John Candy Deserves A Bigger Rememberance

It has now been 23 years. I wrote this 3 years ago.


March 4th and 5th marked the anniversary of the deaths of two true comedy legends. The sad portion is that one was much more widely remembered than the other. Monday the 5th was the 30th year since John Belushi passed away prematurely at the age of 33. Belushi was regarded as the wild man of comedy. He lived hard and fast burning the candle at both ends, which was ultimately his downfall as well.

Where I want to shift the focus is that Sunday the 4th marked the 20th anniversary of a truly good guy all around and great comedian. It was John Candy who has been gone for 20 years, which may come a bit of a surprise to some that it’s been quite that long. Candy’s death was not as premature as Belushi but it came much too early for many since he was only 43 at the time.

John Candy was nothing short of a brilliant comedian and quite an underrated actor as well, although there are not too many pieces of work that show the range he did possess. He was also one of the few celebrities whose genuine good guy quality came through the screen and was felt to a point that made you feel like you knew him and also that you wanted to know him. He was a true family man loved his wife and kids and they in turn loved him back.

Candy really came to light in the film world for most people in 1981 opposite Bill Murray in Stripes. He would go on to be in some very memorable movies including his bit part in the John Hughes written movie National Lampoon’s Vacation as the Wally World security guard. That would begin a relationship that would be one of the most beloved teams in comedy and film in the 80’s and early 90’s. Starring in several John Hughes written and directed films, they would go on to be some of his best and most loved roles. John Hughes would say that he gave up his directing and most of his writing because after Candy’s death he just couldn’t do it any more.

His relationship would go on to provide some of the great movies and movie moments of the 80’s. Planes, Trains and Automobiles has gone on to be a holiday time classic with scenes that went on to be nearly legendary. It was in his films with Hughes that he was able to capture movie lover’s hearts and show his true range as an actor. Planes, Trains and Automobiles he was the lifelong salesman who delved deep into his work to forget about the pain of having lost his wife. The scene in the hotel after the infamous car fire, showed him play and hide a wide range of emotions that goes without discussion when talking about the movie, yet it is what gives the movie so much heart and love.

Candy would again be the perfect casting in Hughes’ movie Uncle Buck as the consummate bachelor who is seemingly irresponsible. Buck is tasked with watching after his brother’s kid’s despite being their last choice. His handling of the kid’s with which he has no experience proves to a changing moment in the dynamic of the family who is having troubles of their own. His scenes with Tia trying to teach her what he’s learned from his years of bad mistakes prove to be the pulse of the movie. It’s the closing scene and freeze frame of Candy’s big heartfelt smile and wave that encompasses the good guy and good comedian Candy was. He was able to do it while being clean, non vulgar and made family movies cool enough for everyone to love.

Candy would go on to do many other films, even a pivotal role in Oliver Stone’s JFK, which would again show his acting chops.

Candy passed away on the set of his film Wagon’s East which unfortunately wasn’t his finest moment but he was quintessential Candy anyway. His final release would be a much better film to remember him by in Michael Moore’s only fictional movie, Canadian Bacon in which he would play an extremely patriotic American who follows what his government says and begins to overly support a war with Canada despite Candy being a native Canadian.

Candy will never get the recognition that Belushi get’s mostly because his life wasn’t one big tabloid headline. He was just a great, great  comedian a great man whose time was brief and what he gave us will always leave wishing there was more but hold dear what he gave us. Despite no fan fare we will never forget John Candy.

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31 thoughts on “John Candy Deserves A Bigger Rememberance”

  1. wow – I feel so old coming here sometimes but then it;s just like going back – 18 years,,,, wow..and belushi – John Candy was a riot – just funny as they come. SO sad when he passed…wow not much older than I am ,…sad sad…Cool you did this. I like that you bring back the past like this…. scool thanks

  2. John Candy was so good-hearted that he often appeared in bad movies as a favor for friends. He was truly a good guy and was very talented. It’s too bad that we never really got to see the full range he was capable of. His is sorely missed.

  3. This is a great article – thank you. I can’t believe he’s been gone for 18 years! My very favourite movies of his are ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ and ‘Uncle Buck’ … I am particularly fond of the banter between Steve Martin and John Candy in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ …. for example, when they’re on the freeway and a driver in another car shouts to them ….
    “You’re going the wrong way!” and all John Candy replies is:
    “How do they know where we’re going ? .”
    It’s great.

  4. When I come across a difficult teenager and wonder how to deal with them, I often ask “What would uncle Buck do?” There will be no other who can lighten my soul the way John Candy did. Thanks for sharing this story.

  5. John Candy was a BRILLIANT comedian. I remember hearing it on the news when i was a kid and being really sad about it. Another completely underrated comedian who passed too early that I loved as well was John Ritter.

  6. For me, John Candy will be forever ‘Dr. Tongue.’ His 3D adventures with Eugene Levy on SCTV kept me up on many nights that I should have been sleeping.

    The man is indeed brilliant, and will be missed.

  7. John Candy was one of my all time favs, even though I liked him in stripes and planes, trains, and automobiles my most favorite was uncle buck. I recently purchased it so my children can now enjoy him as well. They, of course, found him to be a riot. He will be missed.

  8. I loved all of his movies and I can’t believe its been that long since he passed. I think I was a member of the select few that even liked Wagons East…He was the funny big fella long before the others.

    1. You are right!! He was doing it long before Farley and without the physical comedy. I miss him a lot and wish there was more to see

  9. I use to be a Landscaper back in the day, and two of the houses I landscaped where his older brother’s and his mother’s house in Toronto. His Mother’s house was still the same modest little house that John grew up in. His mother was a happy and generous person, you could so easily see where John got his charm from. When she found out I was a maple leafs fan, She gave me John’s Gold seats! right behind the penalty box for a night. That was pretty cool! and a very big deal for a leafs fan! When he died, the whole country stopped, he was incredibly loved and is sadly missed. And I also agree that he never really got the quality roles that he deserved, he was absolutly brilliant in the SCTV days!

  10. I remember picking up my son from elementary school when I heard of his passing on the radio; I’ve never cried for any other celebrity before or after, only for Mr. John Candy. He just seemed like a very kind and like able man! May he rest in peace.

  11. John is a fantastic actor in his own special way. I say is because his films are still around and are a must watch even after all these years.PTAA is such a rollacoaster of emotions. I am a man of 41 and still cry towards the end……….everytime. God bless You John. You are and always will be a legend.

  12. i can’t believe that its been twenty years since John candy died twenty years when hollywood lost a unique comedic talent that is john candy hard to believe its been that long.

  13. John Candy is a large affable man. There is another large affable man, Laurence Herman “Gus” Versluis. Versluis was a trucker and he died very unexpectedly.

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