Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Stars of the '80s
Andrew McCarthy

One of four brothers, Andrew McCarthy was born in Westfield, New Jersey on November 29, 1962 and at age 15 moved to Bernardsville, NJ, where he began appearing in plays at the Pingry prep school. He attended New York University, majoring in theater and quitting after two years to appear in his first feature film, Class (1983) as Jacqueline Bisset's younger lover. He continued his studies at the prestigious Circle-in-the-Square Theater in New York. He became an established star as part of the ensemble cast of the hit 1985 film, St. Elmo's Fire, and was associated with The Brat Pack, a collection of young actors including Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson and Robert Downey, Jr., who were taking Hollywood by storm in the Eighties. McCarthy shunned the association; telling an interviewer that "the media made up this sort of tribe. I don't think I've seen any of these people since we finished St. Elmo's Fire." Throughout his career, the reclusive McCarthy managed to keep a low profile, unlike other so-called Brat Packers.

On the heels of St. Elmo's Fire, McCarthy enhanced his standing as a hot property with a performance in the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink, also starring Molly Ringwald. (McCarthy and Ringwald would team up again in 1988's Fresh Horses.) In 1987 he won critical acclaim for his role in Less Than Zero, co-starring with Jami Gertz and Robert Downey, Jr. in a chilling tale of the tragic human cost of cocaine addiction. This proved to be the high point of McCarthy's film career; for the remainder of the decade he made a series of films that were less well-received by critics and audiences alike. The 1990s would see him continue his film work with quality projects like Year of the Gun (1991) and The Joy Luck Club (1993). With his boyish good lucks and understated acting style, McCarthy has proven very durable; in all, he has appeared in over 40 films.

McCarthy has also been active on the stage, appearing both on and off Broadway in such productions as Love Letters, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Boys of Winter, Psychopathia Sexualis and Side Man. (His Kansas costar Matt Dillon appeared with him in Boys of Winter on Broadway, while Molly Ringwald joined him on the Broadway stage in Love Letters.) McCarthy even made occasional television appearances in episodes of Amazing Stories and Tales From the Crypt, as well as the Sally Field-directed TV movie, The Christmas Tree. In October 1999 he married Carol Schneider, whom he had met while attending NYU.

1980s Filmography
Class (1983)
The Beniker Gang (1985)
Heaven Help Us (1985)
St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Waiting for the Moon (1987)
Less Than Zero (1987)
Mannequin (1987)
Kansas (1988)
Fresh Horses (1988)
Weekend at Bernie's (1989)


Critics' Comments
St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
"The script ambushes its actors....Only Sheedy, McCarthy and, particularly, Winningham acquit themselves admirably."
-- People Weekly

Pretty in Pink (1986)
"As the Brooks Brother cad, McCarthy peddles one expression -- the hangdog pout of a passive patrician."
-- People Weekly

Less Than Zero (1987)
"The movie's three central performances are flawless. [Jami] Gertz, as the frightened girl who witnesses the disintegration of her friend; McCarthy, as the quiet, almost cold witness from outside the group; and especially by [Robert] Downey [Jr.], whose acting here is so real, so subtle and so observant that it's scary."
-- Roger Ebert

Mannequin (1987)
"The movie stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, actors I have admired before and will, no doubt, admire again. In years to come, they probably will look back on this project with a rueful smile and a shrug. . . . [They] are fairly helpless in the face of this material."
-- Roger Ebert

Kim Cattrall and McCarthy in Mannequin

In the late '80s, McCarthy consented to appear in a Revlon television commercial with other celebrities, including Melanie Griffith.

McCarthy's hometown of Westfield, NJ was also the childhood home of actress Meryl Streep.

McCarthy took up smoking cigarettes for his role in St. Elmo's Fire; it wasn't until 1994 that he was able to kick the habit.

Sick in bed with the flu when a friend told him that auditions were being held for a role in Class, McCarthy beat out dozens of other aspiring actors to win the part. "It was so out of the blue," he later told an AP reporter. "One week I was in school and the next week I'm in bed with Jacqueline Bisset. I thought, 'I'm doing something right here.'"