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Molly Ringwald

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Also Known As: Molly Kathleen Ringwald, Molly K Ringwald Died:
Born: February 18, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Roseville, California, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer, book reviewer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

During the mid-1980s, Molly Ringwald was the uncontested queen of teen movies and the poster child of suburban adolescent angst. As a member of the so-called Brat Pack - which included fellow stars Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy - her three-picture run with filmmaker John Hughes in instant classics like "Sixteen Candles" (1984), "The Breakfast Club" (1985) and "Pretty in Pink" (1986) established Ringwald as a teen kindred spirit who awkwardly navigated secret crushes, school dances and bitter clique wars, inching closer to adulthood by the time a triumphant pop song signaled the end credits. However, like all child and teen stars, the redhead's flame never burned quite so bright as those important years which launched a brand new genre of youth filmmaking. After several failed efforts to segue into adult romantic comedies, the actress moved to France where she appeared in foreign films and occasionally made stateside appearances in made-for-TV movies. After a long absence from the public consciousness, Ringwald resurfaced in 2008 as part of the cast of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family, 2008- ), in which her career came full circle as she appeared as the mother...

During the mid-1980s, Molly Ringwald was the uncontested queen of teen movies and the poster child of suburban adolescent angst. As a member of the so-called Brat Pack - which included fellow stars Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy - her three-picture run with filmmaker John Hughes in instant classics like "Sixteen Candles" (1984), "The Breakfast Club" (1985) and "Pretty in Pink" (1986) established Ringwald as a teen kindred spirit who awkwardly navigated secret crushes, school dances and bitter clique wars, inching closer to adulthood by the time a triumphant pop song signaled the end credits. However, like all child and teen stars, the redhead's flame never burned quite so bright as those important years which launched a brand new genre of youth filmmaking. After several failed efforts to segue into adult romantic comedies, the actress moved to France where she appeared in foreign films and occasionally made stateside appearances in made-for-TV movies. After a long absence from the public consciousness, Ringwald resurfaced in 2008 as part of the cast of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family, 2008- ), in which her career came full circle as she appeared as the mother of a pregnant high school student on the controversial drama series. Though she was relatively quiet later in her career, Ringwald nonetheless remained synonymous with the 1980s despite occasional efforts to reinvent herself.

Molly Ringwald was born on Feb. 18, 1968, in Northern California. Her father was jazz pianist Bob Ringwald, and this youngest of four kids inherited her dad's musical talent, as she was singing with his combo from the age of four. When she was six, Ringwald fronted the band on the album Molly Sings, and landed an acting role in a stage production of "The Grass Harp." The following year, she was appearing in commercials and television guest spots, as well as landing the highly-coveted role in the touring company of the family musical, "Annie." In 1979, the precocious redhead was cast in the first season of the girls' boarding school sitcom "The Facts of Life" (NBC, 1979-1988), but when the show returned the following year, its ensemble cast was whittled down to four main characters and young Ringwald was not among them. Licking her wounds, she won the role of John Cassavetes' daughter Miranda in Paul Mazursky's loose Shakespeare adaptation, "Tempest" (1982).

Ringwald's breakthrough came two years later when a starring role in John Hughes' teen comedy "Sixteen Candles" (1984) instantly turned her into an icon of insecure suburban teenagers everywhere. The angst-riddled weekend chronicle of a sophomore whose family forgets her birthday amidst the commotion of an older sister's wedding had all the ingredients of a classic high school comedy. The following year, she was handed the popularity her "Sixteen Candles" character could only have dreamed of with her "princess" role in "The Breakfast Club" (1985), her second feature with Hughes. With this cast - including Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy - audiences learned that the rich and well-dressed, along with the star athletes, the honor students, the delinquents, and the introverted artists, all have their own crosses to bear. The film was an even bigger hit, thanks to the ensemble cast carefully constructed to attract a wide audience of young adults who were certain to identify with at least one of the characters thrown together for an all-day detention-cum-group therapy session.

"Pretty in Pink" (1986) marked Ringwald's final film with Hughes, and it found the 18-year-old simultaneously at her peak of popularity but also at the end of her film career as an A-list draw. This formulaic tale of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks inexplicably infatuated with a charming preppie (Andrew McCarthy) lacked the humor, spark and teen energy of the first two efforts, and what little lightheartedness there was came from her wisecracking best buddy (Jon Cryer) who ultimately ended up getting his heart broken. Despite the more depressing tone, "Pretty in Pink" was another box office hit. Wishing to expand her horizons, Ringwald turned down a role in Hughes' next film, the less-than-successful "Some Kind of Wonderful" (1987), opting to leave the director's stable to co-star opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in the flop "The Pick-Up Artist" (1987). "For Keeps?" (1988), in which she played a high school senior who becomes pregnant, marries her boyfriend and discovers that domestic life is not what she thought it would be, was also a failure. Ditto for her reunion with doe-eyed McCarthy in the melodramatic "Fresh Horses" (1988).

The Hughes/Ringwald teen comedy formula had been a winning one, but the 20-year-old actress needed to make her mark as an adult if she wanted to continue her film career. Alan Alda's romantic comedy Betsy's Wedding" (1990) seemed like an appropriate way to announce the actress' adulthood, but the blustery film did not do much to capture Ringwald's appeal and made barely a dent at the box office. While shooting the 1950s-set comedy "Strike it Rich" (1990) in Europe, Ringwald fell under the spell of Paris and decided to live there, leaving her teen fame behind. She married French novelist Valery Lameignere and appeared in several French films, including "Seven Sunday" (1994), in which she juggled several suitors. She intermittently returned to the U.S. to shoot films including "Stephen King's 'The Stand'" (1994) and "Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade" (1994), the short film precursor to Billy Bob Thornton's Oscar-nominated "Sling Blade" (1997). In 1996, Ringwald made her move to television, playing a small town waitress alongside future TV stars Jenna Elfman and Lauren Graham on ABC's promising sitcom "Townies" (ABC, 1996), but the show failed to find an audience and was cancelled after its first season.

The following year, Ringwald had a stint on stage in a Los Angeles production of "How I Learned to Drive" and co-starred in the indie thriller "Office Killer" (1997). She starred in the TV movies "Once Upon a Time" (1998) and "Since You've Been Gone" (1998) and had a small role in the teen thriller "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" (1999) before she debuted in a West End stage adaptation of "When Harry Met Sally." When Ringwald's marriage dissolved, she moved back the U.S. and settled in New York City, where she made a splash as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" and also appeared in Jonathan Larson's "tick, tick, Boom!"

The well-read literature fan launched a side career writing book reviews and became engaged to writer and book editor Panio Gianopoulos. Ringwald gave birth to a daughter in 2003, and three years later, hit Broadway in revivals of "Cabaret" and "Enchanted April." After touring nationally with the musical "Sweet Charity," Ringwald was contacted by "7th Heaven" (The WB/The CW, 1996-2007) executive producer Brenda Hampton about a new series in development. Ringwald fell in love with the script and characters and signed on to play the mom of pregnant teenager in "The Secret Life of the American Teen" - a hot news topic after the success of the similarly themed, Oscar-nominated film "Juno" (2007).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
4.
 Not Another Teen Movie (2001) Flight Attendant
5.
 Big Time, The (2001) Marion Powers
6.
 Cut (2001) Vanessa Turnbill/Chloe
7.
 Brutal Truth, The (2000) Penelope
8.
 Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) Miss Banks
9.
 Twice Upon a Time (1998) Beth Sager
10.
 Since You've Been Gone (1998) Claire The Autograph-Seeker
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began singing with father's band, the Fulton Street Jazz Band at age four
:
Professional stage debut at age five in "The Grass Harp"
1977:
Made appearance on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" (ABC)
1979:
Was a regular on "The Facts of Life" (NBC)
1982:
Feature acting debut, "Tempest"
1983:
Made TV movie debut, "Packin' It In" (CBS)
1984:
Breakout role and first collaboration with director John Hughes, "Sixteen Candles"
1985:
Played the high school <i>princess</i> in John Hughes' "The Breakfast Club"
1986:
Third collaboration with director John Hughes, "Pretty in Pink"
1991:
Moved to Paris, France
1992:
Starred in the ABC TV-movie "Something to Live For: The Alison Gertz Story"
1994:
Starred in ABC miniseries "Stephen King's 'The Stand'" (ABC)
1994:
Appeared in first French-language film, "Seven Sunday"
1995:
Created controvery when she appeared nude in the film "Malicious"
1996:
Co-starred in independent American film "Office Killer"
1996:
Starred in the short-lived ABC series "Townies"
1999:
Had supporting role in "Teaching Mrs. Tingle"
1999:
Starred in Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "How I Learned to Drive"
2001:
Returned to the NYC stage in the musical "tick, tick ... BOOM!"
2001:
Assumed role of Sally Bowles in the Broadway revival of "Cabaret" (December)
2004:
Co-starred opposite Jason Biggs in the Broadway play "Modern Orthodox"
2006:
Cast as Charity Valentine, the musical revival of "Sweet Charity" (national tour)
2008:
Cast in the ABC Family series, "The Secret Life Of The American Teenager"
2009:
Nominated for the 2009 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Parental Unit
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lycee Francaise School: Los Angeles , California - 1986

Notes

"I wouldn't know Molly Ringwald if she sat on my face."--Quote attributed to DreamWorks mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg in MOVIELINE, September 1995

"I've done kissing scenes with people who have been loaded. I'd think, 'Do you actually have to drink that Jack Daniels to kiss me?'"--Molly Ringwald in MOVIELINE, September 1995

"John Hughes was the first person who broke my heart. I adored him. That sounds like we had an affair or something, which isn't the case. Of course I didn't have an affair with him. But it was definitely the strongest relationship in my life at the time, my teenage years, when everything that happens sort of prepares you for life. For men thing especially."--Molly Ringwald in "MOVIELINE, September 1995

"Some days I'm ecstatic. Others I'm blue...On the other hand, if you talk to me next week, I may be moving to Spain."--Ringwald in VANITY FAIR

"I prefer the structure of cinema. Television had a format that I don't like--everything had to lead up to a commercial break."--Ringwald

"I can't say that anyone has my best interest at heart except me and my family." --Ringwald quoted in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, September 20, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Danny. Musician. Ringwald has said she lost her virginity to this man when she was 15 and he was 26.
companion:
Anthony Michael Hall. Actor. Dated when they appeared together in films like "16 Candles" and "The Breakfast Club".
husband:
Valery Lameignere. Fiction writer. Together since c. 1992; French; married on July 28, 1999 in Bordeaux, France; filed for divorce in November 2002.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Bob Ringwald. Jazz musician; blind.
mother:
Adele Ringwald.
brother:
Robert Ringwald. Born in December 1961.
sister:
Elizabeth Ringwald. Born in October 1964.
sister:
Kelly Ringwald. Born in May 1966.
daughter:
Mathilda Ereni. Born October 22, 2003; father Panio Gianopoulos.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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