Writer-Director John Hughes died today at age 59. He was on a family vacation in New York and suffered a heart attack while on a walk in a Manhattan neighborhood.
A prolific screenwriter and director, Hughes was the creative inspiration behind a series of teen-oriented films throughout the 1980s before penning the screenplay for the smash 1990 Macaulay Culkin film "Home Alone."
The family film -- about a boy who is accidentally left behind when his parents head off on a Christmas vacation and who has to fight off a gang of bungling burglars -- was Hughes's greatest commercial success.
He also penned a less successful 1992 sequel "Home Alone 2".
After starting out as a copywriter, Hughes began writing comedy for National Lampoon magazine before forging his successful movie career.
His breakthrough movie script came with the screenplay for the successful "National Lampoon's Vacation" in 1983.
His directorial debut, 1984's coming-of-age teen drama "Sixteen Candles", starring Molly Ringwald was a critical hit which set the tone for the films that were to define Hughes's career.
He later followed it up with "The Breakfast Club", about a group of teenagers who bond while stuck in detention, and 1986's classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," about a mischievous truant played by Matthew Broderick.
The film arguably launched Broderick's acting career and was one of the biggest hits of the decade, grossing more than 70 million dollars in North America alone after being made for around six million dollars.
Other Hughes hits from the time included "Weird Science" and another Ringwald film "Pretty In Pink."
His films were also notable for their choice of music, which helped propel bands such as "Simple Minds" and "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark" to chart-topping success during the 1980s.
"I just used what I was listening to at the time, bands I liked," Hughes said in a rare 1999 interview. "It was my own personal taste."
Hughes branched out from the teen genre in 1987 with the slapstick comedy "Planes Trains & Automobiles" starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the late comic whom he teamed up with again for 1989's "Uncle Buck."
Yet is was 1990's "Home Alone" that cemented Hughes's reputation as one of the most successful talents of his generation.
The film -- which took nearly 500 million dollars worldwide -- remains the most successful live action comedy of all time.
Like most kids growing up in the 80's, his films were a big influence on my life. Sure, he had some duds and was dismissed as a director of teen movies but he branched out with adult comedies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles and She's Having a Baby. This news really comes as a shock. Part of my childhood died today.