TORONTO — Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the sudden death of Canadian comic actor John Candy.
The SCTV veteran who burst onto the big screen in comedies like Stripes, Home Alone and Uncle Buck died March 4, 1994 of a heart attack while filming Wagons East! in Durango, Mexico. He was only 43.
Born and raised in Newmarket, Ont., Candy was part of the ensemble cast of the Canadian comedy series SCTV in the ’80s. His most memorable movie roles include Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Spaceballs and Cool Runnings.
He took on serious roles, too, including 1991’s Only The Lonely and JFK.
Candy’s last completed film, released following his death, was Michael Moore’s Canadian Bacon.
“John was a sweetheart,” actor Eugene Levy recalled in a 2012 interview. “He was truly one of the funny, funny guys. Naturally funny. Who he really was kind of came through in everything he did. He left a loveable imprint, no matter what it was. He had an endearing quality and that empathetic side that people could just see.”
In the early ’90s, Candy partnered with hockey great Wayne Gretzky to buy the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.
“Thinking of former #Argos owner John Candy who passed away 20 years ago today. Wish we’d started the band when he was around,” tweeted the Argonotes, the team band.
Since his death, Candy has been honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto and with a postage stamp from Canada Post.
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His daughter Jennifer, 34, works as a TV producer and actress and his son Chris, 29, is an actor.
On Tuesday, Jennifer tweeted a photo of she and her dad with the message: “20 years ago I lost a very important person in my life. Always loved and never forgotten.”
Chris tweeted: “20 years later and we are all still laughing. Do yourself a favor and watch a John Candy film today.”
To mark the 20th anniversary of Candy’s passing, here is a look at some of his best-known projects: