Monday, August 10, 2009

John Hughes - Film-Maker Of 1980s Yuppies

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Iconic 1980s film-maker John Hughes who passed away on August 6 will be best remembered for creating some of the most definitive 1980s films.

His films mostly focused on yuppies, the go-getting young men and women of that decade, warts and all.

Many 1980s stars grew up acting in his films and they include Michael Keaton, Randy Quaid, Christopher Lloyd, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Matthew Broderick, Kelly LeBrock, Robert Downey Jr, Bill Paxton, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Bacon, Macaulay Culkin and Chevy Chase.

John Hughes Jr. (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009) was an American film director, producer and writer.

He made some of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, Planes, Trains And Automobiles, Uncle Buck, 101 Dalmatians, Flubber, Beethoven, Home Alone and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.

In recent years he came up with Maid In Manhattan starring Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes and the late Natasha Richardson, and Drillbit Taylor starring Owen Wilson.

Hughes was born in Lansing, Michigan and studied in Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois.

Hughes used Northbrook and the adjacent North Shore area for shooting locations and settings in many of his films.

Hughes began his career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago in 1970 after dropping out of the University of Arizona.

During this time, he created what became the famous Edge Credit Card Shaving Test ad campaign.

His first attempt at comedy writing was selling jokes to well-established performers such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers.

This led him to pen a story, inspired by his family trips as a child, that was to become his calling card and entry onto the staff of the National Lampoon Magazine.

That story, Vacation '58, became the basis for the film Vacation.

His first credited screenplay, Class Reunion, was written while still on staff at the magazine.

Hughes' next screenplay for the magazine, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), became a major hit.

His first directorial effort, Sixteen Candles, won almost unanimous praise when it was released in 1984, due in no small part to its more realistic depiction of middle-class high school life.

It was also the first in a string of efforts set in or around high school, including The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

To avoid being pigeonholed as a maker of teen comedies, Hughes branched out in 1987, directing Planes, Trains And Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy.

His later output would not be so critically acclaimed, though films like Uncle Buck proved popular.

Hughes' 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 would be the top grossing film of 1990, and remains his most successful live-action comedy of all time.

In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved to Wisconsin, rarely granting or giving interviews or photographs.

Hughes is survived by his wife Nancy Ludwig and two sons, John III and James, born in 1976 and 1979, respectively.