- Photo: Universal/Promotional2 of 14
Back in 1984 -- before Claire Danes, Lindsay Lohan, and, uh, Curly Sue-- Molly Ringwald was the redheaded go-to girl. Molly's most endearing quality was her ability to take her character's sucky "so-called life" with a relatable grain of salt. Sure, she sulked, but she wasn't a sour puss nor a production liability. Most importantly, she convinced teenage girls that it was possible for a sophomore wallflower like Samantha Baker to be plucked from high school obscurity and boyfriend-ed by the amazingly perfect Jake Ryan. (Michael Schoeffling, where did you go? Come back!)
"A lot can happen in a year. You could come back as a totally normal person," Molly told Anthony Michael Hall's geeky Farmer Ted in "Sixteen Candles." Indeed, a year later, Samantha morphed into Claire, the popular princess of "The Breakfast Club" (and then morphed back into the artsy outcast Andie in "Pretty in Pink" in '86), and her star status was solidified. Today, she fittingly plays a mother of teenage girls on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."