Molly Ringwald: From Child Actress to More Adult Roles

Actress Molly Ringwald is best remembered as the queen of eighties teen movies and as a member of the Brat Pack. She was born in Roseville, California on February 18, 1968 to blind jazz pianist Robert Ringwald and Adele Ringwald. She had an early introduction to showbiz, performing with her father’s group, the Fulton Street Jazz Band, and releasing an album “I Wanna Be Loved by You” at six years old.

She got a taste of acting while appearing in local stage productions close to her hometown. Ringwald also appeared in commercials, and got her first acting role at age ten playing Kate in a production of “Annie”. She later won a role in the popular series “The Facts of Life” after appearing in an episode of “Diff’rent Strokes”. Unfortunately the role was short lived, as producers decided to change the direction of the series.

This setback did not deter Ringwald, as she would get her big break in “Sixteen Candles”, playing the character Samantha Baker. This was the beginning of what would turn out to be a successful collaboration with director and writer John Hughes. Her follow up was the teen movie classic “The Breakfast Club”. In the film, five very different students in detention discover a lot about themselves and each other. The film influenced many films of its kind that would come later.

She followed her success in “The Breakfast Club” with “Pretty in Pink” in 1986, and “The Pick-up Artist” in 1987, among others. She attracted a large and devoted fan base along the way, and regularly appeared in teen magazines. In 1993 she filmed the movie “Face the Music” opposite Patrick Dempsey. The movie was filmed in France, where she felt in love with the country and ended up staying there for almost four years. While there Ringwad met and eventually married Valery Lameignere in July, 1999. The couple divorced in 2002.

Ringwald’s collaboration with John Hughes ended when she turned down the lead role in “Some Kind of Wonderful” in 1987. The director was reportedly upset at her decision not to appear in the movie. She made what many would call a questionable career decision when she turned down the role eventually played by Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” in 1990.

During this period, she wasn’t as busy as she had been previously, but she acted, most notably the French films “Tous les jours dimanche” and “Enfants de Salaud”, as well as the TV miniseries “The Stand”, based on a Stephen King novel. She sent a signal to her fans that she was back with her new sitcom “Townies” which began airing in 1996. Despite great reviews however, the show didn’t make it past ten episodes of the fifteen that were taped.

Ringwald has kept busy with work on TV appearing in the TV movie “Since You’ve Been Gone”, as well as guest spots in “The Outer Limits and Medium”. She has also worked on Broadway in “Enchanted April”, “Cabaret” and “Tick, Tick… BOOM!”

Ringwald became a mother in 2003 when she gave birth to daughter, Mathilda Ereni.  In 2007 she married Panio Gianopoulos who is also her daughter’s father. The couple is expecting twins due in August, 2009. The pregnancy will be written into her current show, the hit drama “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.

That show started airing in 2008 and it is a complete departure from the roles that Ringwald has been known for. In the ABC show she plays a mom who has to contend with a cheating husband, a pregnant teenage daughter and a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. With the popularity of this show, the former teen queen may have found herself a whole new legion of fans.

Albert Walker