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While at New York's Bank Street School, 12-year-old Ally Sheedy
wrote about a mythical encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and an
inquisitive mouse. The result, "She Was Nice to Mice" was published
by McGraw--Hill and became an instant best seller. Although it
proved a springboard to an acting career, Sheedy's strongest
memories of childhood remain those of "dancing and doing plays."
From six until fourteen, she danced with the American Ballet
Theatre, and during summers at Fire Island she'd "get a bunch of
kids together and stage shows on back lawns and porches." When she
discovered that to stay with dancing meant staying with starvation
diets, she shifted her focus to acting for good. Meanwhile, her
book brought her requests from several publications. The Village
Voice asked her to review movies and the New York Times wanted her
to review children's books. The assignment she accepted was from
Ms. Magazine, which requested an article about her mother and
herself. It was an appearance on the Mike Douglas Show to promote
her book, however, that brought Sheedy work as a performer. Signed
by an agent who caught the show, she was sent out on television
commercials immediately. Only 15 at the time, she also performed
off Broadway and on a series of after-school specials. The day she
turned 18, Sheedy packed her bags and headed for Los Angeles, where
she enrolled in the drama department at USC, and soon landed roles
in the television drama "The Best Little Girl in the World," "The
Day the Loving Stopped," "Splendor in the Grass" and "Homeroom,"
and played a recurring character on "Hill Street Blues." The
strength of her performances led directly to her film debut as Sean
Penn's naive but knowing girlfriend, J.C., in "Bad Boys." That same
year (1983) she starred as Matthew Broderick's zany partner in
"WarGames." After starring as Rob Lowe's would-be romantic interest
in "Oxford Blues," the withdrawn adolescent of "The Breakfast Club"
and Gene Hackman's adoring daughter in "Twice in a Lifetime,"
Sheedy played her first fully adult role in "St. Elmo's Fire," the
1985 hit about college friends.
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