John Hughes: 1950-2009

The acclaimed writer/director/producer defined teen comedy for the 1980s.

by | August 6, 2009 | Comments

John Hughes, the director, producer, and writer whose insightful and heartfelt teen comedies defined an era, died Thursday of cardiac arrest. He was 59 years old.

Hughes became synonymous with teen comedy in the 1980s, and his films from that era — most notably Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — explored adolescent identity, class and clique conflict, and generational unease with a delicacy and sensitivity seldom seen in mainstream cinema. Several of the actors who starred in Hughes’ movies — including Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy – were members of the “Brat Pack,” a group of young actors that came of age during the 1980s.

Hughes’ first major success was as the screenwriter for National Lampoon’s Vacation (he would later write and produce Christmas Vacation as well). After the critical and commercial success of his high school comedies, Hughes wrote and directed Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and longtime collaborator John Candy. It was with Home Alone, however, that Hughes had his greatest popular success; the film was a huge winner at the box office (though not with critics) and made Macaulay Culkin a star.

[rtimage]MapID=10011617&MapTypeID=2&photo=22&legacy=1[/rtimage]Hughes’ prolific, prodigious output slowed in the early 1990s; after 1991’s Curly Sue, he never directed again, though he scripted a number of family films, including the Beethoven series and Flubber. His last credit was as a writer on Drillbit Taylor, the producer of which, Judd Apatow, has often garnered comparisons to Hughes.

[rtimage]MapID=10011617&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]Hughes grew up in Northbrook, IL, and many of his films were set or filmed in his hometown or nearby Chicago (for example, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off provided an informal tour of the Windy City). Media reports indicate that Hughes suffered a heart attack while taking a morning walk through Manhattan, where he was visiting family. Hughes is survived by his wife Nancy, as well as two sons, John and James.

Explore John Hughes’s complete filmography or browse the Hughes retrospective gallery, with images from films made across a three-decade career.

Tag Cloud

crime Sneak Peek Winter TV zombie Logo TV Land TV The CW Rocky Drama The Arrangement Biopics Extras thriller HBO Mindy Kaling docudrama Nickelodeon LGBTQ spy thriller dramedy Sony Pictures Reality Trailer Christmas Super Bowl TCA 2017 doctor who First Look cooking San Diego Comic-Con DC Universe sitcom APB Election Action BBC composers Red Carpet Box Office crime thriller President festivals Watching Series Country FOX Lifetime CMT Amazon Shudder Showtime TCA psycho Reality Competition Interview technology binge cults Nominations Disney Freeform politics what to watch discovery Photos Western Kids & Family National Geographic Rom-Com dceu Universal 2015 war Britbox Song of Ice and Fire Acorn TV Marathons X-Men based on movie PaleyFest Esquire History Shondaland Lionsgate Pixar Best and Worst 21st Century Fox Cosplay FXX See It Skip It robots Marvel Netflix crime drama CBS Video Games TruTV Epix Star Wars VH1 Dark Horse Comics WGN Cartoon Network Paramount ITV Starz diversity Apple Martial Arts 2017 VICE Comedy Central Warner Bros. AMC Nat Geo Columbia Pictures Schedule Paramount Network FX blaxploitation 2016 crossover Calendar Syfy SDCC USA Network mutant Creative Arts Emmys Ellie Kemper Premiere Dates American Society of Cinematographers Tumblr supernatural ABC Family Winners Podcast Comedy period drama NYCC Set visit TNT Fantasy Holidays Star Trek YA golden globes CBS All Access talk show sports El Rey Infographic Certified Fresh adventure Superheroes Opinion Mystery IFC Films aliens ESPN Rock dc Character Guide political drama Adult Swim GIFs social media MSNBC boxoffice DC Comics TLC jamie lee curtis Bravo TCM Oscars TBS Toys Sundance Now anime cinemax DirecTV Lucasfilm YouTube Red Emmys ratings OWN harry potter NBC E! Tomatazos police drama Polls and Games Summer Walt Disney Pictures transformers biography comiccon historical drama Grammys Spike Crackle BBC America CNN serial killer ABC singing competition Thanksgiving Mary Tyler Moore CW Seed GLAAD finale Valentine's Day Comic Book Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV DC streaming service Food Network hist Writers Guild of America science fiction Sundance GoT Superheroe 20th Century Fox Fall TV SundanceTV PBS Teen Year in Review Pirates Hulu Horror 007 24 frames streaming medical drama BET justice league cops romance Fox News zombies Sci-Fi Pop YouTube Premium Music travel USA Masterpiece E3 Ovation 45 IFC unscripted TIFF RT History A&E Trivia Disney Channel Animation Countdown cats Musicals Musical vampires Ghostbusters SXSW Awards Spring TV