What ever happened to the iconic stars from John Hughes’ films?

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Chances are, when you look back at your favorite ‘80s film, it was likely written, directed, or produced by John Hughes. He has penned some of the biggest teen dramas and comedies that have changed the way we view our high school years, and created stars in the process by way of Molly Ringwald and Macaulay Culkin to name a few. Elegantly depicting the social hierarchies in our public school systems, he created stories of romantic intrigue, the unlikely friendships we make, and of course, the misunderstood teenage girl we long to date or befriend. His films, from Pretty in Pink to Sixteen Candles and Some Kind of Wonderful, are all classics that made the archetypal figures of the nerd, the jock, or the popular girl become more three dimensional and interesting.

Take The Breakfast Club, for instance. On the surface we have the bad boy, the popular girl, the geek, the social outcast, and the star athlete in one room. They have no business interacting with one another. They come from different universes, as far as social groups in high school goes. At first they clash as they are unable to find common ground, but as Hughes’s poignant script progresses, they learn that they have more in common than they thought. Like all great Hughes films, the ending is triumphant and rebellious.


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He is also the maker of hit family comedies such as the classic Home Alone (and its two sequels). He truly set the standard for the kind of fun a family film should have. Home Alone had it all: a clever and charismatic young hero, unpredictable booby traps, goofy jokes, and an ending so feel-good it belongs in a Hallmark card.

It’s hard to imagine the iconic filmmaker was a college dropout, but after he left the University of Arizona he began making a living selling jokes to comedians such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. After landing a job at National Lampoon magazine, he penned his first piece about his family vacations. The editors loved his work and ear for teenage dialogue and published his pieces. The lead to the production of his first big hit, National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Hughes passed away in 2009 from a heart attack at his New York City residence. His films, however, will live on forever in the childhoods of many of us. Take a look back at some of his most iconic characters and what the actors who embodied them are up to these days.

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Tia Russell in Uncle Buck (Jean Louisa Kelly)

15-year-old Tia isn’t exactly the biggest fan of Uncle Buck when he arrives at her family’s home following her father’s heart attack. Her bitterness and sarcasms makes it difficult for her to form a connection to her loving uncle. It’s not easy for her to adjust to her new role as a mother figure but she rises to the occasion by making breakfast for her siblings and accompanying them to school. Eventually her walls come down and she embraces her uncle and connects with him on a deeper level.

Jean Louisa Kelly – Now

Following her breakout role in Uncle Buck, Jean Louisa Kelly went on to appear in the music drama Mr. Holland’s Opus, in TV’s Ally McBeal, and Law & Order to name a few. She starred in the CBS family sitcom Yes, Dear as devoted wife Kim for six seasons of the popular show until it was cancelled in 2006. Her most recent role was as Pastor Nicole in the diverse family drama The Fosters. She has been married to executive and attorney James Pitaro since 1997.

Sloane Peterson in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Mia Sara)

The popular, beautiful, and dry-humored Sloane Peterson is always game for an adventure. When her boyfriend Ferris Bueller invites her to play hookie she eagerly joins in the fun. She lies about her grandma’s passing and the couple and, along with best friend Cameron, take off on their biggest adventure yet. Sloane could be sarcastic and sharp but is always down for a good time. She loves Ferris and they each look out for one another.

Mia Sara – Now

Sara lives her life outside of Hollywood and has announced that she is retired from acting. She told AOL that her kids (with director and chairman of The Jim Henson Company, Brian Henson) have seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the movie is “really embarrassing” for them. Following her memorable day off with Matthew Broderick, Sara starred in one more hit film as Melissa Walker in the sci-fi action thriller Timecop. She played the resourceful and intelligent love interest to Jean-Claude Van Damme’s tough cop character, Max Walker.

Curly Sue in Curly Sue (Alisan Porter)

In Curly Sue, our title character is a precocious and intelligent young con artist. Together with Jim Belushi’s Bill Dancer, the homeless duo team up to scam poor unsuspecting passersby to make just enough money to eat. After a con goes wrong, a wealthy New York City family host Bill and Curly Sue and she discovers for the first time what it really means to have a family and to live an honest and meaningful life.

Alisan Porter – Now

After Curly Sue, a young Porter appeared in the short-lived ABC sitcom Chicken Soup and The Golden Girls before returning to school and taking a long hiatus from the business. In a particularly triumphant (and viral) moment, Porter surprised audiences with a successful audition on The Voice. She took it all the way to the end and was crowned the victor of the 10th season on the hit music competition show. She released her latest single, the folky Revolution, at the end of of last year and lives in Los Angeles with her two kids.

Sam Baker in Sixteen Candles (Molly Ringwald)

Sam Baker isn’t having the best birthday. The irreverent high school sophomore is plagued with an intense crush on the cool, popular senior Jake Ryan. He doesn’t know she exists and it tortures the poor lovesick young woman. She also manages a crush from the geeky Ted. Mix in all the daily struggles that come with being a high school student and Sam has the worst birthday ever. Things turn out for the better in the end as she shares a romantic and iconic kiss with Jake over a birthday cake with – you guessed it – sixteen candles.

Molly Ringwald – Now

Ringwald was one of John Hughes’s favorite go-to actresses, having starred in three films of his back-to-back: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. She currently stars as Archie’s sweetheart mother in the CW teen drama series Riverdale. This year she will appear in four high-profile films including the Keanu Reeves-starring adventure thriller Siberia, the upcoming romantic drama All These Small Moments, and with Liam Aiken in the mystery drama Kingfish. The iconic redhead has been married to writer Panio Gianopoulos since 2007 (pictured left).

Kevin in Home Alone (Macaulay Culkin)

Who can forget actor Macaulay Culkin’s impressive performance as the young Kevin in Home Alone? When Kevin’s family forgets him at home before take off on vacation, he is forced to manage on his own. At first it looks like he fished his wish of living alone without his overbearing family to annoy him but things quickly take a dangerous turn. When a group of thieves attempt to break in and rob his family’s home blind, Kevin uses his wit and cleverness to torture the bandits and the results are hilarious.

Macaulay Culkin – Now

For years after his star-making performance in Home Alone, Culkin was Hollywood’s go-to young actor to play wiser-than-his-years characters. He appeared in the romantic drama My Girl, the family comedy Richie Rich, and the anticipated sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He took some time off in 2004 after landing in legal trouble following a DUI and possession charge. Culkin is back and will star with girlfriend Brenda Song in the upcoming Seth Green-directed comedy Changeland.

Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club (Ally Sheedy)

Social outcast Allison Reynolds decides to keep to herself during detention. The introverted high school student prefers to keep quiet for much of the film and at first she appears to be just another angry teenager. As we later learn, she has a difficult home life and takes it out on the world by lying compulsively and shutting herself off from meaningful connections. When Claire gives Allison a makeover, her outer beauty is revealed and she peaks the interest of Andrew.

Ally Sheedy – Now

After her performance in The Breakfast Club earned Sheedy critical and commercial acclaim, she starred in another hit teenage coming-of-age film, St. Elmo’s Fire. She also starred in the science fiction Short Circuit, the romantic cult drama High Art, and she even made an appearance in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Sheedy announced her retirement from acting in 2016 to focus more on activism and political work. She has one child, Beckett, with ex-husband, actor David Lansbury.

Keith Nelson in Some Kind of Wonderful (Eric Stoltz)

After Hughes was unsatisfied with how Pretty in Pink director, Howard Deutsch, changed his original ending, he decided to rewrite the film with slightly different characters with the ending he always envisioned. Thus we have the 1987 teen drama Some Kind of Wonderful. Eric Stoltz plays the blue collar, boyish yet ambitious protagonist Keith. Rather than falling for the popular girl as in Pretty in Pink, the rock and roller falls for his tomboyish best friend, Watts.

Eric Stoltz – Now

Stoltz was a bonafide star when he was cast in Some Kind of Wonderful, having already earned a Golden Globe nomination for his dramatic performance in 1985’s Mask. He has appeared in the classic thriller Pulp Fiction as well as the comedy drama hit Jerry Maguire. In the early 2000’s he made his way to directing and is currently a prominent TV director who has helmed episodes for the musical drama Glee and political thriller series Madam Secretary to name a few.

Kate in Home Alone (Catherine O’Hara)

When Kate realizes her son is missing mid-flight on the way to a family vacation, she is immediately riddled with guilt and worry. She does everything she can to return home to Kevin but can only muster a plane ticket to Scranton, Pennsylvania. It’s not good enough for Kate and when a couple overhears her dilemma, they agree to drive her to Chicago. The adoring but strict mother frantically travels the distance to make it home to her abandoned son.

Catherine O’Hara – Now

The reliably hilarious Canadian Catherine O’Hara is a legend in her home country of Canada. She made her breakthrough with the ‘70s sketch comedy show SCTV where she won her first Emmy. She has seamlessly made her mark in both comedy and drama, having starred in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and Frankenweenie as well. She is also a a top improv actress who has starred in the critically acclaimed comedies Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. She currently stars as the highly quotable, ex-soap opera actress in TV’s Schitt’s Creek.

Iona in Pretty in Pink (Annie Potts)

Annie Potts plays the eccentric and quirky manager of TRAX the record store where Molly Ringwald’s Andie works at after school. She becomes a close confidant to Annie and she encourages her to live her best life and pursue the things (and people) that make her happy. She’s the unlikely source of comfort when Andie has an altercation with Steff and Jack. She gives Andie her old prom dress and encourages her to attend the dance.

Annie Potts – Now

Potts is perhaps most famous for her portrayal of the sarcastic secretary and occasional slayer of ghosts in the Ghostbuster films. These days she can be seen as Sheldon’s patient and loving grandmother in the hit CBS sitcom Young Sheldon. She will also reprise her role as the ditsy Bo Peep in the fourth installment of the hit animated Toy Story. The highly anticipated Pixar film will premiere next year. He has been married to producer and director James Hayman since 1990. She has three sons.

Ellen in National Lampoon’s Vacation (Beverly D’Angelo)

The beautiful Ellen reluctantly agrees to a road trip in the raunchy comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation. Although she would rather travel by airplane, she loves her husband and wants him to enjoy a vacation as much as she does for herself and the kids. Turns out that husband Clark should have listened to his wife when things go awry and they end up stranded in the desert. They fight but can’t stay mad each other for long and eventually have a romantic vacation together.

Beverly D’Angelo – Now

D’Angelo is biggest break came with a Golden Globe Nomination for her memorable performance as Patsy Cline in the 1980 drama Coal Miner’s Daughter. In recent years she has appeared in the screwball comedy Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and reprised her role as Ellen with Chevy Chase in the hit 2015 family comedy Vacation. She will next appear with up-and-coming comedic actress Lauren Lapkus and Lucy Hale in the romantic comedy The Unicorn. The House Bunny star has two children from her previous marriage to actor Al Pacino.

Kevin in Home Alone (Macaulay Culkin)

Who can forget actor Macaulay Culkin’s impressive performance as the young Kevin in Home Alone? When Kevin’s family forgets him at home before take off on vacation, he is forced to manage on his own. At first it looks like he fished his wish of living alone without his overbearing family to annoy him but things quickly take a dangerous turn. When a group of thieves attempt to break in and rob his family’s home blind, Kevin uses his wit and cleverness to torture the bandits and the results are hilarious.

Macaulay Culkin – Now

For years after his star-making performance in Home Alone, Culkin was Hollywood’s go-to young actor to play wiser-than-his-years characters. He appeared in the romantic drama My Girl, the family comedy Richie Rich, and the anticipated sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He took some time off in 2004 after landing in legal trouble following a DUI and possession charge. Culkin is back and will star with girlfriend Brenda Song in the upcoming Seth Green-directed comedy Changeland.

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