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John Hughes 1950-2009

Posted by Big Boo on August 7th, 2009

john hughesI am sorry to have to report the death of John Hughes, one of the most successful film directors, producers and writers of the 1980’s.  He suffered a heart attack on 6th August 2009 whilst visiting his family in New York, and passed away at the age of just 59.

If you are unaware of who John Hughes is, chances are you will have heard of at least one of his films.  Some of his most memorable from the eighties are The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  Probably his biggest success came in 1990 with the release of smash hit Home Alone.

He was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois in 1968.  He was obviously very attached to this area as many of his films were either set or filmed there, although he often called the town involved Shermer, as Shermerville had been the first name for Northbrook.

He began his career as an advertisement copywriter, but his real passion was storytelling and he soon found himself working on National Lampoon magazine after a story he wrote called Vacation ’58 was spotted.  This story became the basis for the popular National Lampoon’s Vacation series of films, and Hughes was indeed directly responsible for both the first in the series and the Christmas Vacation.

From this he went on to become both a writer and director, with his first film taking both roles being Sixteen Candles, a story of a girl (played by Molly Ringwald, another Hughes regular) who has a terrible day on her sixteenth birthday.

John Hughes had a knack for creating realistic characters, particularly children and teenagers, which is why his films often strike a chord with the viewer in some way.  He also used music to great effect in his films, layering songs over the action to enhance them, and was very loyal to the actors he worked with, often casting them in several of his movies.  Good examples of this are the late John Candy and Macauley Culkin, who even starred together in Uncle Buck.