The year was 1985 and New York Magazine journalist David Blum was set to interview up-and-coming actor Emilio Estevez in Los Angeles. Knowing Estevez ran with a posse of other popular 20-something actors who had a knack for partying, Blum suddenly came up with a nickname for them: the Brat Pack.
Like the famous Rat Pack of the 1950s and '60s, Blum thought the Brat Pack was a well-suited moniker for Estevez's crowd since they were "younger, greener, brattier" than Frank Sinatra's hard-drinking, chain-smoking comrades of a generation prior.
Although there are some disagreements on who officially qualifies for the Brat Pack, the group is by and large the following actors, all of whom have starred in at least one John Hughes flick.
Often referred to as Hughes' muse, Molly Ringwald — with her never-ending eye-rolls and pouty mouth — was the quintessential coming-of-age gal of the 1980s. Known for playing teen heroines who were fiercely independent and wise beyond their years, Ringwald was beloved for her relatability and authenticity. With Hughes, she starred in Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986). After her Hughes collaborations, Ringwald played leading roles in the rom-coms The Pick-up Artist (1987) and For Keeps (1988), but also took on dramatic fare like Fresh Horses (1988).
In the 1990s, Ringwald moved to Paris and starred in a number of French films before returning to the United States. She received positive reviews for her small-screen role in Stephen King's The Stand in 1994 and also starred on Broadway in Cabaret as Sally Bowles. In recent years, she's been on TV shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Riverdale. Ringwald is also a jazz singer and released an album in 2013.
Anthony Michael Hall
In the 1980s, Anthony Michael Hall was one of the most celebrated nerds of the era. With his wince-worthy dance moves, lip-blistering braces, muscle-less frame and cracking voice, Hall took on characters that embraced their nerdom with as much arrogance and joy as the jocks.
Hall's claim to fame was wrapped up in the imagination and direction of Hughes, starting with National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), then Sixteen Candles (1984), and followed by The Breakfast Club (1985) and the sci-fi comedy Weird Science (1985).
Tired after years of playing the mega geek, Hall later explored the jock role in films like Johnny Be Good (1988) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). In the early 2000s, Hall also made a notable comeback when he nabbed the starring role in the television adaptation of King's The Dead Zone. More recently, Hall has appeared on a number of television shows such as Community, Murder in the First, Riverdale and The Goldbergs. Up next, Hall is set to join the Halloween franchise, playing Tommy Doyle in the 2020 sequel Halloween Kills.
With his square jaw, piercing blue eyes and dangling earring, Rob Lowe was the heartthrob of the Brat Pack. He shot to fame with films like The Outsiders (1983), Oxford Blues (1984), St. Elmo's Fire (1985) and About Last Night... (1986) — the latter two pushing him into sex symbol status. However, in 1988, Lowe's career had a setback when he was caught on video having sex with a 16-year-old girl. He eventually rebounded, coming back stronger than ever, starring in blockbusters like Tommy Boy (1995), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Contact (1997).
Lowe's also kept busy on television. In recent years, he's starred on TV shows such as The West Wing, Brothers & Sisters and Parks and Recreation, as well as the A&E reality show alongside his sons, The Lowe Files. A Lifetime movie staple, Lowe starred in Prosecuting Casey Anthony, Drew Peterson: Untouchable, Beautiful & Twisted and The Bad Seed, which he also directed.
The characters Emilio Estevez played were often scrappy and accompanied by a smart-aleck sensibility. A dead ringer for his famous father, actor Martin Sheen, Estevez carved out a substantial career of his own, starting with The Outsiders (1983) and continuing with The Breakfast Club (1985) and St. Elmo's Fire (1985). The late 1980s and early '90s were good to Estevez who took on more adult roles with Stakeout (1987), Young Guns (1988) and The Mighty Ducks franchise.
However, Estevez was just as interested in writing and directing as he was in acting. He's directed a number of television episodes on shows like Cold Case, CSI: NY and Numb3rs. In 2006, he wrote and directed the star-studded drama Bobby, for which he received a Hollywood Film Award.
With her natural good looks, rebellious air and scratchy voice, Demi Moore became an It Girl of the 1980s, most notably in St. Elmo's Fire (1985) and the sexy rom-com About Last Night... (1986). But the '90s would be even better to Moore. She not only starred in the box office smash Ghost (1990), but she also added to her popularity with big-name films like A Few Good Men (1992), Indecent Proposal (1993) and the controversial Striptease (1996) — the last of which made her the highest-paid female star at the time.
Most recently, Moore published a best-selling memoir, Inside Out, in September 2019. In the book, the actress delves into her life's struggles and her past relationships, including her marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher.
There was always something rebellious and cynical about Judd Nelson's characters — just look at his roles in The Breakfast Club (1985) and St. Elmo's Fire (1985). Nelson actively worked throughout the 1980s and into the '90s, most notably in a number of Transformers films, New Jack City (1991), Airheads (1994) and television shows like Suddenly Susan. More recently, Nelson has done a lot of small-screen appearances on shows like The Outer Limits, CSI: NY, Psych, Two and a Half Men and Empire. He also does voiceover work for the latest Transformers animated series as Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime.
With his sunny smile, boyish grin and talent for lip-locking (see: Pretty in Pink), Andrew McCarthy was one of the most swoon-worthy members of the Brat Pack. Besides Pretty in Pink (1986), McCarthy starred in St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Mannequin (1987), Less Than Zero (1987) and Weekend at Bernie's (1989) — often playing wide-eyed, angst-ridden characters that are burdened to handle some unforeseen emergency.
Outside of film, McCarthy also ventured onto the stage, performing on Broadway shows like Side Man, for which he won a Tony Award. In the 2000s, the actor concentrated on small-screen projects, including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Gossip Girl, White Collar and The Blacklist. More recently, McCarthy has worked behind the scenes as a director for Orange Is the New Black.
She may not really want to be remembered for it, but what Breakfast Club fan could possibly forget Ally Sheedy's goth high school character's dandruff scene? Thankfully, Sheedy wasn't relegated to oddball characters for the rest of her career. Throughout the 1980s, she starred in a variety of film roles like War Games (1983), St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Short Circuit (1986) and Maid to Order (1987).
Sheedy worked consistently throughout the next decade, and in 1998 she drew attention and praise from audiences with her performance in the indie flick High Art, a story about two lesbians in the art world. In the 2000s, she reunited with Hall in The Dead Zone and also later appeared on shows like Kyle XY and Psych.