Whatever happened to The Breakfast Club?

A look back at the careers of the five main cast members since making one of the best films of the 80s

Next month marks the 30th anniversary of John Hughes‘ cult 80s teen flick The Breakfast Club (1985). It’s title song, Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds, has developed a certain irony as it’s rather unknown as to where the five main cast members are these days. Flicking through the television channels the other day, I came across a TV movie starring Ally Sheedy and it got me thinking: whatever happened to The Breakfast Club?

Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez)

Emilio Estevez

Undoubtedly the most successful of the group, Estevez starred in quite a few hits in the 80s and 90s, including Stakeout (1987), Young Guns (1988), The Mighty Ducks (1992), and even had a small role in Mission Impossible (1996). Nowadays, he spends more time behind the camera directing various TV episodes, and in 2006 directed the ensemble cast drama Bobby.

Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy)

Ally Sheedy

Along with Estevez, she starred in what seems like a spiritual sequel to The Breakfast Club, St Elmo’s Fire (1985). A year later she appeared alongside Johnny 5 in the hit 80s comedy Short Circuit (1986) and it’s sequel two years later. Since then she’s mainly been relegated to TV Movies and popping up in the odd television series such as Oz (1997), CSI (2000) and Psych (2006).

Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall)

Anthony Michael

Returned to play a ‘nerd’ again for John Hughes in Weird Science (1985), but quickly broke free from that typecasting by playing the cruel jock in Edward Scissorhands (1990). After quite a few years appearing in TV episodes and movies, he scored the lead in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone television series in 2002, lasting five years. Since then, he’s popped up in The Dark Knight (2008) as a Gotham news reporter and can be seen in last year’s Foxcatcher.

Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald)

Molly Ringwald

Starring in three John Hughes films in three years (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink), you could say she peaked way too soon. From then on she suffered a downward spiralling career, appearing in relatively unknown films and television shows, the most prominent of these being The Stand (1994), along with a cameo in Not Another Teen Movie (2001). In 2012 she turned her attentions to music, recording an album, and also became an author.

John Bender (Judd Nelson)

Judd Nelson

After playing the cool rebel, it seemed like a monumental career would be on the cards for Nelson, but it didn’t exactly pan out that way. Alongside Estevez and Sheedy, he played a main role in St Elmo’s Fire, which was followed by voicing Hot Rod in Transformers: The Movie (1986). Once the 90s hit, a starring role in the cult crime flick New Jack City (1991) wasn’t enough to maintain his stardom, and he slowly slipped down into the bowels of TV movies and the odd TV episode. The last high profile film he was seen in was The Boondocks Saints 2 (2009), and that’s saying something.

Every time I watch The Breakfast Club, and it’s at least once a year, I’m reminded of how talented these actors were and most likely still are. It’s just a shame the opportunities didn’t continue for them like they did for many other child stars, such as Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore or Christian Bale. If they had, who knows where they could be now.

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