Today marks the 25 year anniversary of the passing of one of comedy’s greatest actors, John Candy (October 31, 1950-March 4, 1994).
John had 66 acting credits to his name before his passing. He was actually in Mexico filming the movie Wagons East (1994) when he died of a heart attack. You might recognize him from films such as Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), Spaceballs (1987), Uncle Buck (1989), Home Alone (1990), Rookie of the Year (1993), Who’s Harry Crumb (1989), The Great Outdoors (1988), Little Shop Of Horrors (1986), Summer Rental (1985), and Stripes (1981). He will always be remembered as one of the greats from the 1980s and early 1990s.
He had a little career with Disney as well.
Disney wanted to be able to release films that were geared toward an older audience so they created Touchtone Pictures. The first movie released with that production company was Splash (1984). It was the third theatrically released film directed by Ron Howard. John acted opposite Tom Hanks in this comedy about a man who falls in love with a woman who saves him and unbeknownst to him is a mermaid. Daryl Hannah’s mermaid character, Madison, is the reason why Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989) was a redhead and not a blonde.
In 1990, Disney released the first ever sequel to one of their previous animated films, The Rescuers Down Under. John Candy played Wilbur the albatross and brother of Orville, who was in the first film The Rescuers (1977). This movie follows a group of mice from The Rescue Aid Society as they help Cody who is kidnapped by a poacher in Australia so he can lead the poacher to Marahute, a giant golden eagle.
In 1993 he starred in the movie Cool Runnings which was about a Jamaican bobsled team.
This last film is going to surprise you. John had already begun recording dialogue for a turkey called Redfeather who was supposed to be a sidekick for Pocahontas. The animators thought that Redfeather, Flit, and Meeko were too many sidekicks, so they cut Meeko. They then changed their mind and brought back Meeko and cut Redfeather partially due to John Candy’s passing. They also decided to make the sidekicks without dialogue to make it seem more realistic and less “cartoony.”
Here is some pencil sketch animation. It was a stand in voice, not John.
There were two roles that John Candy end up not doing for Disney and those roles went on to be some of the most iconic roles of all. Disney had approached John to portray the crazy inventor Professor Wayne Szalinski in the film Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989). John referred Rick Moranis to them and he ended up in the role. Another role he gave up was the Genie in Aladdin (1992). This was following his acting in The Rescuers Down Under (1990), his comedic timing was going to bring comic relief to the film. After he turned it down, Disney looked elsewhere and landed on Robin Williams.
How many John Candy movies have you seen?
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