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What The Cast Of Pretty In Pink Looks Like Today

The 1986 teen classic "Pretty in Pink" does not fade with age. It only grows more colorful with repeated viewings and keeps unearthing new fans from one generation to the next. The John Hughes written film, directed by first-timer Howard Deutch, hit #1 at the box office, produced one of the best soundtracks of the '80s, and further made an icon out of its star, Molly Ringwald, who graced the covers of both Time and Life that same year.

The film was born out of Ringwald getting Hughes hooked on the song "Pretty in Pink" by the Psychedelic Furs (although The Guardian reports that their lead singer isn't the film's biggest fan). Ringwald not only aided Hughes and the production team in character development, casting, and costumes but set design as well, with her character's room modeled after her own. The effort would be the last collaboration between the two and puts a perfect exclamation point on the trifecta that also includes "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club."

As the film approaches its fourth decade in the public consciousness, let's see what the cast of "Pretty in Pink" that is still with us (rest in peace, Harry Dean Stanton, Jim Haynie, and Alexa Kenin) looks like today — some of whom, such as Andrew McCarthy, didn't even attend their own proms in real life!

Molly Ringwald (Andie Walsh)

John Hughes defined the teen movie of the 1980s and probably couldn't have convincingly done so without his muse, Molly Ringwald, lighting up the silver screen with her smile. They worked hand-in-hand to bring their final collaboration to life, "Pretty in Pink," where Hughes described her character Andie as someone who "is judged not always for what she is, but for what she has." Ringwald adds that "it's mainly about dignity and pride, and being proud of who you are, and accepting who you are." She had a big hand in picking her castmates too, and although there's some debate as to whether she or Andrew McCarthy had a real-life crush on the other. Ringwald told Vogue they "had an interesting dynamic because we definitely were not a couple, and we weren't really friends either, but we had a lot of chemistry."

Ringwald has never shied away from her place in pop culture, especially in the teen genre, later playing a mother on the hit series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and "Riverdale." She finds "Pretty in Pink" to be "still so special," but has also parodied her role in it in 2001's "Not Another Teen Movie" and went face to face with Jon Cryer when they dissed each other in an episode of "Drop The Mic." While Ringwald told the Los Angeles Times she never thought of herself as "a style icon," she became one, and her memorable characters remain relevant in pop culture decades after her appearance in "Pretty in Pink."

Andrew McCarthy (Blane McDonough)

"St. Elmo's Fire" star Andrew McCarthy didn't seem like the right fit for Andie's love interest Blane, as the part was "written for a square-jawed, hulking quarterback stud dude" like Charlie Sheen, but after auditioning, Molly Ringwald knew he was the right choice. As McCarthy told CBS Sunday Morning, "that changed my life. Molly changed my life." While "having women suddenly find you exciting and attractive is thrilling," he was ready to move on afterward, telling Parade that at the time, "I just thought it was this movie about a girl going to a dance and making a dress, and do we really care about this?" Still, he told The A.V. Club that he recognized the film's staying power and had no issue reuniting with Ringwald two years later for 1988's "Fresh Horses."

McCarthy has lent his talents to reciting a copious amount of lines of dialog in films like "Weekend at Bernie's," "The Joy Luck Club," and "Kingdom Hospital." However, now he is often found behind the camera directing on shows such as "Orange Is the New Black," "Gossip Girl," and "Halt and Catch Fire." He even had a chance to direct his "Less Than Zero" co-star, James Spader, in "The Blacklist."

McCarthy's children Sam and Willow have also taken a stab at acting, with Sam even playing Ringwald's son in 2018's "All These Small Moments," which Andrew told Parade was "serendipity." However, his kids have no interest in watching any of his movies. In fact, Andrew told "Good Morning America" that when daughter Willow "saw the trailer for 'Pretty In Pink' and she saw me kissing Molly and she said 'I am not watching that movie.'"

Jon Cryer (Duckie)

The indelible character (with plenty of tenderness) of Duckie was based on Molly Ringwald's best friend Matt Freeman and had quirky '80s heartthrobs such as Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Michael Hall, and Michael J. Fox almost making the call sheet to play him before Jon Cryer landed the part. Ringwald told Vogue, "once Jon [Cryer] stepped into that role, there was no question that he was the guy. He put so much of himself into that role that it's impossible to imagine anybody else."

The original ending of "Pink" had him ending up with Andie, but Cryer remains "stoic" about the change and buys into Ringwald's theory that "Andie and Blane probably did not end up together, but Duckie and Andie ended up friends for life." There have always been questions about Duckie's sexuality, and Cryer didn't realize that he had since become a gay icon, to which he replied, "wow, so it's like me and Liza Minnelli."

In his memoir "So That Happened," Cryer answers a question burning for many fans. "Did I want to make 'Duckie 2: Electric Boogaloo'...? No... but would it have killed me to take advantage of a popular persona? Maybe not, but who's to say a series of Duckie-clone movies would have been any better or more successful than the career-engineered diversity portfolio of duds I did make? We'll never know, will we? So will you stop reminding me?" The closest we ever got is when he dressed as Duckie for a Halloween episode of "Two and a Half Men."

Annie Potts (Iona)

In 1985, "Pretty in Pink" producer Lauren Shuler proclaimed Iona, owner of TRAX and elder confidant to Andie, as "one of the most unique characters ever written, and ever put onto the screen." Tracey Ullman was eyed for the role, but Annie Potts booked it as director Deutch told The News Tribune she possessed "a shoulder big enough for all the world to cry on." That talent was seen by her castmates, as Ringwald said, "she had that sort of fun mentor, big sister quality," and Cryer noted that her good humor created an atmosphere where they "couldn't get through the takes."

In a four-decade career, Potts has proven to be a stellar performer in both comedies and dramas, shining bright in "Ghostbusters," "Designing Women," "Toy Story," and more recently on "Young Sheldon." But for Potts, Iona remains one of her favorites, admitting that "one of the reasons I fell in love with this character was because it was so frighteningly like me." She described Iona as "always in transition... thrown herself into every trend and idea, morality, religion, sexuality, dress code, whatever it is, she's done it all."

Potts has also crossed paths again with many "Pretty in Pink" costars. She played Jon Cryer's ex-mother-in-law on "Two and a Half Men," co-starred with Kate Vernon in "Who Abandoned Who?," made a brief appearance on the James Spader series "Boston Legal," and had some of her "Young Sheldon" episodes directed by Howard Deutch.

James Spader (Steff McKee)

Typecasting is something James Spader understands well, relaying to The Irish Times in 1996 that "people have grouped together some of my roles as if they're all the same even though I was a high school student in 'Pretty in Pink,' a corporate lawyer in 'Wall Street' and a drug dealer and a pimp in 'Less Than Zero.' Anyhow, I love playing bad guys."

While director Howard Deutch told Uproxx he initially "didn't want to hire him" for the role of Steff in "Pretty in Pink," Spader was the perfect bad guy who had a perfect look, with the slick clothes, killer hair, and cool cigarette dangling from his mouth. When asked about how iconic the look was by Seth Meyers, Spader didn't agree it was iconic but noted that Steff "seemed like he was 10 years too old to be hanging around a high school. He seemed like maybe he graduated or dropped out years ago ... which I had."

In 1986, Spader said, "Steff could have easily become the class clown, instead he chose to be the snob. His behavior was a manifestation of his personality." The same could be said of some of the larger-than-life evildoers he's since portrayed, like Raymond "Red" Reddington on "The Blacklist" and Ultron in "Avengers."

Kate Vernon (Benny Hanson)

For Kate Vernon, joining the "business" wasn't much of a stretch, considering her father was strong-mouthed actor John Vernon of "Animal House" and "Dirty Harry" fame. Kate told The Winnipeg Sun in 1984 that her dad told her to "'Go in there and knock 'em dead and have a great time' And that's what I'm doing." The two even joined forces for a few films.

After a run on "Falcon Crest," Kate rudely told it like it was as James Spader's rich, stuck-up girlfriend Benny in "Pretty in Pink." In a 2011 interview, she reminisced that she and Spader "were really old playing teenagers... [being] at least six years or seven years older" than their castmates, and even revealed she has a crush on Jon Cryer, who was "insane and so, so, so talented, and still is."

Vernon later won raves as the girlfriend of "Malcolm X in the 1992 Spike Lee joint and legions of sci-fi fans playing Ellen Tigh in 2004's "Battlestar Galactica." She re-teamed with Andrew McCarthy for the 2011 comedy "Snatched," who later directed his son, Sam, and Vernon on the series "Condor."

Andrew Dice Clay (Bouncer)

Before he became a stand-up comic, Andrew Clay was just trying to stand out in the crowd. Bit parts on "M*A*S*H" and "Diff'rent Strokes" were stepping stones for Clay, who eventually played the bouncer at the Cats club in "Pretty in Pink," doling out tough-love to Duckie. Here, he was billed with the new persona, Andrew "Dice" Clay, for the first time. His thinking, he told Slate in 2012, was that "If I go movie to movie, and there's the Diceman, that's never been done — with the same guy in different movies." In his memoir, Cryer recalled that "Dice was an odd character -– nice, but odd. With him it always felt like a performance. It was hard to get to know the person underneath the leather-jacketed bluster."

Dice rolled from there soon becoming an in-demand comic and headlining his own film, "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." He created controversy when he hosted "Saturday Night Live," which led to musical guest Sinéad O'Connor and cast member Nora Dunn's refusal to appear with him on the episode, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. After a lull in his career, he bounced back in "Blue Jasmine," "Entourage," "A Star Is Born," and his own Showtime series "Dice" — whatever you do, be sure to watch the episode where Adrien Brody shadows him.

Margaret Colin (English Teacher)

Margaret Colin was rotating around the soap opera stages of "The Edge of Night" and "As The World Turns" but was looking to take her career to the next level. That path began when she made her feature debut as the stern but caring English teacher in "Pretty in Pink." Colin told The Times in 1985, "I have a small part as a teacher. I am always thinking seriously about feature films. They have never really been off my mind. You have to break through. I auditioned a lot, and I got close a couple of times. I'm taking what I can get."

Her career did blossom from there, graduating to larger parts in films such as "Three Men and a Baby," "Independence Day," and "Unfaithful." She also played the mother to look-a-like Katie Holmes in "First Daughter." 21 years after being a wise elder in "Pretty in Pink," Colin was once again the adult in the room playing alongside the cool kids (and Wallace Shawn) on the hit TV series "Gossip Girl."

While she's saving her more "amazing stories" from her lengthy career for an eventual memoir, she did share the "less amazing" story with Entertainment Weekly in 2017 about her first day on "Pretty in Pink." She remembers, "James Spader gave me a pointer I will never forget. He said, 'keep a voided check on you at all times, that way it's easy to set up direct deposit.'"

Gina Gershon (Girl Friend)

The "girl friend" part wasn't much of one, but for Gina Gershon, "like most of my career, I just kind of pushed my way in at some point, and I think they just gave me that little part." It was her first credited speaking role in a film, and as Benny's snarky friend, Gershon added to Decider that she still had her "baby fat ... and I don't even think I'd plucked my eyebrows yet!"

Over time, Gershon went from a background supporting player to a foreground showstopper, telling The Miami Herald that she wanted to show that "this girl's got range" in revealing films like "Showgirls" and "Bound." She didn't share any of her "Pretty in Pink" parts with Andrew McCarthy on screen, but played his ex-wife in the 1998 film "I'm Losing You," cutting him down to size with the line, "You walk around like you're Matt Damon, but you can't even get a RadioShack commercial!" 

Gershon has also commanded the theater stage, and Playbill notes that after her run ended as Sally Bowles in the acclaimed revival of "Cabaret," Molly Ringwald took over the role weeks later!

Christian Jacobs (Boy in Record Store)

With two parents as actors, The Daily Herald observes that it was natural for the children of the Jacobs clan to join in on the lights, camera, action! Christian was the eldest of the three sons, and by the time he played a handsy shoplifter at TRAX, who almost gets shot in the eye with a staple gun, he was a seasoned veteran, having starred in the TV series "Maggie," "Gloria," and lent his voice to the "Adventures of the Gummi Bears." Jacobs revealed on The Rick Thorne Show that "it was a bit of a trip" to hang out with Ringwald on set and work on schoolwork together for hours each day. While he said that Ringwald was "hot," he had more of a "schoolboy crush" on Annie Potts and her "liberty spikes" hairdo.

After calling it quits on acting in 1990 and starting a family, he told The Spokesman-Review that he became re-inspired by the "the stuff I watched when I was a kid," like "Sesame Street," "The Electric Company," and "the works of Sid and Marty Krofft." That passion led Jacobs and Scott Schultz to co-create the massively popular "Yo Gabba Gabba!" He told OnMilwaukee that they "wanted to create a show that we would actually watch with them, instead of a TV show that made us run from the room screaming." The two, along with Jason deVilliers, would go on to create "The Aquabats! Super Show!"

Maggie Roswell (Mrs. Dietz)

Actress, voice-over artist, and coach Maggie Roswell has accomplished a lot in her lengthy career, but the most important for our purposes is her appearance in "Pretty in Pink." There, she played gym teacher Mrs. Dietz, who has the thankless job of wrangling a gaggle of high school teens while trying to keep them from verbally tearing each other apart.

Roswell has had numerous "she looks familiar" roles in classic '70s and '80s sitcoms, including the 1980 cult classic film "Midnight Madness." However, it was a guest spot on "The Tracey Ullman Show" that led her voice to forever gain immortality on "The Simpsons." Roswell lent her talents and voice to embody the likes of Elizabeth Hoover, Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Luann Van Houten, Martha Quimby, Sharry Bobbins, and scores of other Springfielders. 

When she and her family left Los Angeles for Colorado, a pay dispute had her quit the show, and in turn, "The Simpsons" killed off Maude Flanders. She told The Denver Post that "the cast was as shocked about my death as I was." Fences have since been mended between all parties, and her tally of appearances on "The Simpsons" now spans well north of 250 episodes.

Dweezil Zappa (Simon)

Being the son of a legendary musician doesn't hurt if you want to break into that industry, and being the (then) boyfriend of Molly Ringwald doesn't hurt if you want to break into the film industry either. Frank Zappa's son Dweezil was introduced to Ringwald (whose father was a musician as well) by his sister Moon Unit, and the teen star told People in 1986 that "I respect him and he's really gorgeous." Dweezil described his "Zoid" character Simon, who only has "three lines in this movie," as "pretty much a vacant, distant guy," telling the Los Angeles Times that it wasn't likely his father would flock to the cinema to see his son's debut, as he "doesn't go to movies."

Dweezil would continue to pop up in films and TV shows thereafter, such as "The Running Man," "Normal Life," and "Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man," but he mainly focused on music, carrying on the legacy of his father with his own work. As for the legacy of "Pretty in Pink," he told Penn Live in 2014 that it "was never one of my favorite films," and he disagreed that Andie ended up with Blane, saying "she would have been better off with someone who was a nicer person. Maybe not Duckie though."

Kristy Swanson (Duckette)

With the release of both "Pretty in Pink" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," 1986 was a busy year for John Hughes — and for the only actor who appeared in each, Kristy Swanson. For "Pretty in Pink," Swanson wasn't even a part of the original cast, but when the original ending where Andie ends up with Duckie was scrapped, director Deutch explained to USA Today they had only a day to shoot a new one. In order "to protect Duckie's character," at Hughes' insistence, they gave him a "Duckette."

As Duckette, Swanson doesn't even utter a word, but her smile at the prom quickly turns Duckie's frown upside down. Don't expect the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Higher Learning" and "Big Daddy" star to sign up for a sequel though, as she's mocked Molly Ringwald on Twitter, was none to pleased with calls for Donald Trump's removal from "Home Alone 2," and jokingly asked to be removed from her Hughes films as well. However, she still has a soft spot for Duckie, wishing Jon Cryer a happy Valentine's Day in 2019.