John Heard, the actor who portrayed Kevin McAllister’s father in a pair of Home Alone films, has died at the age of 72.
The Santa Clara Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Heard’s death, Variety reports. TMZ adds that the actor was found dead in his Palo Alto, California hotel room, just days after Heard underwent minor back surgery, his rep said.
An Obie Award-winning actor before he came to Hollywood, Heard broke out in the late Seventies thanks to his role in Chilly
Scenes of Winter, which was followed by starring roles in 1980’s Heart Beat, where he portrayed Jack Kerouac, and 1981’s Cutter’s Way, with Heard delivering a remarkable turn as a conspiracy-minded Vietnam vet. Essentially ignored upon release, the film has since earned a reputation as a forgotten classic.
The early Eighties also found Heard in prominent roles in films like C.H.U.D., Cat People and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, where the actor played a seemingly sympathetic bartender. Toward the end of the decade, Heard found his niche giving depth to supporting roles, whether as Tom Hanks’ nemesis in Big or Bette Midler’s husband in Beaches.
However, Heard will be remembered as Macaulay Culkin’s father Peter McCallister in the 1990 smash Home Alone and its 1992 sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
“At the time, we didn’t know the movie was funny,” Heard said of the role to Baltimore Media Blog. “We were playing the parents who lost their kid, so we didn’t how funny-stupid we could be.”
Thanks to the success of the film, Heard would be referred to on the street as “Home Alone Dad,” even though the actor’s résumé logged dozens of TV and film credits over the ensuing decades, including roles in My Fellow Americans, Awakenings, In the Line of Fire, Pelican Brief, Pollock, Sharknado and an Emmy-nominated reoccurring role as a duplicitous detective on The Sopranos. Most recently, Heard appeared on the Fox police drama APB, although the actor was set to appear in the film Last Rampage that’s due out in September.
“I am shocked and saddened to awake to the news that John Heard passed away last night,” actor Robert Patrick, who starred alongside Heard in Last Rampage, wrote on Instagram. “Such a gifted actor! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to watch, work, and spend time with him. This is tragic news.”