John Hughes dead at 59

The legendary producer and director of The Breakfast Club passes away.

by Jennie Kermode

John Hughes, the iconic director of films like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, has died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Hughes' trademark brand of teen-focused comedy drama made him a massive success in the Eighties. He wrote and produced hits like Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink, and was largely responsible for the rise of what was then known as The Brat Pack, launching the careers of stars like Emilio Estevez, Chartlie Sheen, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe. His films were known for their striking use of music. In the Nineties he enjoyed a comeback with the hugely popular Home Alone movies.

"At the time I came along, Hollywood's idea of teen movies meant there had to be a lot of nudity, usually involving boys in pursuit of sex, and pretty gross overall. Either that or a horror movie. And the last thing Hollywood wanted in their teen movies was teenagers!" Hughes said of his reinvention of the genre. He felt that younger actors were more willing to experiment and explore what could be done with their roles, and he often spoke of his frustration at the way Hollywood encouraged conformity.

Hughes collapsed whilst out for a stroll in New York, where he was visiting friends. He left the movie business several years ago to become a farmer in Illinois, where he enjoyed a quiet life with his wife Nancy. He also leaves two sons, James and John, and four grandchildren.

Share this with others on...

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

EIFF goes coastal Free Film Fest on the Forth announced

DOC NYC award winners announced Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts and Short List results

More news and features

We're bring you coverage of the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC and the French Film Festival.

We're looking forward to Tallinn Black Nights and Welsh horror festival Abertoir.

We've recently been at the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, Manchester's Grimmfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.