Ally Sheedy

Ally Sheedy is a film actress who became famous in the early 1980s for her roles in films such as ‘War Games,’ ‘The Breakfast Club,’ and ‘St. Elmo’s Fire.’


Ally Sheedy was born on June 13, 1962, in New York City. A talented dancer and writer, Sheedy earned her first bit of fame at the age 12 when she wrote a best-selling book of fiction about an encounter between a mouse and Queen Elizabeth I. In the early 1980s, Sheedy came to fame as a member of the Brat Pack, acting in movies such as Breakfast Club (1985) and St. Elmo's Fire (1985).

Early Years

Born Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy on June 13, 1962, in New York City, New York, as the only daughter of John Sheedy, an ad executive, and his wife, Charlotte, a literary agent. Sheedy grew up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her parents divorced when she was 9 and the young Sheedy, along with brother Patrick, split the week between her parents.

Ally got her taste of fame at a young age. Not as an actress, though, but as a writer. While she was still in grade school she penned a children's book She Was Nice to Mice, which told the tale of an encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and a mouse.

The book, a bestseller, seemed to put Sheedy on a path toward greater literary fame. But Sheedy, who'd begun dancing at a young age, had a greater fondness for the stage. "I was about six when I started dancing and that and acting and performing was all part of one thing for me," a grown-up Sheedy told New York magazine. At the age of 11, Sheedy performed with the American Ballet Theater. By her teens, however, Sheedy had begun devoting more of creative time toward acting, which she'd begun as an offshoot from her earlier book publicity. After graduating high school, Sheedy enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she studied performing arts.

Commercial Success

Following college, Sheedy began to pick up small, but important roles. One of them included a reoccurring appearance on the NBC program, Hill Street Blues. In 1983, she broke into film, playing opposite Sean Penn as his girlfriend in Bad Boys. That same year, Sheedy caught the attention of audiences, again as a girlfriend, this time co-starring with Matthew Broderick in War Games. But it was her role of the moody Allison in the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club (1985) which cemented Sheedy's celebrity.

The film featured an All-Star cast of young talent that included Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, and Molly Ringwald. Journalists dubbed the group the Brat Pack, and for many movie-going teens, the actors came to signify the era's mood and look. That same year, Sheedy had another monster hit, and her first real adult role, in St. Elmo's Fire, which starred fellow young stars of the 80s, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, and Andrew McCarthy. For the rest of the decade Sheedy would appear in a string of other films, such as Short Circuit (1986) and Maid to Order (1987).

As the 1990s took shape, Sheedy's career slowed some. She also came to grow tired of California and Hollywood in general. "I saw what reprehensible choices people made in order to be movie stars," she said. "When I got to Hollywood, they told me I couldn't be a movie star with my body. I decided I didn't care. I decided I didn't want to be a movie star or in Hollywood, where I wasn't wanted anyway."

By her mid-30s, Sheedy, who'd married actor David Lansbury and become the mother of a young daughter, returned to New York City, where she did some off-Broadway work. On the big screen, while the work she found proved to be uneven, she delivered a powerful performance as a drug-addicted photographer in High Art (1998). The film captured the coveted Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance. In the years since, Sheedy has tackled a mix of television and film work.

Sheedy and David Lansbury divorced in 2008, after 15 years of marriage. Sheedy continues to reside in New York City, just blocks from where she grew up.

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