It feels like Mare Winningham should be in the Brat Pack due to her role in St Elmo’s Fire as Wendy Beamish. This was however her only role in a Brat Pack movie and she never really associated herself with the party scene of the other Brat Packers. Like her character in St Elmo’s, she was possibly the sensible one in real life too! Winningham was never really an 80s teen idol either but she has continued to work steadily in film and TV right up to the present day.
Born on May 6, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona, Mare Winningham grew up in California. She took a number of acting courses at a young age and by the time she graduated college had already landed an agent and a role in the television movie Young Pioneers in 1976. Various TV roles followed for Winningham including an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Marlene Burkhardt in the movie Amber Waves.
Mare Winningham’s big break came in 1985 she was cast as the introverted Wendy in St. Elmo’s Fire, directed by Joel Schumacher. The film revolved around a group of friends who had just graduated from Georgetown University and it showed the difficulties they had adjusting to adult life. The success of St Elmo’s never really had the knock on effect for Winningham’s career and she quickly went back to TV work.
In 1995 Mare was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie Georgia. In 1998, she was honoured again, winning her second Emmy Award for her role as Lurleen Wallace in the television movie, Wallace. The number of award nominations and wins for Mare Winningham shows just how talented an actress she, even though she is one of the less well known faces from the Brat Pack era.
Mare Winningham Trivia
Went to Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey.
Is the only St Elmo’s Fire cast member to ever be nominated for an Academy Award.
Mare Winningham Links
Ok, it’s not the best script in the world, it’s not the best acting in the world and the characters are not really very likable but the film just has a bit of magic about it.
For me I think it’s the nostalgic feel I get when watching it, nothing can beat Rob Lowe going for it on that sax!
Joel Schumacher co-wrote St Elmo’s with Carl Kurlander who had recently left university. They drew on the own experiences of life after college. The story may not have a whole lot of substance but it was accurate of the situation a lot of young adults found themselves in at that time.
The film is all about a group of friends that are dealing with life after college. I’m not really sure what message if any they were trying to get across but I guess it could be ‘no matter how bad things get, as long as you have a sax and a yellow vest, everything will be ok’.
Brat Pack Rating
Arguably the defining Brat Pack movie along with The Breakfast Club. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll adore it. Gets a 10/10.
St Elmo’s Fire Characters
Billy – The wild child of the group, loves to party but is married with a young baby.
Wendy – Straight laced virgin who has a huge crush on Billy.
Alec – A career in politics is his aim and he’s well on the way but at what cost?
Leslie – Alec’s girlfriend who feels pressured by him into settling down before she is ready.
Kirby – A wannabe lawyer who has developed an obsesion with a woman he met at college.
Kevin – Kevin is a struggling writer who is madly in love with Leslie.
Jules – Like Billy has a wild streak and a cocaine habit to go with it.
St Elmo’s Fire Trivia
Director Joel Schumacher chose Demi Moore for the part of Jules after seeing her flee from a John Hughes casting session.
The characters all went to Georgetown University but the Uni would not allow filming on campus so they used the University of Maryland for these scenes.
Rob Lowe won a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor.