John Candy had a different spirit about him that brought him respect from anyone who either knew him or simply watched his work. You didn’t have to be an overweight male 20- or 30-something to relate to him. There was something about his demeanour, his eyes, his laugh, that you could identify with. He could seriously be anyone’s Uncle Buck. In all honesty, if I could have any actor be at one of my family reunions, it would have to be John Candy (when he was alive, of course).
So, in memory of such a fine actor, hilarious comedian, and beloved human being, here are some lesser known facts about John Candy that you may enjoy:
- Though we’ve never seen him on Saturday Night Live, a show that seemed tailor made for him, he has a special connection with SNL. First of all, he was offered to join the cast on multiple occasions, but he turned down the offers because he wanted to stick with his fellow actors on SCTV. Secondly, he was scheduled to host the show with Eugene Levy in 1985. He had even done a promo for the episode with Levy and Billy Crystal that had aired on NBC, but there was a writer’s strike, so the episode never happened.
- He was a big fan of Dr. Who.
- He was co-owner of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts with Wayne Gretzky and BruceMcNall. What’s amazing is that somehow they managed to sign Raghib Ismail the day before the NFL draft, which is where the player was expected to be the first round draft pick!
- Though he was a heavy smoker, he did manage to give up cigarettes just months before his death.
- Twice he’d turned down a movie role and suggested Rick Moranis as a more suitable actor for the part. The movies were Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
- He loved The Flintstones as a child and was excited about playing Fred Flintstone in the movie adaptation, but of course his death meant we’d never see it. The man who did play the role, John Goodman, was also considered to play Uncle Buck.
- Remember the lead female character in the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street? That actress was Maureen O’Hara and she was good friends with John Candy. She shares that before he went to Mexico to shoot his last film, Wagons East, he told her he was nervous about the trip. According to O’Hara he said he was worried that “something bad is going to happen there.”
- It was Dan Aykroyd who delivered the eulogy at Candy’s funeral.
- His daughter Jennifer (36) and son Chris (32) have both followed in their dad’s footsteps as movie and TV actors. Chris has also written and Jennifer has produced.
- He’s appeared in more John Hughes movies than any other actor: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, She’s Having a Baby, Uncle Buck, Career Opportunities, and Home Alone. Oh, and his role in Home Alone he did for free.
- The respect I referred to? Here’s an example of it. In Los Angeles, the LAPD have only ever stopped traffic for presidential motorcades and the Pope’s visit. However, the LAPD decided themselves to stop traffic for the procession to the cemetery following John Candy’s funeral.
Congratulations Uncle Buck. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Steve Martin in Planes Trains and Automobiles.
Best Quote: There are 2 this week: “I’m Buck Melanoma. Moley Russell’s wart.” and “Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam.”
There are also a couple of neat pieces of trivia about the movie Uncle Buck. First of all, this is one of the first movies to show a teenager’s choice of music being rap instead of rock. Secondly, it was MacAulay Culkin’s talking through the mail slot in this movie that gave John Hughes the idea for Home Alone. I remember when that movie came out we were referring to MacAulay Culkin as “that kid from Uncle Buck.” And finally, did you know that twice there was an attempt to make a sitcom based on the movie? Both had bad reviews and lasted only one season. The first came out in 1990 and the second was this past 2015/2016 season!
Mr. Candy, we still miss you. Thanks for everything.
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