John Hughes (filmmaker)
Hughes at the premiere of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 1992
John Wilden Hughes, Jr.
February 18, 1950
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||August 6, 2009 (aged 59)|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Lake Forest Cemetery|
Nancy Ludwig (m. 1970)
|Children||John Hughes III |
John Wilden Hughes Jr. (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009) was an American filmmaker. Beginning as an author of humorous essays and stories for National Lampoon, he went on to write and direct some of the most successful live-action comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s such as National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) and its sequels National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989); Mr. Mom (1983), Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Pretty in Pink (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), She's Having a Baby (1988), Uncle Buck (1989), Dutch (1991), Baby's Day Out (1994), the Beethoven franchise (co-written under a pseudonym with Amy Holden-Jones) and Home Alone (1990) and its sequels Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) and Home Alone 3 (1997).
Most of Hughes' work has been set in the Chicago metropolitan area. He is best known for his coming-of-age teen comedy films which often combined magic realism with honest depictions of suburban teenage life. Many of his most enduring characters from these years were written for Molly Ringwald, who was Hughes' muse. While out on a walk one summer morning in New York, Hughes suffered a fatal heart attack and was pronounced dead at the hospital. His legacy after his death was honored by many, including at the 82nd Academy Awards by actors with whom he had worked such as Matthew Broderick, Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Macaulay Culkin among others. Actors whose careers Hughes helped launch include Michael Keaton, Hall, Bill Paxton, Broderick, Culkin and members of the Brat Pack group.
Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, the oldest, and only boy, of four children, to Marion Crawford, who volunteered in charity work, and John Hughes Sr., who worked in sales. He spent the first twelve years of his life in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, where he was a fan of Detroit Red Wings #9 Gordie Howe. Hughes described himself as "kind of quiet" as a kid.
I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly girls and old people. There weren't any boys my age, so I spent a lot of time by myself, imagining things. And every time we would get established somewhere, we would move. Life just started to get good in seventh grade, and then we moved to Chicago. I ended up in a really big high school, and I didn't know anybody. But then The Beatles came along (and) changed my whole life. And then Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home came out and really changed me. Thursday I was one person, and Friday I was another. My heroes were Dylan, John Lennon and Picasso, because they each moved their particular medium forward, and when they got to the point where they were comfortable, they always moved on.
In 1963, Hughes's family moved to Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. This is where Hughes's father found work selling roofing materials. Hughes attended Grove [Middle] School, before he attended Glenbrook North High School, which gave him inspiration for the films that made his reputation in later years. While painting homecoming murals at Glenbrook North, he met Nancy Ludwig, a cheerleader. As a teenager, Hughes found movies as an escape. According to childhood friend Jackson Peterson, "His mom and dad criticized him a lot (...) She [Marion] would be critical of what John would want to do".  Hughes was an avid fan of The Beatles, and according to several friends, he knew a lot about movies and the Rat Pack.
After dropping out of the University of Arizona, Hughes began selling jokes to well-established performers such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. Hughes used his jokes to get an entry-level job at Needham, Harper & Steers as an advertising copywriter in Chicago in 1970 and later in 1974 at Leo Burnett Worldwide. During this period, he created what became the famous Edge "Credit Card Shaving Test" ad campaign.
Hughes' work on the Virginia Slims account frequently took him to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York City. This gave him the opportunity to spend time at the offices of the National Lampoon magazine. Hughes subsequently penned a story, inspired by his family trips as a child, that was to become his calling card and entry onto the staff of the magazine. The piece, "Vacation '58", later became the basis for the film National Lampoon's Vacation. Among his other contributions to the Lampoon, the April Fools' Day stories "My Penis" and "My Vagina" gave an early indication of Hughes's ear for the particular rhythm of teenage dialogue as well as for the various indignities of teen life in general.
His first credited screenplay, Class Reunion, was written while still on staff at the magazine. The resulting film became the second disastrous attempt by the flagship to duplicate the runaway success of Animal House. It was Hughes's next screenplay for the imprint, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), that would prove to be a major hit, putting the Lampoon back on the map. This, along with the success of another Hughes script, Mr. Mom, earned him a three-film deal with Universal Pictures.
Hughes's directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, won almost unanimous praise when it was released in 1984 due in no small part to its more honest depiction of upper middle class high school life in stark contrast to the Porky's-inspired comedies made at the time. It was the first in a string of efforts set in or around high school, including The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (see also Brat Pack) and Some Kind of Wonderful.
To avoid being pigeonholed as a maker of teen comedies, Hughes branched out in 1987 by directing the smash hit Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. His later output would not be so critically well received, though films like Uncle Buck proved popular. Hughes's greatest commercial success came with Home Alone, a film he wrote and produced about a child accidentally left behind when his family goes away for Christmas, forcing him to protect himself and his house from a pair of inept burglars. Home Alone was the top-grossing film of 1990 and remains the most successful live-action family comedy of all time. He also wrote the sequels Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Home Alone 3. His final film as a director was 1991's Curly Sue.
He also wrote screenplays under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes (or Dantès), after the protagonist of Alexandre Dumas's novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Screenplays submitted under this pseudonym were Maid in Manhattan, Drillbit Taylor and the Beethoven franchise.
Collaboration with John Candy
Hughes collaborated with the actor John Candy in a number of movies; most of these were films that Candy starred in and Hughes had written. Candy had a role in National Lampoon's Vacation, which Hughes had written, and which launched his own career. Hughes eventually directed Candy in the highly successful Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck. Candy also appeared in movies such as The Great Outdoors and Home Alone, both of which Hughes had written and produced. Hughes produced Only the Lonely with Candy in the lead role. The two became close friends. Hughes was considerably shaken by John Candy's sudden death of a heart attack in 1994. "He talked a lot about how much he loved Candy — if Candy had lived longer, I think John would have made more films as a director," says Vince Vaughn, a friend of Hughes.
- Jaws 3: People 0 – a parody sequel to the popular film series. 1979
- The History of Ohio From The Beginning of Time to the End of the Universe a.k.a. National Lampoon's Dacron, Ohio (with P. J. O'Rourke) 1980
- The Joy of Sex: A Dirty Love Story (some drafts with Dan Greenburg) 1982
- Debs – a satire on Texas debutantes (Aaron Spelling Productions) 1983
- The New Kid  1986
- Bartholomew Vs. Neff – a vehicle that would have starred Sylvester Stallone and John Candy as feuding neighbors. 1991
- Oil and Vinegar – A soon-to-be-married man and a hitchhiking girl end up talking about their lives during the length of the car ride. 1987
- Black Cat Bone: The Return of Huckleberry Finn 1991
- The Nanny 1991
- The Bugster 1991
- Ball 'n' Chain 1991
- Live-action Peanuts film – Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to make a live-action Charlie Brown film with Hughes set to both produce and write. 1993
- The Bee – a feature length Disney film that actor Daniel Stern was attached to direct. 1994
- Tickets – Teens wait overnight for free tickets to a farewell concert. 1996
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Hughes pitched a film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to various studios before it was adapted into the 2000 live-action film. 1998
- Grisbys Go Broke – a wealthy family loses their fortune, forcing them to move to the other side of the tracks during Christmas. 2003
Hughes was married to Nancy Ludwig in 1970 when they were 20–21 years old. They had two children: John Hughes III (born 1976) and James Hughes (born 1979). After Hughes left the spotlight, he began to keep more than 300 Moleskine notebooks and recorded daily observations and other ideas. He had a grandson whom he was visiting the night before he died. In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved back to the Chicago area. In the years following, Hughes rarely granted interviews to the media, save a select few in 1999 to promote the soundtrack album to Reach the Rock, an independent film he wrote. The album was compiled by Hughes's son John Hughes III and released on his son's Chicago-based record label Hefty Records. He also recorded an audio commentary for the 1999 DVD release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
On August 5, 2009, Hughes and Ludwig flew to New York City to visit his newly-born grandson and their son James. James said that Hughes appeared to be in good health that night and that the family had made plans for the next day. On the morning of August 6, Hughes was taking a walk near his hotel on West 55th Street in Manhattan when he suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. He was 59 years old. Hughes's funeral was held on August 11 in Chicago; he was buried at Lake Forest Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, his two children, and grandchildren.
The pilot episode of the NBC comedy Community, broadcast on September 17, 2009, was dedicated to Hughes. The episode included several references to The Breakfast Club and ended with a cover of "Don't You (Forget About Me)". The One Tree Hill episode titled "Don't You Forget About Me", broadcast on February 1, 2010, ended with a scene similar to the ending scene of Sixteen Candles and included some other references to his movies such as Home Alone. The 2011 Bob's Burgers episode Sheesh! Cab, Bob? also paid homage to Sixteen Candles.
After Hughes's death, many of those who knew him commented on the impact Hughes had on them and on the film industry. Judd Apatow said "Basically, my stuff is just John Hughes films with four-letter words. I feel like a part of my childhood has died. Nobody made me laugh harder or more often than John Hughes." Molly Ringwald said, "I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes. He was and will always be such an important part of my life. ... He will be missed – by me and by everyone that he has touched. My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now." Matthew Broderick also released his own statement, saying, "I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."
The 82nd Academy Awards (2010) included a tribute to Hughes' work. A retrospective of clips from Hughes' films was followed by cast members from several of them, including Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Macaulay Culkin, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and Jon Cryer, gathering on stage to commemorate the man and his contributions to the film industry.
Films with scenes taking place in fictional high schools named after Hughes include: the 2001 satire Not Another Teen Movie, the 2010–2013 Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up and the 2016 Hallmark film Date With Love.
Hughes' work has also influenced a new generation of millennial filmmakers, including M. H. Murray of Teenagers fame, who has cited Hughes as one of his main influences in interviews, once stating: "I loved how John Hughes wrote teens ... They were flawed in this genuine sort of way." Kelly Fremon Craig, who wrote and directed The Edge of Seventeen, also cited Hughes as an influence.
|1979||Delta House||Wrote 5 episodes|
|1983||At Ease||Creator; creative consultant for 1 episode|
|1990-1991||Ferris Bueller||Uncredited; based on the Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1986 film|
|Uncle Buck||Uncredited; based on the Uncle Buck 1989 film|
|1994-1998||Weird Science||Based on the Weird Science 1985 film|
|1994||Hal Roach: Hollywood's King of Laughter||Himself: TV documentary|
|1995||Biography||Himself: To John with Love: A Tribute to John Candy|
|2000||American Adventure||Based on characters by Hughes|
|2001||E! True Hollywood Story||Himself: Sixteen Candles|
|2009||Community||In memorial||Episode: Pilot|
|Spud||In memory of||Short|
|Don't You Forget About Me||Documentary|
|Teen Spirit: Teenagers and Hollywood||Archive footage||TV documentary|
|2010||82nd Academy Awards||Special memorial tribute|
|Hotel Hell Vacation||Based on original characters created by Hughes||Short|
|Jelly||In memory of|
|One Tree Hill||Episode: Don't You Forget About Me|
|Don't You Forget About Me||Short|
|Darren and Abby|
|2011||Hughes The Force||Thanks: thank you for inspiring generations of people||Short|
|Beethoven's Christmas Adventure||Based on original characters||Direct-to-video film|
|Home Alone: The Holiday Heist||Based on original characters - uncredited||TV movie|
|Special Collector's Edition||In memory of||Episode: Blu-ray: Las vacaciones europeas de una chiflada familia americana|
|Jobriath A.D.||Special thanks||Documentary|
|2013||A Place to Call His Own||Inspiration|
|First Period||Special thanks|
|2014||Death and Boredom||Special thanks||Short|
|The Greatest 80s Movies||Archive footage||TV documentary|
|Tagträumer: Mein Herz||Special thanks||Short|
|Out of Print||The director would like to thank||Documentary|
|The Truth About You||Very special thanks|
|Beethoven's Treasure Tails||Based on characters created by Edmond Dantés|
|2015||Vacation||Based on characters created by Hughes|
|The Goldbergs||Dedicated to||Episode: Barry Goldberg's Day Off|
|DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon||Archive footage||Documentary|
|2016||Uncle Buck||Based on Uncle Buck by Hughes||Second television incarnation based on the film|
|Entertainment Tonight||Archive footage||3 episodes|
|Studio Bagel||Episode: Flashback Museum|
|The Insider||Archive footage||Episode: Episode #13.204|
|2018||Ready Player One||Cultural references|
Don't You Forget About Me
Don't You Forget About Me is a 2009 documentary about four Canadian filmmakers who go in search of Hughes after his drop out of the spotlight in 1994 featuring interviews with actors from Hughes' films, notably Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Matthew Broderick. The film is named after the Simple Minds song of the same name, which was the theme song for the film The Breakfast Club in which Hughes produced, wrote and directed.
Don't You Forget About Me is also the name of an anthology of contemporary writers writing about the films of John Hughes, edited by Jaime Clarke with a foreword by Ally Sheedy, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Writers include Steve Almond, Julianna Baggott, Lisa Borders, Ryan Boudinot, T Cooper, Quinn Dalton, Emily Franklin, Lisa Gabriele, Tod Goldberg, Nina de Gramont, Tara Ison, Allison Lynn, John McNally, Dan Pope, Lewis Robinson, Ben Schrank, Elizabeth Searle, Mary Sullivan, Rebecca Wolff and Moon Unit Zappa.
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- Goodman, Dean (August 6, 2009). ""Brat Pack" Director John Hughes Dies of Heart Attack". Reuters. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- BuzzSugar (March 7, 2010). "Video Tribute to John Hughes at the 2010 Oscars". Popsugar.com. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- "Oscars 2010: John Hughes Remembered at Academy Awards". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
- "John Hughes Biography (1950–)". Filmreference.com.
- "John W. HUGHES's Obituary on Arizona Daily Star". Arizona Daily Star.
- "Molly Ringwald Interviews John Hughes". Seventeen Magazine. Spring 1986. Archived from the original on August 9, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
- Michael Joseph Gross (May 9, 2004). "When the Losers Ruled in Teenage Movies". The New York Times. p. 4. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "A Diamond and a Kiss: The Women of John Hughes | Hazlitt". Hazlitt. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
- Gora, Susannah (2011). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation. Three Rivers Press. p. 14. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- Gora, Susannah (2011). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation. Three Rivers Press. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "John Wilden Hughes, Jr". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
- Saperstein, Pat (August 6, 2009). "Director John Hughes dies at 59". Variety.
- McLellan, Dennis (August 7, 2009). "John Hughes dies at 59; writer-director of '80s teen films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- Brady, Celia (August 1990). "Big Baby". Spy: 66–77. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- "More Than Meets the Mogwai: Jaws 3/People 0 – Script Review". Blogger.com. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
- "National Lampoon's The History of Ohio from the Dawn of Time Until the End of the Universe a.k.a. National Lampoon's Dacron, OH (1980)". Prettyinpodcast.com. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- "06 – NATIONAL LAMPOON'S THE JOY OF SEX (PART TWO 1981–1982)". Prettyinpodcast.com. Retrieved Jan 24, 2016.
- Honeycutt, Kirk (2015). John Hughes: A Life in Film. p. 41.
- Evans, Bradford (July 12, 2012). "The Lost Projects of John Hughes". Splitsider. Retrieved Oct 6, 2014.
- Carter, Bill (August 4, 1991). "Him Alone". New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- Sciretta, Peter (February 18, 2010). "Details About One of John Hughes Unproduced Screenplays". /Film. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- "20th Previews Foxy Lineup". Variety. February 10, 1991. Retrieved Oct 7, 2014.
- Appelo, Tim (December 2, 1994). "John Hughes' View from the Top". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- "Film Projects 1999–2002 (haven't heard anything since):". The John Hughes Files. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- "The Grinch's Gatekeeper". Newsweek. November 11, 2000. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- "John Hughes to do "The Grisbeys"". Screenwriters' Utopia. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- Diaz, Julio (March 1999). "1999 interview with Hughes". Ink 19.
- Goldstein, Patrick (March 24, 2008). "John Hughes's imprint remains. He's still revered in Hollywood, but whatever happened to the king of the teens?". Los Angeles Times.
- "Tracking down the place where we lost John Hughes". movieline.com. August 13, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- Kori Rumore (September 7, 2017). "Buried in Chicago: Where the famous rest in peace". Chicago Tribune.
- "NBC's 'Community' dedicates its pilot to the late John Hughes". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015.
- "NBC web site for ''Community''". Nbc.com. July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.[not specific enough to verify]
- "Eighties Stars Speak About John Hughes". PerezHilton.com. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- "How 80's Filmmaker, John Hughes Changed the World | Talent Monthly Magazine". www.talentmonthly.com. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- "Teenagers - The Canadian Skins - The Daily Spectacle". dailyspectacle.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
- "Exclusive Interview with Teenagers Creator Mathew Murray". TalkNerdyWithUs. 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
- News, Mississauga. "Mississauga director's web series a raw take on teenage life". www.mississauga.com. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
- "Hailee Steinfeld Talks Making Coming-of-Age Film 'Edge of Seventeen' at TIFF". www.msn.com. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
- "Review: The Edge of Seventeen is a Modern Day Tribute to John Hughes". We Live Entertainment. 2016-09-25. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
- Roberts, Soraya. "A Diamond and a Kiss: The Women of John Hughes". Hazlift.
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