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13 Things We Learned About John Candy That Made Us Say 'Uncle (Buck)!'

April 5, 2021 5.7k votes 949 voters 75.2k views13 items

List RulesVote up the facts about John Candy that definitely don't make you "Barf."

From his early appearances on SCTV to his numerous movie roles during the 1980s and 1990s, John Candy was a standout on the small and big screens alike. The comedian had a knack for being funny, relatable, and maybe even a little bit lovable.

As a leading man in movies like The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Candy provided hours of comedic entertainment. Cameos and supporting roles in classics like National Lampoon's Vacation and Home Alone are also among his most enduring and endearing performances. Candy wasn't only a funny man; he also took on dramatic roles, like Dean Andrews Jr. in JFK. He was also an avid sports fan, animal lover, and a dedicated father and husband. 

Candy's untimely death in 1994 shocked the world and resulted in the posthumous release of his last two movies, Canadian Bacon and Wagons East. Candy's death left a void, but his work continues to attest to his gift. There's a lot about Candy his fans never knew, things that continue to contribute to his legacy. Take a look at what we learned about Candy and vote up the facts that made you say "Uncle... Buck!"

  • Photo: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox
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    He Filmed All Of His 'Home Alone' Scenes In Less Than A Day

    As a longtime collaborator with John Hughes, Candy went to great lengths to appear in Home Alone in 1990. Christopher Columbus directed Home Alone and Hughes wrote it, but according to Columbus, Hughes "encouraged me to let John [Candy] improvise... When he’s talking about his band and the hits and polka, polka, polka - that’s all improvisation."

    Because he had a limited amount of time to film his scenes, Candy powered through 23 hours of work to get it all done. As Gus Polinski, the "Polka King of the Midwest" and leader of the Kenosha Kickers, Candy could also pull out experience with the clarinet. He'd learned to play the instrument in high school and his character Yosh Schmenge wielded one on SCTV.

    Candy was only paid $414 for his cameo, which became a point of contention after Home Alone went on to bring in millions from the box office. When Candy agreed to play Polinski, however, he turned down a stake of the film's profits, telling Hughes he'd do it as a favor instead. 

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  • Photo: National Lampoon's Vacation / Warner Bros.
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    He Made $1 Million After Lucking Into His Cameo In 'National Lampoon's Vacation'

    Candy wasn't originally supposed to be a security guard at Walley World in 1983's National Lampoon's Vacation. In fact, the role didn't really factor into the original ending of the movie. The first version of the movie featured the Griswolds going to Roy Walley's home after they found their beloved theme park to be closed, but test audiences wanted something different.

    As a result, a new ending - one where security guard Russ Lasky was taken hostage and the group ran free among the rides - came to fruition. Bill Murray was considered to play Lasky in the new ending, but was unavailable for reshoots. As a result, Candy got the role - and was paid $1 million for it.

    Producer Matty Simmons even recalled teasing Candy about it, much to the actor's chagrin. Candy was upset when Simmons said to him, "You're spending three days here and getting a million dollars? My God, that's more than I got!"

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  • Photo: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox
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    The Music Group Ween Dedicated An Album To Him

    Ween, comprising the duo Dean and Gene Ween (whose real names are Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman), released Chocolate and Cheese in 1994. The album featured 16 tracks by the musicians described by Entertainment Weekly as "fascinatingly eclectic but ultimately too self-conscious for their own good."

    Candy died while Ween was making the album and, according to the twosome, because "there was so much going on about Kurt Cobain... nobody mentioned John Candy at all." They felt they needed to right that wrong by dedicating their album to him.

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  • Photo: Planes, Trains and Automobiles / Paramount Entertainment
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    Joe Montana Took Time During Super Bowl XXIII To Acknowledge Candy

    When quarterback Joe Montana talks about the 1989 Super Bowl, he does so with his usual "Joe Cool" tone. Montana and the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII and, with the clock ticking, needed to score.

    As Montana huddled with his teammates, he noticed one of the spectators - John Candy. He blurted out, "Isn't that John Candy?" - purportedly for the benefit of Harris Barton, one of 49ers' tackles. Barton had been talking about seeing celebrities all week and Montana wanted to make sure he saw Candy. 

    While the mention of Candy might have been for Barton, it was a moment that epitomized Montana's calm demeanor on the field. As the 49ers pushed toward the end zone, they drove 92 yards, with Montana throwing a game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left. 

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