Paul Dooley is fondly remembered by fans of '80s cinema as the forgetful but well-intending father of a disgruntled Molly Ringwald in the John Hughes teen classic Sixteen Candles (1984). The longtime character actor's droopy, distinctive features and endearing onscreen warmth have kept him a familiar figure in both film and television. A Parkersurg, WV, native who originally aspired to become a cartoonist, Dooley drew comic strips for a local newspaper before entering the navy. Upon discharge, the future actor entered college, where he discovered his passion for the stage. A move to New York found the aspiring actor landing frequent stage work, and after discovering a previously untapped ability for comedy, Dooley tried his hand at standup for about five years. Always looking to expand his skills, he made his film debut in the 1970 comedy The Out-of-Towners. From 1971 to 1972, Dooley was also head writer for the popular children's television series The Electric Company.
After showing promise in such late-'70s efforts as Slap Shot (1977) and A Wedding (1978), Dooley made a big impression with his supporting role as the lead character's worrisome father in Breaking Away (1979). Though he was overlooked at Oscar time, he was nominated for a New York Film Critics Circle award and won the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actor. He kicked off the most successful decade of his film career with a performance as Wimpy in the much-maligned Robert Altman musical comedy Popeye (1980). Besides his memorable turn in Sixteen Candles, Dooley also delivered hilarious performances in the 1980s films Strange Brew (1983) and John Cassavetes' Big Trouble (1985). Fans of the extraterrestrial comedy series ALF will also remember him as the curiously named Whizzer Deaver.