Everyone knows Stranger Things doesn’t skimp on nostalgia—and season 3 took us right back to the ’80s. This season was set in 1985, and the cultural references were as constant as ever, from Back to the Future playing in the theater, Eleven’s newfound obsession with The Karate Kid, and Erica’s My Little Pony backpack. But the biggest Stranger Things 3 obsession was ’80s It Girl Phoebe Cates, first referenced by Dustin, who says his camp girlfriend Suzie is hotter than the celeb, and then mentioned several times throughout the season.
If you grew up before the ’80s, the mere mention of Cates probably conjured images of the actress’s most famous roles and that famous poster. But if you’re a younger fan wondering, “Phoebe Cates, who?” here’s everything you need to know about the star.
Who is Phoebe Cates?
Cates is an actress who rose to fame in the 1980s for her roles in Gremlins, Private School, and Paradise. However, it was her role as Linda Barrett in Fast Times at Ridgemont High that helped propel her to stardom, thanks to a particular scene in which she emerges from the pool in a fire red bikini, making it one of the most iconic big-screen bikini moments.
Cates is married to fellow actor Kevin Kline, of A Fish Called Wanda and The Big Chill fame. Cates and Kline have two children, Owen Kline and Greta Kline, a musician who performs under the moniker Frankie Cosmos.
When is she mentioned in Stranger Things?
The first nod to Cates happens in the very first episode of the series, during the pool scene where Billy Hargrove walks out of the locker room to start his lifeguard shift while The Cars’ timeless “Moving In Stereo” plays—the same song that plays when Linda Barrett walks out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
However, her name is first mentioned by Dustin when he returns to Hawkins with exciting news: that he has a girlfriend named Suzie. Dustin wants to show his friends a machine he built at Camp Know Where and subtly mentioned that it could be used to contact his girlfriend, who is “hotter than Phoebe Cates.”
At the end of the season, Stranger Things gives a final nod to the actress when Steve attempts to get a job at a video store and accidentally knocks over a cardboard cut-out of Cates in her famous red bikini.
What is Phoebe Cates up to now?
In 2005, Cates opened a boutique called Blue Tree in New York City, which houses home goods, jewelry, gifts, fragrances, and more. In 2015, she lent her voice to the video game Lego Dimensions for Gremlins character Kate Beringer.