoted. If he ever sent a note of apology, it must have gotten lost in the mail. I could go on about other instances in which I have felt demeaned or exploited, but I fear it would get very repetitive. Then again, that’s part of the point. I never talked about these things publicly because, as a woman, it has always felt like I may as well have been talking about the weather. Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected President. My hope is that Hollywood makes itself an example and decides to enact real change, change that would allow women of all ages and ethnicities the freedom to tell their stories—to write them and direct them and trust that people care. I hope that young women will one day no longer feel that they have to work twice as hard for less money and recognition, backward and in heels. It’s time. Women have resounded their cri de coeur. Listen. Molly Ringwald is an actress, author, and singer. She lives with her family in New York.

      Movie when Molly was 13: “Tempest”
      Movie when Molly was 14/director: “Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone”/Lamont Johnson
      Dog collar movie/actor friend:
      Head of major studio: Jeffrey Katzenberg


  41. Okay, since someone brought up Blue Velvet, that’s another supposed misstep that may have been blown out of proportion. I’m not convinced that the role was Ringwald’s to turn down. Of course I can’t prove anything, but I’m a big Lynchian, and I’ve never once heard him say that he regrets not getting the chance to cast MR as Sandy, or in any of his other films. Sure, she was sent the script, but I’m not buying “first choice”. ISTM that if Lynch wanted her that badly, he would have followed up: “Did she get the script?…Well,can she come in and read anyway?” When Laura Dern showed up, DL flipped. She was who he wanted for that role; forget anyone else. MR, with a different look, different demeanor and different acting style, was unlikely to have been cast over LD even if she had wanted to be.

    This is very much like Winona Ryder bleating “Gwyneth Paltrow stole the Shakespeare in Love script from me, and that’s why she was cast and has an Oscar, and I wasn’t and don’t!” Just being sent a script is no guarantee of anything. MR was probably thought of as a likely prospect, being a hotter property at that time than McLachlan, but I strongly suspect that “MR was the first choice!” is a detail that was added after years of “MR’s mother read the script and freaked!” being telephone-gamed.


  42. Here I go out on some thin ice. It’s entirely possible that what really hurt Ringwald’s career, in the long run, was continuing to work with John Hughes after Sixteen Candles. Seriously. Prior to SC, she’d mostly played quirky characters, and Samantha was an underdog. If she’d continued on in that vein, she wouldn’t have been a star, but she’d probably have had a more stable career in the long run. Someone who never achieves grace can’t fall from it.


    • D’oh! What I forgot to say was, I think she’s an okay actress; she’s just not a leading lady. If Hughes hasn’t tried to turn her into one, she wouldn’t have been boxed in like she was, where she could either keep getting leads or be a has-been. If she’d continued in the same vein as Ally Sheedy, her continued employment would not have been an issue.


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