This week marks the 20th anniversary of Canadian comedy powerhouse John Candy’s untimely death. If you missed our 10 Favorite GIFs tribute I encourage you to check it out — because John Candy celebrating a stack of monster-sized pancakes on loop will always be something worth watching.
To further celebrate the legacy of the man I would feel most comfortable spooning with, here are eight fascinating facts about the life of John Candy.
1. He almost became a part of Ghostusters. In 1983, John Candy was pulling in $350K a picture after the success of Stripes with Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Dan Akroyd and Ramis had written the part of Louis Tully in Ghostbusters specifically for Candy, but the actor turned down the smaller paycheck and the part ultimately went to Rick Moranis.
While we may not have gotten John Candy in the actual Ghostbusters movie, he does make a brief cameo in the music video for the movie’s theme song by Ray Parker Jr.
2. He was part owner of a Canadian football team. In 1991, then-owner of the Los Angeles Kings Bruce McNall purchased the CFL’s the Toronto Argonauts with Wayne Gretzky. Candy called his friend McNall to congratulate him on the purchase and McNall talked him into investing in the team as well. In celebration of the new purchase, McNall brought in the Blues Brothers for opening night and Candy even joined the band on stage.
3. The man was not one for promoting himself. Candy might have been a larger than life character on stage and in the movies, but off-camera, he wasn’t always fond of the attention. Even when he had a big movie in theaters, Candy would fight the studio on doing interviews to promote it. According to Mental Floss, in a 1986 interview with the LA Times, he said one reason he didn’t like doing press is because he thought he was kind of a boring guy:
“I think the real reason I hate to do interviews is because I think I’m boring. I just always thought there were more important things to talk about than myself. Also I get nervous. When I did a few interviews several years ago, there were a few things said about me that I was uncomfortable with. I felt I’d put my foot in my mouth. So it’s an awkward situation.”
4. He was John Hughes’ go-to-guy. John Hughes liked to reuse actors, and he used John Candy in his movies more than anybody else. The actor appeared in seven of Hughes’ movies between 1983 and 1991: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, She’s Having A Baby, Uncle Buck, Home Alone and Career Opportunities.
5. John Hughes grounded John Candy during Uncle Buck. During the filming of Uncle Buck, Candy and co-star Tarquin Gotch went out to a local bar where Candy spent the evening hanging out and drinking. The next day director John Hughes heard a caller on a local radio station talking about meeting Candy the night before. Hughes became upset with Candy and despite Candy’s argument that his character was supposed to be disheveled, Hughes cancelled the rest of his scenes for the day.
6. There’s a John Candy postage stamp. The true mark of an entertainment icon is the honorary postage stamp. John Candy made his way onto the Canadian .51 cent stamp in 2006 as part of their “Canadians In Hollywood” series; Fay Wray, Lorne Greene, and Mary Pickford rounded out the series.
7. He was a fan of Gary Larson. John Candy enjoyed Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic series and was one of many who bought the daily desktop calenders. “Gary Larson’s hysterical. “That’s my daily calendar — The Far Side calendar, it always gives you a nice laugh in the morning.”
8. John Candy launched his own radio show in 1989. John had his own radio show on Los Angeles station KNX-FM called Radio Kandy. The two-hour top 40 music/comedy radio show featured Second City comics and came into fruition after Candy caught the radio bug from doing a short DJ stint in Canada. Candy was quoted by the Los Angeles Times:
“I love the medium and, since I can’t play an instrument, I can at least play records. Two years ago I did ‘That Radio Show’ for about 100 stations in Canada. They were 90-minute shows that ran weekly through the summer–kind of an oldies rock-and-roll and comedy show.”