Before They Were Stars: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” Edition

Today’s “Celebrity Birthday of the Day” is for Amy Hecklerling, director of the classic 1982 teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and no film fits the concept of “Before They Were Stars” more than this one. Adapted from his own novel, Fast Times is the first screenwriting credit of Cameron Crowe’s career and served as a launching pad for so many young actors from that time period. The four principal cast members, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and Sean Penn, all had their careers jump-started by this film, and Penn’s iconic performance as perpetual stoner Jeff Spicoli instantly turned him into an star. However, Fast Times also features a ton of recognizable faces in supporting roles. For more clips of them, see below.

This clip is a “Before They Were Stars” bonanza, as you’ll notice that Spicoli’s stoner buddies are played by two other up-and-coming unknowns: Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards.

And here you can see a young Forest Whitaker in an early role as Ridgemont High’s intimidating football star, Charles Jefferson.

In addition to Penn and Whitaker, Fast Times also features a third future Academy Award winner: a young man named Nicolas Coppolla, who pops up very briefly in a background role. He would go on to change his name, but I’m sure you’ll probably recognize him.


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