Movie Reviews

What Happened To Jake Ryan Actor, Michael Schoeffling, After Sixteen Candles


  • Michael Schoeffling acted for 7 years after his iconic role as Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, then transitioned to woodworking.
  • Schoeffling resisted being typecast as a heartthrob, taking on diverse roles in films like Vision Quest and Longtime Companion.
  • Despite leaving Hollywood for woodworking, Schoeffling’s daughter Scarlett is pursuing acting and modeling, carrying on his legacy.

Actor Michael Schoeffling, famous for playing Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, has had a unique and creative career in and out of the entertainment industry. In Sixteen Candles, which is considered one of the best John Hughes’ movies,Schoeffling plays the dreamy and understanding love interest of Sam (Molly Ringwald). Before Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling was a model and had an uncredited role in Racing With The Moon. This era of Hollywood, specifically 1984, is arguably the greatest year in film, with the reputation of Sixteen Candles adding to the year’s appeal.

Many consider Sixteen Candles to be a so-called “Brat Pack Movie,” due to its cast, release year, and general appeal. Despite starring alongside some of Hollywood’s most prominent young actors of the time, Schoeffling is rarely considered a member of the infamous Brat Pack. Much of the Sixteen Candles cast stayed in acting and entertainment, with Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall going on to star in one of John Hughes’ most famous projects, The Breakfast Club, the following year. But after his acting work in the 1980s, Schoeffling’s career took a surprising turn.


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Michael Schoeffling Acted For 7 Years After Sixteen Candles

Jake Ryan Remains His Most Iconic Role

After his work in Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling acted in several other creative projects in the 1980s and early 1990s. Schoeffling starred in ten films and appeared in one television show during his Hollywood career. After his major acting debut as a kissable heartthrob in Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling worked hard to resist being typecast as the hunky love interest. Besides Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling’s other famous roles include Kenny “Kuch” Kuchera in the high school wrestling movie Vision Quest and Michael in the 1989 AIDS-drama Longtime Companion.

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken1991
Slaves of New York1989
Longtime Companion1989
Belizaire the Cajun1986
Let’s Get Harry1986
Vision Quest1985
Sixteen Candles1984
Racing With The Moon1984

In his personal life, while still in the Hollywood spotlight, Schoeffling married fellow actor and model Valerie Robinson in 1987. Together they had two children. Despite his roles in popular movies like the 1990 film Mermaids, which featured many other famous actors, Schoeffling was unable to land a part as significant and iconic as Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. He continued acting until 1991, when he was 31, and pivoted his career entirely from the entertainment industry. Despite his departure, Schoeffling’s legacy endures through his memorable performances and the impact he made during his time on screen.

Did Michael Schoeffling Retire From Acting?

A 1991 Film Was The Actor’s Last Onscreen Appearance

Michael Schoeffling sits at table in nice clothes in Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

After starring in films in the 1980s, 1991’s Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken marked the last film in Schoeffling’s acting career. After this movie, he returned home to his native northeastern Pennsylvania, to the town of Newfoundland, effectively removing himself from the limelight. There, he opened a handmade furniture and wood crafting store. Woodworking was an interest Schoeffling had for years. Notably, he and his family made an intentional effort to be more private about their personal lives after leaving Hollywood. According to Access, even his former co-stars, like Molly Ringwald, have lost touch with Schoeffling since his move.

This perspective encapsulates Schoeffling’s preference for the freedom and creative direction he gained from being an entrepreneur and craftsman.

Schoeffling’s shift from being a Hollywood star to a craftsman was a unique career path. Reflecting on his decision, he once said, “Actors spend most of their time out of work, so I spend more time making furniture. The thing about furniture that’s much better than acting is that it’s just me. There’s no director, no script – the concept is me unless a client wants something.” This perspective encapsulates Schoeffling’s preference for the freedom and creative direction he gained from being an entrepreneur and craftsman. His furniture work allowed him to express himself in a more tangible way than acting.

Where Is Michael Schoeffling Now?

Michael Schoeffling Leads A Creative Life Years After Leaving Hollywood

Jake Looking At Sam In Sixteen Candles

After returning to Pennsylvania in the 1990s and opening his woodworking shop, Schoeffling’s media presence declined. While he has had limited public appearances since his retirement, Schoeffling remains active and celebrated his 60th birthday in 2020. Online information about his furniture shop is limited, likely intentionally. However, it appears to still be functioning by all accounts, serving as a testament to his dedication to craftsmanship and his desire for a quieter life away from the spotlight. His commitment to woodworking reflects his ongoing passion for creating, and his transition from Hollywood actor to skilled artisan.

In his personal life, Schoeffling and his wife raised two children in Pennsylvania. Despite this quiet upbringing, Schoeffling’s daughter, Scarlett, is trying her hand at acting and modeling, apparently following in her father’s footsteps. She guest starred in an episode of Billions in 2020. Though it is unclear how much of her success is rooted in her parents’ significant Hollywood history, Scarlett has amassed over 20,000 Instagram followers. Schoeffling has even made occasional appearances on Scarlett’s social media, typically in the form of a throwback childhood photo of the family.

Sixteen Candles
is available to stream on AMC+.

Even though Schoeffling has removed himself from the spotlight, his role as Jake Ryan lives on in Sixteen Candles. Though the movie is now over 40 years old, it is still considered a classic 1980s romance movie, with Schoeffling’s performance remembered as the ultimate high school love interest. His portrayal continues to resonate with audiences, solidifying his place in cinematic history despite his departure from acting. Schoeffling’s softspoken dedication to his new art form proves him to be a lifelong creative, evolving gracefully beyond his early fame in Hollywood.

Source: Access

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