Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
The Breakfast Club
Currently Known For:
Actress and Author
1980s - 1990s
June 13, 1962
The Breakfast Club
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“Sometimes characters speak to you. They start to take over your body and your mind a bit.” Best known as part of the Brat Pack, Ally Sheedy made her film debut in the 1983 flick Bad Boys but didn’t become a household name until she joined Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club in 1985. Giving a stellar performance as an introverted outcast named Allison, Sheedy went on to star in St. Elmo’s Fire, War Games and Short Circuit and later gave an award-winning performance in High Art in 1998. Already a best-selling author at 12 years old, let’s uncover Sheedy’s journey from author to actress and everything in between! Advertisements:
Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy was born on June 13, 1962 in New York, New York where her father worked as an advertising executive and her mother was a press agent. From an early age, she showed an interest in performing and often entertained her family with her dance routines in the living room. By the age of six, she performed with the American Ballet Theatre and had dreams of becoming a professional dancer before exchanging her dance routines with acting scripts in her teens. But, even amid her interests in dance and theater, she was also interested in writing, which is what led her to become a best-selling author at 12 years old. “I have always written,” Sheedy said. “My mother was a writer and I would read my stories to her. Her friend, writer and editor Joyce Johnson, was over when I read what would become the first two chapters of She Was Nice to Mice. It was Joyce’s idea to bring it to McGraw Hill and then she worked with me editing the book.”
With her book making the best-seller list, Sheedy was invited to appear on the game show To Tell the Truth in 1975. Afterward, she went on to appear in various stage productions throughout New York and had already decided on a career in acting when she graduated from Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in 1980 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time at 18 years old. “In hindsight, it didn’t take too long for things to fall into place,” she said. “Although at 18 it felt like it did. I pounded the pavement finding an agent just like everyone else.” She got her start in television and made-for-television films like The Best Little Girl in the World, The Day the Loving Stopped, Homeroom and Splendor in the Grass before catching her big break in 1983 when she landed her first feature film role opposite Sean Penn in Bad Boys.
Auditioning for War Games multiple times over the span of four months, Sheedy eventually snagged the part alongside Matthew Broderick when John Hughes offered her the part of Allison Reynolds in his new film, The Breakfast Club. Thanks to her association with the cult classic and her stellar performance as the quiet outcast, Sheedy was dubbed a member of the Brat Pack and went on to star as Leslie Hunter in St. Elmo’s Fire. “The Breakfast Club gave me my career,” she admitted. The experience was incredible and obviously timeless for Sheedy who still gets stopped on the street by fans today.
“That movie holds a special place in my heart,” Sheedy says. “The script was great but somehow John Hughes made it magical. I’m not quite sure how he did it. The chemistry of the cast was great… We all had a good feeling about the film but I don’t think anyone really had an idea that it would be such a phenomenon.” Her feelings on being dubbed a member of “The Brat Pack” haven’t been as positive, however, as the nickname hindered her career. “There was pressure to break out and become a success individually,” she said. “It held true for everyone. We all felt we had to prove ourselves as actors and be in successful films on our own. Things turned somewhat negative. It was depressing. Sometimes there are strange consequences for being successful in this society.”
After wrapping up her stint with The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, Sheedy went out to prove The Brat Pack critics wrong when she landed another big part in the 1986 sci-fi comedy Short Circuit. The film was a box office hit and became the last big film of Sheedy’s career despite her efforts to rekindle her fame with films like Maid to Order in 1987. Wrapping up the decade with Short Circuit 2 and Heart of Dixie, she spent the early 1990s in a string of made-for-television films like Chantilly Lace, Red Shoe Diaries and The Haunting of Seacliff Inn while making minor appearances on the silver screen in Betsy’s Wedding and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In 1998, she enjoyed critical success with her performance in the independent film High Art, which earned her numerous awards including an Independent Spirit Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.
Amid her brief return to the stage in an Off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Sheedy has spent the last decade making the rounds in television with a recurring role as Yang in Psych in addition to cameos in The Dead Zone and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. As for her film career, she’s appeared in Sins of Our Youth, Fugly!, Little Sister and X-Men: Apocalypse but nothing can compare to her success as a beloved member of The Brat Pack, even if she cringes at the nickname!
As for the 55-year-old’s life behind the scenes, Sheedy published her second book—Yesterday I Saw the Sun: Poems—in 1991 and continues writing today using her personal life for inspiration. After a brief romance with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora in the 1980s, she entered drug rehab and, by the 1990s, had developed an addiction to sleeping pills. Eventually getting her addictions under control, she found love with David Lansbury in 1992 and welcomed their daughter in 1994. Sheedy filed for divorce in 2008 and, as far as we know, is still single today.