June 13, 1962: Actress and Activist Ally Sheedy Was Born

Ally Sheed and Molly Ringwald in the Breakfast Club
Photo: Universal/Courtesy of Everett Collection
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    June 13, 1962: Actress and Activist Ally Sheedy Was Born

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      Sari Rosenberg

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      June 13, 1962: Actress and Activist Ally Sheedy Was Born

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      January 21, 2019

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      A+E Networks

On June 13, 1962, Ally Sheedy was born in New York City to an advertising executive father and literary agent mother. She is best known as a core member of the Brat Pack and for her roles in “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Sheedy, who turns 56 years old today, continues to share her acting talent on both the stage and screen. She is also an important women’s rights activist, as well as a key LGBTQ and transgender advocate.

Born Elizabeth Alexandra Sheedy, she first entered the spotlight after writing a book at age 12, “She Was Nice To Mice.” Her book, about an encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and a mouse, became a bestseller. Over the next couple of years, Sheedy contributed articles to multiple publications, including the New York Times and Ms. Magazine.

Sheedy’s appearance in a TV interview about her book grabbed the attention of a talent agent who launched her acting career. Starting at age 15, she began appearing in television commercials, off-Broadway plays and after school specials. Sheedy moved to Los Angeles
to attend the University of Southern California and to pursue a film career. She had her big screen debut in 1983’s “Bad Boys,” opposite Sean Penn. That same year, she also co-starred with Matthew Broderick in “WarGames.”

Sheedy’s most popular role to this day is still Allison, the “basket case” in “The Breakfast Club.” In one memorable scene, her oddball character uses her own dandruff to decorate her drawing as “snow.” By the film’s conclusion, she realizes she has more in common with the jock (Emilio Estevez), the brainiac (Anthony Michael Hall), the princess (Molly Ringwald), and the criminal (Judd Nelson) than she originally thought. Sheedy also starred in other 1980s classics including “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Short Circuit.”

Sheedy continued to appear in popular films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, she received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film “High Art.”

Aside from her acting career, Sheedy is an outspoken transgender and women’s rights activist. Her only child was born female, but now identifies as a male and goes by the name Beckett. Sheedy embraced Beckett’s identity and is a passionate advocate for the transgender community. A lifelong feminist, Sheedy recently contributed the essay, “Stasis,” to Roxanne Gay’s anthology, “Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture.” She candidly shares her experiences as an up-and-coming star in the 1980s within the misogynistic world of Hollywood. As she celebrates her 56th birthday today, we thank her for all her memorable roles and important work as an activist.

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