John Candy

John Candy, actor (b at Toronto, Ont 31 Oct 1950; d at Durango, Mexico 4 Mar 1994), a gifted screen comedian who got his start doing stage work and acting in commercials and low-budget Canadian films in Toronto before moving to Chicago to join the Second City improvisational troupe in 1972. Soon afterwards he returned to Canada to take his place as a regular in Toronto's Second City company, eventually becoming one of the key players on its spin-off television show, "SCTV." There he created and played regular characters Johnny LaRue, Doctor Tongue and, along with fellow castmember Eugene Levy, one half of the accordion-playing Schmenge brothers.

Roles in major films soon followed, with the rotund Candy often cast as a lovable slob or loser with a heart of gold, as in Splash (1984). His later films as a supporting player included Spaceballs, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (both 1987) and Home Alone (1990). As his popularity grew, he was increasingly cast in the lead in films such as Uncle Buck (1989), Only the Lonely (1991) and Cool Runnings (1993). In spite of living in Los Angeles, Candy was known for his profound attachment to Canada, which at one point manifested itself with his acquisition of the Toronto Argonauts football team in 1991, along with partners Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall. In 1992 Candy cancelled his appearance as host of the Genie Awards after the CBC promoted the show with a campaign that joked about his size. He died of a heart attack while shooting a film in Mexico in 1994.