The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Stars of the '80s
Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald was born 18 February 1968 in Roseville, California. Her father, Bob Ringwald, a jazz pianist, was the leader of the Fulton Street Jazz Band, and Molly began performing at a very early age, singing with her father at state fairs. (She would perform at five annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilees, most recently in 1993.) By age six she had a jazz album, I Wanna Be Loved By You -- Molly Sings, to her credit. She was also playing small parts at the local theaters, most notably in the Sacramento State University production of Truman Capote's The Grass Harp in 1974. At eight she was making guest appearances on Walt Disney's syndicated The New Mickey Mouse Club. She starred as Kate in the west coast production of Annie from June 1978 to September 1979. Molly  went on to win a part in Norman Lear's sitcom, The Facts of Life, but only stayed for one (1979-80) season.
Molly's screen debut in Paul Mazursky's Tempest, in which she played John Cassavete's daughter, won her rave reviews -- and a Golden Globe nomination. It also drew the attention of director/screenwriter John Hughes, who thought she would be perfect for his 1984 film, Sixteen Candles. Subsequent roles in The Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986) secured her place as the teen queen of Hollywood in the Eighties. During the decade she also appeared in several made-for-TV movies, including Packin' It In (1983) and Surviving (1985). Films such as Fresh Horses, in which she teamed up again with Pretty in Pink-costar Andrew McCarthy, and For Keeps, in which she played a teenage mom, were not as well received, though Molly got credit for tackling more "serious" roles. In 1992 she starred as real-life AIDS victim Alison Gertz in the TV film Something to Live For.
With her Hollywood career at a crossroads, Molly made a bold move in the 1990s, selling her house in Los Angeles and moving to Paris, where she had made the 1993 film Face the Music with Patrick Dempsey. She wrote stories and screenplays, and occasionally appeared in American and international films, including Seven Sundays (1994), Malicious (1995) and Enfants de salaud (1996.) She also had a role in the TV miniseries The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King. In 1996 she starred in a short-lived television sitcom, Townies, as one of a trio of twentysomething waitresses (Jenna Elfman and Lauren Graham were the other two) dealing with the ups and downs of life in a Massachusetts fishing village. In 1998 she won critical acclaim in the off-Broadway production of Paula Vogel's How I Learned How to Drive. On 28 July 1999, she married long-time boyfriend Valery Lameignere. Her most recent filmwork includes Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) and Cut (2000), in which she costars with Australian singer-actress Kylie Minogue.
-- JM

1980s Filmography
Tempest (1982)
P.K. and the Kid (1982)
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
The Pick-up Artist (1987)
King Lear (1987)
Fresh Horses (1988)
For Keeps (1988)

Critics' Comments
Sixteen Candles (1984)
"[Ringwald] is an unaffected young actress of enormous spunk and ingenuity. But this part is much too passive for her; because [she] is such a self-possessed presence on-screen, her shyness and humility aren't convincing."
 -- People Weekly

Pretty in Pink (1986)
"Ringwald is becoming an actress who can project poignancy and vulnerability without seeming corny or coy, and her scenes . . . have one moment of small truth after another."
-- Roger Ebert

For Keeps (1988)
"The movies of Molly Ringwald have been responsible for a revolution in the way Hollywood regards teenagers. Before Ringwald . . . there were only horny teenagers, dead teenagers, teenage vampires and psychotic crackups. Now teenage movies are working their way through some of the aspects of the normal life of American teenagers."
 -- Roger Ebert

The stars of Pretty in Pink: Andrew McCarthy,
Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer.

Molly Ringwald was listed as one of the 12 Promising New Actors of 1984 in John Willis's Screen World (Vol. 36).
Ringwald turned down the role played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990).  She also turned down the role played by Lea Thompson in the John Hughes film, Some Kind of Wonderful (1987).
David Lynch wanted Ringwald for the role of Sandy in Blue Velvet (1986), but Molly's mother was disturbed by the screenplay, and never showed it to her daughter. (The part was played by Laura Dern.)