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Molly Kathleen Ringwald (born February 18, 1968)[1] is an American actress, singer, and author. She was cast in her first major role as Molly in The Facts of Life (1979–80) after a casting director saw her playing an orphan in a stage production of the musical "Annie". She and several other members of the original Facts of Life cast were let go when the show was reworked by the network. She made her motion picture debut in the independent film Tempest (1982), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

After subsequently appearing in the successful John Hughes films Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986), Ringwald became a teen icon. She later starred in The Pick-up Artist (1987), and For Keeps (1988). She starred in many films in the 1990s, most notably Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story (1992) and The Stand (1994).

Ringwald is part of the "Brat Pack" and she was ranked number 1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars.[2][3][4] Ringwald currently portrays Mary Andrews on the The CW television series Riverdale.


 1Early life

  • 2Life and career
    • 2.11978–83: Career beginnings
    • 2.21984–89: Sixteen CandlesThe Breakfast ClubPretty In Pink, and early success
    • 2.31990s–2010s: The Stand and continued acting
    • 2.42013–present: Except Sometimes and Riverdale
  • 3Personal life
    • 3.1Public image
  • 4Bibliography
  • 5Filmography
    • 5.1Film
    • 5.2Television
  • 6Discography
  • 7Awards and nominations
  • 8References
  • 9External links

Early life[edit][]

Ringwald was born in Roseville, California, just outside Sacramento,[1][5] the daughter of Adele Edith (née Frembd), a housewife and chef, and Robert Scott "Bob" Ringwald, a blind jazz pianist.[6] Ringwald has two siblings, Beth and Kelly, and an older brother who died before she was born.[7] She started her acting career at age five, appearing in a stage production of Alice Through the Looking Glass as the Dormouse. The next year, she recorded "I Wanna Be Loved by You", a music album of Dixieland jazz with her father and his group, the Fulton Street Jazz Band.[8]

Life and career[edit][]

1978–83: Career beginnings[edit][]

In 1978, at the age of 10, Ringwald was chosen to play Kate in the West Coast production of Annie, performing in Los Angeles.[9]

In 1979, Ringwald appeared on the TV series Diff'rent Strokes and was selected to become part of a very large cast of that show's spin-off The Facts of Life. She played Molly Parker, a perky, feminist student at Eastland Girls School. At the beginning of the second season, the show underwent a major revamp and most of the cast, including Ringwald, were cut from the show. Ringwald later said that Nancy McKeon replaced her to play a new character named Jo.[10]

In 1980, Ringwald performed as a lead vocalist on two Disney albums. On the patriotic album Yankee Doodle Mickey, Ringwald sang "This Is My Country", "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America". She later performed one track, "The First Noel", on a Disney Christmas album, "Disney's Merry Christmas Carols."

Turning toward motion pictures, she got a key supporting role in the 1982 film Tempest, directed by Paul Mazursky with top casting director Juliet Taylor[11], and was subsequently nominated for a Golden Globe award for the role.[12]

1984–89: Sixteen CandlesThe Breakfast ClubPretty In Pink, and early success[edit][]

Ringwald rose to prominence with her breakout role in Sixteen Candles (1984). She was cast as Samantha Baker, a girl whose sixteenth birthday is forgotten. Ringwald's performance gained critical acclaim; many called her acting engaging.[13] Ringwald would later say, "It is not a good idea to do remakes of great classic films" when asked if there would be a remake to Sixteen Candles.[14] Ringwald was regarded as a member of the so-called Brat Pack of 1980s teen actors[15] but has said she was not really part of that group.[16] Ringwald gained more success when she was cast in another John Hughes film called The Breakfast Club (1985) which was a commercial and critical success. Ringwald was cast as Claire Standish, a spoiled, rich, so-called sophisticate who is in detention for skipping class. Ringwald's performance gained strong reviews.

The following year, she was cast as Andie Walsh in another successful Hughes film called Pretty In Pink (1986). Ringwald's role as Andie went on to become one of her most recognizable performances. When first asked to be in Pretty in Pink, Ringwald was reluctant, but after seeing how hard it was for the producers to find a replacement for her, she decided she would portray Andie in the film. Ringwald was offered a role in another John Hughes film called Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) but she turned down the role as she felt it was too similar to her other films she worked on with Hughes. After Pretty In Pink, Ringwald planned to star in more mature roles. Ringwald was later featured on the cover of Time magazine on May 26, 1986.[17]

Ringwald was set to star in another Hughes film called Oil and Vinegar; the film was scrapped when John refused to rewrite the script. The film would have been about a soon-to-be-married man and a hitchhiking girl talking about their lives during the length of the car ride.[18][19]

In 1987, she was cast as Randy Jensen in The Pick-up Artist, opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in one of his first lead roles.[20] It focused on a womanizer who meets his match when he falls for a woman in debt to the Mafia. The Pick-up Artist was met with mixed reviews while being a moderate commercial success.

The following year she starred in For Keeps, a commercial success that received mixed reviews by critics but was well received by audiences. It is considered Ringwald's final teen movie. Ringwald portrayed Darcy Elliot, the editor at her high school paper, who gets pregnant by her long term boyfriend Stan, portrayed by Randall Batinkoff. Her performance received positive reviews. The film was praised by some critics for showing the struggles of teen pregnancy. She was later cast in Fresh Horses. The film was met with generally negative reviews and under-performed at the box office. The film also starred Andrew McCarthy, who previously worked with Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.[21]

1990s–2010s: The Stand and continued acting[edit][]

In the early 1990s, Ringwald reportedly turned down the female lead roles in Pretty Woman and Ghost.[22] In the mid-1990s, Ringwald, who had been educated at a French high school in Los Angeles called Lycée Français de Los Angeles and is fluent in French, moved to Paris and starred in several French movies.[23] She returned home to the US intermittently to appear in American movies and television. In 1990, Ringwald appeared in the James Scott-directed Strike It Rich alongside Robert Lindsay and John Gielgud. That same year she starred in Betsy's Wedding as Betsy Hopper. This film gained generally mixed reviews despite being a commercial success. Ringwald later starred in Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story (1992).

Ringwald in April 2013

In 1994, she was cast as Frannie Goldsmith, in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand. Ringwald's performance was generally well received. She next played the leading role in the film Malicious (1995) as Melissa Nelson, a disturbed woman who has an affair with a college star baseball player. She later starred in the ABC sitcom Townies. She also made one appearance as a blind woman on the critically acclaimed cable series Remember WENN. She starred with Lara Flynn Boyle and Teri Hatcher in the 1998 made-for-television film Since You've Been Gone. In 1999, she played the starring role of "Li'l Bit" in Paula Vogel's play How I Learned to Drive at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In 2000, she appeared in an episode of Showtime's The Outer Limits, "Judgment Day."

In 2000, Ringwald appeared in the ensemble restaurant-themed film In the Weeds, and in 2001 she had a cameo in the commercially successful Not Another Teen Movie that earned her an MTV Movie Award nomination. In theater, she wore a "Green, Green Dress" in Jonathan Larson's Off-Broadway musical tick, tick... BOOM!,[24] and headlined as Sally Bowles in Broadway's long-running revival of Cabaret from December 18, 2001 until April 28, 2002.[25] In 2003 Ringwald appeared in Enchanted April on Broadway beginning April 8, but left after the June 15 performance due to pregnancy.[26]

In late 2004, she starred in the play Modern Orthodox on Broadway, opposite Jason Biggs and Craig Bierko.[27] In 2006 she starred in the television film The Wives He Forgot, and that fall and winter starred as Charity Hope Valentine in the national tour of the Broadway revival of the musical Sweet Charity.[28] She also played a supporting role as Molly McIntire's mother Helen in Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front.[29] Ringwald starred in the ABC Family network's series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which debuted on July 1, 2008,[30] playing the title teenager's mother. Ringwald read the audiobook edition of the 2012 novel The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg.

2013–present: Except Sometimes and Riverdale[edit][]

In early 2013, Ringwald released Except Sometimes, a jazz record. It follows a tradition in jazz for the Ringwald family set by her father. “I grew up in a home filled with music and had an early appreciation of jazz since my dad was a jazz musician. Beginning at around age three I started singing with his band and jazz music has continued to be one of my three passions along with acting and writing. I like to say jazz music is my musical equivalent of comfort food. It's always where I go back to when I want to feel grounded,” Ringwald said in a statement.[31]

Ringwald played Madame Frechette in the 2014 Lifetime Christmas film Wishin' and Hopin'.[32] Ringwald plays Aunt Bailey in Jem and the Holograms, raising Jerrica, her sister Kimber, and adopted daughters.[33]

In September 2014, Ringwald began writing an advice column for The Guardian, answering questions about "love, family, or life in general".[34] In 2016, she was cast as Amy in the crime-drama film King Cobra. Ringwald currently has a recurring role as Mary Andrews on The CW television series Riverdale.

Personal life[edit][]

Ringwald was married to Valéry Lameignère, a French writer, in Bordeaux, France, on July 28, 1999; they divorced in 2002.[35] She married Panio Gianopoulos, a Greek-American writer and book editor, in 2007. They have a daughter, Mathilda Ereni Gianopoulos (born 2003), and twins, Adele and Roman (born 2009). Her pregnancy was written into the storyline of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.[36]

Public image[edit][]

Ringwald has stated that she was very aware of her public image during her teen years and that she tried to be a good role model for her fans. When asked about For Keeps (1988), Ringwald said, "I didn't want to give the wrong message to teenagers. I sort of felt a certain responsibility – I mean, I was a very, very famous teenager and I thought a lot of teenagers were looking up to me and emulating me, and I really didn't want to make a movie that said in any way that having a baby at that age was going to be easy."[37] She was parodied on the Family Guy episode "Meet the Quagmires" as Peter Griffin's wife in an alternative timeline.[2][3][4]


  • Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick (2010)
  • When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories (2012)



Year Title Role Notes 1982 Tempest Miranda Dimitrius
1983 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone Niki
1984 Sixteen Candles Samantha Baker
1985 The Breakfast Club Claire Standish
1986 Pretty in Pink Andie Walsh
1987 P.K. and the Kid P.K. Bayette
King Lear Cordelia
The Pick-up Artist Randy Jensen
1988 For Keeps Darcy Elliot Bobrucz
Fresh Horses Jewel
1990 Strike It Rich Cary
Betsy's Wedding Betsy Hopper
1993 Face the Music Lisa Hunter
1994 Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade Theresa Tatum Short
1995 Baja Bebe Stone
Seven Sundays Janet Gifford
Malicious Melissa Nelson
1996 Bastard Children Susan
1997 Office Killer Kim Poole
1998 Titey Anne Frank (Voice) Short
1999 Requiem for Murder Anne Winslow
Teaching Mrs. Tingle Miss Banks
Kimberly Nancy
2000 Cut Vanessa Turnbill/Chloe
The Brutal Truth
In the Weeds Chloe
The Translator Short
2001 Cowboy Up Connie
Not Another Teen Movie Flight Attendant
2008 Guest of Cindy Sherman Documentary
2014 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films Documentary
2015 Jem and the Holograms Aunt Bailey
2015 Bad Night The Collector
2016 King Cobra Amy
2017 SPF-18 Linda Sanders
2018 Siberia Gabby Hill


Year Title Role Notes 1979–1980 Diff'rent Strokes Molly Parker 2 episodes
1979–1980 The Facts of Life Molly Parker Main Role (Season 1–2); 14 episodes
1983 Packin' It In Melissa Webber Television film
1985 Surviving: A Family in Crisis Lonnie Television film
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Jenny Smith Episode: "Johnny Appleseed"
1990 Women & Men: Stories of Seduction Kit Television film
1992 Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story Alison Gertz Television film
1994 The Stand Frannie Goldsmith Lead Role
1996 Townies Carrie Donovan Lead Role
Remember WENN Angela Colton Episode: "Sight Unseen"
1998 Saturday Night Live Anne Frank (voice) Episode: "Steve Buscemi/Third Eye Blind"
Twice upon a Time Beth Sager Television film
2000 The $treet Devyn Alden Episode: "Propheting on Losses"
The Outer Limits Allison Channing Episode: "Judgment Day"
2006 Medium Kathleen Walsh Episode: “The Darkness is Light Enough”
The Wives He Forgot Charlotte Saint John Television film
Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front Helen McIntire Television film
2008–2013 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Anne Juergens Main Cast
2011 Psych Nurse McElroy Episode: "Shawn, Interrupted"
RuPaul's Drag U Herself Episode: "Like a Virgin"
2014 Rainbow Brite Dark Princess (voice) 3 episodes
Wishin' and Hopin' Madame Frechette Television film
2016 Raising Expectations Paige Wayney Series lead
2016 Doc McStuffins Darla Episode: "Stuffy's ambulance ride"
2017 Riverdale Mary Andrews Recurring role; 4 episodes


  • Except Sometimes (2013)
  • Going Home Alone (2013)

Awards and nominations[edit][]

Year Award Category Work Result 1983 Golden Globes New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female Tempest Nominated
1983 Young Artist Award Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Tempest Nominated
1985 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama Sixteen Candles Won
1988 Paris Film Festival Best Actress For Keeps Won
1989 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Nominated
1991 Razzie Awards Worst Actress Betsy's Wedding Nominated
2002 MTV Movie Award Best Cameo Not Another Teen Movie Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards Silver Bucket of Excellence Award The Breakfast Club Won
2008 TV Land Awards Favorite Character(s) Who "Went Missing" The Facts of Life Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Parental Unit The Secret Life of the American Teenager Nominated


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b 
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b 
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  4. ^ Jump up to:a b 50 Greatest Teen Stars of All Time Archived January 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  5. Jump up^ 
    • a "BeBe: I'm from the Sacramento, California area as are you, and we did a production of 'Oliver' together (as apart of Fagin's gang) at Sacramento State University once upon a time." – ¶ 14.
    • b "BeBe: With my experience in knowing you from way back when in the theaters of our hometown of Sacramento, I was not of course surprised with this release from you knowing your roots in jazz with your Dad...— ¶ 34.
  6. Jump up^ Molly Ringwald Biography (1968–). Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  7. Jump up^ [1]. This American Life Episode 526, Transcript.
  8. Jump up^ Sacramento's Fulton Street Jazz Band's Recordings. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  9. Jump up^ Karlyn, Kathleen Rowe, "'Too Close for Comfort': American Beauty and the Incest Motif", Cinema Journal, 44, Number 1, Fall 2004, pp. 69–93. University of Texas Press.
  10. Jump up^ 
  11. Jump up^ Tempest (1982) on IMDb
  12. Jump up^ Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. p. 26.
  13. Jump up^ Jump up ^ Staff (January 1, 1984). "Sixteen Candles". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  14. Jump up^ ^ Miles Bradford (2010). "Molly Ringwald not a fan of remaking one of her classic 80's movies". KABC-TV. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
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  18. Jump up^ Jump up ^ "The Lost Projects of John Hughes | Splitsider". Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  19. Jump up^ ^ "Howard Deutch on True Blood and John Hughes -- Vulture". Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  20. Jump up^ ^ "'The Pick-Up Artist' (PG-13)". September 18, 1987. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
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  28. Jump up^ AP. "Molly Ringwald to take 'Sweet Charity' on the road this fall", USA Today, February 27, 2006.
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  30. Jump up^ "Molly Ringwald's Not A Teenager Anymore!" Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., TV Guide, July 1, 2008.
  31. Jump up^ "Molly Ringwald Covers The Movie Theme That Made Her Famous",, March 11, 2013.
  32. Jump up^ Wishin' and Hopin' Archived December 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.,
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  36. Jump up^ Molly Ringwald Expecting Twins People, January 23, 2009
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