Richard Cusack, father of actors John and Joan Cusack, dead at 77

Tuesday, June 3rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Richard Cusack, an advertising executive turned actor and screenwriter whose children included Hollywood stars John and Joan Cusack, has died at 77.

Cusack, who died of pancreatic cancer Monday, abandoned a 17-year successful advertising career in 1970 to enter the film industry.

"He said, `Who cares if you brush your teeth with Colgate or Palmolive? There are bigger issues out there,"' said his wife, Nancy Cusack.

He won awards for a 1971 abortion documentary, "The Committee," and wrote plays.

Cusack also acted on the stage and in such movies as "My Bodyguard," "The Fugitive" and "Return to Me."

He wrote the 1999 HBO film "The Jack Bull," in which his son John had a starring role. Daughter Joan got her start in "My Bodyguard" with her father.

Joan Cusack has appeared in such movies as "Sixteen Candles," "Working Girl" and "In & Out." John Cusack has been in "High Fidelity," "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "Being John Malkovich."

Their siblings -- Ann, Bill and Susie -- also have appeared in films.

"He encouraged us to go for our passions, our dreams, what we wanted to do," Ann Cusack said.