Michael Schoeffling

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Michael Schoeffling
Born Michael Earl Schoeffling
(1960-12-10) December 10, 1960 (age 57)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Occupation Actor
Years active 1984–1991

Michael Earl Schoeffling (born December 10, 1960) is an American former actor and male model, known for playing Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, Kuch in Vision Quest, and Joe in Mermaids.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Schoeffling was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised in South Jersey. He graduated from Cherokee High School in New Jersey, and majored in Liberal Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia. In the mid-1980s he began modeling for GQ,[1] and photographer Bruce Weber paid for his acting classes[citation needed] at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Manhattan.[1]


An accomplished youth and collegiate wrestler, Michael has won medals in various national and international tournaments. He won a gold medal for the United States in freestyle wrestling, as a member of the National Junior Wrestling Team in a meet held in Munich, Germany in 1978 alongside coach Archie Stalcup.[citation needed] His considerable wrestling skills were downplayed as 'Kuch' in Vision Quest, where he wrestled with Matthew Modine, his friend in the movie.

Acting career[edit]

Schoeffling came to international prominence at the age of 23 for his role as Jake Ryan, the popular yet sensitive high school athlete on whom Molly Ringwald's character has a crush in the teen film Sixteen Candles. For Valentine's Day in 2004, twenty years after the film's American premiere, the Washington Post ran an article entitled "Real Men Can't Hold a Match to Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles", which discussed the character's enduring appeal.[2]

He appeared in eight additional films after Sixteen Candles, including roles in Vision Quest and Mermaids, and a starring role in the 1986 action film Let's Get Harry and 1991's Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.[1]

Post-acting career[edit]

Schoeffling retired from acting in 1991; in various magazine and newspaper interviews, he stated that the lack of roles and a growing family to feed were his reasons for retiring[citation needed]. Since giving up acting, he has produced handcrafted furniture as the owner of a woodworking shop.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Schoeffling lives with his wife Valerie C. Robinson, a former model, in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Robinson is an actress, known for Patty Hearst (1988), One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982) and Having Babies II (1977). They have two children, Scarlet and Zane.[citation needed]


Year Film Role Notes
1984 Sixteen Candles Jake Ryan
Racing with the Moon Amputee Soldier Uncredited
1985 Sylvester Matt
Vision Quest Kuch
1986 Let's Get Harry Corey Burck
Belizaire the Cajun Hypolite Leger
1989 Longtime Companion Michael
Slaves of New York Jan
1990 Mermaids Joe Perretti
1991 Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken Al Carver
Year Title Role Notes
1986 Deadly Nightmares Lance Episode: "Dead Man's Curve"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Michael Schoeffling". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Stuever, Hank (February 14, 2004). "Reflections on Jake Ryan of the John Hughes Film 'Sixteen Candles'". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ "9 Actors Who "Quit" Being Famous Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]