John Candy: 25 Years Later

Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987). Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

As the calendar turns to March 4 this year, it’s time to take a moment to remember the life of John Candy on the 25th anniversary of his passing.

John Candy is one of those comedians who was taken away from us way too early at the age of 43.  One needs to only look at his IMDB profile to see his impact.  While his role in Vacation was tantamount to a brief cameo, John Hughes later gave him more meatier roles.  It’s because of Candy’s friendship with Hughes that Hughes would later walk away from the industry.

Candy appeared in such classics as Spaceballs; The Blues Brothers; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; Home Alone, Uncle Buck, 1941, Stripes, Splash, and Cool Runnings.  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is by far the comedian’s best on-screen appearance.  The film not only a classic but a Thanksgiving staple for so many of us.  I watched the film as recently as this past Thanksgiving weekend as such.  It’s still very much a laugh riot.

In another universe, Candy could have portrayed accountant Louis Tully in Ghostbusters.  The comedian had a different idea of the character than the filmmakers so the role went to Rick Moranis instead.  This would have certainly changed the franchise’s history, for better or worse.

Candy would be among a number of Second City Toronto players to take their career to the next level.  Not only did the Toronto stage have a number of would-be stars in the 1970s but many would turn up on SCTV.  Joining the cast of SCTV would certainly raise Candy’s profile and lead to more industry opportunities.  When Netflix airs the SCTV reunion, the lack of both Candy and Harold Ramis will certainly be sad.

John Candy may be gone but he’ll never be forgotten.  One can only wonder what type of work he’s making up there with John Hughes.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.