Even by the unexacting standard of Hollywood's 1980s "brat pack," actor Judd Nelson seemed wildly undisciplined and self-indulgent on screen. One tends to conclude that Nelson (a former philosophy student and the son of a Maine politician) has played his screen characters as written: he was, after all, very well trained by famed drama coach Stella Adler, and came up from the exacting ranks of summer stock. Among his earliest screen assignments -- all in his watershed year of 1985 -- including the dope-smoking detentionee in The Breakfast Club, Kevin Costner's parachute-jumping fraternity pal in Fandango, and Ally Sheedy's philandering live-in boyfriend in St. Elmo's Fire. Always seeming to be on the verge of punching someone out, Nelson was well cast as a mercurial killer in 1989's Relentless. Like many brat-packers, Judd Nelson spent the 1990s transitioning into his career as an adult, but he hit his stride by 1996, when he joined the cast of the hit sitcom Suddenly Susan. In the years to come, Nelson would remain a consistent force on screen, appearing in movies like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Grizzley Flats.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- His mother was a former member of the Maine State Legislature.
- Acted with the Shoestring Shakespeare Company.
- Left Haverford College during his sophomore year to move to New York City, where he studied acting under the tutelage of famed instructor Stella Adler.
- Star-making role came in 1985 in John Hughes' popular coming-of-age flick The Breakfast Club.
- Was one of the members of a group of young performers during the '80s called the Brat Pack, including Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe.
- Garnered positive reviews for his role as cynical Alec Newbary in 1985's St. Elmo's Fire.
- Made screenwriting debut with 1994's Every Breath, in which he also starred.
- In 1996, was cast as Brooke Shields' sports-obsessed editor Jack Richmond in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan.