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Gen X Dream Girl Phoebe Cates Turns 50

The Girl in the Red Bikini has the perfect life. (Dammit.)

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

August 16, 2013 - 4:00 pm
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phoebe-cates-still-looks-amazing-photo

I’m turning 50 next year, and I can’t decide if hearing that Phoebe Cates hit that miserable milestone first makes me feel better or worse.

As the girl in the red bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cates climbed out of a pool and was pause-buttoned into the brains of millions of teenaged Gen-X boys, where I’m pretty sure she remains.

Meanwhile, almost as many Gen-X gals, including me, are jealous as hell:

Phoebe Cates married the talented and adorable Kevin Kline in 1989.

She dropped out of acting, opened a cute little Madison Avenue boutique called Blue Tree, and still looks exactly the same.

What’s not to hate?

Anyhow, by sheer coincidence, Salon just posted a piece called “Generation X Gets Really Old: How Do Slackers Have a Midlife Crisis?” so I guess I have “getting really old” on the brain.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Wait...

all this time you've been hanging on my every word online, and offering your tedious comments, YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T GETTING PAID??

OMG. Dude, I haven't written anything for free since the previous century. Hope that pisses you off even more.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do not understand the snide comments and snarky references to the author...must be something personal. I am happy for the Kline's myself; far too often we are inundated with the sleaze and moral bankruptcy of the entertainment world's personal proclivities. It is refreshing to see two people who committed to one another and have maintained their love free of tabloid revelations and sordid lifestyle choices. Good for them. Thank you, Author Shaidle, for illustrating a celebrity couple who from all appearances seem completely normal. Oh, and yes I also will always remember the red bikini, at least part of it...

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Still jealous of me, Francis?

You know, you being a would-be writer who is confined to comment section obscurity while I'm up top.

The fact that while you consider yourself my superior, you can't think of anything cleverer and less cliched to write than "get a life" is the best part.

You're the one whose been bitterly stalking me for years, parading your "Christian" creds in a manner sure to turn most seekers of Jesus for good.

What a funny little man you are!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (46)
All Comments   (46)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
the best revenge is living well.
As a Ray Kurzweil and Lord Voldemort fan, I ain't going anywhere.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I always thought Jennifer Jason Leigh was the hottest one in Fast Times.

So weird, that movie seems so modern to me. I have this "you kids get off my lawn" feeling about it. But actually I always did, even when I was younger than the characters in the movie.

I have deep, deep emotional problems.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a fifty year old, somehow we get categorized with Baby Boomers, but have little in common. I say GenX should start with 1960 or even 1958.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would say she was a teenage boy's heartthrob, but I think I've got the wrong organ.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There seems to be some belief among certain people that writing for money on a schedule is somehow degrading or lowers the writing quality.

I doubt it, considering that practically all the greatest writers wrote in just that way, while nothing is more common than unreadable, worthless self-styled "masterpieces" by "undiscovered geniuses". There are rare exceptions (Jane Austen, for instance) but the general rule is clear.

As for the general idea of doing things for filthy lucre being degrading, Jay Leno noted in one of his monologues about a starlet who declared that she quit a certain project because she considers it "morally wrong to accept money for doing something I don't want to do": "Helloooo, honey - that's called 'work'!"

But I do wonder about Ms. Shaidle's rather rabid reply... What the hell?! Why bother replying to wannabe critics in the comments section? Oh my God - someone on the Internet is wrong! Call the cops!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can you find the interviews where Kevin Kline talks about how they met, courted and married?

Or the ones where he talks about her as a wife and mother?

She was dating a Brat Pack boy, and he was misbehaving. She was heart-broken, and met Kevin Kline out one evening after work. They talked about what they wanted in a life and a marriage. He began courting her- she wanted a good marriage to a good man. She wanted children.

They built a very good marriage together. He praises her highly, at every point.

I don't know how to find articles or interviews, but it's really something good.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I own a copy of her first movie Paradise (1982) on VHS... which, incidentally, is about the only way to own it in the USA unless you're willing to settle for the heavily cropped and censored Japanese DVD, or have the retro technology to play an old PAL laser disc from Europe. (By cropped, by the way, I mean on the top and bottom for the 16:9 wide-screen Japanese DVD; the 4:3 full-screen version on the VHS tape is actually the complete movie.)

Just to rub it in a little more, Kathy Shaidle, Cates is also a pretty good singer. Paradise (which might better be titled "Faster & Looser Times Somewhere Outside Baghdad") is a pretty blatant Blue Lagoon (1980) rip-off with B-movie-grade story and acting, but it did have that excellent theme song, which she sang:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12a8BlfGKXU

For a little more irony, her co-star Willie Aames in that movie is the same guy who'd earlier turned down starring in Blue Lagoon opposite Diane Lane, who also backed out, leaving the parts to Chris Atkins and Brooke Shields respectively; all because they didn't want to be naked on the screen! Let's just say that in that Paradise movie, neither he nor Phoebe Cates were so shy...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why do so many women "hate" other women, even in jest, for being successful or pretty or happy or smart?

I've long found it weird. It's starting to sound creepy.

Sounds like Cates and Kline are happy. Bully for them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
54 and a wakeup here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh to be fifty. Try pushing sixty-two.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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