John Heard had a long, broad career in movies and on TV. He will be remembered, by most, as the flustered dad in “Home Alone,” the one who — along with Mom (Catherine O’Hara) — forgets Macaulay Culkin and leaves him to deal with burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern alone.
He was what we used to call “a durable” character actor. He wasn’t often given the chance to show off a lot of range, but delivered villainy, arrogance, adult concern or guilt-ridden with skill.
He had his shot at leading man stardom — “Cutter’s Way” (1981)) was something of a cult phenomenon, its praises sung by Siskel & Ebert — to no avail.
I think his best film was one of his subtlest supporting roles, as the son trying to chase down his wandering mother (Oscar winner Geraldine Page) who has traipsed off to find the family’s ancestral home — “The Trip to Bountiful.” He was great in supporting parts in many films, “Sweet Land,” “The Guardians,” comedies like “My Fellow Americans.” Played a lot of straight arrows and sneaky heavies. “The Sopranos,” “Chumscrubber,” “Pollock,” “In the Line of Fire.” His sweet spot, it seemed to be, was as a sort of quietly put-upon Everyman — Jason Bateman without the snark.
He was found dead in a hotel this weekend, a week after back surgery. He was just 72.
He has lots of films in the can, but the last thing I saw him in he wasn’t even credited with. Lucas Oil produced the anti-environmental screed “Pray for Rain,” which co-starred Jane Seymour. Terrible movie, Heard is seen in a video will he’s left for his daughter (Annabelle Stephenson). Perhaps he wanted his named removed. I wouldn’t blame him.
He probably wouldn’t want to be remembered for “Sharknado,” either.