American film director and writer John Hughes died Thursday of a heart attack, his spokeswoman said. He was 59.
According to a statement from his spokeswoman, Hughes died suddenly while taking a morning walk in New York City.
Hughes, who spent his high school years in Northbrook, Ill., convincingly captured the voice and perspective of teens in the ’80s, directing a series of hit coming-of-age films, including “Sixteen Candles,” which made a teen star of Molly Ringwald, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club.”
“Some of the early teen work is astonishing in how well he captures those emotions,” film critic Neal Gabler told the New York Times in 1991. “He takes the issues seriously, never talks down to the kids.”
Hughes also wrote several other hits, including “Pretty in Pink,” “Mr. Mom,” “Vacation,” “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” and “Home Alone.” In all, he worked on more than three dozen films. He lived in Illinois and set many of his films in the Chicago area.
After dropping out of the University of Arizona, Hughes started his career in comedy selling jokes to comedians such as Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield. He then landed a job at National Lampoon, where he wrote a story called “Vacation ’58,” which was the basis for the movie starring Chevy Chase, “Vacation.”
His directorial debut was “Sixteen Candles” in 1984, when he was 34 years old.
“I don’t think I saw a movie till I was 10,” Hughes told Entertainment Weekly in 1994. “We didn’t even have TV, so I’d watch Walt Disney by sneaking into somebody’s backyard and watching it through their picture window on their color TV.”
Here are some classic trailers of Hughes’ films. More after the jump.