The Reason Why 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' Star Phoebe Cates Withdrew From Acting

Sep 15, 2023 by apost team

Phoebe Cates's acting resume from the 1980s sealed her career and her status as one of Hollywood's iconic teen idols. She made a name for herself by taking on daring roles. Even as a teenager, Cates never backed down from an acting challenge. 

During her younger years, she was famously known for her role in 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Gremlins" and "Paradise" among other films. Cates was also a driving force in the modeling industry, appearing on several magazine covers. 

There have been some stars who gave up acting only to make a significant return. Meanwhile, some actors stop taking roles and focus on something else. For Cates, there came a time when she withdrew from the acting scenery to focus on something else. Once, in a 2008 interview on "The Big Idea," Cates revealed why her career trajectory changed. 

Cates enjoyed a successful career as a model and actress before moving on to something different. She started her modeling career as a teen model and made several appearances on magazine covers. She was a cover girl for Seventeen magazine four times. She also appeared in magazines like Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and others.

At the age of 17 in 1982, the actress went nude for her first screen appearance, which her role in "Paradise" required. Two months later, Cates' captivating water scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" made her Hollywood's ultimate pin-up girl. 

That scene was later described as "the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history." Cates' role in the 1982 film skyrocketed her to fame, and she also went on to star in other movies like "Private School" in 1983.

Phoebe Cates (1982), (LGI Stock/VCG/Corbis Historical via Getty Images)

She later played a sex symbol role in "Lace" in 1984, and Cates shared in an interview in 1982 that the attention did not bother her. She said:

"I was only 17 when I did my nude scenes in 'Paradise.' They were serious and more difficult because they were not easily justified. But the topless scene in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' was funny, which made it easy." 

The New York native also shared: "In this business, if a girl wants a career, she has to be willing to strip. If you've got a good bod, then why not show it?" Cates went on to star in other movies like "Drop Dead Fred," the "Gremlins" sequel and others. She was last seen on screen in 2001 in "The Anniversary Party" as a favor to fellow actress Jennifer Jason Leigh

Besides being known for her acting prowess and striking beauty, Cates is a mother-of-two and married to actor Kevin Kline. The duo first met in 1983 during an audition for the film "The Big Chill." Although Cates did not get the part, two years later, they met again at New York City's Public Theater. Kline hired her former assistant to secure a date with the former model. 

The couple brewed their romance and then tied the knot in New York in 1989, with a 16-year age difference between them. They welcomed their first child, a son named Owen Joseph, in 1991 and their daughter, Greta Simone, in 1994. According to the Scottish Daily Record, Cates once thought Kline was gay for his role in the 1982 drama, "Sophie's Choice." Regardless of her initial uncertainty, she soon discovered he was straight, and the couple has since enjoyed a happy marriage.

Phoebe Cates (1985), (Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Archive Photos via Getty Images)

After being repeatedly cast in sex symbol roles, Cates' worries about being typecast were allayed when she was tapped to play Kate Beringer in "Gremlins." However, this did not stall her interest in other ventures. The star actress put a pause on her career and was rarely seen in movies. 

After becoming a mother of two and being married to her Oscar-winning actor husband, Kline, she withdrew from acting. Kline once shared in an interview with Playboy in 1998 that Cates had no intention to quit. Per EW, he revealed:

"We have agreed to alternate so that we're never working at the same time … (but) whenever it's been her slot to work, Phoebe has chosen to stay with the children."

In 2005, the former actress opened a women's boutique, BlueTree, in New York. While on NBC's "The Big Idea," she was asked why she stopped acting and went into retail. She shared that "acting wasn't really an option for me." In 2017, Greta made it known that her mother did not enjoy being famous. She explained:

"I didn't really understand how fame works until I'd gotten my own little taste of it. Now I'm thinking more about what it means to be in the public eye. My parents really weren't ever, like, into celebrity culture."

Cates divulged that her dream had nothing to do with acting in an interview with CNBC. She opened up and revealed, "I've always wanted to have a store." Although she was advised against it, Cates finally fulfilled her dreams of being a store owner while choosing not to appear on the big screen. 

Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline (2017), (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Isn't it commendable that Phoebe Cates continued a thriving life outside Hollywood? Do you recall your favorite memory of watching her on the big screen? Let us know, and be sure to pass this on to other Phoebe Cates fans. 

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