"I grew up in the public eye. I can't hide from that. I always embrace the work I've done before. I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for those movies. I'm always baffled by actors who are like, 'I'm not going to talk about the '80s.' What? You're just forgetting that whole experience? I feel very fortunate to have been able to do those films. It gave me the tools I needed to be where I am." Anthony Michael Hall
A former child star who was one of VH1's "100 Greatest Kid Stars," Anthony Michael Hall became popular as a teen for playing "geeks" in movies like "Sixteen Candles" (1984) and "The Breakfast Club" (1985). The youngest member of the Brat Pack also became the youngest person ever to be cast on “Saturday Night Life.”
After successfully shaking off his "geek" image, Hall went on to play a high school football star in "Johnny Be Good" (1988), a villain in "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) and Will Smith's gay lover in "Six Degrees of Separation" (1993).
In TV movies, he portrayed Bill Gates in "Pirates of Silicon Valley" (1999), the philanderer husband imprisoned by his wife in their soundproof basement in "Hitched" (2001), the famed New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford in "61*" (2001), and Def Leppard producer Mutt Lange in "Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story" (2001).
He also starred as Johnny Smith in the USA Network science fiction/suspense series based on characters from Stephen King's 1979 novel, "The Dead Zone" (2002-2007).
Hall will next be seen as a reporter in the upcoming sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight," starring Christian Bale.
Hall is also a musician. He has a rock band, "Hall of Mirrors," for which he writes many of their songs.
On a more personal note, the 6' 2" Italian-American performer briefly dated Molly Ringwald and Canadian model Sandra Guerard.
Youngest Brat Packer
Childhood and Family:
In West Roxbury, Massachusetts, Michael Anthony Thomas Charles Hall was born on April 14, 1968, to Larry Chestaro, an auto body shop owner, and Mercedes Hall, a former cabaret singer. His mother divorced Hall's father when Hall was six months old. Little Hall moved with his mother to the West Coast before returning to the East and eventually settling in New York City. His mother later married Thomas Chestaro, a show-business manager who is now part of Hall's management team. From his mother's second marriage, Hall has one half-sister, Mary Chestaro, a performer who played his on-screen sister in “The Breakfast Club” (1985).
Hall is of Irish and Italian heritage and Catholic. He attended St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's School in New York before moving to Manhattan's Professional Children's School. At age 13, he began drinking alcohol and by the time he was 18, it was taking over his life. At age 17, he even had to leave “Saturday Night Life” to enter rehab and kick his drinking habit. In 1990, he finally quit drinking and has been sober ever since.
"Eventually I got sober. I wasn't on skid row or anything, but I was wasting my energy, so I just took myself out of the whole nightlife thing. Now I'm basically a homebody. I go home at night and prepare for the next day. I think a lot about those years with [Robert] Downey [Jr.]. We started together; it was me who introduced him to Lorne Michaels and SNL in the first place. But it's painful to tell you I wasn't there these last several years. I visited him in rehab and I kept thinking, 'Why wasn't I there for him?' I wish I'd been able to help him fend off some of the losers who came his way. If I had to do it over again, I'd have been there because friends matter." Anthony Michael Hall
Hall, who began his acting career at the age of eight, decided not to attend college. Hall, whose favorite book is John O'Donahue's "Eternal Echoes," is committed to aiding at-risk youth through his literacy program, The Anthony Michael Hall Literacy Club, in association with Chapman University.
The Breakfast Club
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed.” Anthony Michael Hall
Son to a cabaret singer mother, Anthony Michael Hall entered show business at age 8. He appeared in several commercials for toys and Bounty and was the Honeycomb cereal kid. He made his stage debut at age 9 as the young Steve Allen in Allen's semi-autobiographical play, "The Wake," in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and went on to appear in "St Joan of the Microphone" at the Lincoln Center Festival (NYC) and "Segments of a Contemporary Morning" at the Griffin Repertory Theater, as well as in a play with Woody Allen.
Hall began acting on television in specials or TV movies in the early 80s. He could be seen in the ABC Weekend Specials' "The Gold Bug" (1980), in which he played the young Edgar Allan Poe, CBS Library's "Orphans, Waifs and Wards" (1981), NBC Special Treat's "Jennifer's Journey" (1981), as well as in the CBS TV movies "Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn" (1982), in which he starred as Huck Finn, and "Running Out" (1983).
At 14, Hall made his film acting debut in "Six Pack" (1982), a comedy/drama by Daniel Petrie in which he co-starred with Kenny Rogers, Diane Lane, and Erin Gray. The following year, he worked with screenwriter John Hughes for the first time in the Harold Ramis-directed comedy, "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983; with Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and Randy Quaid), playing Russell 'Rusty' Griswold.
"For [Hall] to upstage Chevy, I thought, was a remarkable accomplishment for a 13-year-old kid," John Hughes
Hall beat out Jim Carrey to portray Farmer Ted, 'The Geek' in Hughes' coming-of-age film "Sixteen Candles" (1984; opposite Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling), which won him a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama.
On portraying Ted in the film, Hall said, "I didn't play him with 100 pens sticking out of his pocket. I just went in there and played it like a real kid. The geek is just a typical freshman."
Next, Hall joined the cast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" along with fellow Brat Packer Robert Downey Jr. He was 17 years old at the time and became the youngest member of the show. He would stay on SNL for one season.
Hall was then reunited with writer-director Hughes for the popular teen films "The Breakfast Club" (1985; with Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy), in which he played the nerdy, brainy Brian Johnson, and "Weird Science" (1985), in which he co-starred with Ilan Mitchell-Smith.
"During the time we made those films, the focus was just to enjoy ourselves. He was empowering as a writer and director because he was very much a collaborator. He empowered the actors to make choices and to take chances with him, and to come to him with suggestions, to embellish scenes. He was very inspired to that extant. It was a work in progress. It was never: 'The door is shut.'" Anthony Michael Hall (on working with John Hughes)
In order to avoid being typecast, Hall turned down roles in Hughes' “Pretty in Pink” (1986) and “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” (1986). He subsequently was hired by Stanley Kubrick to star in the Academy Award-nominated war film based on the novel "The Short-Timers" by Gustav Hasford, “Full Metal Jacket” (1987), but was later replaced by Matthew Modine.
Hall recalled, "It was a difficult decision, because in that eight-month period I read everything I could about the guy and I was really fascinated by him. I wanted to be a part of that film, but it didn't work out. But all sorts of stories circulated, like I got on set and I was fired, or I was pissed at him for shooting too long. It's all not true."
The next years saw Hall bulk up for the title role in Bud S. Smith's teen comedy "Johnny Be Good" (1988), which also featured Robert Downey Jr., Steve James, Jennifer Tilly, and Uma Thurman, and play a villain in Tim Burton's box office hit film starring Johnny Depp, "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), as Winona Ryder's thuggish boyfriend who hates Depp's character so much.
In 1993, Hall was praised for his supporting role as a MIT student and Will Smith's gay lover in Fred Schepisi's film adaptation of a 1990 play by John Guare, "Six Degrees of Separation," which also starred Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. The following year, he directed and starred in "Hail Caesar" (1994), an independent comedy about a would-be rock star in which he also wrote the songs.
Hall portrayed Bill Gates in the TNT movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley" (1999), to which he admitted, "I really fought for this part because I knew it would be the role of a lifetime. It was a thrill and a daunting challenge to play someone of his stature and brilliance."
2001 saw Hall act opposite Tom Green in the Green-directed comedy "Freddy Got Fingered." On Green's directorial style, Hall described, "Off-camera, he's very quiet. He'd often be walking around quietly, twirling his hair while thinking about his next shot. I think the guy's a genius. I think the guy's a social hypnotist. I think he's incredible. He's on to something big-time and it's not just stand-up comedy. If this doesn't make $100 million, something's wrong. I smell a sequel."
That same year, Hall had a supporting role as a yuppie lawyer in Kasi Lemmons' film version of the mystery-drama novel by George Dawes Green, "The Caveman's Valentine," starring Samuel L. Jackson. He also portrayed New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford in the HBO movie "61*," starred as the philanderer husband imprisoned by his wife (played by Sheryl Lee) in their soundproof basement, in the USA psychological thriller movie "Hitched," and portrayed Def Leppard’s award-winning producer Mutt Lange in the made-for-TV movie "Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story."
From 2002 to 2007, Hall starred in the USA Network science fiction suspense series "The Dead Zone." In the show that was based on characters from Stephen King's 1979 novel, Hall played the main character of Johnny Smith, a retired schoolteacher who discovers he has developed psychic abilities after a coma. The series, which earned Hall a Saturn Award for Best Actor in a Television Series, was canceled in December 2007 after six seasons.
During his "Dead Zone" tenure, Hall also acted in Jeff Oppenheim's romantic comedy "Funny Valentine,” in which he starred as a street performer, and appeared in Ian Gurvitz's comedy movie "LA Blues" (2007). He also co-starred with Dean Cain in the action/thriller TV movie "Final Approach" (2007). Meanwhile, in October 2004, he portrayed Tony Kushner in Kushner's production of "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy," in Hollywood, California. The play also starred Mimi Kennedy, Sally Field, and JoBeth Williams.
Hall has completed his upcoming film projects, "Aftermath," a crime/thriller written and directed by Thomas Farone, and "The Dark Knight," a sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins" with Christian Bale reprising the lead role and Hall as a reporter.
Besides acting, Hall is also a singer, plays drums and composes songs for his rock band, Hall of Mirrors, which he formed in 1998. They have released an album, "Welcome to the Hall of Mirrors," through Hall's own RAM Records label in 1999, with collaborations from former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and Prince’s former keyboard player Tommy Barbarella.
“Movies and TV are both incredibly gratifying. I treat the work the same. Music, specifically songwriting and music production, are very gratifying as well.” Anthony Michael Hall
MTV Movie: Silver Bucket of Excellence Award, "The Breakfast Club" reunion, 2005
Young Artist: Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama, "Sixteen Candles," 1985