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THEN AND NOW: The Brat Pack, 36 years later

Summary List PlacementThe phrase "Brat Pack" was coined by David Blum in a New York magazine article to describe the young movie stars of the '80s. The cover stars of the June 1985 article were Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, and Emilio Estevez, three of the co-stars of "St. Elmo's Fire." The members of the "Brat Pack" are usually considered: Lowe, Nelson, Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, and Ally Sheedy, with some variations including Robert Downey Jr. and others. Here's what they're all up to now, almost 40 years later. Emilio Estevez appeared in "The Outsiders," "The Breakfast Club," and...

st elmos fire

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The phrase “Brat Pack” was coined by David Blum in a New York magazine article to describe the young movie stars of the ’80s.

The cover stars of the June 1985 article were Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, and Emilio Estevez, three of the co-stars of “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

The members of the “Brat Pack” are usually considered: Lowe, Nelson, Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, and Ally Sheedy, with some variations including Robert Downey Jr. and others.

Here’s what they’re all up to now, almost 40 years later.

Emilio Estevez appeared in “The Outsiders,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” in the ’80s.

Estevez was considered one of the core members of the Brat Pack, as he was in both “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the two most iconic films of the era associated with the group. He was also engaged to fellow member Demi Moore from 1984 to 1986 — he directed and co-starred with Moore in “Wisdom” in 1986.

But his most memorable role to date came in 1992’s “The Mighty Ducks” as the disillusioned former hockey player-turned-coach Gordon Bombay. He reprised the role in 1994’s “D2” and 1996’s “D3.”

He was married to Paula Abdul from 1992 to 1994.

Estevez reprised his “Mighty Ducks” role in the 2021 Disney+ series “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.”

Estevez, 59, mainly works behind the camera now as a director — he’s directed episodes of “Cold Case,” “CSI: NY,” and “Numb3rs,” among other things. He also appeared as a younger version of his father Martin Sheen’s character in “The West Wing,” President Jed Bartlet, in an uncredited cameo during season four.

The most recent film he directed, “The Public,” was released in 2018.

In March 2021, Estevez returned to the rink to once again play hockey coach Gordon Bombay in “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” co-starring with Lauren Graham as a single mom determined to help her son play hockey.

Anthony Michael Hall appeared in multiple John Hughes films, including “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”

Hall appeared in the first “National Lampoon’s Family Vacation” movie as Rusty in 1983, which is where he was introduced to screenwriter Hughes. Hall would go on to appear in “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Weird Science” in 1984 and 1985.

Not wanting to get pigeonholed into “nerdy” roles, Hall began starring on “Saturday Night Live” from 1985 to 1986 alongside “Weird Science” co-star Robert Downey Jr., and played a jock in 1988’s “Johnny Be Good.” He also plays jealous hothead Jim in “Edward Scissorhands.”

 

Hall is almost unrecognizable from his geeky ’80s days.

Hall, 53, is probably best known now for his role in USA series “The Dead Zone,” which aired from 2002 to 2007.

Although he didn’t want to be typecast, Hall seems willing to poke fun at his ’80s icon status. He appeared in “Riverdale’s” “Breakfast Club” homage in season three, “The Midnight Club,” as the villainous Principal Featherhead — a clear nod to Vice Principal Vernon in the film. He also appeared in an episode of “Community” as a nerd-turned-bully, and as a security guard named after his “Vacation” character in “The Goldbergs,” a sitcom set in the ’80s.

Up next, Hall is set to appear in “Halloween Kills” as Tommy Doyle, a character played by Brian Andrews in the 1978 original film.

He got engaged to actress Lucia Oskerova in 2019.

Molly Ringwald was known as the queen of the ’80s teen film, with roles in “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Sixteen Candles.”

Has there been a better three-year run than going from “Sixteen Candles” to “The Breakfast Club” to “Pretty in Pink” in ’84, ’85, and ’86? Ringwald was undoubtedly one of the biggest teen stars in the world for those three years.

She tried to take more grown-up roles after, including co-starring with Downey in 1987’s “The Pick-up Artist,” but eventually made her final “teen” movie in 1988: “For Keeps.”

Ringwald married French author Valéry Lameignère in 1999. They divorced in 2002.

Ringwald is best known to younger audiences as Archie’s mom on “Riverdale.”

Ringwald, 53, hasn’t had an opportunity to really show off her acting chops in a few years. She’s appeared in all three “Kissing Booth” movies as the mother of Lee and Noah Flynn, played Amy’s mom in all five seasons of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” from 2008 to 2013, and has a recurring role in “Riverdale” as Archie’s mom, Mary.

She’s also released two albums and written three books. She married author Panio Gianopoulos in 2007, and they share three kids together.

Robert Downey Jr. appeared in “Weird Science” and “Less Than Zero.”

Downey isn’t always credited as a member of the Brat Pack, but he appeared in many films alongside “core” members, like “Weird Science” with Hall, “Less Than Zero” with Andrew McCarthy, and “The Pick-up Artist” with Ringwald. He was also in ’80s cult classic “Back to School.”

In 1992, he solidified himself as a serious adult actor by earning an Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin in “Chaplin.” But starting in the ’90s, Downey started experiencing legal troubles stemming from substance abuse, which would last until he was arrested and sent to rehab for the last time in 2001.

He dated future “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker from 1984 until 1991 before they split due to his substance abuse. He then married Deborah Falconer in 1992 and welcomed a son before splitting up in 2001, formalizing the divorce in 2004.

RDJ is now one of the most bankable movie stars of all time, anchoring the billion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Downey, 56, slowly began appearing in smaller films like “Zodiac,” “Gothika,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and “Charlie Bartlett” before getting cast in a little film called “Iron Man” in 2006.

This set off a cinematic universe that has over 20 films and multiple television series, billions of dollars at the box office, and an almost incomprehensible level of stardom for Downey as the leader of the entire thing. He capped off his decade-long journey with 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which reigned as the highest-grossing film of all time for almost two years.

In between Marvel movies, Downey has found time to star in two “Sherlock Holmes” films (earning a Golden Globe in the process), “Tropic Thunder” (another Oscar nod), “Due Date,” and 2020’s “Dolittle.”

He also produced the upcoming Netflix series “Sweet Tooth.”

Downey married Susan Downey in 2005, and they share two kids. They also co-founded production company Team Downey in 2010.

Rob Lowe became a teen idol after roles in “The Outsiders,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and “Class,” among others.

From the minute Lowe appeared on-screen as heartthrob Sodapop Curtis in “The Outsiders,” American teens were transfixed.

He appeared in a slew of ’80s films, including “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Oxford Blues,” “Youngblood,” and “Square Dance.” He was also involved in a sex-tape scandal in 1988, which eventually led to him getting sober two years later.

Lowe married his wife, Sheryl Berkoff, in 1991, and they have two children together.

Lowe is currently starring on “9-1-1: Lone Star.”

Beginning in 1999, Lowe starred on “The West Wing” as deputy communications director Sam Seaborn, for which he was nominated for an Emmy and two Golden Globes. He left in 2003, before making a brief return for the finale in 2006.

Lowe, now 57, then appeared in over 70 episodes of “Brothers and Sisters” from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, he began starring on “Parks and Recreation” as Chris Traeger, arguably what he is best known for today. He left in 2015.

He then appeared in various other TV shows and TV movies like “The Grinder,” “Killing Kennedy,” and “The Bad Seed,” before securing his latest TV role as Owen Strand in “9-1-1: Lone Star.”

Andrew McCarthy was in multiple Brat Pack films, but he is best known as Blane in “Pretty in Pink.”

McCarthy made his film debut in “Class,” which co-starred Lowe, and he also appeared in “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Less Than Zero,” but to many, he will always be Blane from 1986’s “Pretty in Pink.” He was so beloved that the entire ending of the film was changed so that he and Ringwald’s character Andie would end up together, instead of the original ending that had her end up with best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer).

His last film of the ’80s was the classic “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Throughout the ’90s, he appeared in multiple TV films. In 1999, he married his college sweetheart Carol Schneider. They had one son together before getting divorced in 2005.

McCarthy’s son is now an actor, too.

McCarthy, 58, continued his TV film streak into the 2000s. Now, he mainly directs episodes of TV. He has episodes of “Gossip Girl,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Blacklist,” “New Amsterdam,” and “Good Girls” under his belt. He also appeared in five episodes of the latter. In 2020, he had a small role in an episode of “13 Reasons Why.”

He has also written multiple travel books and was an editor at National Geographic. He was even named the travel journalist of the year in 2010. McCarthy published a YA novel in 2017, “Just Fly Away,” and a memoir in May 2021 entitled “Brat: An ’80s Story,” about his time in the Brat Pack.

He married Dolores Rice, an Irish actress and writer, in 2011, and they have two children together.

McCarthy’s eldest son, Sam, currently stars in the Netflix series “Dead to Me” as Charlie, the older son of Christina Applegate’s character Jen. Sam also played the son of Ringwald in “All These Small Moments,” letting “Pretty in Pink” fans see what could’ve been.

Demi Moore’s breakthrough was “St. Elmo’s Fire,” though she had already been a model.

Moore became a tabloid fixture in the ’80s, first due to her relationship with Estevez, with whom she co-starred in “St. Elmo’s Fire.” She also co-starred with Lowe in 1986’s “About Last Night…”

She also dated Bruce Willis, whom she married in 1987. They have three daughters together: Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.

In the ’90s, beginning with “Ghost,” which earned her a Golden Globe, Moore was a true A-lister. In 1991, she also appeared naked while seven months pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, which became one of the most iconic covers of all time. Moore posed naked once again on the cover in 1992, this time covered in body paint to look like a suit.

She appeared in films such as a “A Few Good Men,” “Indecent Proposal,” and “Disclosure,” which led to her becoming the highest-paid actress in Hollywood by 1995. That year, she appeared in “Now and Then.”

In 1996, she was paid a record-breaking $12.5 million for “Striptease.” She voiced Esmerelda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and shaved her head for “GI Jane.”

After a slow decade, Moore is making a comeback.

Moore, 58, divorced Willis in 2000. She then began dating Ashton Kutcher in 2003, and they tied the knot in 2005. They officially split in 2011, and the divorce was finalized in 2013.

Career-wise, Moore appeared in a few flops, like “LOL” and “Very Good Girls,” but also moderate successes like “Rough Night” and the show “Empire.” Most recently, she appeared in the widely panned pandemic thriller “Songbird,” the TV adaptation of “Brave New World,” which was canceled after one season, and she is set to appear in the ’50s greaser film “Please Baby Please.”

Her memoir, “Inside Out,” was published in 2019 and detailed her time as part of the Brat Pack, among other things.

Her friendship with ex Willis has also frequently made headlines. She appeared as a surprise guest at his Comedy Central Roast, and they rode out part of the pandemic together with their three daughters in Idaho.

Judd Nelson played the bad boy, Bender, in “The Breakfast Club.”

Even watching “The Breakfast Club” in 2021, it seems like Nelson would easily become the breakout star of the film and remain a movie star well into this century.

Instead, he appeared in “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and then concentrated on action movies and thrillers, like 1986’s “Blue City,” which reunited him with frequent co-star Ally Sheedy, 1989’s “Relentless,” and 1991’s “New Jack City,” which is his other most well-known role.

He also starred in the Brooke Shields sitcom “Suddenly Susan” from 1996 to 1999.

Nelson mainly appears in VOD movies and voiceover roles.

Nelson, 61, has continued to act steadily in TV films, straight-to-DVD films, and voiceover roles. In a nod to one of his earliest roles, he appeared in the 2018 film “Billionaire Boys Club” as the father of the character he played in the 1987 TV film of the same name — unfortunately, it’s mainly known as Kevin Spacey’s final film before he was accused of sexual misconduct.

He’s also had roles in shows like “Psych,” “Nikita,” and “Empire,” as well as regular appearances in the animated “Transformers” series as Rodimus. He’s also written multiple books.

Ally Sheedy appeared in multiple Brat Pack films.

Sheedy appeared in “WarGames” opposite Matthew Broderick, “Oxford Blues” opposite Lowe, “Blue City’ opposite Nelson, as well as “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Breakfast Club.”

In the ’80s she also dated Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, before marrying David Lansbury (son of Angela) in 1992. Their son was born in 1994, and they divorced in 2008.

She won an Independent Spirit Award in 1998 for her performance as a middle-aged artist in “High Art.”

Sheedy is set to appear in the upcoming Freeform series “Single Drunk Female.”

Sheedy, 58, has slowed down a bit in recent years. She reunited with her “Breakfast Club” co-star Hall for an episode of “The Dead Zone” in 2003, and she went on to appear in episodes of “Kyle XY,” “Psych,” and most recently “SMILF” in 2019. She also had a small cameo in the 1980s-set “X-Men: Apocalypse,” as a nod to her ’80s stardom.

She’s set to appear in an upcoming Freeform series “Single Drunk Female.”

 

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