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.