Ac­tor John Heard dead at age 71

Roles in­cluded fa­ther in ‘Home Alone’ series

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES - BY DAVID BAUDER

Ac­tor John Heard, whose many roles in­cluded the fa­ther in the “Home Alone” series and a cor­rupt de­tec­tive in “The So­pra­nos,” has died. He was 71.

Heard was found dead Fri­day in a ho­tel in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia, the Santa Clara County Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s of­fice said Satur­day.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion which in­cludes a tox­i­col­ogy test is un­der­way to de­ter­mine the cause of death, but so far there is no ev­i­dence of foul play, the of­fice said.

TMZ re­ported that a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Heard said he was stay­ing in the ho­tel while he re­cov­ered from back surgery at Stan­ford Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Heard played Peter McCal­lis­ter, the fa­ther of Kevin, played by Ma­caulay Culkin, in “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” He said in later in­ter­views that he sought a movie with kids in it so his son, age 5 at the time, could come to the set and have some­one to play with.

Af­ter it be­came a big hit, he was re­luc­tant to re­visit the role. But his agent con­vinced him the money was too good to pass up.

“I didn’t want to be the ‘Home Alone’ dad for the rest of my life,” he told Ya­hoo News in 2013.

He was born March 7, 1946, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and grew up per­form­ing in lo­cal the­atre. One of his mem­o­rable early roles was as a dis­abled Viet­nam War vet­eran in the 1981 film “Cut­ter’s Way.”

He was ac­tive in film for the next decade, play­ing Tom Hanks’ ri­val in “Big,” ac­tress Geral­dine Page’s son in “The Trip to Boun­ti­ful” and in the movies “The Pel­i­can Brief,” ”Beaches,“”Gla­di­a­tor,“ ”Ram­bling Rose“and ”Af­ter

Hours.“

He earned an Emmy nom­i­na­tion for play­ing Vin Makazian in “The So­pra­nos.” Heard said in a 2015 in­ter­view with The A.V. Club that he got the part af­ter run­ning into series star James Gan­dolfini in a gym. His time on “The So­pra­nos” ended like it did for many other ac­tors there - with his char­ac­ter’s death.

Heard said he ap­proached series cre­ator David Chase and said “‘Why me? I’m a de­tec­tive! You can use me for­ever!’ And he told me, ‘John, there’s a rule in tele­vi­sion. Some­body has to die that the au­di­ence likes.’ I said, ‘They like me? How do you know they like me?’ He said, ‘Well, they like you. So we’re gonna kill you.’

“My mother said, ‘Why do you have to die in ev­ery­thing?’ I said, ‘You’re telling me? I could’ve made a for­tune!”

Other tele­vi­sion roles kept Heard busy. He acted in “CSI: Crime Scene In­ves­ti­ga­tion,” ”El­e­men­tary,“”Prison Break,“”Mod­ern Fam­ily“and ”En­tourage.“One of his favourite jobs came in the orig­i­nal ”Shark­nado“tele­vi­sion movie in 2013.

“I knew it was go­ing to be a cult clas­sic,” he told the Bal­ti­more Me­dia Blog last year. “It’s just ridicu­lous. I thought it would re­place peo­ple call­ing me the ‘Home Alone’ dad.”

Fel­low ac­tor Michael McKean paid trib­ute on Twit­ter Satur­day: “RIP John Heard. Never not good.”

Ac­tor James Woods said Heard was “a com­plex and bril­liant man and a true artist. I will miss him dearly.”

Heard was mar­ried and di­vorced three times, in­clud­ing briefly to ac­tress Mar­got Kid­der. He had three chil­dren.

AP PHOTO

In this April 5, 2006, photo, ac­tor John Heard, who stars as Alex, re­hearses for Step­pen­wolf The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of Don DeLillo’s play, “Love-Lies-Bleed­ing,” in Chicago. Heard, best known for play­ing the fa­ther in the “Home Alone” movie series, has died. He was 71.

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