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John Heard, Scene-Stealing Character Actor from ‘Home Alone’ and ‘The Sopranos,’ Dies at 71

The actor had "minor back surgery" earlier this week.

John Heard

John Heard

Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

John Heard, best known for playing the father in “Home Alone” and its sequels, has died. The news was first reported by TMZ before being confirmed elsewhere; according to the initial report, the actor had “minor back surgery” at Stanford Medical Center earlier this week and was found dead in a Palo Alto hotel room. Heard was 71.

An omnipresent character actor who had a habit of stealing scenes throughout his prolific career, Heard also appeared in such films as “Big,” “Awakenings,” “The Chumscrubber,” “C.H.U.D.,” and “The Pelican Brief;” among his television work as a five-episode stint as Detective Vin Makazian on “The Sopranos.”

A crooked cop who shared information with mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), Makazian was a forlorn figure who whiled away his days at a brothel — and whose shady dealings eventually caught up with him. Heard made the role very much his own, as he often did throughout his extensive screen work, and received an Emmy nomination for his performance.

Born in Washington, D.C., Heard was thrice married and had three children. “I don’t have any regrets,” he once said of his career. “Except that I could have played some bigger parts.”

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