John Candy, the actor and comedian known for movies like Uncle Buck and Spaceballs, would have been 70 years old today. In his honor, the city of Toronto named today John Candy Day. Born on October 31, 1950, Candy passed away in 1994 due to a heart attack. During his time in the public eye, he made dozens of movies, often playing small roles in movies where his friends were stars, and was a staple on SCTV, a sketch show headed up by veteans of the Second City comedy troupe. Second City also gave us familiar faces like Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O'Hara, the latter two of whom just wrapped a long run on Schitt's Creek.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario, Candy was raised in and around Toronto. Second City gave him his first major awareness, but he became a real star when he appeared in Splash with Tom Hanks in 1984. In his SCTV days, Candy could be spotted in quick roles in movies like National Lampoon's Vacation, Heavy Metal, and The Blues Brothers.
After Splash, it was hard to miss him. Between 1985 and 1990, he appeared in movies like Brewster's Millions, Armed and Dangerous, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, Who's Harry Crumb, Uncle Buck, and Home Alone (with Second City's O'Hara).
His hot streak would cool down in the '90s, with fewer massive hits, but he certainly had standouts like the starring vehicle Delirious, in which he plays a soap opera writer who is hit on the head and wakes up stuck inside his own show. He had appearances in hits like JFK and Rookie of the Year before appearing in Cool Runnings, the last movie released during Candy's lifetime.
After his death, Candy would appear in two additional films: Wagons East, a Western-comedy that bombed at the box office and with critics. Candy reportedly wasn't crazy about the script, but made the film in order to pay back debt accrued by the Toronto Argonauts, a Canadian football team of which Candy was a minority owner.
After Wagons East, Candy would appear in Canadian Bacon. The film, which fared marginally better with critics but was also a box office bomb. The movie stands out as the only narrative fiction film ever directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, and features Candy in a starring role as a bumbling American sheriff who accidentally touches off a war with Canada.
Candy is survived by his wife Rosemary, and two children, Jennifer and Christopher, who expressed gratitude to the city of Toronto for today's honor.
Said Toronto Mayor John Tory, "It's our way of remembering a beloved actor and comedian with roots in Toronto. Proud to help honour the legacy of John Candy on what would have been his 70th birthday."