SANTA CLARA (CBS/AP) — Actor John Heard suffered a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease in a Palo Alto hotel room in July, the Santa Clara County Coroner announced Tuesday.
The coroner ruled out any after effects of recent back surgery. Heard had undergone ‘minor back surgery’ at Stanford Medical Center earlier in the week he died.
“Mr. Heard died a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease,” the coroner said in a statement. “Mr. Heard’s recent back surgery did not play a role in his death. The manner of death is natural.”
Heard, whose many roles included the father in the “Home Alone” series and a corrupt detective in “The Sopranos,” was 71-year-old at the time of her death. He was laid to rest on Saturday beside his son in a plot at the Lady Of Hope Church in Massachusetts.
Heard played Peter McCallister, the father of Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin, in “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” He said in later interviews that he sought a movie with kids in it so his son, age 5 at the time, could come to the set and have someone to play with.
After it became a big hit, he was reluctant to revisit the role but his agent convinced him the money was too good to pass up.
“I didn’t want to be the ‘Home Alone’ dad for the rest of my life,” he told Yahoo News in 2013.
He was born March 7, 1946, in Washington, D.C. and grew up performing in local theater. One of his memorable early roles was as a disabled Vietnam War veteran in the 1981 film “Cutter’s Way.”
He was active in film for the next decade, playing Tom Hanks’ rival in “Big,” actress Geraldine Page’s son in “The Trip to Bountiful” and in the movies “The Pelican Brief,” ”Beaches,” ”Gladiator,” ”Rambling Rose” and “After Hours.”
He earned an Emmy nomination for playing Vin Makazian in “The Sopranos.” Television also kept him busy. He acted in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” ”Elementary,” ”Prison Break,” ”Modern Family” and “Entourage.” One of his favorite jobs came in the original “Sharknado” television movie in 2013.
“I knew it was going to be a cult classic,” he told the Baltimore Media Blog last year. “It’s just ridiculous. I thought it would replace people calling me the ‘Home Alone’ dad.”
Fellow actor Michael McKean paid tribute on Twitter Saturday: “RIP John Heard. Never not good.”
Heard was married and divorced three times, including briefly to actress Margot Kidder. He had three children.
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