When it comes to stories about John Candy, it seems like everyone has something nice to say. To co-stars, crew members, and ordinary fans alike, the comedian was a sweet, fun-loving guy who enjoyed making people laugh. He passed too soon, at just 43 years old, and yet the films he left behind continue to delight audiences decades later.
The following John Candy facts have been shared by the people who knew him best, co-workers and family members who have become the keepers of his legacy. Vote up the behind-the-scenes stories that make you miss him.
- Photo: Warner Bros.12,165 VOTES
To portray New Orleans lawyer Dean Andrews Jr. in JFK, Candy worked with a dialect coach and focused intensely on getting the character right. According to Candy's daughter, Jen, he worked harder on that role than any other in his filmography, and the effort caused the usually laid-back actor no small amount of stress. Jen told The Hollywood Reporter:
We were having water fights with our cousin while Dad was trying to learn lines, and we did get yelled at because we were being too loud. It was a "dad" yell. He never yelled.
Yet despite his hard work, Candy was nearly cut out of the film. Biographer Martin Knelman writes that star Kevin Costner made sure that didn't happen:
A trailer with Candy in it had already been released when [director] Oliver Stone decided to edit Candy out. Candy was devastated when he heard about this. Stone's decision also upset Costner, who argued vehemently with Stone and persuaded him to put the scene with Candy back in. In the end, Candy received a handwritten letter of apology from Stone.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
In a 2016 interview with the cast of Uncle Buck, actors Amy Madigan and Jean Louisa Kelly say working with Candy was a real joy. Kelly says Candy was "a very warm person," and Madigan praises his generosity as an actor:
He was really just an incredibly generous person. A real family guy. He treated everybody so equitably and was just such a cool person. He was just that guy that you wanted him to be. He would really work with you to figure out what you needed and wanted as an actor - which is what you hope that actors do, but oftentimes they don’t.
Madigan adds that Candy would invite his fellow actors to dinner or ask if they needed a ride anywhere: "He was very inclusive in that type of thing, which was really nice."
When it came to jokes, Madigan says Candy "was the king of ad libs." Kelly adds that Candy improvised on set "quite a bit," which writer/director John Hughes encouraged. "Hughes really just let John Candy take the ball and go with it through a lot of the movie," she says.
- Photo: Paramount Pictures32,406 VOTES
In Wild and Crazy Guys, author Nick de Semlyen writes that Candy enjoyed making Steve Martin laugh on the set of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. De Semlyen also reveals one of Candy's most touching lines in the film was improvised:
Martin and Candy, clad in a topcoat and parka, respectively, were freezing their butts off. But they knew they were making gold. Between takes, Candy would crack up Martin by pretending to act out a cheesy gladiator movie, moving his lips in a way that made it sound like he was dubbed.
And Martin was particularly impressed by one bit of improv by his co-star: During the scene where Del reveals that his wife has died and explains that’s why he attaches himself to people, Candy added the line, “But this time I couldn’t let go.” Long after Candy’s death, Martin would get a tear in his eye remembering it.
- Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
The sequel to 1977's The Rescuers, The Rescuers Down Under features Candy as the voice of Wilbur the albatross.
Collider writes that Candy's friendship with screenwriter and storyboard artist Joe Ranft led to him improvising many of his lines in the recording studio:
Much of Candy’s dialogue was improvised in the recording session, thanks largely to the chemistry between Candy and Joe Ranft. “They’d always be riffing back and forth getting each other to laugh,” [director Mike] Gabriel said, including the sequence where Wilbur is asking, “Can I get you anything to drink?” to the utter befuddlement of the two mice. “We put it in the movie because that’s just how he was. He adored Joe Ranft,” Gabriel said.