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John Heard Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 March 1946Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Date of Death 21 July 2017Palo Alto, California, USA
Birth NameJohn Matthew Heard Jr.
Height 5' 9¼" (1.76 m)

Mini Bio (1)

John Heard was a very talented actor who established himself as a respected thespian in the late 1970s and early '80s, though he is perhaps better known for his turns as Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin')s father in the Home Alone (1990) movies.

John was born in Washington, D.C., to Helen (Sperling), who acted in community theatre, and John Heard, who worked for the U.S. government. John established himself with roles in the movies Between the Lines (1977), Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) (a.k.a. "Head Over Heels"), and Heart Beat (1981) (in which he played Jack Kerouac to Nick Nolte's Neal Cassady and Sissy Spacek's Carolyn Cassady), before giving a tour de force performance as a hideously wounded (both physically and psychologically) Vietnam veteran in Cutter's Way (1981) (a.k.a. "Cutter and Bone") opposite Jeff Bridges. He also shined as Reverend Dimmesdale (one of America's first religious hypocrites) in the 1979 PBS version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1979).

Both "Chilly Scenes of Winter" and Cutter's Way" (originally released as "Head Over Heels" and "Cutter and Bone", respectively) had been re-released under new titles after failing in their first go-rounds, such was the quality of the films. The two re-releases helped redefine the practice by which major studios handled smaller, art house quality pictures by releasing them carefully to select theaters with bespoke marketing campaigns so they reached the proper audience. (Studios would later develop their own art film-independent film subsidiaries to handle such pictures, so they didn't "fall through the cracks" like the first releases of the two Heard films.)

By the early 1980s, Heard seemed on his way to establishing himself as a major American actor, if not on the path to movie stardom. At the time, there was joke that involved confusing Heard with John Hurt and William Hurt because of the similarity of their last names. At the time these contemporaries were considered equal in terms of their star power.

In the early '80s, it would not have been unreasonable to predict that Heard would become an Oscar winner or a multiple nominee. He continued to work on A-List projects, playing the not-so-sympathetic son to Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful (1985) (for which Page won her own Oscar) and Tom Hanks's adult rival in Big (1988), but by the latter part of the decade he had failed to establish himself as a leading man and was playing supporting roles. Also appearing on television, he was nominated for an Emmy for his turn as a corrupt police detective on The Sopranos (1999).

John Heard died on July 21, 2017, in Palo Alto, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (3)

Lana Pritchard (24 May 2010 - 22 December 2010) (divorced)
Sharon Sue Petersen (1988 - 1996) (divorced) (2 children)
Margot Kidder (25 August 1979 - 26 December 1980) (divorced)

Trivia (15)

Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1977" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 29. [1977]
Graduated from Clark University, Worcester, MA in 1968.
Received the 1976-1977 Theatre World award.
Graduated from Washington, DC's Gonzaga College High School in 1964, and was inducted into the school's theatre hall of fame in the spring of 2003.
His father worked for the Pentagon.
Has one son named Jack Matthew Heard (born 1987) with ex-girlfriend Melissa Leo.
Portrayed Matthew in the Word of Promise audio bible.
Has a son named Max and a daughter named Annika with his ex-wife, Sharon Heard.
After securing Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern for Home Alone (1990), Chris Columbus felt confident enough to cast actors who were his heroes growing up like Catherine O'Hara after seeing her work on SCTV (1976), as well as Heard, and then Tim Curry and Rob Schneider on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) because they were all open to the films.
His marriage to Margot Kidder lasted only six days.
His patrilineal "Heard" line settled in the area around Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 1600s. His maternal grandfather, Harry Louis Sperling, was the son of Jewish emigrants from Poland and Hungary. The rest of John's ancestry was mainly English and Irish. John was raised Catholic.
He was the son of Helen (Sperling) and John Heard. His father worked at the office of the Secretary of Defense, and his mother was involved in the arts, including acting on stage in community theatre.
Through John's maternal grandmother, Ebeth A. Burton, John's maternal great-great-uncle was Joseph R. Burton, a politician who was a Republican U.S. Senator from Kansas, from 1901 to 1906.
Although he notably co-starred with Daniel Stern in Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) (although they didn't share any scenes), he and Stern also co-starred in C.H.U.D. (1984) and The Milagro Beanfield War (1988).
He died about six months after similarly named actor John Hurt did.

Personal Quotes (1)

Television is fast and loose. You have two or three takes to get your part right, and if you have a problem, well by the time you figure it out, everyone's moved on to the next scene. It's good training, keeps you on your toes.

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