John Franklin Candy was born October 31, 1950 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He died of a heart attack on March 4, 1994 near Durango, Mexico during the final days of filming Wagons East.

Canadians know him from Second City in Toronto and Second City Television (SCTV) series (1976-1979). Like many Canadian entertainers, he went south to Hollywood where he appeared in over 40 films. His big break is considered his role as Tom Hank’s brother, Freddie, in Splash (1984)

A strange snippet from Wikipedia; fitting for Hallowe’en:

“Candy was in talks to portray Ignatius J. Reilly in a now-shelved film adaptation of John Kennedy Toole‘s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces. He had also expressed interest in portraying Atuk in a film adaptation of Mordecai Richler‘s The Incomparable Atuk and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle in a biopic based on the silent film comedian’s life. These three shelved projects have been alleged as cursed because Candy, John Belushi, Sam Kinison, and Chris Farley were each attached to all three roles, and they all died before they could make any of these films.”

He was co-owner (1991 to his death) of the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. The change in ownership infused the team with a winning spirit, capturing the Grey Cup in 1991. He was also a part owner, along with Jim Belushi of Dan Akryod’s House of Blues restaurant/bars.

My fondest memories of John Candy are from SCTV. He played a variety of characters at the fictional Melonville rogue television station.

Of his movies, strangely Uncle Buck remains my favourite.

Followed in a close second by The Blues Brothers.

Filmography: he appeared in over 40 films in Canada and the US. This list is just a snippet.

1941 (1979)

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Stripes (1981)

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Splash (1984)

Brewster’s Millions (1985)

Summer Rental (1985)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

The Great Outdoors (1988)

Spaceballs (1988)

Uncle Buck (1989)

Home Alone (1990)

Only the Lonely (1991)

JFK (1991)

Cool Runnings (1993)

Wagons East (1994)

Canadian Bacon (filmed in 1993; released in 1995)

He also had a presence on television beyond SCTV including playing himself in The Canadian Conspiracy. If you have an hour, and like mockumentaries and satirical humour, watch it. Only a semi-spoiler: a Canadian actor in a motel figures prominently . . . And, as it was made in 1985, a bit dated.

And, on a musical note, Candy participated in two music videos/songs:


Happy Howlin’en!

An unkindness of ravens in Juneau, Alaska