Alexandra Elizabeth "Ally" Sheedy (born June 13, 1962) is an American film and stage actress, as well as the author of two books. Following her film debut in 1983's Bad Boys she became known as one of the Brat Pack group of actors in the films The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire. She is also known for her roles in WarGames, Short Circuit and High Art, for which she received critical acclaim.
Sheedy was born in New York City and has two siblings, brother Patrick and sister Meghan. Her mother, Charlotte (née Baum), is a writer and press agent who was involved in women's andcivil rights movements, and her father, John J. Sheedy, Jr., is a Manhattan advertising executive. Her mother is Jewish and her father is of Irish Catholic background. Her maternal grandmother was from Odessa. Her parents divorced in 1971.
Sheedy attended Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City, graduating in 1980. She started dancing with the American Ballet Theatre at age six and was planning to make it a full-time career. However, she gave up dance in favor of acting full-time. At age 12 she wrote a children's book, She Was Nice to Mice; the book was published by McGraw-Hill and became a best-seller.On June 19, 1975, she appeared on the game show To Tell the Truth in her role as a young writer.
Sheedy started acting in local stage productions as a teenager. After appearing in several made-for-television films in 1981, as well as three episodes of the television series Hill Street Blues, she made her feature film debut in Bad Boys (1983), starring Sean Penn, where she played Penn's humiliated girlfriend. The 1980s were her most active period, with roles in popular films such as WarGames, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Short Circuit, and Maid to Order.
Throughout most of the 1990s, Sheedy appeared in a number of television films. Her most notable film performance during this time was in High Art, a well-reviewed independent film released in 1998 about a romance between two women and the power of art. She identified with the character of photographer "Lucy Berliner" so much that she flew, at her own expense, to participate in an audition and has said that this character is the closest one to herself she has played. Her performance in High Art was recognized with awards from the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, andNational Society of Film Critics.
In 1999, Sheedy took over the lead role in the off Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She was the first female to play the part of the German transsexual "Hedwig," but her run ended early amid bad reviews. That same year, she was cast as a lead actress in Sugar Town, an independent film, which featured an ensemble cast of actors and musicians.
Sheedy has also appeared in the episode "Leapin' Lizards" of C.S.I. in which she played a woman who murdered her boyfriend's wife while mixed up in a cult. On March 3, 2008, Sheedy was introduced as the character Sarah, in theABC Family show Kyle XY. In 2009, she played the role of Mr. Yang on the USA Network television show Psych (in the third season finale), a role that she reprised in the fourth season finale and fifth season finale.
Sheedy dated Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora for less than a year in the 1980s. She stated in the Los Angeles Times that the relationship caused her drug abuse, a claim Sambora denied. In 1985, Sheedy was admitted toHazelden Foundation and in the 1990s was treated for a sleeping pill addiction, an experience which she drew on for her role as a drug-addicted photographer in High Art.
On April 12, 1992, Sheedy married actor David Lansbury, the nephew of actress Angela Lansbury and son of Edgar Lansbury, the producer of the original production of Godspell. The couple have a daughter, Rebecca, born in 1994, who recently disclosed that she, like her maternal grandmother Charlotte, is a lesbian. In May 2008, Sheedy announced that she and Lansbury had filed for divorce.