Actor John Heard, best known for his roles in the “Home Alone” franchise, “Snake Eyes”, “Big” and “The Pelican Brief” was found dead on Friday in a hotel in Palo Alto, California. The Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office confirmed to PEOPLE. He was 71 at his death.
Heard’s career started in the theatres in the early 1970’s. He won two Best Performance Obie awards in 1976-7 for “G.R. Point” and for “Othello” and “Split” in 1979-1980. His film career found him more of a supporting actor working alongside the big names. Whether it was in “Big”, where he played Tom Hank’s jealous competitor, with Bette Midler in “Beaches”, Nicolas Cage in “Snake Eyes”, or alongside Robert De Niro and Robin Williams in “Awakenings” and of course Julia Roberts in “The Pelican Brief”. His most memorable role is actually Peter McCallister, Macaulay Culkin’s stressed father.
In 2008 Heard reflected on his career during an interview with 411Mania saying:
I guess I went from being a young leading man to being just kind of a hack actor. … When I came to Hollywood, I was pretty much a stage actor, and I expected everybody to be quiet. And they weren’t. They were doing their job, and you’re expected to do your job, and you’re sort of this ongoing co-existence. I was a little bit of an arrogant jerk. Now, it’s a little bit more like, ‘Okay, I realize you have to pat me down with powder every three seconds.’ And I stand there, and I’m a little more tolerant … I think I had my time. I dropped the ball, as my father would say. I think I could have done more with my career than I did, and I sort of got sidetracked. But that’s OK, that’s all right, that’s the way it is. No sour grapes. I mean, I don’t have any regrets. Except that I could have played some bigger parts.
John Heard was recovering from a minor back surgery when he was found dead in a hotel in Palo Alto. He is survived by his three children, John Matthew “Jack” Heard III, Max and Annika.
May he Rest In Peace