Remember the dialogue “Which one of you b***hes is my mother?” from the Lace mini-series? Remember the jaw-dropping, eye-popping bikini-drop scene from Fast Times At Ridgemont High? Phoebe Cates became a certified sex icon overnight with the latter film.
Cates was an actress that took the big screen by storm as a teen star in the 1980s. She made her debut in the Blue Lagoon knock-off Paradise and starred in aforementioned films including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Private Schools and Gremlins. Cates seemed like she would make bigger impacts on the silver screen. Until, she suddenly disappeared in the mid-‘90s. Phoebe dropped off the cameras abruptly and fans were left wondering where the sly smiled seductress had gone off to.
We looked up Phoebe and figured out what caused her to leave and what she's been upto now.
Love and Motherhood
When Cates auditioned for Big Chill in 1983, she was unable to find a role but she certainly found the love of her life, Kevin Kline. Despite their 16 year age gap, the couple hit it off and walked down the aisle after dating for 6 years. The couple welcomed their second child in 1994, 3 years after the first, and Cates decided it was time to tend to her children instead.
She did not find any interesting roles
Her performance in Lace and Fast Times At Ridgemont High propelled her to fame, but it also made her a sex symbol, whether she wanted it or not. The roles she earned later on proved to be repetitive and uninteresting. Except for a few roles in movies like 1991's Drop Dead Fred, and 1984's Gremlins, most of Phoebe's roles were rather one-dimensional, frequently demanding her to be dressed in skimpy outfits rather than immersed in the story meaningfully.
Phoebe was more popular as a sex icon than as an actress of caliber. The idea of being nothing more than eye-candy drove her off Hollywood.
Charity Work and a fight against Diabetes
Phoebe has taken a more significant role by helping others in the fight against various diseases. Her son Owen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age and Cates is determined to find a cure for it. She has supported the charity Heifer International, which helps the causes like AIDS & HIV, children in need, hunger, and poverty.
Retirement, Lack of interest and a brief comeback
Near the end of her acting career, Cates starred in the long-awaited sequel of The Gremlins, The Gremlins 2: A New Batch and many other films that weren’t as successful as her previous roles. This caused the actress to lose interest and she called it quits after starring in Princess Caraboo, which earned just $2.9 million.
However, Cates did appear in The Anniversary Party(2001) as a favor to one of her best friends and Fast Life at Ridgemont High co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Still making appearances
Phoebe hasn’t been prominently involved in the entertainment industry after her 2001 role but appears in the spotlight now and then. In 2015, she lent her voice in the Lego: Dimensions as her Gremlins counterpart Kate Beringer. The same year, Cates joined Zach Galligan for a Q&A about The Gremlins in New York with co-star Dick Miller.
The former actress was also spotted at the 2017 Tony Awards where husband Kevin Kline won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a play for Present Laughter. It seems she hasn’t completely turned her back on the industry.
Net Worth & New Business
Cates’ success didn't end in the film industry. In 2005, she gravitated towards entrepreneurship and opened a boutique named Blue Tree in Manhattan. Her boutique started out selling designer toys but has increased its range to selling housewares, clothing and specialty foods. The most popular item in the store is a talking Abraham Lincoln toy, which was first introduced as a kids’ educational toy but later ended up becoming a popular gift among seniors.
With her acting, modeling and entrepreneurship careers, Cates has amassed an estimated net worth of $5 million. She has been married to Kevin Kline for 30 years, and they share two children, Kevin Kline and Frankie Cosmos. Phoebe might not appear in films anymore, but she'll always be fondly remembered for her carefree, sultry roles in the 80s.