You didn't have to be a Brat Packer to identify with the characters in John Hughes' movies. Really, you just had to have feelings.
Molly Ringwald, the poster girl for '80s suburban teen angst, was "stunned and incredibly sad" to learn of Hughes' sudden death today at the too soon age of 59.
"He was and will always be such an important part of my life," she said of the man who directed her in Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. "He will be missed—by me and by everyone that he has touched. My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now."
Jon Cryer, who crushed hard on Ringwald in the Hughes-penned Pretty in Pink, called his passing "a horrible tragedy."
"He was an amazing man to work for and with," the Two and a Half Men star, who was barely 21 when he played the penniless yet adorable outcast Duckie, said.
"He respected young actors in a way that made you realize you had to step up your game because you were playing in the big leagues now. That's why he got such great performances out of his actors. My heart goes out to his wife Nancy and their children."
Another one of those young actors—Macaulay Culkin, who starred in the Hughes-directed Uncle Buck and Home Alone, which Hughes wrote—was also an all-around fan.
"I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person," he said in a statement. "The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."
Breakfast Club bad boy Judd Nelson says that he cherished the one time he got to work with Hughes, whom he called "a giant" under whose "great shadow we remain."
"He had a profoundly meaningful and lasting affect on my life as an actor, and as a young man," the actor said in an eloquent statement. "John's desire for the truth of the spoken word aligned perfectly with his gift for treating young people not as children, but as developing adults.
"John always treated me with respect and consideration. He encouraged a real and active collaboration, he was most generous with his insight...I know many people whose lives were touched by John will be saddened today.
"I know I am."
Not unexpectedly, many of the late filmmaker's celebrity fans—many of whom weren't even old enough to join The Breakfast Club at the time—paid their respects Thursday via Twitter. (Which, if it had existed in 1985, would have given the Princess, the Basket Case and the others a much less interesting way to spend their Saturday detention.)
"John Hughs' inconic [sic] films gave a powerful voice to a generation. He will be missed but never forgotten!," tweeted part-time Brat Packer, Demi Moore, who joined Hughes minions such as Ally Sheedy and Emilio Estevez in the Joel Schumacher-directed St. Elmo's Fire.
Others who enjoyed Hughes at a more removed distance:
• Shanna Moakler's life was changed by Sixteen Candles.
• True to hipster form, Juno scribe Diablo Cody tweeted that the writer-director was "an idol to this magna-zoom-dweebie."
• "With him goes my childhood," added Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas, 37, who was exactly the right age to identify with Hughes' brand of cinematic teen angst.
Indeed it does.
(Originally published Aug. 6, 2009, at 3:42 p.m. PT)
We're betting you regularly quote at least one of the films in our Remembering John Hughes gallery.