Molly began acting at the age of three when she toddled on stage in the role of one of Baby-love’s illegitimate children in a stage production of Truman Capote’s The Grass Harp. She continued to act in other community theater productions in her hometown of Sacramento, inhabiting such glamorous roles as the Dormouse in Alice Through the Looking Glass and the only girl in the boy’s chorus of Oliver (where every night she trumpeted “Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard!”). At the age of ten, she was cast in her first professional role in the children’s chorus of Annie at the Curran Theater in San Francisco and the Schubert Theater in Los Angeles. True to the chorus of “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” she had to leave the production after fifteen months when she had grown too tall.
After a brief stint in The Facts of Life, her first television role, Molly was cast at the age of thirteen in Paul Mazursky’s film Tempest. Her performance as Miranda, the daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She went on to star in numerous films, including The Pick-Up Artist, For Keeps, Fresh Horses, Betsy’s Wedding, Cindy Sherman’s directorial debut Office Killer, Billy Bob Thornton’s short film Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade, Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear, and the now-iconic John Hughes’ movies Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. (These films are listed out of order—sorry. Go to IMDB if it’s important.)*
In 1992, a lifelong Francophile, Ms. Ringwald moved to Paris where she acted in such foreign films as Jean-Charles Tacchella’s Tous Les Jours Dimanche and Toni Marshal’s Enfants de Salaud, which she performed entirely in French (and never tires talking about!). She frequently returned to the United States to star in television projects, including the critically acclaimed comedy series Townies, Stephen King’s The Stand, and the Emmy-nominated Allison Gertz Story.
In 1997, Ms. Ringwald returned to the theater in New York City to star in Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize winning How I Learned to Drive, a role she reprised at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Subsequent theater credits include playing the legendary “Sally Bowles” in the Broadway production of Cabaret; the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Enchanted April; and the London production of When Harry Met Sally. She created the role of Horton Foote’s Lily Dale in the NY off-Broadway production (actually, that was in the 80s—just keep going), performed the role of Salome (with Al Pacino) and starred in Jonathan Larson’s musical Tick Tick Boom! and the hit comedy Modern Orthodox, directed by James Lapine. Despite her marginal dance ability, she also danced her way through a successful national tour of Sweet Charity, and has the messed-up feet to show for it.
Currently, she can be seen starring in the breakout hit The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family where, happily, she is not the teenager.
* Films that Molly did not star in and may or may not have been offered (people sure like to ask!): Pretty Woman, Ghost, Blue Velvet, and Peter Greenaway’s The Tulse Luper Suitcase (which she’s not sure was even made).