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What Happened to the ‘Sixteen Candles’ Heartthrob Michael Schoeffling?

Find out what the 1980s movie heartthrob has been up to in the years he seems to have 'disappeared'

You may remember him as Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles (1984) or Al Carver from Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991), but after the release of the latter, Michael Schoeffling seemed to fall off the face of the acting world. And ever since, people have wondered what happened to Michael Schoeffling?

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His breakout role in Sixteen Candles alongside Molly Ringwald in 1984 earned him heartthrob status, but Schoeffling ended up having a rather short-lived career. He appeared in only a dozen films total, before leaving acting behind.

Michael Schoeffling early career

boy and girl smiling
Michael Schoeffling and Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles (1984)

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Michael Schoeffling grew up in South Jersey, where he attended high school. Earning a Liberal Arts degree at Temple University, he soon began a modeling career — which included clients like GQ — and started taking acting classes.

Prior to his part in the 1984 John Hughes film that made him famous, Schoeffling had an uncredited appearance in Racing with the Moon (1984), a film that also starred Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage.

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man and woman looking away; michael schoeffling
Michael Schoeffling and Winona Ryder in Mermaids (1990)

After hitting the jackpot in Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling made quite a splash in the entertainment industry. The actor soon starred in Let’s Get Harry (1986), Slaves of New York (1989), Longtime Companion (1989), Mermaids (1990) and Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991). Prior to all of that, he was in one episode of HBO’s The Hitchhiker in 1986.

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But in 1991, after nearly a decade of back-to-back films, Schoeffling disappeared from the acting world. It’s been reported that he quit acting to start designing and crafting furniture, and while there’s little else known about his current work, there’s no question that Schoeffling’s absence from the industry is still felt.

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Schoeffling’s personal life

man, woman holding babies
Michael Schoeffling and wife, Valerie Robinson, holding their children Via Scarlet Schoeffling’s Instagram @scarloz

The Vision Quest star married photographer and filmmaker Valerie C. Robinson in 1987. The couple has two children together, Zane and Scarlet, and while not much is known about his son, his daughter has made quite a name for herself.

Scarlet Schoeffling is currently a model and has appeared in two projects: an episode of Billions (2020) and Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story (2020).

Although not much about the family has been made public, Scarlet has shared photos of her father on her social media pages. For Father’s Day, she featured a photo of her dad, writing “My Father’s Day post is dads first GQ cover. Slay.”

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man on cover of GQ; michael schoeffling
Michael Schoeffling on his first GQ coverVia Scarlet Schoeffling’s Instagram @scarloz

She also shared a sweet throwback photo of Schoeffling holding her as a child, as well as one of her parents together. These are just a few of the rare photos available of the actor.

Schoeffling’s wife has also given a small glimpse into the former actor’s life. In 2014, she shared with PEOPLE, “He’s a very different kind of person,” explaining that he is not interested in the spotlight that was put on him from his films and that her husband is now “very reclusive and private.”

Will we ever see Michael Schoeffling on screen again?

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Michael Schoeffling in Sylvester (1985)Getty

While the former actor has been out of the spotlight for over three decades, fans of his classic films are still wondering when he might make a reappearance. For the time being, though, it seems that we can only expect to see Schoeffling through his daughter’s Instagram.

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