Molly Ringwald
Ringwald in 2024
Molly Kathleen Ringwald

(1968-02-18) February 18, 1968 (age 56)
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
  • writer
Years active1977–present
Valery Lameignère
(m. 1999; div. 2002)
(m. 2007)

Molly Kathleen Ringwald (born February 18, 1968)[1] is an American actress, writer, and translator. She began her career as a child actress on the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life (both 1979–1980) before being nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the drama film Tempest (1982). Ringwald became a teen idol following her appearances in filmmaker John Hughes' teen films Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986). These films led to the media referring to her as a member of the "Brat Pack." Her final teen roles were in For Keeps and Fresh Horses (both in 1988).

Following leading roles in King Lear (1987), The Pick-up Artist (1987), Strike It Rich (1990), and Betsy's Wedding (1990), Ringwald moved to Paris and began acting in French films. In subsequent decades, Ringwald acted in the television shows The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008–2013), Riverdale (2017–2023), Creepshow (2021), and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022). In February 2024, Ringwald made her runway modeling debut at New York Fashion Week, walking for Batsheva.[2]

Early life

Ringwald was born in Roseville, California,[1][3] the daughter of Adele Edith (née Frembd), a chef, and Robert Scott "Bob" Ringwald, a blind jazz pianist[4] of German descent. Ringwald has two siblings, Beth and Kelly, and an older brother, who died before she was born.[5] She is partly of Swedish descent.[6] 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 Molly Sings: I Wanna Be Loved by You, a music album of Dixieland jazz with her father and his group, the Fulton Street Jazz Band.[7] Ringwald graduated from the Lycée Français de Los Angeles.[8]



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 the 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 nominated for a Golden Globe award for the role.[12]

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.[13] Ringwald later said, "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 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, The Breakfast Club (1985), which was a commercial and critical success. Ringwald was cast as Claire Standish, a spoiled, wealthy beauty who is in detention for skipping class to go to the mall. Ringwald's performance gained strong reviews.

Ringwald with Zach Galligan in Surviving, 1985

The following year, still in high school, she was cast as Andie Walsh in another successful Hughes film, Pretty In Pink (1986). 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, she wanted to act in more mature roles. Ringwald was featured on the cover of the May 26, 1986, issue of Time.[17]

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.[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 film 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.[21]

Ringwald was turned down for leading roles in Working Girl and Silence of the Lambs, later commenting that: "I didn’t really feel like darker roles were available to me. The ones that I wanted to do, I didn’t get.”[22]


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 miniseries The Stand, an adaptation of Stephen King's 1978 novel of the same name. 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 appeared 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".


Ringwald holding a microphone
Ringwald in April 2013

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 a MTV Movie Award nomination. In theater, she wore a "Green, Green Dress" as Susan 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. 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 had a recurring role as main character Archie Andrews' mother Mary Andrews on The CW television series Riverdale. After initially only appearing as a guest, Ringwald took a more prominent role in the series following the death of Luke Perry who played Archie's father.


Ringwald, who speaks French fluently, has translated two books from French to English. The first was the novel Lie with Me. The second was My Cousin Maria Schneider, a book about the French actress Maria Schneider, whose career was largely defined by a sex scene with Marlon Brando in the film Last Tango in Paris despite her many other accomplishments as an actress.[36]

Personal life

In the 1980s, Ringwald dated musician Dweezil Zappa and rapper Ad-Rock of the hip-hop group Beastie Boys.[37][38]

Ringwald married Valéry Lameignère, a French writer, in Bordeaux, France, on July 28, 1999; they divorced in 2002.[39] She married Panio Gianopoulos, a Greek-American writer and book editor, in 2007. They have a daughter, Mathilda,[40] born in 2003[27] and fraternal boy-girl twins, born in July 2009.[41] Her pregnancy was written into the storyline of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.[42] She was the subject of an episode in season 7 of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.

Public image

Ringwald stated she was very aware of her public image during her teen years and 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."[43]


Ringwald seated at a table with a microphone
Ringwald at the WeHo Book Fair in 2010



Molly Ringwald film work
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
1999 Requiem for Murder Anne Winslow
Teaching Mrs. Tingle Miss Banks
Kimberly Nancy
2000 Cut Vanessa Turnbill/Chloe
The Brutal Truth Penelope
In the Weeds Chloe
The Translator Julie Newman Short
2001 Cowboy Up Connie
Not Another Teen Movie Flight Attendant
2008 Guest of Cindy Sherman Herself Documentary
2010 Wax On, F*ck Off Herself Short film
2014 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films Herself Documentary
2015 Jem and the Holograms Aunt Bailey
Bad Night The Collector
2016 King Cobra Amy Kocis
2017 SPF-18 Faye Cooper
2018 All These Small Moments Carla Sheffield
The Kissing Booth Mrs. Flynn
Siberia Gabby Hill
2020 The Kissing Booth 2 Mrs. Flynn
2021 The Kissing Booth 3 Mrs. Flynn
2023 Judy Blume Forever Herself Documentary
Bad Things Ms. Auerbach
TBA Montauk[46] Wolcott Post-production; previously called Kingfish[47]


Molly Ringwald television work
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 Carson 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; lead role's mother
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' & Hopin' Madame Frechette Television film
2016–2018 Raising Expectations Paige Wayney Main cast
2016 Odd Mom Out Joy Greene 2 episodes
2016 Doc McStuffins Darla (voice) 4 episodes
2017–2023 Riverdale Mary Andrews Recurring role; 36 episodes
2018 Drop the Mic Herself Episode: "Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Shawn Mendes / Molly Ringwald vs. Jon Cryer"
2019 Tales of the City Mrs. Duncan 2 episodes
2021 Creepshow Mrs. Porter Episode: "Sibling Rivalry"
2022 The Bear Al-Anon Moderator Episode: "Brigade"
2022 Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Shari Dahmer Main cast; Dahmer's stepmother
2023 Single Drunk Female Alice Episode: "Shiva"
2023 HouseBroken Milly (voice) Episode: "Who Got Burned?"
2024 Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Joanne Carson 5 episodes



  1. ^ a b "Molly Ringwald Biography: Theater Actress, Film Actress, Television Actress (1968–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Moore, Booth (February 14, 2024). "Batsheva Fall 2024 Ready to Wear: Molly Ringwald The Ringleader of a Gorgeous Over 40 Runway Cast". WWD. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  3. ^ 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 a part 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.
  4. ^ "Bob Ringwald, jazz ambassador and actor's father, dies at 80". AP NEWS. August 8, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  5. ^ [1]. This American Life Episode 526, Transcript.
  6. ^ "Molly Ringwald". Who Do You Think You Are?. Season 7. Episode 4. TLC. April 24, 2016.[permanent dead link] Closed access icon
  7. ^ Sacramento's Fulton Street Jazz Band's Recordings Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  8. ^ Belk, Melissa (December 4, 2012). "New Again: Molly Ringwald". Interview. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  9. ^ 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. ^ Voss, Brandon (April 26, 2010). "Molly Ringwald: Pretty in Print". Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  11. ^ Canby, Vincent (August 13, 1982). "'TEMPEST' OPENS WITH NOD TO SHAKESPEARE". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  12. ^ Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. p. 26.
  13. ^ Staff (January 1, 1984). "Sixteen Candles". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  14. ^ Miles Bradford (2010). "Molly Ringwald not a fan of remaking one of her classic 80's movies". KABC-TV. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  15. ^ Lurie, Karen. "Brat Pack". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
  16. ^ "Not My Job: Molly Ringwald Answers Questions About Senator Byrd".
  17. ^ "Molly Ringwald on the cover of Time". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Lost Projects of John Hughes". Vulture. July 12, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ Hinson, Hal. "'The Pick-Up Artist' (PG-13)". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  21. ^ "Fresh Horses reception". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  22. ^ "Molly Ringwald Turned Down 'Pretty Woman' Role: It Was an 'Icky' Storyline". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. April 28, 2023. Retrieved March 24, 2024.
  23. ^ Monica Corcoran (June 29, 2008). "Molly Ringwald: Pretty in Pucci". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
  24. ^ "Molly Ringwald Movies". Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  25. ^ Bernardo, Melissa Rose (November 2, 2001). "Tick, Tick...Boom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  26. ^ Simonson, Robert (April 28, 2002). "Molly Ringwald Leaves Cabaret April 28". Playbill. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  27. ^ a b 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". The Guardian.
  36. ^ Krug, Nora (April 16, 2023). "Why Molly Ringwald translated an infamous story of film exploitation: Ringwald talks about 'My Cousin Maria Schneider,' a book she translated from French about the life of Maria Schneider, who starred in 'Last Tango in Paris'". Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  37. ^ "New Again: Molly Ringwald". Interview Magazine. December 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2023.
  38. ^ Tenreyro, Tatiana (March 12, 2023). "Molly Ringwald Looks Back at Attending the 1987 Oscars". Parade. Retrieved November 4, 2023.
  39. ^ Agger, Michael (May 21, 2005). "Don't You Forget About Me". Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  40. ^ "This American Life: The Blunder Years". November 3, 2023. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  41. ^ Wang, Cynthia; Michaud, Sarah (July 13, 2009). "Molly Ringwald Welcomes Twins!". People. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  42. ^ Warrick, Pamela (January 23, 2009). "Molly Ringwald Expecting Twins!". People. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  43. ^ Carmon, Irin (April 28, 2010). "Molly Ringwald On Teen Pregnancy, Bristol Palin, And For Keeps".
  44. ^ Force, Thessaly La (April 16, 2023). "For 'Last Tango' Actress, the Ugly Aftermath of Notoriety". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  45. ^ "Why Molly Ringwald translated an infamous story of film exploitation". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  46. ^ "Montauk (2021)". SSS Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  47. ^ "Charlyne Yi Boards 'Second Act'; Molly Ringwald Cast In YA Film 'Kingfish'; Robert Scott Wilson Joins 'Relic'". Deadline. November 8, 2017.