Molly Ringwald’s ‘Sixteen Candles’ dad changed pervy line

“Sixteen Candles” originally included a pervy and incestuous line that Molly Ringwald’s onscreen dad, Paul Dooley, had changed.

In his memoir, “Movie Dad: Finding Myself and My Family, On Screen and Off,” Dooley recalls waiting to film his big heart-to-heart scene with a then-15-year-old Ringwald.

“Near the end of their talk, the script had the dad giving a friendly pat on his daughter’s behind while saying, ‘Where the heck are your panties?’” the character actor, 94, writes.

The line bothered not only Dooley but also Ringwald’s real-life mother.

“A pat on the behind? If you can detect missing panties, that’s more like copping a feel,” he writes.

Paul Dooley and Molly Ringwald in "Sixteen Candles."
The character actor played Molly Ringwald’s dad in the 1984 movie.

The actress’ mom asked what could be done, so Dooley improvised another version.

“I would have the dad say, ‘When you finally meet your Mr. Right, make sure he knows you wear the pants in the family,’” he writes, adding that although the remark was innocent, it was also loaded given the audience knows Ringwald’s character, Sam Baker, gave a boy her underwear.

“Molly’s mom loved it,” Dooley remembers. “We took it to [director] John Hughes, who liked it too. That became the ending to the scene.”

The cover of Paul Dooley's memoir, "Movie Dad."
Dooley’s memoir, “Movie Dad,” looks back at his long career in show business.

Ringwald, now 54, has also been outspoken about her discomfort with some of the scenes in the classic 1984 teen movie.

The “Breakfast Club” star told NPR in 2018 that she viewed “Sixteen Candles” differently as an adult, explaining, “There were parts of that film that bothered me then. Although everybody likes to say that I had, you know, John Hughes’ ear and he did listen to me in a lot of ways, I wasn’t the filmmaker.”

Ringwald added, “Times were different and what was acceptable then is definitely not acceptable now and nor should it have been then, but that’s sort of the way that it was.”

Dooley played Julia Roberts’ dad in “Runaway Bride.”

Paul Dooley, Dennis Christopher and Barbara Barrie in "Breaking Away."
Dooley first gained widespread fame for his role in “Breaking Away.”


Dooley voiced the character of Sarge in “Cars.”


Dooley shares in his book, which hit stores Dec. 15, that he originally turned down the offer to do “Sixteen Candles,” as his agent considered the part too small after his career-making role in “Breaking Away.”

But portraying Jim Baker ultimately paid off.

Dooley writes that despite playing dad to a host of actors over the years — from Julia Roberts (“Runaway Bride”) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“My Boyfriend’s Back”) to Helen Hunt (“Mad About You”) and Toni Collette (“Clockwatchers”) — most people recognize him from “Sixteen Candles.”