Years before they both appeared in blockbuster comedy Home Alone, bumbling burglar Daniel Stern and forgetful patriarch John Heard became friends on the New York theater scene. After Heard’s death this past weekend, Stern wrote an emotional tribute to his “crazy, crazy drink and drug stamina”-fueled friend that he posted on Twitter:
In this passionate essay, Stern recalls dropping out of school and coming to New York, where he was quickly “adopted” by Heard and his pal Bruce McGill:
I met him on my very first day in New York City. I had dropped out of high school and moved there to be an actor… By the end of the first day, I was stoned and drunk for the very first time, and had been adopted by my two new older brothers.
When Stern made his film debut in 1979’s Breaking Away, “the only thing I really knew about film acting was from watching John do it.” In leaner years, Heard would take Stern and his wife out to dinner: “We were extremely broke and big brother John would take us out for Cuban-Chinese at least once a week, even letting us order milkshakes (what a treat!)” Although the two did eventually also appear in Home Alone, Stern notes that they had no overlapping scenes, and only ran into each other a few times on set. They had more time together in movies like The Milagro Beanfield War and “in the sewers of New York one summer when all our friends did C.H.U.D. together.”
Stern concludes by praising Heard’s fast-paced life overall with an epitaph we all can strive for:
He lived it hard, fast and fearlessly. He was a romantic and a raconteur. He was as loyal and generous as they come. He was a friend and a brother and a legend in his time.