See Former Teen Idol Ally Sheedy Now at 59
The Brat Pack member has been outspoken about her experiences in Hollywood.
We remember them as if they were kids we went to high school with, because in a way, they were: The brain, the athlete, the princess, the criminal, and the basket case, also known as The Breakfast Club. That beloved 1985 John Hughes film will always be associated with a generation of teens, and the actors who played its title characters will forever be tied to those roles and that time in their lives. That's certainly true of Ally Sheedy, whose performance as Allison Reynolds (the "basket case") cemented her as a member of the iconic Brat Pack, a group of young actors who, for much of the mid-'80s, were the coolest people on the planet. But Sheedy's career did not end in the library of Shermer High. Keep reading to learn more about what she's doing today and to find out whether she still keeps in touch with her fellow Brat Packers.
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She's still acting regularly.
Sheedy will always be best known for her roles in two hit films that also starred members of the Brat Pack: The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire. But she's racked up dozens of credits since then.
In addition to a few other enduring '80s favorites, including the Short Circuit films, she earned acclaim for her performances in the queer indie drama High Art, as well as Life During Wartime, a darkly funny comedy from director Todd Solondz. She also appears frequently on television, landing guest roles on The Outer Limits, HBO's Oz, Once and Again, The Dead Zone, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Kyle XY, and Psych.
Currently, you can see her on Freeform's Single Drunk Female as Carol, a mother who is helping her daughter stay on the wagon and pull her life together.
But she dropped out of Hollywood for a while.
Sheedy was on top of the world during her Brat Pack days, but as she got older, it became harder and harder to find good roles. In 1997, she was even dropped by her agents because she wasn't bringing in enough money, as reported by New York.
"There was a whole period of time when I just could not get seen for a job,″ the actor said in a 2000 interview, via AP. "The Brat Pack label stuck for a long time and I just felt there was a very dismissive attitude of, 'Oh, no. She can't. Not her.‴
Sheedy said she was told to her face that she wasn't "sexy" enough to lead a movie, but she held to her ideals, even when it meant losing out on roles.
"There were things I just could not bring myself to do," she wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald in 2018. "The film by the (great) director that would require me to shoot a scene in a shirt but no panties, for example. I rejected the advice to 'date' men who could possibly advance my career. I didn't go on auditions for films that I felt glorified sex work, that depicted women being sexually abused in a gratuitous way, or that required me to leave my sense of self on the doorstep. (All of these films became huge hits.)"
She's found fulfillment offscreen.
Even when Hollywood proved a tough arena to compete in, Sheedy found happiness in doing things for herself. A writer from a young age (her first book was published when she 12, and it became a bestseller), Sheedy also had a book of poetry released in 1991. These days, she sometimes works as a freelance book editor under an alias.
In 1999, she made headlines when she took over the title role in the subversive stage musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, becoming the first cisgender woman to play the character, a struggling rock star who has undergone a botched gender confirmation surgery.
Outside of the public eye, Sheedy has volunteered teaching film and theater to public schoolchildren in New York City and is currently teaching an acting class at the City College of New York. "I'm very open to talking about my experiences," she told Yahoo! News this past January. "And I have an affinity for [the students] because they are the age I was when I was working. I'm telling them everything I wish I knew!"
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She's devoted to her family.
In 1992, Sheedy married David Lansbury, the son of Angela Lansbury, and they had one child, Beckett, before they divorced in 2008. When he was a teenager, Beckett, now 28, came out to his mom as trans, and Sheedy and her family supported him every step of the way.
"I've learned a lot [from him]," she told People. "Beck doesn't hide anything. And I feel very comfortable talking to anyone whose kid is just beginning the process of transition. Parents need to educate themselves. It's natural to have fears about your kids, no matter what. But in this case, Beck is in a really great place in his life. I give him the room to run, and I just really try to just watch."
Today, she's happy, single, and about to turn 60.
Sheedy has remained single since her 2008 split from Lansbury—and she's totally OK with that.
"I am completely done with men. I have been for years," she told Closer Weekly earlier this year. "I just feel like I've been through so many different phases, and this [one] feels good to me. I have a few close friends, whom I love. This is enough."
She's also come to terms with her approaching 60th birthday. "I just keep thinking, 'Oh, wait, I'm going to be 50.' Then I realized, 'No, no—I'm going to be 60!'" she told AARP. "I know it happened, I'm glad I lived it, but it still feels like I should be 10 years younger than I am. But no, it's OK. I like where my life is right now. I love the work that I do and I wouldn't go back in time for anything."
But that doesn't mean she has cut ties with her past—and she still keeps in touch with one of her castmates from The Breakfast Club.
"What we have is a shared experience which is very specific and unique, it's a comfortable sort of closeness there," she told ET Canada of Molly Ringwald. "We've both lived through this particular thing that it became and has continued to go on. But mostly, we just talk about what's happening in our lives and our kids, and basically what anyone else does."
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