Nicolas Coppola had a walk-on in an earlier seminal teen comedy, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but "Valley Girl" was the 19-year-old's first using his new stage name. The role of Randy, a Hollywood punk who falls for a suburban princess, was also his first lead role, one that earned him eventual leads in such '80s classics as 'Raising Arizona' and 'Moonstruck.' Cage proved equally adept at comedy, action, and drama, ultimately winning a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a suicidal drunk in 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas." These days, it's mostly action for the 49-year-old leading man, who stars in both the "National Treasure" and "Ghost Rider" franchises. He can be heard in the current animated hit "The Croods." He'll be seen as well as heard in the thriller "The Frozen Ground," due later this year.
As with Nicolas Cage, "Valley Girl" marked the first lead role for 20-year-old Foreman, as Julie, the mall-loving Juliet to Cage's streetwise Romeo. "Valley Girl" director Martha Coolidge cast her again in a cameo role in "Real Genius" (1985), and she played leads in the horror comedy "April Fools Day" and the romantic comedy "My Chauffeur" (both 1986). After that, however, the roles began to dry up. Her last major screen appearance was in 2008, in the film "Beautiful Loser." In recent years, Foreman, now 50, has been a yoga and Pilates instructor in Los Angeles. In 2011, in a nod to her landmark role, she appeared as a contemporary valley girl's mom in "Must Be the One," a music video by the band She Wants Revenge.
At the time of "Valley Girl's release, Sanders, then 42, may have been the cast's most familiar name, having just spent several years playing uptight newsman Les Nessman on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati." After his turn as Julie's nervous driving instructor, Sanders would be a busy guest actor on TV comedies ("Charles in Charge," "Night Court") and a character actor in films (notably, 1994's "The Beans of Egypt, Maine," and 2000's "Men of Honor," opposite Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.). Now 72, Sanders last appeared on screen in the 2006 film "Expiration Date," playing a cemetery caretaker.
Before landing the role of Julie's hippie dad in "Valley Girl," Forrest, then 46, was best known as Chef, one of Martin Sheen's ill-fated boatmates in 1979's "Apocalypse Now." Afterward, he played memorable roles on the TV mini-series "Lonesome Dove" (1989) and the big-screen drama "Falling Down" (1992). Now 76, he played his last major screen role in 2006 as Sean Penn's father in "All the King's Men."
Elizabeth Daily was 21 years old when she played Julie's friend Loryn, who hooks up with Julie's ex-boyfriend Tommy at a party hours after Julie dumped him. She's best known, however, for a lead role she played a few years later, in 1985's "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," as Dottie, Pee-wee Herman's love interest. With her distinctive rasp, she went on to a successful career as a voiceover artist in animation for TV and movies, most notably as the voice of Buttercup on "The Powerpuff Girls" and Tommy Pickles on "Rugrats." Most recently, the 51-year-old was heard doing various voices in last year's cartoon hit "Wreck-It Ralph."
Camp had worked alongside Forrest in "Apocalypse Now," playing a Playboy playmate who entertains the troops. A few years later, the 29-year-old played Forrest's hippie wife in "Valley Girl." (She was just nine years older than Deborah Foreman, who played her daughter.) Camp has been a busy actress ever since. She played Sgt. Kathleen Kirkland in the "Police Academy" movies and played a wisecracking cop opposite Bruce Willis in "Die Hard With a Vengeance." Most recently, the 59-year-old appeared opposite Charlie Sheen in the early 2013 release "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III." For the past two decades, Camp has also had her own production company. She's credited as a producer and co-star of "The Truth About Lies," a romantic comedy due later this year.
Meyrink may be the Great Lost Actress of the '80s. In 1983, the 20-year-old gained notice in two prominent teen movies: "The Outsiders," in a straight dramatic role as Diane Lane's friend, and "Valley Girl," in a comic role as Suzie, who vies with her stepmother for the attention of a young hottie named Skip. The next year, she co-starred in the hit "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Valley Girl" director Martha Coolidge's "National Lamppon's Joy of Sex." Her biggest role was as the love interest, adorable nerd Jordan, in Coolidge's "Real Genius" (1985). Still, after only one more major teen film (1988 drama "Permanent Record"), Meyrink quit acting. She got married and raised three children in her hometown of Vancouver. She teaches acting at Vancouver's Open Stage Studio. The 50-year-old has also become an advocate of Zen Buddhism, appearing in a 2011 video where she explained that she'd abandoned stardom to find a more meaningful life.
Purcell has made a career out of playing younger than her actual age. In 1972, when she was 25, she played a 13-year-old prostitute in "Dirty Little Billy." To prepare for her role as a 16-year-old high school student in 1978's "Almost Summer," the then-31-year-old went undercover and enrolled as a junior at North Hollywood High School. In "Valley Girl," Purcell, then 36, played Beth Brent, who competes with her stepdaughter to catch the eye of a grocery delivery boy. Since "Valley Girl," Purcell has worked mostly in TV guest roles, earning two Emmy nominations along the way. Her last major role was in the 2010 NBC mini-series "Persons Unknown." She's attached to co-star in a big-screen drama, "Call to Duty," currently in development. Now 65, Purcell also runs BoomerBabes, a fashion boutique website for women over 40.
Bowen was 29 when he co-starred in "Valley Girl" as Tommy, Julie's caddish ex-boyfriend, establishing the template for loutish exes in teen movies for years to come, from William Zabka ("The Karate Kid") to Craig Sheffer ("Some Kind of Wonderful"). Since then, Bowen has been in constant demand playing heels, lowlifes, and tough guys, in nearly 60 movies and a similar number of TV dramas, from "Knight Rider" to "Breaking Bad." The 59-year-old has appeared in in several of Quentin Tarantino's movies, including "Jackie Brown," "Kill Bill Vol. 1," and most recently, in last winter's "Django Unchained." He has two action dramas, "Duke" and "Deep Dark Canyon," due out in 2013.
Coolidge was 30 when she made her directing debut with "Not a Pretty Picture" (1976), a docudrama inspired by her own date-rape at age 16. "Valley Girl" was her next feature. She followed it with more teen comedies, "National Lampoon's Joy of Sex" (1984) and the cult favorite "Real Genius" (1985), which helped make a star out of Val Kilmer. In the 1990s, she directed such acclaimed dramas as "Rambling Rose" (which earned Oscar nominations for star Laura Dern and her mom, co-star Diane Ladd), "Lost in Yonkers," and the TV movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (which won an Emmy for star Halle Berry and earned a nomination for Coolidge). Over the last decade, she's directed mostly episodic TV, including installments of "Sex and the City," "Masterpiece Theater," "Weeds," and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." In 2006, she returned to her teen-comedy roots with the feature "Material Girls," starring Hilary and Haylie Duff. Now 66, Coolidge is currently developing a big-screen comedy called "Saving Seymour."