Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for March 4th!
March 4th is the anniversary of the passing of Canadian actor/comedian John Candy. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at the remarkable career of Candy.
Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario in 1950. Candy graduated from Neil McNeil High School, an all-boys Catholic public school in Toronto, where he played football. He briefly attended drama classes at Centennial College in Toronto, but dropped out in 1970.
Candy’s first movie role was a small uncredited appearance in the 1973 film Class of ’44. He appeared in several other films during the 1970s, including the bank-robbery thriller The Silent Partner with Christopher Plummer and Elliott Gould. In 1976, as a member of Toronto’s branch of The Second City, he gained wide North American popularity, which grew when he became a cast member on the influential Toronto-based comedy-variety show Second City Television (SCTV). NBC picked the show up in 1981 and it quickly became a fan favourite. It had won Emmy Awards for the show’s writing in 1981 and 1982.
By 1980, he began a more active film career having appeared as a soldier in Steven Spielberg’s big-budget comedy 1941 and had a supporting role as Burton Mercer, “Joliet” Jake’s probation/parole officer in The Blues Brothers. A year later, Candy played the lovable, mild-mannered Army recruit Dewey Oxberger in 1981′s Stripes, one of the most successful films of the year. In the next two years, Candy did a small cameo in Harold Ramis’s National Lampoon’s Vacation and appeared on Saturday Night Live twice.
Throughout the latter half of the 1980s, Candy was awarded the opportunity to headline or co-star in such comedy films as Volunteers; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Brewster’s Millions; The Great Outdoors; Armed and Dangerous; Who’s Harry Crumb?, Summer Rental, Uncle Buck and JFK.
Candy also produced and starred in a Saturday-morning animated series on NBC entitled Camp Candy in 1989.
In 1991, Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky, and Candy became co-owners of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. The Argonauts took home the 1991 Grey Cup beating Calgary 36–21 in the final.
While working on the film Wagons East, Candy died in his sleep from a heart attack at age 43, on March 4, 1994.
The John Candy Visual Arts Studio at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, in Toronto, Ontario was dedicated in his honour after his death. John Candy, one of the school’s most famous alumni, said during one of his annual visits to the school, “My success is simply rooted in the values and discipline and respect for others that I was taught at Neil McNeil.”
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!