Skip to Content

Sad news for Hollywood today.

John Heard has passed away. The actor was 72 years old.

John Heard Pic

He was found in a hotel room in Palo Alto, California, by a maid. The hotel called 911 to report a medical emergency, but he was pronounced dead when officials arrived on the scene.

At this point, there’s been no official cause of death listed, and a coroner is investigating the matter.

However, police don’t believe there was any foul play.

Interestingly, John’s rep informed TMZ that he’d just had "minor back surgery" on Wednesday.

That’s why he was staying at the hotel in the first place — it’s common for people with the means to do so to stay in a hotel while recovering from surgery.

Could he have had some unknown complication from the surgery?

John Heard Photo

It’s very possible, but of course we’ll have to wait until the coroner’s report is released to learn exactly what happened.

John’s list of acting credits is ridiculously long — no doubt you recognize him, even if his name wasn’t immediately familiar.

For many people, he’s most recognizable for his role of Peter McCallister — the dad in the Home Alone movies.

You remember, he played the man who somehow managed to leave his young son, Kevin, at home for Christmas while the rest of the family set off for a lovely vacation.

And then, in Home Alone 2, he played the man who, even after that first traumatic experience, somehow managed to miss the same son taking the wrong flight for the next year’s family vacation.

But while that was definitely an iconic role of his, he’s been working steadily as an actor since the early 1970s.

John Heard

He got his start on Broadway, where he acted in original plays, and he even had a short run in Hamlet, where he played Guildenstern.

His first film role was in a TV movie called Valley Forge that aired in 1975, and his Hollywood career took off from there.

He’s had roles in movies like Big, The Pelican Brief, and Beaches, just to give a small example of the kind of work he’s done.

He’s also no stranger to television: he’s worked on several shows, including a well-received stint on The Sopranos.

At the moment, there aren’t many public condolences from his co-stars — possibly because there are entirely too many co-stars for the media to track down.

John Heard Picture

But Robert Patrick, an actor who starred with John in a movie called Last Rampage, paid touching tribute to him on his Instagram.

"I am shocked and saddened to awake to the news that John Heard passed away last night," he wrote.

"Such a gifted actor! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to watch, work, and spend time with him. This is tragic news."

Our condolences to John’s friends and family.

This really does seem like a hard loss.