Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

One of the greatest Hollywood talents of this generation has fallen. John Hughes, the quintessential writer/director of heartfelt teen and preteen comedies, died of a heart attack here in New York on August 6th. He was only 59 years old.

Hughes directed only a handful of films, but they would all be some of the most successful and continually beloved films to come out of the 1980s. The mere eight movies guided by his great directorial hand are Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes Trains and Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, Weird Science, Uncle Buck, and Curly Sue.

His credits as producer and (primarily) as a writer are much more numerous, but still include some of the most memorable films of the last 25 years. He wrote the screenplays for all the films he directed as well as the screenplays for Home Alone, Pretty in Pink, National Lampoon's Vacation and its sequels, Mr. Mom, The Great Outdoors, and Disney's live-action 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close.

Macaulay Culkin, who worked with Hughes on Home Alone and Uncle Buck, said, "I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person. The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."

Ben Stein, who appeared in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, stated, "He made a better connection with young people than anyone in Hollywood had ever made before or since. It’s incredibly sad. He was a wonderful man, a genius, a poet. I don’t think anyone has come close to him as being the poet of the youth of America in the postwar period. He was to them what Shakespeare was to the Elizabethan Age."

Steve Martin, Matthew Broderick, and others have released similar statements praising Hughes not only for his tremendous talent at penning complex characters, but also for his humility and genuine nature.

The unique gifts that Hughes brought to the world will be greatly missed, but always within our reach to visit through his fantastic works.

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