Molly Ringwald

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 NBC sitcom 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 subsequently made her motion picture debut in the independent film Tempest (1982), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. Ringwald is known for her collaborations with filmmaker John Hughes, having appeared in three of his films.

Molly Ringwald
Ringwald in 2012
Molly Kathleen Ringwald

(1968-02-18) February 18, 1968
OccupationActress, singer, dancer, writer
Years active1978-present
Valery Lameignère
(m. 1999; div. 2002)


After appearing in the successful 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), Fresh Horses (1988) 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). "Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade" (1994 short film - precursor to "Sling Blade"). Ringwald is part of the "Brat Pack" and she was ranked number 1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars.[2][3][4] Since 2017, Ringwald has portrayed Mary Andrews on The CW television series Riverdale.

Early life

Ringwald was born in Roseville, California,[1][5] the daughter of Adele Edith (née Frembd), a housewife and chef, and Robert Scott "Bob" Ringwald, jazz pianist who is blind.[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 in Wonderland 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] Ringwald graduated from the Lycée Français de Los Angeles.[9]

Life and career

1978–83: Career beginnings

In 1978, at the age of 10, Ringwald was chosen to play Kate in the West Coast production of Annie, performing in Los Angeles.[10] 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.[11]

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,[12] and was subsequently nominated for a Golden Globe award for the role.[13]

1984–89: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, and early success

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 by her family. Ringwald's performance gained critical acclaim; many called her acting engaging.[14] 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.[15] Ringwald was regarded as a member of the so-called Brat Pack of 1980s teen actors[16] but has said she was not really part of that group.[17] Ringwald gained more success when she was cast in another John Hughes film, 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 to go shopping. Ringwald's performance gained strong reviews.

The following year, still in high school, she was cast as Andie Walsh in another successful Hughes film, 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, Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), but turned down the role as she felt it was too similar to the 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 the May 26, 1986 issue of Time magazine.[18]

Ringwald was set to star in another Hughes film, Oil and Vinegar, but the film was scrapped when Hughes 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 a car ride.[19][20] In 1987, she was cast as Randy Jensen in The Pick-up Artist, opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in one of his first lead roles.[21] 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 from 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 becomes 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 underperformed at the box office. The film also starred Andrew McCarthy, who previously worked with Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.[22]

1990s–2010s: The Stand and continued acting

In the early 1990s, Ringwald reportedly turned down the female lead roles in Pretty Woman and Ghost.[23] In the mid-1990s, Ringwald, who had been educated at the Lycée Français de Los Angeles and is fluent in French, moved to Paris and starred in several French movies.[24] She returned to the United States 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).

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!,[25] and headlined as Sally Bowles in Broadway's long-running revival of Cabaret from December 18, 2001 until April 28, 2002.[26] In 2003, Ringwald appeared in Enchanted April on Broadway beginning April 8, but left after the performance of June 15 due to her pregnancy with her daughter.[27]

In late 2004, she starred in the play Modern Orthodox on Broadway, opposite Jason Biggs and Craig Bierko.[28] 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.[29] She also played a supporting role as Molly McIntire's mother Helen in Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front.[30] Ringwald starred in the ABC Family network's series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which debuted on July 1, 2008 and ran for five seasons and 121 episodes, before ending on June 3, 2013.[31] She played Anne Juergens, 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

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.[32]

Ringwald played Madame Frechette in the 2014 Lifetime Christmas film Wishin' and Hopin'.[33] Ringwald plays Aunt Bailey in Jem and the Holograms, raising Jerrica, her sister Kimber, and adopted daughters.[34] In September 2014, Ringwald began writing an advice column for The Guardian, answering questions about "love, family, or life in general".[35] 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

Ringwald married Valéry Lameignère, a French writer, in Bordeaux, France, on July 28, 1999; they divorced in 2002.[36] She married Panio Gianopoulos, a Greek-American writer and book editor, in 2007. They have a daughter, born in 2003,[27] and fraternal (boy-girl) twins, born in July 2009.[37] Her pregnancy was written into the storyline of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.[38] She was the subject of an episode in season 8 of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.

Public image

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."[39]




Year Title Role Notes
1982 Tempest Miranda Dimitrius
1983 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone Niki
1984 Sixteen Candles Samantha "Sam" 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 Bobrucz
Fresh Horses Jewel
1990 Strike It Rich Cary Porter
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
2010 Wax On, F*ck Off Herself Short film
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 Faye Cooper
2018 All These Small Moments Carla Sheffield
2018 The Kissing Booth Mrs. Flynn
2018 Siberia Gabby Hill
TBA The Kissing Booth 2 Mrs. Flynn Post-production


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
1996 Remember WENN Angela Colton Episode: "Sight Unseen"
1998 Saturday Night Live Anne Frank (voice) Episode: "Steve Buscemi/Third Eye Blind"
1998 Twice upon a Time Beth Sager Television film
2000 The $treet Devyn Alden Episode: "Propheting on Losses"
2000 The Outer Limits Allison Channing Episode: "Judgment Day"
2006 Medium Kathleen Walsh Episode: "The Darkness is Light Enough"
2006 The Wives He Forgot Charlotte Saint John Television film
2006 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"
2011 RuPaul's Drag U Herself Episode: "Like a Virgin"
2014 Rainbow Brite Dark Princess (voice) 3 episodes
2014 Wishin' and Hopin' Madame Frechette Television film
2016 Raising Expectations Paige Wayney Series lead
2016 Doc McStuffins Darla Episode: "Stuffy's ambulance ride"
2017–present Riverdale Mary Andrews Recurring role; 10 episodes
2018 Drop the Mic Herself Episode: "Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Shawn Mendes / Molly Ringwald vs. Jon Cryer"
2019 Tales of the City Claire's mother 2 episodes


Awards and nominations

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. "Molly Ringwald Biography: Theater Actress, Film Actress, Television Actress (1968–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  2. "50 Greatest Teen Stars of All Time". Extra. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  3. Davis, Laura (December 4, 2009). "Child stars: where are they now?". The Independent. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  4. 50 Greatest Teen Stars of All Time Archived January 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  5. Sweetbriar, BeBe (April 18, 2013). "Molly Ringwald Swings on New CD". EDGE Boston. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
    • 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. Molly Ringwald Biography (1968–). Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  7. . This American Life Episode 526, Transcript.
  8. Sacramento's Fulton Street Jazz Band's Recordings. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  9. Belk, Melissa (December 4, 2012). "New Again: Molly Ringwald". Interview. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  10. 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.
  11. Voss, Brandon (April 26, 2010). "Molly Ringwald: Pretty in Print". Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  12. Tempest (1982) on IMDb
  13. Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. p. 26.
  14. Staff (January 1, 1984). "Sixteen Candles". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  15. Miles Bradford (2010). "Molly Ringwald not a fan of remaking one of her classic 80's movies". KABC-TV. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  16. Lurie, Karen. "Brat Pack". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
  17. "Not My Job: Molly Ringwald Answers Questions About Senator Byrd".
  18. "Molly Ringwald on the cover of Time". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  19. "The Lost Projects of John Hughes". Vulture. July 12, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  20. "Howard Deutch on John Hughes, Shooting Sex Scenes, and How Pretty in Pink Prepared Him for True Blood". Vulture. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  21. Hinson, Hal. "'The Pick-Up Artist' (PG-13)". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  22. "Fresh Horses reception". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
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  24. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  27. Hernandez, Ernio (April 28, 2003). "Expecting Molly Ringwald Exits Broadway's Enchanted April, June 15". Playbill. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  28. Austerlitz, Saul (December 13, 2004). "A comic Jewish duel". Haaretz. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  29. AP. "Molly Ringwald to take 'Sweet Charity' on the road this fall", USA Today, February 27, 2006.
  30. Rouvalis, Cristina (November 23, 2006). "TV Preview: 'Molly' is the best 'American Girl' yet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  31. "Molly Ringwald's Not A Teenager Anymore!" Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, TV Guide, July 1, 2008.
  32. "Molly Ringwald Covers The Movie Theme That Made Her Famous",, March 11, 2013.
  33. Wishin' and Hopin' Archived December 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine,
  34. Corriston, Michele (May 21, 2014). "Molly Ringwald Joins Jem and the Holograms Cast". People. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  35. Reynolds, John (September 12, 2014). "Guardian revamps weekday and weekend editions" via The Guardian.
  36. Agger, Michael (May 21, 2005). "Don't You Forget About Me". Retrieved May 24, 2011.
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  38. Warrick, Pamela (January 23, 2009). "Molly Ringwald Expecting Twins!". People. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  39. Carmon, Irin. "Molly Ringwald On Teen Pregnancy, Bristol Palin, And For Keeps".
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