The director and screenwriter was responsible for some of the most iconic movies of the '80s, among them teen classics 'The Breakfast Club,' 'Sixteen Candles,' 'Weird Science,' 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and 'Pretty in Pink.' He was godfather to the Brat Pack, the ensemble of young '80s stars that included Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy; in addition, he played a key role in the successes of actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Bill Paxton, John Cusack and many others who got early work in Hughes' films. (See the list of actors whose careers John Hughes launched.)
Fans and collaborators both, these stars and many more weighed in on what John Hughes meant to them.
Molly Ringwald: "I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes. He was and will always be such an important part of my life. He will be missed – by me and by everyone that he has touched. My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now."
Jon Cryer: "This is a horrible tragedy. He was an amazing man to work for and with. He respected young actors in a way that made you realize you had to step up your game because you were playing in the big leagues now. That's why he got such great performances out of his actors. My heart goes out to his wife Nancy and their children."
Matthew Broderick: "I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."
Judd Nelson: "[Hughes had] a profoundly meaningful and lasting effect on my life as an actor, and as a young man. He encouraged a real and active collaboration; he was most generous with his insight. ... My heart breaks for his family. ... I know many people whose lives were touched by John will be saddened today. I know I am."
Ben Stein: "It's incredibly sad. He was a wonderful man, a genius, a poet. I don't think anyone has come close to him as being the poet of the youth of America in the postwar period. He was to them what Shakespeare was to the Elizabethan Age."
Macaulay Culkin: "I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person. The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."
Bill Paxton: "He took a tremendous chance on me. Like Orson Welles, he was a boy wonder, a director's director, a writer's writer, a filmmaker's filmmaker. He was one of the giants."
Steve Martin: "I asked John how long it took to write 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles,' he said, 'I wrote it over the weekend.' The weekend. That shows you what he was able to do."
Kevin Smith: "The flag's at half-mast. John Hughes, the man who spoke for geeks way before anyone else did." (via Twitter)
Demi Moore: "John Hughes' iconic films gave a powerful voice to a generation. He will be missed but never forgotten!" (via Twitter)
Roger Ebert: "His films helped establish an international notion of ordinary American teenagers, and he was as popular abroad as at home. Once when I was visiting the largest movie theater in Calcutta, I asked if 'Star Wars' had been their most successful American film. No, I was told, it was 'Baby's Day Out,' a Hughes comedy about a baby wandering through a big city, which played for more than a year."
Devin Ratray (Buzz in 'Home Alone'): "He changed my life forever. Nineteen years later, people from all over the world contact me telling me how much 'Home Alone' meant to them, their families, and their children."
Rainn Wilson: "R.I.P. John Hughes - The Breakfast Club was a revelation to my late teen-age years. You're my hero." (via Twitter)
Jimmy Fallon: "I love John Hughes. So many great quotes from so many great movies." (via Twitter)
Diablo Cody: "Truly saddened by passing of John Hughes. Was an idol to this magna-zoom-dweebie." (via Twitter)
Shonda Rhimes: "'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stick around once in a while you could miss it' -- my teen years were Ferris and The Breakfast Club." (via Twitter)
Denise Richards: "So sad about John Hughes...grew up watching his movies, my heart goes out to his family." (via Twitter)