John Wilden Hughes, Jr. (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009) was a director, screenwriter, and producer. He attended Glenbrook North High School, in Northbrook, IL. Hughes first got into filmmaking as a staff writer for National Lampoon magazine. Although his first screenplay there (Class Reunion) was far from successful, he had written a story for the magazine that ended up getting some attention. He subsequently reworked it into the script for National Lampoon’s Vacation. Hughes directed his first film, Sixteen Candles, in 1984. Its success led to a series of films set in or around high school, including The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. These films helped put a number of actors on the map, including Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and the rest of the Brat Pack.
Hughes branched out beyond teen films with Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Uncle Buck (both of which he wrote, produced, and directed) and found his biggest commercial success with Home Alone, which he wrote and produced. He kept writing and producing up until his premature death in 2009. The pilot episode of the critically-acclaimed series Community, which aired the following month, was dedicated to Hughes and included several references in its script. Interesting bit of film trivia: The Breakfast Club was set at fictional Shermer High School. Glenbrook North High School is located on Shermer Road, and the original name of Northbrook was Shermerville.