John Heard, who died at 72 on July 21, began his career in the theater before jumping into film acting.
John Heard, who died at age 71 on July 21, began his acting career in the theater before moving into film.
(photo provided by Hunt Talent Management)

John Heard, most widely recognized as Peter McAllister in the Home Alone movies, died on July 21 in Palo Alto, California, at the age of 71. He was found dead in a hotel where he was reportedly recovering from a recent back surgery he underwent at Stanford University Medical Center.

Heard began his career in theater, making his Broadway debut in the 1973 play Warp. In 1974, he appeared off-Broadway in Mark Medoff's play The Wager, won Obie Awards for his performances in Othello and Split in the 1979-80 season, and earned Drama Desk nominations for his performances in G.R. Point and The Chekhov Sketchbook in 1977 and 1981, respectively. His other Broadway credits include the 1975 revival of Hamlet, Total Abandon, and the 1983 revival of The Glass Menagerie, in which he played the Gentleman Caller alongside Jessica Tandy, Bruce Davison, and Amanda Plummer.

Heard's film debut came in 1977 in Between the Lines, going on to star in a number of other films including Chilly Scenes of Winter, Heart Beat, Cutter's Way, Cat People, and C.H.U.D. He had additional featured roles in After Hours, Big, Beaches, Awakenings, Rambling Rose, The Pelican Brief, My Fellow Americans, Snake Eyes, and Animal Factory. In 1985, he also took on the role of Ludie Watts in the screen adaptation of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful. He first played Peter McAllister (onscreen father to Macaulay Culkin) in the first Home Alone film in 1990, reprising the role in the 1992 sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Heard had a son, John Matthew "Jack" Heard III, with ex-girlfriend Melissa Leo, and had two additional children — a son, Max (who died on December 6, 2016, at the age of 22), and a daughter, Annika — with ex-wife Sharon Heard. The actor is also survived by his sister, Cordis Heard.