13 Of The Best John Candy Stories We Heard In 2021

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It's rare that an actor as lovable as John Candy comes around, one who feels like he's an old friend and makes audiences laugh when they need it the most. From beloved John Hughes films like Home Alone to cult classics like Spaceballs, these John Candy stories prove just how memorable a presence he was to friends and fans alike. And while we may have rewatched his films too many times to count, some of these behind-the-scenes moments give us a new perspective on the comedian and his biggest roles.

Candy passed in 1994, but these stories we heard in 2021 prove that while he may be gone, he is definitely not forgotten.


  • Martin Short Said Candy Was Generous, Even When He Had Little
    Photo: SCTV / NBC

    Speaking to the Hudson Union Society, Martin Short said Candy was "adored. No one didn't love John." According to the comedian, Candy's on-screen persona wasn't far removed from how he was in real life:

    He was affable, he was funny, he was a brilliant comedian, a brilliant actor... He was always larger than life, always picking up tabs.

    Short said Candy's generosity preceded his rise to fame:

    I remember driving home after we were in a restaurant. I said, "Wait a second, John picked up the tab again. He makes the same money I do, and we're hanging by a thread."

  • Bill Pullman Said John Candy Had His Back
    Photo: Spaceballs / MGM/UA Communications Co.

    In 2017, actor Bill Pullman wrote a piece for The New York Times on how John Candy befriended him on the set of his first big Hollywood feature, Spaceballs. Prior to this 1987 film, Pullman had appeared only in a small role in one film. Pullman wrote that Candy, for reasons unknown to him, watched over him during the production.

    Candy, who played Barf, introduced himself to Pullman by inviting him to eat lunch together, a routine that continued sporadically during filming. The moment that truly touched Pullman, however, occurred during a major scene with writer/director/actor Mel Brooks. Pullman wrote:

    John was feeling that, as scripted, most of the funny lines were being given to Barf, and he suggested I might take one of the wisecracks. A certain silence suddenly dominated the sound stage. Mel paused...

    “You think Pullman can make the line funny? Pullman? Okay. Back to one.”

    We all went back to our start marks and ran through the three-minute sequence, crew and cast making for a lot of moving parts. After a silence following “Cut,” we heard Mel say: “Okay. We are cutting that line. Back to one.”

    Later I was disappointed that I had allowed Mel’s snap to fill me with shame and frustration. In the moment, as we all reset for another take, I must have looked like I was stewing.

    I felt the arm of the Mog drape around my shoulders. John leaned in. “Pullman, how about another doughnut?” He continued: “You’d better not look so red right now. And don’t go blue on me later.”

    His chuckle and wink calmed me down. I did eventually manage to recalibrate. And the next day, Mel met me with a hug.

    I have never forgotten John Candy’s generosity. He showed me how to be a gentle leader. He lightened my load.

    He had my back.

  • He Showed Up Drunk On The 'Splash' Set Because Jack Nicholson Kept Him Out All Night
    Photo: Splash / Buena Vista Distribution
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    He Showed Up Drunk On The 'Splash' Set Because Jack Nicholson Kept Him Out All Night

    Most interviews with Candy's cast and crewmates contain nothing but glowing words for the former actor. To hear them tell it, he was almost always courteous, friendly, fun-loving, and above all, professional. Except that time he partied with Jack Nicholson.

    In a 2020 retrospective for the movie Splash, director Ron Howard shared this intoxicating anecdote:

    John, totally professional guy, but he’s late one day... And he finally pulls up and rolls out of the car and he says, "Ron, I’m so sorry."

    I said, "It’s okay. You’re late, but we’ll get going." 

    He said, "No, no, no. Look, I’m drunk. Here’s what happened, I’m telling you the truth: I’m at the bar and Jack Nicholson is at the bar. Jack Nicholson knew my name, Ron! And he starts buying me drinks. I [Candy] said, 'But I’ve got to go shoot.' And he [Nicholson] said, 'You’re going to be all right, kid. Don’t worry about it.' And he kept buying me drinks. I never went to bed, Ron. I never went to bed."

  • Eugene Levy Said It Feels Like Candy Is Still Around Sometimes
    Photo: Armed and Dangerous / Columbia Pictures

    Eugene Levy and John Candy worked on TV shows and in films together, including Armed and Dangerous and National Lampoon's Vacation. In a 2019 interview with the Canadian newspaper The Hamilton Spectator, Levy described his co-star and good friend:

    I loved John dearly... We were very, very close friends. I think I worked with John more than anybody else in TV, and on four or five movies. John was a lovely man, first of all, who cared deeply about people. And he was, I think, one of the most gifted comedic actors that honestly has ever been in the business. He made such an impact in his movies and people truly loved him... It always seems like John is still around. That's how much of an impact he made on your life, you know? You're still kind of waiting for a phone call.