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Wherever you go in the world, you only have to say you’re Canadian and people laugh

For a while in the Eighties, it was barely possible to watch an American comedy film without the Canadian comedy actor John Candy cropping up somewhere.

His death of a heart attack while filming comedy western Wagons East! in Mexico was a shock for fans – he was only 43.

John is probably best known for his roles as the unlucky Steve Martin’s fellow traveller from hell in the 1987 comedy film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, as Irv Blitzer, the coach of the Jamaican Olympic bobsleigh team in 1992’s much loved Cool Runnings and endearing, hapless Uncle Buck.

Hilarious as as Tom Hanks’ juvenile brother in 1984 mermaid comedy Splash!, not all of John’s movies were major box office hits, but he generally made them immensely watchable.

Affable and engaging off-screen, John had made it into movies through his acting skills and honed his knack for comedy. His gift for drama shone through in his role as eccentric lawyer Dean Andrews Jr in Oliver Stone’s acclaimed film JFK.

A humble and devoted family man, John shied away from glitzy premieres.

“I think I may have become an actor to hide from myself,” he once revealingly said. “You can escape into a character.”