John Hughes gave Jeffrey Jones the most iconic role of his career — Edward Rooney, the dean of students who is always one step behind Mathew Broderick’s hooky-playing high school senior in 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
He had a really great recollection of what it was like to be in high school, and it wasn’t bitter. It was a fun recollection of what it was like to be that age and what the aspirations were of kids that age. I was always surprised at how affectionate and accurate it was.
During our rehearsal process in Chicago, we were driving around in this Lincoln towncar. John was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat, and Matthew and [costars] Alan Ruck and Mia Sara were sitting in the back seat. And he was slamming cassettes into the dash, saying this is the music we’re going to use for—he’d describe a scene and say this is the music we’re going to use. He was showing us Highland Park, which was where he was from. Driving around in this great big car. And he said, We have to come up with some kind of music for a parade sequence. I want to use something like Elvis and then something else. So I suggested this Wayne Newton song. And he’d never heard of Wayne Newton. So we pulled into a music store. We sat in the car and he went inside. He came back out with some Wayne Newton and slammed it in, and said “Perfect, That’s great.” He was great to work with and I really enjoyed John.
I’m just shocked and surprised and really sad that John is gone, because I know that he had more in him.
PHOTO CREDIT: Everett Collection
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