Director Hughes, Master Of Teen Angst, Dies At 59
by The Associated Press
August 6, 2009
John Hughes, the director of a memorable string of 1980s teen films — from The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles to Ferris Bueller's Day Off — has died of a heart attack, according to his Los Angeles-based publicists.
Hughes died suddenly during a walk while visiting family in Manhattan, a spokesman said. He was 59.
He was born in Michigan but began his writing career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago — and set most of his films in the Chicago area.
Much of his work focused on high school antics coupled with teen angst. It was a comic formula that made stars of such actors as Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall.
Other future stars who made notable appearances in early Hughes films included John Cusack and Jon Cryer.
Hughes began his Hollywood career in the late 1970s as a writer for the short-lived television series Delta House, based on the successful film Animal House.
He went on to pen the feature films Class Reunion, Mr. Mom and the classic National Lampoon comedy Vacation.
But Hughes rocketed to fame in 1984 with the release of directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, which he also wrote. The film launched the careers of Ringwald and Hall.
Both stars teamed with Hughes again the following year for the quintessential high-school angst film The Breakfast Club. The film's group of young stars included Ringwald, Hall, Estevez, Nelson and Sheedy. They became known as the "Brat Pack."
Hughes followed that success with Weird Science and the cult hit Ferris Bueller's Day Off, featuring a young Broderick.
In later years, he went on to direct Planes, Trains & Automobiles — featuring an adult cast pairing Steve Martin and John Candy — She's Having a Baby, Uncle Buck (again with Candy) and Curly Sue.
Those were the only eight films Hughes directed, but he continued to be a prolific writer, many times using the pseudonym Edmond Dantes. His writing credits include Home Alone, Beethoven and Maid in Manhattan. His final film story credit was the Owen Wilson comedy Drillbit Taylor.
According to his publicists, Hughes spent much of the past decade maintaining a farm in northern Illinois.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons John and James; and four grandchildren.
WOW, I am in shock. I have seen (& own) a bunch of his movies. Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off are all teen movie classics. My favorite John Hughes movie is Some Kind of Wonderful. I found it in the five dollar bin at Wallyworld a few weeks ago. It is basically Pretty in Pink but it a teen boy that falls in love with the popular girl, while his tomboy best friend is in love with him. I personally, liked it better than Pretty in Pink. Pretty in Pink is good but sorta more like a fairytale while Some Kind of Wonderful is more real. You can understand where all the main characters are coming from in this one. I just like it better than Pretty in Pink. Mr. Hughes is going to be a hard writer to replace. No one could write teen movies like him.