John Matthew Heard, Jr.

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John Matthew Heard, Jr.

Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
Death: July 21, 2017 (71)
Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, United States
Place of Burial: Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Henry Heard, Sr. and Helen Cleo Heard
Ex-husband of Margot Kidder; Private and Private
Ex-partner of Melissa Leo
Father of Max Heard; Private and Private
Brother of Private; Matthew Augustine Heard and Lise Heard

Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Matthew Heard, Jr.

John Matthew Heard Jr. (March 7, 1945 – July 22, 2017) was an American film and television actor. He was probably best known for his lead roles in several films, including Chilly Scenes of Winter, Heart Beat, Cutter's Way, Cat People, and C.H.U.D., as well as supporting roles in After Hours, Big, Beaches, Awakenings, Rambling Rose, The Pelican Brief, My Fellow Americans, Snake Eyes, and Animal Factory. He also played Peter McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, as well as appearing in Sharknado. Heard was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1999 for guest starring on The Sopranos.

Early life

Heard was born on March 7, 1945 in Washington, D.C., the son of Helen (Sperling), who was involved in the arts and appeared in community theatre, and John Heard, who worked for the office of the Secretary of Defense. Heard was raised Catholic; though one of his grandfathers was Jewish.

Heard attended Gonzaga College High School; Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts; and Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. He grew up with two sisters, one of whom, Cordis, is also an actress, and a brother, Matthew, who died in 1975.

Acting career

In the 1970s, Heard appeared on the stage, television and film. He appeared off-Broadway in 1974 in Mark Medoff's play The Wager and at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in 1977 in a series of new plays. Heard won Obie Awards for his performances in Othello and Split in 1979–80. He was the male lead in the 1979 film Head Over Heels (which was renamed re-released as Chilly Scenes of Winter in 1982).

In 1981, he had the starring role of Alex Cutter in the film Cutter's Way. He played the lover of Nastassja Kinski, one of the main characters, in the remake of Cat People (1982). He co-starred as photographer George Cooper in C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, 1984) alongside future Home Alone co-star Daniel Stern and in The Trip to Bountiful (1985). In Heaven Help Us (aka, Catholic Boys, 1985), Heard played as a monk named Brother Timothy in the comedy-drama film. In After Hours (also 1985), Heard was bartender Tom Schorr.

He was seen in the film The Milagro Beanfield War and had a significant role playing Paul, Tom Hanks's adult corporate competitor and jilted boyfriend of Elizabeth Perkins, in Big (both 1988). He co-starred with Bette Midler in Beaches (also 1988), and starred in Deceived (1991), with Goldie Hawn, playing Jack Saunders, and starred in Gladiator (1992), with Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Heard starred in the philosophical film Mindwalk, in which three characters from different socialitical and poetical backgrounds express their opinions on the human experience, and around the same time, he was in Awakenings (both 1990) alongside Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. He played Daugherty in the film Radio Flyer (1992) and FBI agent Gavin Vereek in The Pelican Brief (1993). He starred with Samuel L. Jackson in 1997's One Eight Seven and was featured in the 2000 miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town.

Home Alone series

In 1990 Heard starred in arguably his most memorable mainstream role as Peter McCallister, as Kevin's father who unwittingly leaves his son at home when making a Christmas trip to France, in the comedy hit Home Alone. Heard chose to characterize the role with a combination of concerned dramatic acting of a father missing his son along with more classical comedic tropes. The film went on to be one of the biggest hits of 1990, and Heard reprised the role of McCallister in the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Television work

Heard featured in a television production of The Scarlet Letter (1979) as Arthur Dimmesdale. He played real-life Ku Klux Klan leader D.C. Stephenson in the TV-miniseries Cross of Fire (1989) and played the part of David Manning in the ABC mini-series adaptation of Shirley MacLaine's Out on a Limb, a memoir of her journey toward acceptance of spiritual and extraterrestrial realities. Heard had roles on The Sopranos as the troubled corrupt detective Vin Makazian for which he received an Emmy nomination as outstanding guest actor and later Battlestar Galactica as Commander Barry Garner.

He had recurring roles on CSI: Miami (as Kenwall Duquesne, father of Calleigh Duquesne) and Prison Break (as Frank Tancredi, governor of Illinois and father of Sara Tancredi). Among other film and television roles in the 2000s and 2010s, he played the mayor of Chicago on two episodes of the Fox series The Chicago Code.


Asked about his career in 2008, Heard replied,

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.

Personal life

Heard married actress Margot Kidder in 1979. He has a son, John Matthew "Jack" Heard, with ex-girlfriend Melissa Leo. Heard was arrested in 1991 and charged with third-degree assault for allegedly slapping Leo. In 1997, he was found guilty of trespassing Leo's home in Baltimore, Maryland's Fell's Point neighborhood, but acquitted of charges of trespassing at their son's school. He has two other former wives, Sharon Heard and Lana Pritchard. Sharon and Heard have two children together, son Max and a daughter named Annika. Heard and Pritchard married on May 24, 2010, in Los Angeles and divorced on December 22, 2010 after about seven months of marriage. Death

On July 22, 2017, it was reported that Heard was found dead in a hotel in Palo Alto, California where he was reportedly recovering after undergoing back surgery. The Santa Clara Medical Examiner's office confirmed his death.

Awards and honors

1977 Theatre World Award for his performance in G.R. Point

1976-77 Obie Award, Best Performance, G.R. Point

1979-80 Obie Award, Best Performance, Othello and Split

1999 Emmy Award nomination, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (1999)

In 2003, he was inducted into the Gonzaga College High School Theatre Hall of Fame.


An Obie-winning theater star of the 1970s, John Heard is well known for his recurring role as Peter McCallister in the first two installments of the Home Alone movie series.

He was born John Heard, Jr. in Washington, D.C. on March 7, 1945, the son of John and Helen Heard. Heard grew up with two sisters, one of whom, Cordis, is also an actor, and a brother, Matthew, who died in 1975. He was educated by the Jesuits at Gonzaga College High School before graduating from Clark University in Massachusetts.

Theater had been in his blood since his high school days, and he blossomed into one of the leading lights on the New York and Chicago stage scenes in the early 1970s, beginning with productions for Chicago's experimental Organic Theater. He later returned to the East Coast, where he won a Theatre World Award for the 1976 production of David Rabe's Streamers in New Haven, CT. In 1979, he claimed Obie Awards as Cassio in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Othello and in the Second Stage Theatre's Split in 1980.

He made the leap to motion pictures in 1977 as the harried correspondent for an underground newspaper in Joan Micklin Silver's Between the Lines. More indie films of this ilk soon followed, including the gritty, Silver-produced prison drama On the Yard (1978), and a faithful, four-part adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (PBS, 1979), with Heard as the tormented reverend, Arthur Dimmesdale.

Heard received rave notices for Silver's Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979), an offbeat romantic drama about a civil servant (Heard) who falls in love with and later becomes obsessed with a co-worker (Mary Beth Hurt). A cult favorite after its re-release in 1982, where its original happy ending was changed to reflect the more melancholy conclusion of the source novel by Ann Beattie, it minted Heard as an up-and-coming leading man who specialized in thoughtful, arthouse-minded fare. He would continue in this vein for several subsequent features, all of which earned him superb reviews. While each helped to boost Heard's reputation as a powerful performer, none of the films made much of a showing at the box office, with Cutter and Chilly actually pulled from release due to lack of audience interest.

Eventually, Heard's reviews would bring him to the attention of Hollywood. After playing the zoo keeper who falls for Nastassja Kinski's half-human, half-animal seductress in Paul Schrader's Cat People (1982), he found a niche playing men with deep character flaws, which either reduced them to antagonists or forced them to struggle mightily to achieve their goals.

However, the role that largely defined Heard to mainstream audiences was Peter McAllister, father to perpetually forgotten Kevin McAllister (Macauley Culkin) in the John Hughes-penned Home Alone (1990). Though Culkin's performance and the slapstick shenanigans of his battle with two inept thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) were the core of the film's massive popularity, Heard managed to eke out a likable performance as a father who wrangles his large, extended brood with extraordinary patience. Home Alone turned out to be the third highest grossing film of 1990, which in turn gave Heard's profile a considerable boost. A lesser sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), was a foregone conclusion, and Heard wisely avoided the lesser third film (1997).

Now in his late forties, but still retaining his boyish looks, Heard settled comfortably into character actor status, playing men of authority who frequently straddled the moral fence in major features like Awakenings (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), The Pelican Brief (1993) and My Fellow Americans (1996). He appeared to save his best turns for more independent-minded fare like Rambling Rose (1991), where he played a man whose return to his Southern homestead sets in motion a recollection of his family's relationship with a troubled young woman (Laura Dern).

In 1995, he stepped into the role of Roy Foultrigg, the Louisiana-based district attorney, in a TV adaptation of John Grisham's The Client (CBS, 1995-96). Despite solid reviews, the show lasted only a season.

Recurring roles on television provided him the time to flesh out his roles, including an Emmy-nominated turn as a crooked cop on The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007). His versatility made him one of the business's most recognizable and dependable actors.

Personal Life

Heard was at one time married to actress Margot Kidder. He has a son named Jack with ex-girlfriend Melissa Leo. He is divorced from his second wife, Sharon Heard, by whom he has two children, Max and Annika. He married Lana Pritchard on May 24, 2010. They were divorced on December 22, 2010.

Source: Yahoo Movies, Starpulse, Wikipedia

Burial record:

American Actor. Born John Matthew Heard, Jr., he was a prolific actor whose career spanned five decades, appearing in nearly 100 films. The son of an actress who was involved in the arts and appeared in community theatre, and whose father worked for the office of the Secretary of Defense, he attended Gonzaga College High School, Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He landed his first film role in 1977's 'Between the Lines' and over the next few decades, would go on to appear in several blockbusters, including 'Heart Beat' (1980), 'Cat People' (1982), 'C.H.U.D.' (1984), 'The Trip to Bountiful' (1985), 'The Milagro Beanfield War', 'Big', 'Beaches' (all 1988), "Home Alone' (1990), 'Rambling Rose' (1992), 'Gladiator' (1992), 'In the Line of Fire' (1993), 'Snake Eyes' (1998), 'Pollock' (2000), 'White Chicks' (2004), 'The Guardian' (2006), 'Justice League: The New Frontier' (2008), 'The Truth' (2010), 'Torn' (2013), 'Animals' (2014), and 'So B It' (2016). On television, he had roles in such series and made-for-TV movies such as 'Kate & Allie', Miami Vice', 'Law & Order', The Outer Limits', 'The Pilot's Wife', 'Numb3rs', 'Entourage' 'Too Big to Fail' and 'Modern Family'. In 1999, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role on The Sopranos. Heard was found dead in his hotel room several days after undergoing minor back surgery. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=46599444" target="_blank Louis du Mort)]

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John Matthew Heard, Jr.'s Timeline

March 7, 1946
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
July 21, 2017
Age 71
Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, United States