John Heard, the actor who was best known for his role as the father in the Home Alone movies, has died. He was 71.
Heard was born in 1946 in Washington DC. He started his career on stage in the late 1970s and most recently played a character named Andrew in Living Among Us, a forthcoming movie about vampires. Variety reported that he was recovering from back surgery in a hotel room when he died, and that the Santa Clara medical examiner’s office had confirmed the death.
Heard was best known for his role as Peter McCallister, father of Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin in the Home Alone series, a role he struggled to define at first. While Home Alone was filming, Heard said in interviews that he wondered what Peter McCallister did for a living and how funny a concerned parent could be.
“He’s a gynecologist. And he’s got, what, 12 kids or something?” Heard told the AV Club in 2015, while he was appearing in the Lizzie Borden Chronicles. “On Home Alone, Catherine [O’Hara] and I, we didn’t know if we could be funny. I think we even said something to each other about it.
“We were the only two people in the movie who didn’t know how funny the movie was, because we were the parents that had left our child, and she had to run around hysterically, having abandoned a seven-year-old or whatever he was.”
Heard expressed unease with how the role in the smash hit defined his career, and even considered passing on the movie’s sequel. More than once, he said he wanted to “put to rest the Home Alone dad image”.
When he took a role in Sharknado, an unlikely hit for which he predicted success, he said: “I’m going to be the Sharknado drunk instead, hopefully.”
--more at TheGuardian.com