David Canary, veteran TV actor who starred on ABC’s All My Children for 26 years, died on November 16 of natural causes. He was 77.
Canary was born in Indiana, but grew up and went to college in Ohio, attending the University Of Cincinnati on a football scholarship. Although he was offered a chance to join the Denver Broncos, Canary was more interested in the performing arts. So, after a stint in the Army, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He began his decades-long tenure in ABC soap operas with a recurring spot on Peyton Place in 1965, but rose to prominence in 1967 with his role on Bonanza.
Canary joined Bonanza as Candy Canaday, the Cartwrights’ foreman and confidante, and helped rejuvenate the series after Pernell Roberts’ (who played Adam Cartwright) departure. The same year that he joined the show, Canary starred in the classic Western, Hombre, opposite Paul Newman and Cameron Mitchell. Although he left Bonanza in 1970 over a contract dispute, Canary lingered in the Western genre, appearing on Gunsmoke, Dundee And The Culhane, and Alias Smith And Jones.
By the ’70s, Canary had made his way to Broadway, where he set up residence for nearly a decade. He appeared in musicals like Man Of La Mancha, Kismet, and The Fantastics, while also having dramatic turns in Macbeth and an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Clothes For A Summer Hotel. But he soon returned to television with a guest role on Search For Tomorrow, which was his first daytime TV appearance.
After a couple of years as a regular on Another World, Canary joined ABC’s All My Children in 1983, where he became a soap-opera institution with his portrayal of the Chandler twins, Adam and Stuart. Canary first joined the show as Adam Chandler, a ruthless businessman who would go on to found a Pine Valley dynasty via nine weddings, including a marriage to Erica Kane (soap opera queen Susan Lucci) that proved a little difficult to end. The actor was soon asked to play brother’s keeper to himself as the guileless Stuart, who was more pawn than foil to Adam’s schemes. Canary won five Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor for his work on the ABC soap.
Canary’s TV career also included guest roles in primetime shows like Kung Fu, Hawaii Five-O, and Law & Order. Although he left the regular cast of All My Children in 2010, he reprised his roles for the finale in 2011, and in 2013 for online episodes. In 2012, he replaced Oscar Madison himself, Jack Klugman, in a stage production of Twelve Angry Men. Here he is in one of his last TV appearances, as an aging Lothario on Curb Your Enthusiasm.