A veteran of Chicago's free-form Organic Theatre, the boyish, personable John Heard won the Theatre World Award for his performance in the 1976 play Streamers, and two years later was the recipient of the Obie Award for two separate off-Broadway productions. He made his film bow as the harried correspondent for an underground newspaper in Joan Micklin Silver's Between the Lines. In Silver's 1979 Head Over Heels, Heard again received top billing, this time as the obsessive ex-lover of Mary Beth Hurt. One of his first "mainstream" leading roles was in Paul Schrader's erotic thriller Cat People (1981). Heard was agreeable, if a little bullheaded, as Macaulay Culkin's dad in the two Home Alone films; less agreeable was his portrayal of Tom Hanks' abrasive business rival in Big (1988) On television, Heard was seen as the tormented Reverend Dimmesdale opposite Meg Foster's Hester Prynne in the PBS production of The Scarlet Letter, and was heard as one of the celebrity voices on the made-for-cable Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (1987). John Heard was at one time married to actress Margot Kidder. He turned in fine supporting work in Beaches, and was the bad guy in the Tom Hanks hit Big. A well-respected character actor, Heard continued to work in projects as diverse as Rambling Rose, Radio Flyer, In the Line of Fire, and the comedy My Fellow Americans. He had a major part in the Brian De Palma thriller Snake Eyes in 1998, and the next year he had a brief recurring part on The Sopranos. He appeared in the 2000 biopic Pollock, and the next year was in the Shakespeare inspired high-school drama O. In 2002 he played legendary television executive Roone Arledge in the made for TV film Monday Night Mayhem, and in 2004 he appeared in the comedy White Chicks. He worked non-stop throughout the rest of the decade appearing in such films as The Great Debaters, The Guardian, and Formosa Betrayed. In 2007 he was cast in the short-lived ABC series Cavemen. In 2011 he was part of the ensemble in the well-regarded docudrama about the 2008 financial meltdown, Too Big to Fail.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Got his start onstage in the '70s, appearing in plays on and off-Broadway.
- Won the Theatre World Award for his performance in the Vietnam drama G.R. Point (1977).
- Made his feature-film debut with a lead role in 1977's Between the Lines.
- Won OBIE Awards for Best Performance for G.R. Point (1976-77), Othello and Split (both 1979-80).
- Inducted into the Gonzaga College High School Theatre Hall of Fame in 2003.
- Was married to his first wife, Margot Kidder, for only six days.