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Phoebe Cates Vanished After Fast Times at Ridgemont High Bikini Scene

After redefining cinema with her pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and appearing on the cover of virtually every magazine, Pheobo Cates ditched Hollywood. Cates managed to become a sex icon in her day despite being a teenager. Just when she was in her element, she disappeared into thin air. Join FactsVerse as we discover why Pheobe Cates vanished after Fast Times at Ridgemont High bikini scene.

Phoebe Cates was born and raised in a family with deep roots in show business. So it was inevitable that Phoebe Cates would follow in her family’s footsteps in the entertainment industry. Joseph Cates, her father, was an influential Broadway producer. He was also instrumental in the development of the controversial 1950s game show The $64,000 Question. Meanwhile, her uncle Gilbert Cates directed films and hosted the Academy Awards show for many years.

Cates began her career as a model at the young age of 10, and she made her film debut in the 1982 Paradise. Even though Cates’s appearance in Paradise (1982) caused controversy at the time due to her age, it did put her on the map, with viewers awestruck by her beauty. Her status as Hollywood’s ultimate fantasy woman would skyrocket after the release of her next film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Cates’s scene in the teen comedy, in which she emerges from the water wearing a flaming red bikini, has been called the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history.

Starring alongside Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Sean Penn, the film was a financial success, grossing over $US27 million (or six times its initial investment of $US4.5 million) and placing 29th among US releases in 1982.

It has become a cult classic, helping to maintain Cates’ status as one of Hollywood’s most beloved pin-ups.

As Cates’s career skyrocketed, it began landing her on the covers of numerous publications like Seventeen, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and many more.

Subsequently, in the 1983 film Private School, Cates played Christine Ramsey, a popular high school senior. Following that, in 1984, she played the lead role in the television miniseries Lace, once again as a sex symbol, Lili, who travels across the United States in search of her biological mother.

Cates, a feminist pioneer, didn’t bat an eye when asked about her willingness to play sexually charged roles or appear nude in many of her films.

It was no problem for her to get naked on camera, but the experience led to her being labelled a certain type and limiting her diversity in the industry.

During the casting for the 1984 classic Gremlins, Cates was chosen by Steven Spielberg to play the role of Kate, Billy’s girlfriend. However, some of Spielberg’s colleagues were worried that she was too racy to play a virtuous character.

The veteran director, nonetheless, insisted on casting her alongside Zach Galligan, who played Billy, due to their sizzling on-screen chemistry.

When Galligan and Cates were auditioning for their roles, Spielberg remarked they bonded fantastically, which ultimately led to both actors being cast.

Galligan claimed in an interview from 2014 that he had a crush on the bombshell Phoebe, but he never stood a chance as she was only into older guys.

Cates still managed to turn heads despite playing a more subtle role.

While her role in Gremlins was certainly a departure from her previous, sexually explicit roles, it also marked the beginning of the end of her acting career. In 1990, she reprised her role as Kate in the Gremlins sequel, which unfortunately performed poorly at the box office. The following year, she featured in Drop Dead Fred, which did reasonably well financially.

Princess Caraboo, a romantic comedy released in 1994, was Cates’ last big film role before she retired.

Unfortunately, it got a lot of negative reviews and had a poor performance at the box office.

After that, Cates appeared to make raising her two children with husband and fellow actor Kevin Kline her top priority.

Cates first met Kevin Kline, one of the actors who made up the Baby Boomer ensemble cast in The Big Chill, when they auditioned for the film in 1983. Cates may have lost the part to Meg Tilly, but she still has something to show for it: the instant rapport she shared with Kline. With a 16-year age gap between them, Cates and Kline appeared to be an unlikely couple at first.

Kline had already won two Tony Awards and established himself as a major Hollywood player when he met Cates. He starred opposite Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. In contrast, Cates had left high school early to pursue a career in modelling. She used to frequent the nightclub Studio 54 before landing her breakthrough role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

In 1989, when she was 25 years old and he was 41, Cates and Kline tied the knot. They are proud parents of two children: Owen Kline and Greta Kline, born in 1991 and 1994, respectively. Funny enough, Cates’ final feature film role, Princess Caraboo, conveniently coincided with the arrival of her second child.

When Cates decided to take a hiatus from acting to focus on motherhood, the family relocated to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, directly across from Central Park. Cates has been relatively tight-lipped about her decision to abandon the Hollywood scene. But according to her Oscar-winning actor husband, it wasn’t really her intent to quit acting. After putting her acting career on hold because she became too attached to her children, she eventually lost interest in the industry. The couple reportedly made a decision to oscillate their filming duties so that one parent would always be available to care for the children. Nonetheless, when it was Cates’ turn to work, she avoided taking on additional time-consuming projects, preferring to be at home with the kids.

It seemed as if she probably got more fulfilment from being with her children than she did from acting.

With her diminishing interest in the entertainment business, she ventured into the retail business. Cates launched a women’s clothing store in Manhattan in 2005.

She explained her decision to go into retail on NBC’s The Big Idea, saying acting wasn’t really an option for her anymore.

Since having children, Cates has taken on only two acting roles that required her to be away from her family. One was when she made a brief return in 2001, but only as a favour to Fast Times co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, starring in her directorial debut, The Anniversary Party. The other was voicing her Gremlins character in LEGO Dimensions, released in 2015.

However, she appeared unhappy by Hollywood’s use of CGI at a 2015 Gremlins reunion.

While Cates may be shying away from showbiz, her daughter Greta Kline, is following the family’s tradition.

With the stage name Frankie Cosmos, her daughter has found success in the music industry.

Greta appeared to imply in an interview given in 2017 that her mother did not like living the celebrity lifestyle. Her upbringing was so normal that she didn’t get the concept of fame until she experienced it for herself. According to her, being in the spotlight has made her reevaluate her priorities and motivations. She also added that her parents never bought into the celebrity culture.

Aside from her endeavour, Cates is active in a number of charitable organizations. It is also well known that she is committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes as her son has been diagnosed with the disease.

Cates may have understayed her Hollywood welcome, but she has succeeded where many of her famous contemporaries have failed: she has managed to keep her marriage together. In 2020, Cates and Kline celebrated 31 years of marriage.

Though Cates hasn’t had many roles in recent years, her legacy will endure. In fact, in Season 3 of Stranger Things, her bikini-clad cardboard cutout from Fast Times was referenced as the epitome of sexiness.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High, an iconic coming-of-age movie from 1982, provided a more accurate depiction of what it must be like inside the heads of hormonal male teenagers who spend too much time in the restroom. The pool scene starring Pheobe Cates in the movie ended up being a turning point in cinema. Even though there hasn’t been any paradigm-shifting discussion about filmmakers’ freedom to sexualize teenagers, this trend has become ingrained in contemporary film.

Maybe it was the naiveté of the time, but Cate’s pool scene hasn’t aged at all. Despite the millions of other options available online, her scene consistently ranks first on every bikini list. The sexualization of teenagers is nothing new; from Elizabeth Berkley on Saved by the Bell to Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical. However, even before she came of age, Phoebe Cates was already being sexualized. It was 1982 when she turned nineteen, and by that time, she had appeared in several nude scenes in movies like Paradise.

When compared to the 21st century, teenage nudity seemed to be more socially acceptable in the 1970s, which was a decade of sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

Despite ending her career in Hollywood with less sexual roles like Gremlins and Drop Dead Fred, it would take years to separate the fantasy of her pool scene from reality.

In spite of the issue of teenage sexualization, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was considered culturally important. The Library of Congress decided in 2005 that Fast Times at Ridgemont High should be preserved in the United States National Film Registry.

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