On this day in 1994, John Franklin Candy died of a heart attack. At the time, Candy was filming Wagons East! In Durango, Mexico. The movie was finished using a body double for Candy. John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada. Candy grew up with his older brother, playing football and attending an all-boy Catholic high school in Toronto.
Candy started in film in the 1970’s. In 1976 he started working on The Second City which would become Second City Television (SCTV). After NBC picked up the show in 1981 it became hugely popular. In 1980, Candy got a part in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and another in The Blues Brothers. Then in 1981 he received a part in Stripes. During the following 2 years, he had a cameo in National Lampoon’s Vacation and appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL) twice.
In 1983 Candy headlined in Going Berserk and then in 1984 scored a role in Splash playing Tom Hank’s brother. This last role is considered to be when he really made it. Through the rest of the 1980’s Candy played in such films as Spaceballs, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Brewster’s Millions, The Great Outdoors, Armed and Dangerous, Uncle Buck and many more.
In the 1990’s you may remember Candy playing roles in The Rescuers Down Under, Cool Runnings, and Home Alone. In an effort to avoid being type cast, Candy appeared in a light romantic film called Only the Lonely and a dramatic role in JFK. In 1991, Candy joined Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky to become a co-owner of a Canadian Football team known as the Toronto Argonauts. This culled a lot of attention in Canada, as they spent a lot of money signing some big players to the team and it paid off, as they won the 1991 Grey Cup.
In the 80’s and 90’s Candy had put on even more weight. He is believed to be at least 100 pounds overweight by 1994. Just before he passed he had made an effort to lose weight. He had stopped smoking. It seems that the physically demanding role in Wagons East! may have been too much for Candy’s body. He passed away on March 4, 1994 in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 43 years old.
Wagons East! and Canadian Bacon, a movie filmed in 1993 were released after his death.
Laughing on the Outside: The Life of John Candy This biography got 3 out of 5 stars, and has pretty poor reviews, but it seems like the only option if you want a book. Anyone know of anything else?
John Candy (They Died Too Young) This is the only other thing I could find online but doesn’t seem to be available anywhere.
Here is a cool tribute video from Youtube:
text source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Candy