With “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” turning 35, we took a look at the star-studded cast and creative team and what they’ve been up to since 1982.
“Fast Times” was Amy Heckerling’s directing debut at age 27. She went on to direct classics like “Clueless” and more recently has helmed episodes of Amazon’s “Red Oaks,” and CW’s “Gossip Girl” and “The Carrie Diaries.”
Cameron Crowe’s screenplay for “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” was based on the true story of his year as an undercover high school student. He turned to his life experiences again for inspiration when writing and directing the classic “Almost Famous.” More recently Crowe directed “Aloha” and created Showtime series “Roadies.”
Sean Penn (Then)
In just his second major film role after “Taps,” Sean Penn played Jeff Spicoli, becoming a beloved figure in popular culture for his slackerish portrayal of the permanently stoned surfer, whose character was a composite of several real-life students.
Sean Penn (Now)
Penn went on to win two acting Academy awards for “Milk” and “Mystic River.” Later in 2017 he will appear in “The Professor and the Madman,” and as Andrew Jackson in the TV mini-series “American Lion.” In early 2016, Penn made headlines for his Rolling Stone interview with the Mexican drug lord El Chapo.
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Then)
Jennifer Jason Leigh was still a teen when played Stacy Hamilton at age 19 in her first major film role. She had earlier appeared in horror pic “Eyes of a Stranger” and TV movie “The Best Little Girl in the World.”
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Now)
Leigh was nominated for an Academy Award in 2016 for her role as Daisy Domergue in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” She was most recently seen in Showtime’s revival of “Twin Peaks.”
Judge Reinhold (Then)
In his first major film role, Judge Reinhold played Brad Hamilton.
Judge Reinhold (Now)
Reinhold has made recent appearances in TBS’ “The Detour,” and will soon be seen in films like “Highly Functional” and “Bad Grandmas.” He previously starred in “Beverly Hills Cop” and was Emmy-nominated for his “Seinfeld” appearance. In December 2016, Reinhold was arrested on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge at the Dallas Love Field Airport.
Phoebe Cates (Then)
Phoebe Cates had already appeared in the now-forgotten “Paradise,” in which she did several nude scenes at just 17, before performing her memorable bikini drop as Linda Barrett in “Fast Times.”
Phoebe Cates (Now)
After her roles in the cult hit films “Gremlins” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” Cates mostly retired from acting to raise her children. She did lend her voice to reprise her “Gremlins” character Kate Beringer for the toys-to-life video game “Lego Dimensions” in 2015, and she appeared in “The Anniversary Party” with fellow “Fast Times” star Leigh.
Forest Whitaker (Then)
Forest Whitaker was attending USC as a drama major when he snagged his first major film role as football player Charles Jefferson in “Fast Times.”
Forest Whitaker (Now)
Whitaker recently starred in the first Star Wars anthology film “Rogue One,” the Oscar-nominated film “Arrival,” and is set to appear in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” He won an Oscar for his role as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” in 2006.
Robert Romanus (Then)
Robert Romanus appeared in “Foxes” before playing ticket scalper Mike Damone.
Robert Romanus (Now)
“Fast Times” remains Romanus’ most memorable role, but the frequent guest star appeared in numerous TV shows, such as CBS’ “Code Black,” and films like “The Remake” and “Voyeur.”
Ray Walston (Then)
After a long and distinguished career on stage and screen, and his iconic role as “My Favorite Martin,” Ray Walston played long-suffering teacher Mr. Hand.
Ray Walston (Now)
Walston died Jan. 1, 2001, at the age of 86. Read his obituary here.
Brian Backer (Then)
Brian Backer played Mark “Rat” Ratner, one of the “Fast Times” characters to be clearly based on a real person.
Brian Backer (Now)
Best known for “Fast Times,” Backer’s last acting role was in the 2012 film “Vamps.” He also appeared in the TV series “Santa Barbara.”
Amanda Wyss (Then)
Amanda Wyss played Lisa, who worked at All-American Burger alongside Brad Hamilton.
Amanda Wyss (Now)
Wyss will be seen next in the films “Big Legend” and “Catch a Fallen Star.” She is best known for her role as Tina Gray in “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Eric Stoltz (Then)
Eric Stoltz had a small role as Stoner Bud in “Fast Times,” and became friends during filming with Crowe, who went on to cast him in his next four movies.
Eric Stoltz (Now)
Stoltz recently had recurring roles in “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Madam Secretary,” in addition to starring in Syfy’s “Caprica,” the prequel series to “Battlestar Galactica.”
Nicolas Cage (Then)
Nicolas Cage (who was credited as Nicolas Coppola in the movie) made his film debut as Brad’s buddy. Although he auditioned for the role of Brad, he was too young to work the necessary amount of hours for the part.
Nicolas Cage (Now)
Cage went on to star in another teen classic, “Valley Girl,” the next year. The prolific actor will next be seen in the films “Mandy,” “The Humanity Bureau,” and “Mom and Dad.” He won the best actor Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas,” and is also known as Ben Gates in the “National Treasure” series and as Big Daddy in “Kick-Ass.”