The man behind a generation, prolific director and writer John Hughes, has passed away today due to a heart attack at the age of 59.
The creator of a series of popular 1980s films, Hughes was the writer and director behind beloved teen fare such as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink. Hughes, who started his career penning family-safe hits such as Mr. Mom for stars like Michael Keaton, became known for his films that aimed to capture the essence of the American teen experience. His directorial debut, 1984’s Sixteen Candles, garnered major accolades and first introduced America’s teenage population to an awkward redhead by the name of Molly Ringwald, an actress who would go on to become a fashion and social role model to millions of young girls. Following up his debut with similar teen-centric films, Hughes relied on trademarks such as casting the same actors in his film (the media began to refer to many of the, including Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson, as “The Brat Pack”) and incorporating pop and New Wave musical standards of the era (who can forget those few opening notes in “Don’t You Forget About Me”— not us!) to brand a type of teen romantic comedy that was not only imitated by filmmakers of the period, but is still the industry standard today. The auteur’s films consistently delivered a realistic portrayal of life for the under 18 set by including topics such as popularity, classism, parental abuse, education and most importantly the perils of teenage love, in his four pivotal films of the decade. Indeed, his most celebrated hit The Breakfast Club (the story of a group of teens from all walks of popularity and life forced to spend a Saturday in detention together) captured every detail of the high school experience with such detail–including the fashion and the music–that it became part of the modern generation’s cultural lexicon.
Hughes is survived by his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren. He will always be remembered for his influential legacy, a filmography that continues to hug on America’s heart-strings to this day.
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