August 6th, 2009
07:35 PM ET

Martin: Hughes' script "best I ever read"

Here's what we do in entertainment news when we get word someone famous dies:

steve martin

1) Put out calls and e-mails to confirm what we are hearing

2) Gather all the related video and information about how they died and their body of work

3) Put out calls and e-mails to the publicists of those also-famous folks who may have known or have worked with the person who has died, to sort of put the reporting in larger perspective.

Usually, the publicist will return our official request with a short "statement" from the celebrity they represent. We get the star's words as filtered through the media handler.

About an hour ago, the publicist for Steve Martin wanted to know if it would be alright if Steve called me personally to reply to my inquiry and share his recollections and thoughts. Now, I realize he wasn't calling ME - Rachel - he was calling CNN, but suddenly don't I feel special? "Steve Martin will be calling me himself!", I bragged to my colleagues. "See if he'll play the banjo for you," someone said.

Then, came the call (number was blocked from caller ID of course), and I realized I was talking to a guy, who was rather shocked and saddened to hear that someone he really personally respected had passed on. At CNN we're not only often the first to break the news on air, but sometimes we're breaking news to those you wish you didn't have to tell - famous and not.

I think Steve called personally because he wanted to know what I knew, or what CNN knew, about John Hughes' death.

Here's what he shared with me and what we're reporting:

“He was such a great writer who created so many enduring characters for film, both as a director and a writer. His real gift was in creating these identifiable characters.”

“The script for ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ was the best script I had ever read. When I asked John how long it took to write it, he said, ‘I wrote it over the weekend’. The weekend. That shows you what he was able to do.” (Martin says the script for “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” still holds as the best script he has ever read and only film on which they worked together)

“He was funny from the start. You know he began his career writing for ‘National Lampoon’…. A piece called ‘My Vagina’. Very funny. Right from the beginning. If you haven’t read it, you should find it.”

Thanks, Steve. I just read it. He's brilliant. Thanks for taking the time.

August 6th, 2009
06:26 PM ET

Seeing Chicago's North Shore through Hughes’ eyes

Every time I go home and drive around, it’s like a John Hughes movie. Hailing from the North Shore of Chicago –- Glenview specifically -– I can pause a Hughes movie at any point and show you where it was filmed. And now that he’s passed on, I think about my area through the lens of his movies.

Take "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Some scenes from the quintessential ‘80s flick were filmed at Glenbrook North High School, sister high school to my alma mater, Glenbrook South. I remember walking the grounds of the Northbrook school after weekly district orchestra rehearsals on Wednesdays. Sure, my boyfriend at the time didn’t pull up in a rad ride to pick me up, but I still stood on those steps.

Or "The Breakfast Club," which used the library of Maine North High School in Des Plaines. While the school has been closed for a number of years, fans can still drive down Harrison Street to catch a glimpse of the ‘80s-movie site. It is home to various state agencies and the Illinois State Police now.

And when I was about 7 years old, my parents made a short excursion to see the original house from “Home Alone,” a multimillion dollar property that sits in the upscale suburb of Winnetka. It was adorned in twinkling Christmas lights and the ground was covered in snow, much like it was in the movie.

Wherever I cruise around in suburbs of Chicago, I think of all those classic hits. Hughes’ films have certainly made me proud to say I’m from the North Shore.

How about you? How did Hughes’ movies affect your life? Which one’s your favorite? Tell us at

August 6th, 2009
06:15 PM ET

'Home Alone' writer John Hughes dies

John Hughes' publicist, Paul Bloch, just released this statement:

“John Hughes, prolific director of such culturally significant films such as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Home Alone has died suddenly of a heart attack while taking a morning walk during a trip to Manhattan to visit family. John Wilden Hughes, Jr., born on February 18th, 1950 in Michigan, was a self-made man whose career began as an advertising copywriter in Chicago.  His films helped launch countless careers and revealed to a global audience the humor, sensitivity and nuances of everyday people in the suburbs of Chicago. In the last decade, he stepped back from the legacy he created to enjoy time with his family, maintain a functioning farm in northern Illinois and support independent arts. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, two sons, John and James, and four grandchildren.”

August 6th, 2009
05:40 PM ET

Mourning the man behind 'The Breakfast Club'

If Michael Jackson was central to the soundtrack of the '80s, John Hughes was the decade's teen movie master.

john hughes

That decade was high school and college for my generation, and there wasn't anyone whose movies we quoted more to each other than Hughes'.  He tapped into our feelings and fears with humor and heart, knew how we talked and related to each other (or didn't), and portrayed us as smart and sensitive, even when we screwed up.

To me, The Breakfast Club was his best work, as he gave souls to stereotypes, but that entire decade was an amazing run.  Just look at some of the films he wrote, produced, and/or directed over a five-year period:

  • 1983: Mr. Mom, Vacation
  • 1984: Sixteen Candles
  • 1985: The Breakfast Club, European Vacation, Weird Science
  • 1986: Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • 1987: Some Kind of Wonderful

Hughes had many more credits, of course, including writing Home Alone and Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but say his name to anyone from that generation, and it's the Brat Pack films and their characters that will fill the conversation: Bender and Claire, Andie and Duckie, Gary and Wyatt, and "Save Ferris!"  More than 20 years later, those films still delight me and resonate with me, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with my own child someday.

What are your favorite moments and memories from John Hughes movies?

August 6th, 2009
05:34 PM ET

John Hughes Gone

We just confirmed that director and writer John Hughes died. He had a heart attack while walking in New York City today.

All I can think, is "Wow". I strangely owe this man so much. "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Genius. I can honestly say Hughes is single-handedly is responsible for most of my personal cultural touchstones and so many sayings woven into my permanent vernacular... "Beuller.. Anyone? ... Beuller?"  Hilarity. Still.
If you came of age in the 80's you have them too.
What are your favorite lines or unforgettable moments from a John Hughes film?

August 6th, 2009
03:56 PM ET

Miley's charity auction


Miley Cyrus fans have a chance to be her "roadie for a day." The popular "Hannah Montana" star is auctioning off that honor as well as outfits she's worn at premieres, on movie sets and for the cover of US Weekly's Power Girls cover.

All of the proceeds will benefit her family charity, The Pappy Cyrus Foundation, named after her grandfather. The foundation supports children's causes and programs.

The charity auction on ebay starts tonight at 7pm ET and runs though August 13th at .

The actor-singer-author has been busy. She just wrapped up filming on "The Last Song" and her 45 city tour starts September 14th in Portland Oregon.

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