Director, writer John Hughes dies at 59

LOS ANGELES Hughes died of a heart attack while walking in Manhattan. While he's best known for his big screen work, he began his career as an advertising copywriter. He segued his writing talent to movies in 1982, beginning with the comedies "Class Reunion," "Mr. Mom," and "Vacation."

Then in 1984, he added director to his resume, bringing his own script to life with the heartfelt teen comedy "Sixteen Candles." That film, starring /*Molly Ringwald*/, kicked off a slew of successful films.

It was followed in 1985 by "The Breakfast Club," which helped launch the careers of many of today's top actors, affectionately known as "The Brat Pack."

In 1986 he wrote "Pretty in Pink," which again starred Ringwald. That same year, Hughes wrote and directed what's become a classic comedy, "Ferris Beuller's Day Off."

Hughes was born in Michigan, spent his adult life in Chicago, and always seemed to celebrate the Midwest sensibility and humor in his films. During his last decade, Hughes stepped away from Hollywood, and maintained a functioning farm in northern Illinois.

Hughes only directed four films after "Bueller," but he wrote dozens of other scripts, including 1990's "Home Alone," starring a then-young /*Macaulay Culkin*/.

Hughes is survived by his wife of 39 years, two sons and four grandchildren.

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