The Brat Pack actresses: who are they, what have they been in and why are they back?

Anticipation is reaching fever pitch for Disney+’s new series of Feud after breathless reviews from the other side of the Atlantic – though UK viewers still await a release date..

The show is catnip for scandal lovers: it tells the story of celebrity author Truman Capote (Tom Hollander), who falls out with the rich socialite wives of the celebrity set in which he moves.

Capote, who was their confidant, betrays them by including their darkest secrets in some of his work; leading to an ugly spat from which he never recovered.

The series marks the return of some similar faces: original members of the Brat Pack, the clique of teen actors who made headlines during the Eighties for their dominance of pop culture.

When the show does drop in the UK, it offers audiences to reacquaint themselves with Demi Moore and Molly Ringwald as wives Ann Woodward and Joanne Carson, here’s what you need to know about the Brat Pack’s actresses – and why they’re still so iconic.

What was the Brat Pack?

The Brat Pack was made up of teen actors who found fame in one of two films: either The Breakfast Club or St. Elmo’s Fire. In addition to Ringwald and Moore, that included Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez (the unofficial ‘president’ of the group), Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson.

Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr and Charlie Sheen have also been linked to the group at various times, and many members were characterised by their hard partying lifestyle: several, such as Lowe, suffered addiction problems, which derailed their careers for a number of years.

However, there’s no denying how influential the group – or the films they made – were. Author Susannah Gora, for instance, wrote how the films “changed the way many people looked at everything from class distinction to friendship, from love to sex and fashion to music.”

Demi Moore

 (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
(Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Demi Moore’s rise to fame is the stuff of fairytales. She was born in November 1962 to an 18-year-old mother, Virginia, and an airman, Charles Harmon (they were married for two months, before he left). After Virginia married again, second husband Dan Guynes became Moore’s de-facto father.

Their home life was tumultuous – Guynes took his own life in 1980 after divorcing Virginia for the second time – and Moore was described as “neglected” and malnourished by Guynes’ colleague Bob Gardner.

Despite that, she was determined, dropping out of school and moving out of her parents’ house at 16 to work as a receptionist at 20th Century Fox. Signed as a model, she started working in ABC series Casualty and broke through into the mainstream in 1985 drama St. Elmo’s Fire: a success that saw her labelled as part of the Brat Pack, which she later called “demeaning.”

In 1990, she broke through into the mainstream in the iconic film Ghost, in which she starred opposite Patrick Swayze and which earned $505m at the US box office that year. By 1995, she was an international sex symbol and had become the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. She is still seen as a pioneer for equality in pay, demanding the same salaries and benefits as her male co-stars.

In addition to Ghost, her most notable roles are in 1992’s A Few Good Men (opposite Tom Cruise) and 1994’s Disclosure, as well as 1997 megaflop G.I. Jane. According to the New York Times, she is also the “world’s most high-profile doll collector”, at one point keeping a separate house in which to store her 2,000-strong collection.

Ally Sheedy

Sheedy, middle, in The Breakfast Club (©Universal/courtesy Everett / Ev)
Sheedy, middle, in The Breakfast Club (©Universal/courtesy Everett / Ev)

Born in New York City in June 1962, Sheedy is most famous for her turn as Allison in 1985 coming-of-age film The Breakfast Club.

However, she initially wanted to be a ballerina: she was a member of the American Ballet Theatre by age six before switching to acting. At 12, she also found the time to write a book, She Was Nice To Mice (about a mouse living at the court of Elizabeth I), which became an international bestseller and was even released in 1976 as a spoken-word album.

Her breakthrough came in the 1980s, after she moved to California to pursue her acting career. The Breakfast Club was only filmed two years after her feature film debut, playing Sean Penn’s humiliated girlfriend in 1983’s Bad Boys – she followed up both roles with a string of hits throughout the Eighties in films like WarGames and Short Circuit. As of 2024, she rarely takes on acting roles, and is a drama teacher at the City University of New York.

Molly Ringwald

 (Getty Images for The Moth)
(Getty Images for The Moth)

Ringwald is synonymous with some of the Eighties biggest films, but her acting career spans almost five decades.

Born in February 1968 to Bob Ringwald (a blind jazz pianist) and wife Adele (a chef), she started acting from age five (appearing in stage productions) and is fluent in French thanks to being educated at the Lycée Français de Los Angeles.

Starting off in sitcoms, she had her big breakthrough in 1984 film Sixteen Candles as Samantha Baker, the lead, whose 16th birthday is forgotten by her family. She then followed it up with an appearance in The Breakfast Club as the spoiled Claire; a year later, she appeared in yet another iconic teen movie, Pretty in Pink.

This influx of success led to her being labelled as one of the Brat Pack – a label she again tried to distance herself from – and moved to Paris for some years to make films there (she reportedly turned down the lead roles in both Pretty Woman and Ghost to do so). Since then, she’s appeared intermittently on the big screen (her last main role was in the 2022 Netflix Jeffrey Dahmer series Monster) and has even dabbled in music, releasing a jazz album in 2013.

Feud: Capote vs the Swans will air on Disney+