Michael Schoeffling may not be a name that at least most male movie fans remember. Female fans who grew up in the 80’s may not be able to forget him.
He played Jake Ryan, Molly Ringwald’s obsession in SIXTEEN CANDLES. Personally, I was more interested in the whole Anthony Michael Hall / Long Duk Dong storyline, but the whole romance is what made the film work.
The film was very popular, Schoeffling’s “Happy Birthday, Samantha” line was a memorable one. However, it may have been the highlight of his career in Hollywood.
Michael had been a male model before getting into acting. He had a brief, uncredited role in RACING WITH THE MOON (with Sean Penn) before SIXTEEN CANDLES.
He would then make SIXTEEN CANDLES, followed by many major studio films. For an actor who never really hit the A-list, most of his films are ones that I had seen, or at least heard of.
There was a supporting role in the wrestling film VISION QUEST and the male lead in the Melissa Gilbert and horse film SYLVESTER.
He starred in the disastrous LET’S GET HARRY. Originally scripted by Sam Fuller, this action film (starring Robert Duvall, Ben Johnson and Mark Harmon) had so many production problems that the director took his name off it. Schoeffling’s name remained.
In 1989 he was in SLAVES OF NEW YORK, directed by James Ivory from the Tama Janowitz novel. It was a rare misfire for Ivory. The next year he appeared in LONGTIME COMPANION and MERMAIDS. His final film credit was 1991’s WILD HEARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN, an underrated Disney film with Gabrielle Anwar.
So what ever happened to him?
Michael is married with two children. He and his family live in Northern Pennsylvania where he is a carpenter and woodworker.
He is probably one of the more popular of the “What Ever Happened To” stars as he has been profiled on just about every E! special or other series like it. That is one of the reasons why I am only now getting around to him.
Who knows if he had continued to work that he would have had a film that would have give him the breakthrough role that could have made him a big star. From all the stories about his life today, he seems to be very happy with what happened.