The Breakfast Club Cast: Where Are They Now?

Ben Falk
Contributor

They were members of the Brat Pack, the coolest and best young actors of the Eighties. But how did the stars of the 1985 John Hughes classic 'The Breakfast Club' fare after they left detention? Lets find out 30 YEARS after the film was released.

- 80s Movie Stars: Then And Now
- 90s Movie Stars: Then And Now
- The Sound Of Music Kids: Then And Now

Molly Ringwald

As Claire, the princess of the group who can do something clever with her cleavage to put lipstick on, Ringwald and her red hair defined the generation. As Hughes’ muse, she inspired his early films, including ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Pretty In Pink’.

Away from Hughes though, things weren’t quite so successful. Keen to break out of her teen princess persona, she was in Jean-Luc Godard’s bizarre 1987 version of ‘King Lear’ and played a teen mother in ‘For Keeps’, neither of which helped her career and which damaged her relationship with Hughes.

She kept on working in a variety of unseen indie films, turning down ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Ghost’ along the way, before getting married and moving to France (she subsequently divorced).

It was only once the late Nineties came around that she seemed to really embrace her Brat Pack past, cropping up in knowing cameos in ‘Teaching Mrs Tingle’ and ‘Not Another Teen Movie’.

She did theatre in the West End, while her screen career took off again thanks to the critically-acclaimed ABC Family show ‘The Secret Life Of The American Teenager’, in which she played the mother of Shailene Woodley’s lead character.

More recently she has embraced her literary side, penning a best-selling autobiographical self-help book and a well-received collection of short stories, as well as an advice column in The Guardian newspaper.

Now 46, she is married to a Greek-American writer and book editor seven years her junior and together they have three children. Next year, she’ll star in the live-action adaptation of Eighties musical cartoon ‘Jem and the Holograms’.

Judd Nelson

Nelson almost didn’t play Bender – twice. John Cusack was initially cast, but Hughes had a change of heart and decided Nelson better personified the steely ‘criminal’. Then during filming, the actor was almost fired after he got so into character that he started bullying Ringwald, much to the writer/director’s annoyance.

Since then, Nelson’s career has been constant, but up and down. He starred in seminal Brat Pack pic ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ the same year as ‘The Breakfast Club’, but was then nominated for a Worst Actor Razzie the following two years. Then in 1987, he also scored a Golden Globe nom for TV movie ‘The Billionaire Boys Club’.

He never scaled the same heights as he did in the mid-Eighties, but there have been bright spots along the way, like ‘New Jack City’ and ‘Airheads’. He’s also flourished on TV, reprising his ‘Breakfast Club’ role in an episode of ‘Family Guy’ and spending three years on the Brooke Shields sitcom ‘Suddenly Susan’.

Not someone to crave the limelight off-screen, the 55-year-old was engaged to Shannen Doherty and dated porn star Tabitha Stevens. He’s also one of Robert Downey Jr’s best friends. With four movies set to come out in 2015, he currently features in new musical TV series ‘Empire’ alongside Terrence Howard.

Anthony Michael Hall

Another of Hughes’ protégés, Hall (who in real life goes by the name Michael) was the beating heart of ‘The Breakfast Club’ as well as being the funniest member (pot scene anyone?). His character Brian is thought to be the writer/director’s alter ego.

Having started off as a child actor, he played Rusty Grisworld in the Hughes-penned ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’, leading to their collaboration proper, which began with ‘Sixteen Candles’.

‘Weird Science’ followed ‘The Breakfast Club’, but he turned down ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and the role of ‘Duckie’ in ‘Pretty in Pink’ as he too sought to escape the Brat Pack shadow.

It didn’t quite work out, at least initially. 1986’s ‘Out of Bounds’ was a critical and commercial flop, a year-long stint on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (with mate Robert Downey Jr whose oldest son he is godfather to) was a bust and contract negotiations put paid to the starring role in Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’.

He briefly left showbiz to get himself off the booze and returned with a beefier frame in ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘Six Degrees Of Separation’.

Since then, his best-known work has been on television, first as Bill Gates in ‘Pirates Of The Silicon Valley’ and then as the lead in an adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Dead Zone’.

He also had a small but pivotal role in ‘Foxcatcher’, as well as featuring in ‘The Dark Knight’.

Off-screen, it’s been a bit more difficult. In 2009 he was accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, while it was also revealed he suffers from bipolar disorder. The condition led to him getting sued by the insurance company for ‘The Dead Zone’ after he missed several days of filming to be treated for problems related to the illness. Then in 2011, the actor was arrested again after allegedly threatening a neighbour.

The now-46-year-old also runs a child literacy programme and sings in a band called Hall of Mirrors.

Ally Sheedy

Sheedy, 52, came to the role of outsider Allison in ‘The Breakfast Club’ as something of a child prodigy, having danced with the American Ballet Theatre aged 6 and written best-selling children’s book ‘She Was Nice To Mice’ when she was 12.

Deciding to become an actress, she starred in ‘WarGames’, while 1985 also saw her in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’. Her biggest hit since has probably been ‘Short Circuit’ alongside a comedy robot, while she got buzz for her performance in 1998 indie ‘High Art’. 

Other than that, while she’s worked pretty much constantly, her projects have been fairly nondescript, other than a cameo in ‘Home Alone 2’ and John Candy-starrer ‘Only The Lonely’, which was produced by Hughes.

She suffered an addiction to prescription drugs in the latter part of the Eighties and went to rehab, after which she released a critically-reviled poetry collection and married Angela Lansbury’s nephew. They had a child together in 1994 before filing for divorce in 2008.

Emilio Estevez

With Martin Sheen as a father and Charlie Sheen as your brother, it was inevitable that Estevez (his dad’s original surname) would go into the family business. After scoring a cult hit with ‘Repo Man’ in 1984, the actor tested for the role of John Bender, but was cast as sporto Andrew when Hughes couldn’t find anyone suitable.

The 52-year-old performer’s post-Brat Pack acting career was initially the most successful, starring as Billy the Kid in ‘Young Guns’ and its sequel, as well as ‘Stakeout’ and the evergreen ‘Mighty Ducks’ franchise. 

But performing clearly got less interesting for Estevez (maybe appearing with Mick Jagger in ‘Freejack’ put him off) and he soon turned his attention to writing and directing. 

2006 ensemble drama ‘Bobby’ had a starry cast and solid reviews, while he is a successful TV director, helming episodes of ‘CSI:NY’ and ‘Cold Case’. He also directed his old man in 2010’s ‘The Way’.

Coolest post-‘Breakfast Club’ moment on-screen? A toss-up between getting impaled at the beginning of ‘Mission: Impossible’, or an uncredited appearance as a young Jed Bartlet in ‘The West Wing’.

He’s currently in a long-term relationship with a woman called Sonja Magdevski (he was married to Paula Abdul back in 1992, divorcing two years later), while he’s father to two grown-up children from a previous relationship.

There’s a vineyard on his property in Malibu too, California and together with Sonja, he has a part-time wine business.

- 18 Hidden Disney Cameos You May Have Missed
- The 9 Creepiest Fake Movie Babies
- The Biggest Gambling Wins And Losses

Photos: Moviestore/Rex/MCA/Everett/Buzz Foto/PA