John Hughes, the writer and director whose string of classic ’80s comedies essentially defined the genre for decades, has died at the age of 59.
The cause was a heart attack, which he suffered taking a walk on Thursday morning (August 6) during a trip to New York, according to Variety.
Writing for talent like Chevy Chase and Michael Keaton, Hughes had early hits with “Mr. Mom” and the first of the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies. His 1984 directorial debut, “Sixteen Candles,” and his follow-up the next year, “The Breakfast Club,” were instrumental in launching the pop-culture phenomenon known as the Brat Pack. Actors like Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall became some of the biggest names in Hollywood thanks to Hughes’ brand of youth-oriented entertainment.
Over the next several years, Hughes wrote and/or directed “Weird Science,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Pretty in Pink” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” — all undeniable ’80s classics. Throughout the decade, he worked with actors and comedians like Matthew Broderick, Steve Martin, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Bacon, John Candy and Alec Baldwin.
Hughes would only direct one more film, 1991’s “Curly Sue,” choosing instead to concentrate on his career as a screenwriter. In 1990, he wrote “Home Alone,” the Macaulay Culkin film that grossed more than $285 million domestically. He went on to script two other “Alone” films and continued to pump out family-focused fare like the “Beethoven” movies, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “101 Dalmatians.”
In the mid-’90s, though, Hughes retreated from Hollywood, moving to Illinois and largely declining to give interviews.
According to Variety, Hughes was born February 18, 1950, in Michigan and is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy; two sons, John and James; and four grandchildren.