‘Home Alone’ Star John Heard Dead at 71. Six Words from ‘Kevin’ Tell Fans All They Need to Know

He was “That guy.” You knew him, yet you were never sure from where.

Such was the talent of the late John Heard. Across a long career, the actor had the ability to inhabit his role to the point that he was familiar, and yet not.

Heard was a character actor in the grandest sense of the term. Comedy, action, drama, horror — the genre really didn’t seem to matter, all that was important was the role.

Like many actors though, Heard had one role that people gravitated to: Peter McCallister. That was the name of the father in Home Alone.

Of course, that film was a sensation in the 90s and has recently reclaimed a place in our hearts thanks to its position as one of our winter holiday television staples. Certainly the film belongs to Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern, but Heard grabs the role of the dad and makes it count.

He was stern, yet caring, bringing a deft mix of comedy and drama to what could have been a thankless role. Just look back on his scene in the French hotel room to get a glimpse of the man at work.

The actor passed away in Palo Alto, California following surgery. He was 71 years old.

He was more than Home Alone, of course. He worked in Gladiator, Beaches, Big (remember he was Tom Hanks’ love and work rival), Awakenings, the Pelican Brief, and even Miami Vice.

He got his start off Broadway, but found his most lasting success on the silver screen. As news of his passing worked its way around the world, fans, friends, and co-stars shared their memories.

Jeff Bridges posted to Twitter, “John Heard- what a wonderful actor. We were in the movie Cutter’s Way together & I got to experience his artistry and dedication first hand.”

His Big co-star Elizabeth Perkins shared “Rest peacefully, Mr. John Heard. You were the perfect foil, perfectly sly & a perfect gentleman.”

But it was Macaulay Culkin who took a moment to recognize the great man who had passed away. And of course, he put it into terms that only they could share.

Heard is survived by two children and appreciated by a legion of film and television fans. We can take solace that we will see him again over the holidays, which is a perfect time to remember old friends.