John Heard (actor)

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John Heard
Heard in 2010
John Heard Jr.

(1946-03-07)March 7, 1946
DiedJuly 21, 2017(2017-07-21) (aged 71)
Resting placeOld South Cemetery, Ipswich, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active1975–2017
Known for
  • Big (1988)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  • The Sopranos (1999)
  • (m. 1979; div. 1980)
  • Sharon Heard
    (m. 1988; div. 1996)
  • Lana Pritchard
    (m. 2010; div. 2010)

John Heard Jr.[1] (March 7, 1946 – July 21, 2017) was an American actor. Heard made his debut appearance in film with the ensemble Between the Lines (1977). He appeared in a number of successful films, including Heart Beat (1980), Cutter's Way (1981), Cat People (1982), Beaches (1988), and Deceived (1991). Other films include The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Big (1988), The Pelican Brief (1993), White Chicks (2004), and his role as Peter McCallister in Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). From 1995 to 1996, he played the role of Roy Foltrigg in the television series The Client. From 2005 to 2006, Heard played the role of Governor Frank Tancredi in Prison Break. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1999 for guest-starring as Vin Makazian on The Sopranos (1999–2004).

Early life and education[edit]

Heard was born on March 7, 1946,[1] in Washington, D.C.[2] a son of Helen (née Sperling), who was involved in the arts and appeared in community theatre, and John Heard, who worked for the office of the Secretary of Defense.[2][3][4] He was raised as a Roman Catholic,[5] and attended Gonzaga College High School, Clark University (in Worcester, Massachusetts), and Catholic University of America.[2] He grew up with two sisters, Lise and Cordis (an actress), and a brother, the late Matthew Heard, who predeceased his mother and father.[3]

Acting career[edit]

In the 1970s, Heard appeared on the stage and in television and film. He appeared off-Broadway in 1974 in Mark Medoff's play The Wager and in 1975 as Guildenstern in Hamlet at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, where he also understudied Sam Waterston as Hamlet. That fall, the production moved to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. Heard appeared at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in 1977 in a series of new plays. Heard won Obie Awards for his performances in Othello and Split in 1979–80. He was the male lead in the 1979 film Head Over Heels (which was renamed and re-released as Chilly Scenes of Winter in 1982).[citation needed]

In 1980, Heard was in the film Heart Beat. In 1981, he had the starring role of Alex Cutter in the film Cutter's Way. In 1982, he played the lover of Nastassja Kinski, one of the main characters, in the remake of Cat People. He co-starred as photographer George Cooper in C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, 1984) alongside future Home Alone co-star Daniel Stern and in The Trip to Bountiful (1985). In the comedy-drama film Heaven Help Us (aka, Catholic Boys, 1985), Heard played a monk named Brother Timothy. In After Hours (also 1985), Heard was bartender Tom Schorr.

He was seen in the film The Milagro Beanfield War and had a significant role playing Paul, Tom Hanks's adult corporate competitor and jilted boyfriend of Elizabeth Perkins, in Big (both 1988). He co-starred with Bette Midler in Beaches (also 1988). In 1990 Heard starred in the philosophical film Mindwalk, in which three characters from different sociopolitical and cultural backgrounds express their opinions on the human experience, and around the same time, he was in Awakenings alongside Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, and The End of Innocence with Dyan Cannon. He starred in Deceived (1991), with Goldie Hawn, playing Jack Saunders, and had a supporting role in Gladiator (1992), with Cuba Gooding Jr.

He played Daugherty in the film Radio Flyer (1992) and FBI agent Gavin Vereek in The Pelican Brief (1993). He starred with Samuel L. Jackson in 1997's One Eight Seven and was featured in the 2000 miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. He also appeared in the 2004 comedy film White Chicks.

Home Alone and sequel[edit]

In 1990, Heard starred as Kevin's father Peter McCallister in the comedy Home Alone. He played the part of Kevin's (played by Macaulay Calkin) father who unwittingly leaves his son at home when making a Christmas trip to France. Heard chose to characterize the role with a combination of concerned dramatic acting of a father missing his son along with more classical comedic tropes.[6] The film was one of the biggest hits of 1990, and Heard reprised the role in the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Television work[edit]

Heard featured in a television production of The Scarlet Letter (1979) as Arthur Dimmesdale. He played real-life Ku Klux Klan leader D. C. Stephenson in the TV miniseries Cross of Fire (1989) and the role of David Manning in the ABC miniseries adaptation of Shirley MacLaine's Out on a Limb, a memoir of her journey toward acceptance of spiritual and extraterrestrial realities. From 1995 to 1996, he played the role of Roy Foltrigg in the television series The Client. Heard also had roles on The Sopranos as the troubled corrupt detective Vin Makazian for which he received an Emmy nomination as outstanding guest actor, and later on Battlestar Galactica as Commander Barry Garner.

He had recurring roles on CSI: Miami (as Kenwall Duquesne, father of Calleigh Duquesne) and Prison Break (as Frank Tancredi, governor of Illinois and father of Sara Tancredi). Among other film and television roles in the 2000s and 2010s, he played the mayor of Chicago on two episodes of the Fox series The Chicago Code.


In 2008, Heard was asked about his career and he replied,

I guess I went from being a young leading man to being just kind of a hack actor. ... When I came to Hollywood, I was pretty much a stage actor, and I expected everybody to be quiet. And they weren't. They were doing their job, and you're expected to do your job, and you're sort of this ongoing co-existence. I was a little bit of an arrogant jerk. Now, it's a little bit more like, "Okay, I realize you have to pat me down with powder every three seconds." And I stand there, and I'm a little more tolerant ... I think I had my time. I dropped the ball, as my father would say. I think I could have done more with my career than I did, and I sort of got sidetracked. But that's OK, that's all right, that's the way it is. No sour grapes. I mean, I don't have any regrets. Except that I could have played some bigger parts.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Heard married actress Margot Kidder in 1979, but the marriage was dissolved after only six days.[8]

In 1987, he had a son, John Matthew Heard, with actress and former girlfriend Melissa Leo.[9] Heard was arrested in 1991 and charged with third-degree assault for slapping Leo.[10] In 1997, he was found guilty of trespassing at Leo's home but was acquitted of charges of trespassing at their son's school.[11]

By his marriage to Sharon Heard, he had two children, Annika Rose and Maxwell John.[2] Maxwell died on December 6, 2016, aged 22.[12]

On May 24, 2010, Heard married Lana Pritchard in Los Angeles. The couple divorced seven months later.[13]


Heard died of cardiac arrest due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease on July 21, 2017, at the age of 71. He was found by staff in a hotel in Palo Alto, California, where he was reportedly recovering from minor back surgery which he had just undergone at Stanford University Hospital. The back surgery did not play a role in his death.[14][15] His cause of death was confirmed by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's office. He was buried in South Side Cemetery in Ipswich, Massachusetts.[16][17][18][19]

Awards and honors[edit]

Source unless otherwise noted:[2]

In 2003, he was inducted into the Gonzaga College High School Theatre Hall of Fame.


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Between the Lines Harry Lucas
1977 First Love David Bonner
1978 Rush It Byron
1978 On the Yard Juleson
1979 Chilly Scenes of Winter Charles
1980 Heart Beat Jack Kerouac
1981 Cutter's Way Alex Cutter
1982 Cat People Oliver Yates
1984 C.H.U.D. George Cooper
1984 Best Revenge Charlie
1984 Violated Skipper
1985 Too Scared to Scream Sid
1985 Heaven Help Us Brother Timothy
1985 After Hours Tom Schorr
1985 The Trip to Bountiful Ludie Watts
1987 Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Johnny 'Johnny Boy' Voice
1988 The Telephone Telephone Man
1988 The Milagro Beanfield War Charlie Bloom
1988 The Seventh Sign Reverend
1988 Big Paul Davenport
1988 Betrayed FBI Agent Mike Carnes
1988 Beaches John Pierce
1989 The Package Colonel Glen Whitacre
1990 Blown Away Charlie
1990 Mindwalk Thomas Harriman
1990 The End of Innocence Dean
1990 Home Alone Peter McCallister
1990 Awakenings Dr. Kaufman
1991 Rambling Rose Willcox Hillyer
1991 Deceived Frank Sullivan / Jack Saunders / Dan Sherman
1992 Radio Flyer Officer Jim Daugherty
1992 Gladiator John Riley
1992 Waterland Lewis Scott
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Peter McCallister
1993 In the Line of Fire Professor Riger
1993 Me and Veronica Frankie
1993 The Pelican Brief Gavin Verheek
1996 Before and After Wendell Bye
1996 My Fellow Americans Vice President Ted Matthews
1997 One Eight Seven Dave Childress
1997 Executive Power Walker
1997 Men George Babbington
1997 Silent Cradle Dr. Brittain
1998 Snake Eyes Gilbert Powell, Defense Contractor
1998 Desert Blue Professor Lance Davidson
1999 Jazz Night John Little Short
1999 The Secret Pact Jerome Carver
1999 Fish Out of Water Gregor
1999 Freak Weather David
2000 Animal Factory James Decker
2000 The Photographer Marcello
2000 Pollock Tony Smith
2001 The Boys of Sunset Ridge John Burroughs
2001 O Dean Bob Brable
2001 Dying on the Edge John Fuller
2002 Researching Raymond Burke Raymond Burke Short
2002 Fair Play Owen Short
2004 Mind the Gap Henry Richards
2004 White Chicks Warren Vandergeld
2004 My Tiny Universe Bobby
2004 Under the City Scova
2005 The Chumscrubber Officer Lou Bratley
2005 Edison Captain Brian Tilman
2005 The Deal Professor Roseman
2005 Tracks Prison Warden
2005 Sweet Land Minister Sorrensen
2006 Steel City Carl Lee
2006 Gamers: The Movie Gordon's Dad
2006 The Guardian Captain Frank Larson
2007 Dead Lenny Dr. Robert Hooker
2007 The Great Debaters Sheriff Dozier
2007 Brothers Three: An American Gothic Father
2008 P.J. Dr. Alan Shearson
2008 Justice League: The New Frontier Ace Morgan Voice
2008 The Lucky Ones Bob
2009 Red State Blues Fritz Short
2009 Formosa Betrayed Tom Braxton
2009 Little Hercules in 3-D Coach Nimms
2010 The Truth Jonathan Davenport
2010 Ivan's House Ivan Short
2011 Whisper Me a Lullaby Poppy
2012 The Legends of Nethiah Nethiah's Father
2012 A Perfect Ending Mason Westridge
2012 Stealing Roses Walter
2012 Would You Rather Conway
2013 The Insomniac Paul Epstein
2013 Assault on Wall Street Jeremy Stancroft
2013 Snake and Mongoose Wally Parks
2013 Runner Runner Harry Furst
2013 Torn Detective Kalkowitz
2013 Buoyancy Frank Short
2014 Warren Jack Cavanee
2014 Animals Albert
2014 Boys of Abu Ghraib Sam Farmer
2014 The Nurse Frank
2014 One More Day Tom Short
2015 Boiling Pot Tim Davis
2016 Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? Sheriff Parsons
2016 After the Reality Bob
2016 Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero J.P. Monroe
2016 So B. It Thurman Hil
2017 Searching for Fortune Denton Sr.
2017 Counting for Thunder Garrett Stalworth
2017 Pray for Rain Markus Gardener
2017 Last Rampage Blackwell
2018 The Tale Bill (Older) Posthumous
2018 Living Among Us Andrew Posthumous
2019 Imprisoned Police Chief[20] Posthumous


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Valley Forge Mr. Harvie Television film
1979 The Scarlet Letter Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale Television miniseries
1983 Will There Really Be a Morning? Clifford Odets Television film
1983 Legs Dan Television film
1984 Kate & Allie Max McArdle Episode: "A Weekend to Remember"
1985 Tender is the Night Abe North Television miniseries; 3 episodes
1985 Tales from the Darkside Billy Malone Episode: "Ring Around the Redhead"
1985 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Bill Callahan Episode: "Breakdown"
1986 Miami Vice Laurence Thurmond Episode: "One Way Ticket"
1987 The Equalizer Ron Parrish Episode: "In the Money"
1987 Out on a Limb David Manning Television film
1988 Necessity Charlie Television film
1989 Screen Two Michael Johnson Episode: "Virtuoso"
1989 Cross of Fire David Stephenson Television film
1992 Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster Dan Lawn Television film
1993 There Was a Little Boy Gregg Television film
1994 In Spite of Love Andrew Television film
1994 Because Mommy Works Ted Forman Television film
1994–1999 Law & Order Mitch Burke / Walter Grobman 2 episodes
1995 American Masters Montresor Episode: Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul
1995 The Outer Limits Paul Stein Episode: "Dark Matters"
1995–1996 The Client District Attorney Roy "Reverend Roy" Foltrigg 21 episodes
1999–2004 The Sopranos Detective Vin Makazian 5 episodes
2000 Perfect Murder, Perfect Town Larry Mason Television film
2000 The Wednesday Woman Bill Davidson Television film
2001 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Larry Wiegert Episode: "The Pardoner's Tale"
2001 The Big Heist Richard Woods Television film
2002 Touched by an Angel Allen Episode: "Secrets and Lies"
2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Gregory Rossovitch / Peter Sipes Episode: "Disappearing Acts"
2002 Hack Paul Ballinger Episode: "Songs in the Night"
2002 Monday Night Mayhem Roone Arledge Television film
2002 The Pilot's Wife Jack Lyons Television film
2003 Word of Honor Dr. Steven Brandt Television film
2003–2005 CSI: Miami Kenwall Duquesne 4 episodes
2004–2005 Jack & Bobby Dennis Morgenthal 5 episodes
2005 Numb3rs Peter Houseman Episode: "Soft Target"
2005 Locusts Dr. Peter Axelrod Television film
2005–2006 Prison Break Governor Frank Tancredi 10 episodes
2006 Battlestar Galactica Commander Barry Garner Episode: "The Captain's Hand"
2006 Twenty Questions C. Colin Whitworth Television film
2006 The Line-Up Walter Clark Television film
2007 Cavemen Tripp Episode: "Her Embarrassed of Caveman"
2007–2010 Entourage Richard Wimmer 2 episodes
2008 My Own Worst Enemy Peter Episode: "Down Rio Way"
2008 Skip Tracer Con Colbert Television film
2008 Generation Gap Principal Winters Television film
2009 The Beast Dr. Blake Episode: "Mercy"
2009 Southland Ben Sherman Sr. 2 episodes
2010 Gravity B.C. 3 episodes
2010 The Quickening Ed Erlich Television film
2011 The Chicago Code Mayor McGuinness 2 episodes
2011 Too Big to Fail Joe Gregory Television film
2013 Perception Congressman Evan Rickford 2 episodes
2013 Adam DeVine's House Party Dregory Episode: "Dregory"
2013 Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories Lawyer Episode: "Haunted House"
2013 Sharknado George Television film
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Roger Ridley Episode: "Love for Sale"
2014 Modern Family Gunther Thorpe Episode: "The Feud"
2014 Person of Interest Roger McCourt Episode: "Death Benefit"
2014 Mistresses Bruce Sappire Episode: "Coming Clean"
2014 NCIS: Los Angeles Michael Thomas 3 episodes
2015 The Lizzie Borden Chronicles William Almy Television miniseries; 2 episodes
2015 The Murder Pact John LaSalle Television film
2016 Elementary Henry Watson Episode: "Miss Taken"
2017 MacGyver Arthur Ericson Episode: "Pliers"
2017 APB Joe Reeves Episode: "Daddy's Home"
2017 Outsiders Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky Episode: "What Must Be Done"


  1. ^ a b Correal, Annie (July 22, 2017). "John Heard, the Frazzled Father in 'Home Alone,' Dies at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "John Heard Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "John Heard, actor who played an absent-minded father in 'Home Alone,' dies at 71". The Washington Post. July 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "Helen Heard Obituary (2015)". The Washington Post – via
  5. ^ "John Heard on The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, The Sopranos, Sharknado, and more". The A.V. Club. April 4, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Actor John Heard, who played dad in "Home Alone" movies, dies at 72". July 22, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  7. ^ "411 Movies Interview: John Heard". February 27, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  8. ^ Roberts, Chris (April 9, 2005). "No Kidding". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "Heard Pleads Not Guilty to Harassing Ex-Girlfriend". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Associated Press. March 20, 1997. p. A13 – via Google News.
  10. ^ "'Home Alone' Actor Arrested". The Buffalo News. November 6, 1991 – via NewsBank.
  11. ^ Tan, Cheryl L. (March 21, 1997). "'Home Alone' actor Heard found guilty of trespassing". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012 – via ProQuest Archiver.
  12. ^ Sblendorio, Peter (July 24, 2017). "John Heard preceded in death by estranged son, who faced 'deep grief' over their relationship". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 12, 2019 – via
  13. ^ "Pritchard-Heard". The Monterey County Herald. June 14, 2010. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  14. ^ "'Home Alone' Dad John Heard Died of Cardiac Arrest". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. August 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "John Heard dead at 71; Home Alone actor death not considered suspicious, says police official". The Financial Express. July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Saperstein, Pat (July 22, 2017). "John Heard, 'Home Alone' Dad, Dies at 72". Variety.
  17. ^ Willingham, AJ (July 22, 2017). "'Home Alone' actor John Heard dies". CNN. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "John Heard: Home Alone actor dies aged 71". BBC. July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Glenza, Jessica (July 22, 2017). "John Heard, star of Home Alone, Cutter's Way and The Sopranos, dies at 71". The Guardian. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  20. ^ Scheck, Frank (September 12, 2019). "'Imprisoned': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2020.

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