She doesn't have anything you want to steal
Well, nothing you can touch
Isn't she pretty in pink?
The Psychedelic Furs
Molly Ringwald was perhaps the most popular teen actress of the mid 1980s. She is best known for her performances in the Brat Pack films (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink). Although those are far from her only performances, as she has acted in over 25 films, and has had roles in countless television productions.
She was born on February 18, 1968, and began her performance career at a very young age. But not as an actress. Molly's first performances were done with her father (Bob Ringwald, the leader of the Great Pacific Jazz Band). It seems that she had a remarkable singing talent (something she would come back to many times in the future), and even released a record album in 1974, it was entitled "I Wanna Be Loved by You - Molly Sings" (good luck finding a copy of that). Later in her career Molly would inspire a few recordings of her own ("The Fake Molly Ringwald", "I Love Molly Ringwald", "I Fingered Molly Ringwald", and two songs simply titled "Molly Ringwald").
In 1976 Molly appeared on the "New Mickey Mouse" club (at the age of eight), where she performed a medley of old jazz songs, ending with "I Wanna Be Loved By You" (which just happened to be the title track to her album). Her family soon moved to San Fernando Valley, where she was cast on The Facts of Life (which would be her first television series). She played the character of "Molly Parker" on that show for a year, before network executives revamped the show, and dropped several regular characters (including her). But that was probably for the best, as no one from The Facts of Life seemed to have much of a career after that show ended.
Molly was cast in her first film role in 1982, where she played "Miranda Dimitrius" in Tempest. Her entire family actually moved to a Greenwich Village flat in New York to help Molly prepare for this film (it seems that she was already the biggest breadwinner in the family). This performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination, and had a lot of people wondering why she was dropped from The Facts of Life in the first place.
Her newfound fame attracted the attention of John Hughes who cast her as the protagonist of Sixteen Candles. This was really the beginning of Molly's stardom, but in many ways it was the beginning of the end.
In Sixteen Candles she played the part of "Samantha", a nerdy (but adorable) girl who is suffering a full on case of teen angst. Her family has forgotten her sixteenth birthday because of her older sister's impending wedding. Meanwhile she is hopelessly in love with the school hunk, and is in turn being followed by "Farmer Ted" (Anthony Michael Hall).
This single film catapulted Ms. Ringwald to stardom. She was an instant teen idol, young boys everywhere wanted her, while young women everywhere wanted to be like her. (I myself was too young to have a crush on her then, but it came in time.)
Then came The Breakfast Club. Heartened by the relative success of Sixteen Candles, John Hughes decided to cast Molly in his very next film. This wonderful film was (unfortunately) the high point of Molly's career.
In this movie she played "Claire", a beautiful stuck up rich girl, who is stuck in saturday detention with a bunch of people that she would have never otherwise spoken to. Eventually she opens up to them, and admits that her life isn't perfect either. This was a powerful film, and was the best performance she ever gave.
Riding on the success of the last two films, John Hughes cast her again. This time in Pretty in Pink, where she played a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who lives with her father, and falls for a rich guy, and they both must learn how to cross social boundaries. This was a great film, but you could see that Molly was already beginning to slip, her co-stars were beginning to overshadow her performances.
If Molly had never made another movie after Pretty in Pink, she would still be just as fondly remembered today. But she went through a series of mediocre films, bad films, and made for tv movies. The last thing I saw her in that showed any glimpse of that Molly from brat pack films was her portrayal of "Frannie Goldsmith" in The Stand (a Mini Series based on the Stephen King novel of the same name).
You may not even recognize Molly today, after all it has been 17 years since The Breakfast Club came out (and she was 17 when it was filmed). Today she still works as an actress, and was married to her longtime boyfriend Valery Lameignere in 1999. Her last role as of this writing was in Not Another Teen Movie (a spoof on teen movies), which seems so wrong, yet so fitting at the same time.
Filmography (through 2023)