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 drama The CW Starz 71st Emmy Awards Rock cancelled television Set visit 45 series Apple TV Plus Pet Sematary Reality Competition breaking bad Box Office Amazon Prime Video Sony Pictures Brie Larson Awards Tour Song of Ice and Fire 2016 sequel BBC E3 Biopics TCA 2017 Holiday Western Reality Logo Arrowverse Peacock zero dark thirty sag awards Podcast Comedy kids Opinion book boxoffice Hallmark psychological thriller Crackle Binge Guide Columbia Pictures spain Valentine's Day CBS harry potter mockumentary vampires TBS based on movie TV spinoff Creative Arts Emmys Disney Channel A&E animated name the review ABC Family IFC award winner Spectrum Originals hispanic natural history Apple TV+ Avengers adventure PaleyFest period drama ESPN Ellie Kemper YouTube Red GIFs History Marvel Masterpiece Nat Geo cartoon CMT New York Comic Con mutant YouTube First Reviews Paramount Network Epix cancelled TV shows Mary Tyler Moore The Purge The Walking Dead Holidays dc blockbuster rotten movies we love Esquire Mindy Kaling Film Festival TV renewals BBC America travel comics IFC Films Tumblr Amazon Prime Mary Poppins Returns game of thrones Anna Paquin CBS All Access San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Music historical drama Pride Month Winter TV LGBT See It Skip It werewolf DGA Captain marvel teaser christmas movies Women's History Month streaming 20th Century Fox Academy Awards Shudder biography Cosplay true crime Oscars 21st Century Fox Ovation President Summer Comic Book batman USA Network Martial Arts singing competition transformers Super Bowl Lucasfilm NYCC Writers Guild of America Trivia Emmy Nominations Premiere Dates Baby Yoda 007 Freeform cancelled TV series sitcom Thanksgiving green book hist thriller screenings cats Stephen King Fall TV renewed TV shows First Look RT21 Shondaland Trophy Talk TLC television romance robots witnail Superheroes Acorn TV Fantasy miniseries foreign RT History what to watch cars versus stand-up comedy Cannes ghosts Sneak Peek DirecTV Adult Swim movies independent Comedy Central social media SXSW politics YouTube Premium HBO composers directors Turner dragons crime thriller Christmas festivals Elton John free movies Watching Series Sundance Now NBC Rom-Com sports Pop Schedule spanish language Disney 2017 GLAAD technology Black Mirror TCM talk show Chernobyl golden globes American Society of Cinematographers TV Land spy thriller WGN adaptation facebook Sundance TV X-Men halloween 2015 TCA Winter 2020 FXX 2020 Trailer blaxploitation Ghostbusters Toys Comics on TV cooking Polls and Games Nominations Walt Disney Pictures science fiction DC Universe Marvel Studios binge Marvel Television Hallmark Christmas movies richard e. Grant Mary poppins Tomatazos Calendar Horror cancelled children's TV Musical Cartoon Network Universal Turner Classic Movies comiccon El Rey discovery APB A24 CW Seed GoT cops theme song Hulu Sci-Fi Animation The Arrangement zombies toy story screen actors guild Countdown AMC Disney Plus unscripted serial killer dramedy anime CNN Tubi spider-man strong female leads canceled WarnerMedia Warner Bros. tv talk Infographic Nickelodeon Disney+ Disney Plus Star Wars doctor who nature Film Heroines PBS USA Netflix Christmas movies war The Witch Television Academy National Geographic Character Guide OWN ITV Star Trek Drama Rocketman SundanceTV E! OneApp Netflix BET Extras YA FOX finale cults Mudbound 2018 police drama space ABC Best and Worst MCU comic TruTV TCA Election Endgame Pixar Rocky Disney streaming service psycho Bravo Syfy reboot Lifetime Christmas movies Marathons Spring TV Grammys Classic Film Food Network canceled TV shows Mystery slashers quibi south america 2019 political drama Lionsgate romantic comedy medical drama game show Kids & Family Awards HBO Max MSNBC Tarantino crime Family Winners VICE casting VH1 Crunchyroll disaster joker Superheroe Discovery Channel DC streaming service revenge docudrama Action dceu Interview latino SDCC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV elevated horror Spike Emmys Fox News anthology crossover Video Games Country DC Comics Britbox Dark Horse Comics TIFF indie FX Sundance Vudu aliens cinemax Red Carpet TNT ratings LGBTQ Photos Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Musicals Paramount Teen video Amazon 24 frames Showtime justice league Certified Fresh supernatural Pirates diversity Quiz Apple zombie jamie lee curtis Year in Review