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The Real John Hughes: A Friend’s Perspective

The Real John Hughes: A Friend’s Perspective

We know John Hughes the filmmaker—here’s a look at him as friend and father.

Josh Babyar, the executive publisher of RELEVANT, worked with John Hughes for a number of years and they became friends. Here are Josh’s memories of the real John Hughes—a perspective few others have.

Today, at least for a few minutes, my world stopped. I was talking to an old friend when I received the news that John Hughes was dead. I tried to continue the conversation, but I don’t even know what I said. I left, got in my car and called my wife. I only got out a few words before my voice cracked and I hung up. If I said anymore, I would have broken down. My world is a much sadder place tonight.

I had the unique pleasure of calling John Hughes my friend. He was the funniest, most intelligent, kindest and most generous person I’ve ever met. I could never repay the kindness he showed me. Despite his enormous success, he was always just one of the guys. He was fun, cool and made everyone feel special.

Trying to keep up with his wit was impossible. Imagine trying to race Carl Lewis or play Michael Jordan in one-on-one. You were in such amazement of his talent you didn’t care how much better he was than you. You felt honored just to be there. If you think you are a good writer, five minutes with John would have you looking for another line of work. He was such an amazing storyteller. I don’t think I ever spent a day with him without hearing one of his mind-blowing tales. The guy lived more life in his first 40 years than I will in my lifetime.

Despite all of his fame, the thing that impressed me the most was his commitment to his family. He was married to one woman. He raised two boys who grew up into good men and loved him very much. At the height of his success, he walked away from Hollywood. He had priorities and principles he wouldn’t compromise. He did things on his terms. I learned a lot about being professionally and personally successful by watching him.

Over the years I was able to observe the unique father-son relationship John had with John Hughes III. They were best friends. Not in a sappy and forced way, but in a genuine, “lets go hang out” kind of way. Their relationship was amazing. As I raise my daughter, I often think of their relationship. If my daughter and I have a relationship like theirs when she is 30, I too will be a success.

When I think of John it won’t be his professional success that comes to mind. I’ll think of a man who loved his family, was generous to his friends and made the lives of all of us better. I thank God for the short amount of time I knew him.

Lastly, and more than anything, my heart breaks for my friend, John Hughes III. Losing your best friend and your father at the same time, so unexpectedly, is a feeling no one should ever feel. My prayer is that through this enormously difficult time, he’ll be able to reflect on what an amazing man his father was and the legacy he leaves behind. I pray he’ll find comfort and peace in the coming days, weeks and months.

Goodbye, John. We’ll miss you.


What was your favorite John Hughes movie?

Read one film writer’s tribute to John Hughes.

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