Whatever Happened To .... The Cast of Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

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Whatever Happened To .... The Cast of Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

By Agent Bedhead | Seriously Random Lists | January 2, 2013 | Comments ()


Thirty years after the fact, I still can't believe that my parents let me watch Fast Times of Ridgemont High as a kid. Perhaps this grevous act of parenting is at least partially responsible for why I have terrible taste (for a critic, at least) in movies. This post goes out to Forest Whitaker in recognition of his upcoming film, A Dark Truth, which co-stars Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, so it will probably be pretty awful. Now let's take a cursory look at what Forest and the rest of the Fast Times have been doing since, well, 1982.


Sean Penn (as Jeff Spicoli): Penn has enjoyed a three-decades long career in Hollywood, won two Oscars, and lectured us all about how we've abandoned Haiti while he's stayed in luxury hotels during his visits to the earthquake-ravaged country.

His Next Move: He'll continue to regret appearing in Fast Times, which will cause me to to wonder "Hey bud, what's your problem?"


Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Stacy Hamilton): Of late, she's been wallowing (relatively speaking) in television land with "Revenge" and "Weeds," but otherwise, she's worked very steadily in movies for the entirety of her career. Debatable career highlight? Rush.

Her Next Move: Reminding people that she's not the same person as Elisabeth Shue.


Judge Reinhold (as Brad Hamilton): Other than playing the "Honorable Judge Reinhold" on an episode of "Arrested Development," this guy has been largely relegated to voicing children's movies and television episodes.

His Next Move: Starring within Beverly Hills Cop IV, if it happens.


Robert Romanus (as Mike Damone): Sadly, Fast Times functioned as Romanus' career high point; that is, unless one considers the role of Kristen Stewart's "Guitar Teacher" in The Runaways.

His Next Move: This dude won't be getting into Debbie Harry's pants anytime soon.


Brian Backer (as Mark Ratner): This guy tried really, really hard to forget an acting career, but it just didn't happen. He appeared in sporadic roles and then finally gave up in 2000, and his most prominent part was the role of "Director" in a "Meet the Seavers" episode of "Growing Pains."

His Next Move: Hopefully, he'll finally get to second base with someone. Anyone.


Forest Whitaker (as Charles Jefferson): Who doesn't love this guy? He's the constant fixture of a thousand cheesy movies plus many episodes of "The Twilight Zone" and "ER." Also, I kind of loved Repo Men as a twist on the classic buddy-cop story.

His Next Move: Realizing that he's no Denzel Washington and that it doesn't even matter.


Phoebe Cates (as Linda Barrett): She was the toast of the 1980s with movies like Bright Lights, Big City and Gremlins, but (for whatever reason) she dropped off the radar in the early 90s. Her latest appearance? 2001's very charming Anniversary Party with Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Her Next Move: Please don't let there ever be a Gremlins 3 because Cates will totally be in it.


Vincent Schiavelli (as Mr. Vargas): Everyone knows this guy's face even if they don't know his name. Shiavelli enjoyed a ragingly successful career as a character actor.

His Next Move: Starring in your nightmares. (Update: Yes, he's dead. And starring in your nightmares.)


Amanda Wyss (as Lisa): Chances are that you've seen her in a one-off episode of one of your favorite (or not-so-favorite) shows ("NYPD Blue," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "ER," "Charmed," "Dexter") over the years.

Her Next Move: This chick is strictly meant for Lifetime territory in the future.


Kelli Maroney (as Cindy, the hot cheerleader): She could have been scream queen of the B-movies, but sadly, most of her horror work doesn't even meet that threshold.

His Next Move: It's too late for a soft-core pr0n career, right? Damn.


Ray Walston (as Mr. Hand): He starred within 80 episodes of "Picket Fences" and played Glen Bateman in the miniseries version of The Stand. Somehow, I feel like he deserved better than this fate.

His Next Move: Dancing on a beach in Maui while wearing a hula skirt and unironically shouting, "Aloha!"

So who's the winner of the Fast Times gang? This one's not exactly a toss-up.

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • James

    He tried to "forget" an acting career? Well...I guess we all have...

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I've got to believe this was a setup. Bedhead has to know that this movie has one of the more successful casts in the history of moviedom - right up there with "The Outsiders".

    Beyond the cast listed above, you also have to add:

    Nicolas Cage
    Anthony Edwards (the original Goose)
    Eric Stoltz
    Heck, even the barely-in-the-movie people have done well.

    Jason Bernard, who died in 1996 had 90 acting credits - he played a cop in pretty much every major TV series known to man, and was a lead on "Hermans Head" for all 72 episodes.
    James Russo has 143 Acting credits in IMDB - pretty much the embodiment of "working actor", and was just in Django Unchained
    Hallie Todd, the last actor on the Fast Times IMDB page - and not even credited in the movie, is more than just mildly successful - she was the lead or sidekick in 5 different TV dramas, including playing the Mom in that Lizzie McGuire show.

    Beyond Actors, It's worth mentioning that the writer was DR's favorite Cameron Crowe, and the Director is Amy Heckerling (Clueless and the Look Who's Talking fiascos).

    So basically, "Fast Times" was a booster rocket career-wise. Some made it all the way into orbit, others high enough to stay in the game, but not become a true stellar body.

  • Quatermain

    The only movie(that I can remember off the top of my head anyways) I ever saw Jennifer Jason Leigh in besides 'Fast Times' was 'Flesh and Blood' with Rutger Hauer where he was the mercenary and she was his (quasi?) unwilling love interest.

  • zeke_the_pig

    'What kind of a name is that, MAGAZINE?'

  • kammm

    This knob Bedhead is a real treat. If he sums up the careers of outstanding actors like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Forest Whitaker to reductive and thoroughly unfunny one liners, I would love to see how he would describe his own sweeping, dynamic career when he reaches his 50's. Oh please comply.

  • kammm

    Good God, NEVER give editorial opinion on current affairs. Your attempted swipes at Sean Penn's Haiti efforts prove all at once your ignorance in the matter and your pitiful researching skills. You join the many others who can't seem to stomach that an ACTOR that they think they know is doing more things for humanity in one year than they will ever do in ten lifetimes. Deal with it. Keep your inferior opinion of yourself out of these pages, and focus on entertainment news.

  • Quatermain

    The fact that he's a decent-ish actor doesn't mean he's not also a complete tool.

  • kammm

    Decent?? That's rich. And he's a tool, why? Because he doesn't play the game and he doesn't smile enough for you? Read about him in more than Perez Hilton and then table an informed opinion.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Damn, more Mr. Hands than Spicolis in the comments today.

    No prom for you, tonight, Bedhead. These folks want you to open up your history book.

  • Carlito

    " Debatable career highlight? Rush."

    Does Single White Female ring any bells?

  • Dano

    Her best film is "The Hudsucker Proxy". There is no debate on this.

  • e jerry powell

    But for the fact that Penn's actually won two Oscars, I'd give it to whitaker for Last King of Scotland. Honorable Mention for The Crying Game.

  • Zen

    Phoebe Cates doesn't need to be in movies. You missed out the bit where she's married to Kevin Kline and is a fixture of the Upper East Side. Sounds like she's doing just fine.

  • John W

    I would argue that Jennifer Jason Leigh's career highlight is Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

    The winner is obviously Phoebe Cates since her boobies is the go to image of that movie. (or Brad Hamilton rubbing one out, 220, 221...)

  • e jerry powell

    I give it to Cates for bagging Kevin Kline (even though he's old enough to be her father), because I stand a better chance of scoring with Kline than I do with Mandy Patinkin.

  • sean

    Kline is only 15 yrs or so older than she is. Too lazy to look it up

  • e jerry powell

    65 (24 October 1947) to 49 (16 July 1963), actually. He can start collecting Social Security now, where she still has a way to go. And I stand behind my original assertion; when she was born, he'd have been about a junior in high school.

  • Jerce

    I do appreciate the time of year and that there's not a lot of media news to write about; but if you are going to publish a column like this, put at least some work into it. I won't repeat the many corrections/revisions already noted; but honestly, how can anyone know so little about Ray Walston, an actor with a long and truly illustrious career?

  • HerGuyWednesday

    Disappointing, unimaginative, and unnecessarily mean.

  • Carlito

    Classic Bedhead fare. Vague idea followed by brief IMDb research. Voila!

  • damnitjanet

    For more on what Phoebe Cates is doing these days, take a look at an older post from our friend Chez Pazinenza.....http://www.deusexmalcontent.com/2009/...

  • UnderTheDark

    "Cursory look" indeed... possibly the *least* informative Pajiba post I've seen in a while.

  • Confucius Jackson

    Phoebe Cates FTW, because she still has her breasts.

  • What da fuck? You do realize that Forest Whitaker won an Oscar? Citing episodes of ER and Twilight Zone doesn't quite cover his career, now does it? And Vincent Schiavelli is DEAD.

  • Daniel Valentin

    Forrest Whitaker is so amazing, he was a supporting actor in The Last King Of Scotland and yet he won the Oscar for Best Actor. Suck on that titty.


  • I would also note that he never once aspired to be Denzel Washington, because he was busy being Forest Whitaker. (Hint: not all black actors want to be Denzel.) Even a cursory look at IMDB shows he has seven movies coming out or in production in the next 18 months, several with some pretty heavy hitters in terms of star power.

  • L.O.V.E.

    The HONORABLE Judge Reinhold in Arrested Development?

    I smell a comeback for him courtesy of Netflix.

  • pierides

    Snarky but fairly oblivious piece... Wow.

    Walston and Schiavelli are dead. Cates is married to Kevin Kline (for reals, not just in The Anniversary Party) and has been a full-time mom, ergo her entirely voluntary dropping out of film mostly.

  • ElvisCostelegram

    Didn't Vincent Schiavelli die?

  • bleujayone

    So that would make him VERY available for starring our nightmares then, wouldn't it?

  • BWeaves

    Ray Walston was the title character in My Favorite Martian. In addition, and he was Luther Billis in South Pacific (1949/1958), Mr. Applegate in Damn Yankees (1955/1958), and J.J. Singleton in The Sting (1973). Fast Times was his come down.

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