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John Candy was an American actor and comedian known for such films as Splash, Uncle Buck and Cool Runnings.
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Actor and comedian John Candy was born on October 31, 1950, in Toronto, Canada. He got his big break when he was offered membership in the Second City comedy troupe. In 1984, he co-starred with Tom Hanks in the film Splash and became a movie star. Audiences loved Candy for his roly-poly good nature and wry humor. A veteran of more than 40 films, Candy died of a heart attack while shooting a film in Mexico in 1994.
"I don't watch my movies. I just get too critical of myself."
"I think I may have become an actor to hide from myself. You can escape into a character."
John Franklin Candy was born on October 31, 1950, in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in the city's East York neighborhood. When he was about 4 years old, Candy lost his father. The future actor/comedian was subsequently raised by his mother, with the help of his aunt and grandparents. Educated in Catholic schools, Candy played football and hockey. He discovered acting in high school, appearing in a number of productions.
In 1969, Candy enrolled at Centennial Community College in Toronto, where he studied journalism and acting. In 1971, he left school to pursue an acting career. He met and befriended future collaborator Dan Aykroyd around this time. Aykroyd encouraged Candy to try out for the Toronto branch of the popular Chicago comedy troupe Second City.
John Candy did so well at his Second City audition that he was invited to join the troupe's Chicago group. For two years, he appeared alongside such fellow comedy stars as John Belushi and Gilda Radner. Candy returned to Toronto in 1974, working with Second City's Toronto group. He helped bring the troupe's skits and sketches to Canadian television in 1977 as SCTV, which also featured Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis.
In 1981, SCTV landed a spot on NBC's late night line-up. Candy was a featured performer by the time by this time. His work on the show featured such impressions as Julia Child, Orson Welles and Luciano Pavarotti. Candy also created numerous memorable characters, including the sketchy celebrity Johnny LaRue and horror film maestro Dr. Tongue. He won Emmy Awards for the show's writing in 1981 and '82.
While on SCTV, Candy made some film appearances. He had small roles in Steven Spielberg's 1979 war comedy 1941, and in The Blues Brothers (1980) with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Candy also played a misfit Army recruit in the Bill Murray hit comedy Stripes.
After leaving SCTV in 1983, Candy focused primarily on making films. His movie career is marked by many highs and lows. Candy had a breakthrough with his turn as the sleazy brother of Tom Hanks's character in Splash (1984). The film was directed by Ron Howard and also starred Daryl Hannah, who played the mermaid that Hanks's character falls in love with. After that film, Candy had a string of disappointments, including the films Brewster's Millions and Summer Rental, both released in 1985.
Candy's career rebounded in 1987 with the popular comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles, which also starred Steve Martin. That same year, he had a memorable yet brief appearance in Mel Brooks's Star Wars spoof Spaceballs.
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