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Take a Look at the Original Brat Pack Then and Now, Nearly 40 Years After The Breakfast Club

See Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, the unrecognizable Anthony Michael Hall and more.

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about any of them.

It’s been almost 40 years since a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal reported for detention at Shermer High in the Chicago suburbs, sacrificing a whole Saturday of their young lives and forming, in the process, The Breakfast Club.

The five principal stars—Emilio EstevezMolly RingwaldAnthony Michael HallAlly Sheedy and Judd Nelson—of the classic dramedy, written and directed by John Hughes, all ended up as part of “the Brat Pack,” a term first prominently used in a 1985 cover story in New York magazine to describe some hot young (male) things who both worked and partied together.

The story referenced more than a few actors breaking out at the time and considered the first “Brat Pack” films to be 1981’s Taps (featuring newcomers Sean Penn and Tom Cruise) and 1983’s The Outsiders, and to this day there remain a slew of honorary members of the club, including Robert Downey Jr. But the moniker really stuck to the core five in The Breakfast Club and several other familiar faces from Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire, which also came out in 1985.

Like it or not.

“The media made up this sort of tribe,” Andrew McCarthy, star of St. Elmo’s Fire and 1986’s Pretty in Pink, protested to People in 1999. “I don’t think I’ve seen any of these people since we finished St. Elmo’s Fire. I’ve never met Anthony Michael Hall.”

In February 2020, Hall told Page Six that the Brat Pack designation that started with the New York article “never really offended me or anything. It doesn’t bother me, but that’s where it came from. The joke was, I wasn’t even at the interview!”

But no one claimed that they all ran in a pack (McCarthy was notably on the outside of the Elmo’s inner circle even then). They were, however, a tribe of actors that (almost all) showed up more than once in these seminal coming-of-age films.

 

“Brat Pack,” itself a play on the 1960s-era Rat Pack, was mainly just a catchy name that stuck. So much so that Vogue came up with a “New Brat Pack” in 2015 consisting of the likes of Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, real-life friends who didn’t act together but were growing up in public all the same, aided and abetted by reality TV and/or social media.

We know all about what the class of 2015 is up to, though. In honor of Ringwald’s birthday Feb. 18, let’s check in on the class of 1985…

Molly Ringwald

The star of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink was the queen bee of the Brat Pack, and, Ringwald told Entertainment Weekly in 1996, she remembered those days “very fondly.”

However, in a 2018 New Yorker essay, she noted that certain scenes in The Breakfast Club wouldn’t fly in the post-#MeToo era. “I worried that [my daughter] would find aspects of it troubling,” she wrote, “but I hadn’t anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me.”

The 1980s were the height of her in-demand period, and included roles in The Pickup Artist with Robert Downey Jr. and the teen pregnancy drama For Keeps?, while her 1990s highlights included Betsy’s Wedding, the 1994 miniseries adaptation of The Stand and Teaching Mrs. Tingle.

In 2008, Ringwald switched into parental mode on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, playing the mother of Shailene Woodley’s pregnant teen Amy. She then moved to a recurring role on Riverdale as Archie Andrews’ mom, and played Noah and Lee’s mom in the hit teen rom-com franchise The Kissing Booth on Netflix.

 

 

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