John Candy in Uncle Buck

Jen and Chris Candy, the now-grown children of late comedian John Candy, do not try to avoid their father’s legacy. It would be nearly impossible to do so: Both strongly resemble the lovable, Canadian-born star of SCTV and Uncle Buck, who passed away at the age of 43 in March 1994. Shortly before what would have been Candy’s 66th birthday (he was born on Halloween 1950), his son and daughter have granted a wide-ranging interview to Ryan Parker of The Hollywood Reporter. Topics include Candy’s proudest achievements in show business, his longtime collaboration with writer-director John Hughes, his struggles to control his weight, and the horrible day the comedian died in Durango, Mexico, while making the ill-fated Western comedy Wagons East!

The Candy kids were only 9 and 14 when the sad news reached them. It was a Friday, and their father was buried that Monday. Though it was a devastating time for the family, his son still remembers the funeral procession with awe:

I remember when we were ready to take him to [Holy Cross Cemetery], they blocked off [Interstate] 405 from Sunset [Boulevard] all the way to Slauson [Avenue]. LAPD stopped traffic and escorted us all. I still can’t believe that. Whenever I feel like I lose the importance of him to people, I just remember that happened. They do that for the president.

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Candy’s children also reveal that one of the most important roles of the actor’s career was also one of his most atypical: that of New Orleans attorney Dean Andrews in Oliver Stone’s speculative historical drama JFK. “He worked so hard on that,” his daughter says. “He had a dialect coach, and he worked night and day on that script. He was so worried about it, getting that accent down.”

The Candy kids describe their father’s personality as a mixture of his characters from Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. Of his SCTV characters, the one closest to his heart was Johnny LaRue, the ambitious, would-be John Cassavetes of Melonville. “Johnny LaRue was most him, to an extent,” his daughter says.

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