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John Hughes, 1950-2009

John Hughes, the Michigan-born director of ’80s teen comedies including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, has died of a heart attack in Manhattan. He was 59.

Hughes, who rose to fame in the early ’80s on the strength of his script for National Lampoon's Vacation, made his directorial debut in 1984 with Sixteen Candles. He was largely instrumental in launching the careers of John Cusack, Anthony Michael Hall, Macauley Culkin and Molly Ringwald.

In 1990, he wrote and produced the blockbuster comedy Home Alone, starring Culkin; after directing Curly Sue in 1991, Hughes never directed another film, though he continued to write and produce comedies including 101 Dalmatians (1996) and the following year’s Flubber.

Although Hughes was responsible for several classics – others include Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful and Planes, Trains & Automobiles – I will remember him best for The Breakfast Club, without which high school would have seemed an unbearable, interminable death march. He will be missed.