Actor David Canary

David Hoyt Canary (August 25, 1938 – November 16, 2015) was an American actor. Canary is best known for his role as ranch foreman Candy Canaday in the NBC Western drama Bonanza, and as Adam Chandler in the television soap opera All My Children, for which he received 16 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and won five times.

Early life

Canary was born in Elwood, Indiana, but grew up in Massillon, Ohio. He was the middle son of Hillary Canary and Lorena Heal. His brothers are actor John Canary, who once had a role on All My Children, and writer Hilary Glenn Canary (1934–2008). The brothers are purportedly great-great-nephews of Martha Jane Canary, Calamity Jane.


Canary starred as an end on both offense and defense at Massillon Washington High School, where he graduated in 1956. The school honored him as a Distinguished Citizen 35 years later in 1991. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where he was a three-year letterman from 1957 to 1959 and the recipient of the John Pease Award as the program’s best lineman in his junior and senior years. Canary trained as a singer at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and received his bachelor’s degree in music in 1960. He was picked by the Denver Broncos in the inaugural 1960 American Football League (AFL) draft. Commenting on the selection in a 2004 interview for the Archive of American Television, he said, “I thought they were out of their minds. I was 172 pounds, I wasn’t very fast, and I couldn’t catch a pass. They called me stone fingers.”


Instead of signing with the Broncos, he opted to head to New York City to become an actor. He served two years in the United States Army where he entered an All-Army Entertainment Contest in 1963. After ending his service, Canary moved to Los Angeles to continue his acting career.

Canary’s most notable stage performance was on Broadway in the original production of Tennessee Williams’s Clothes for a Summer Hotel, which starred Geraldine Page.

After a semiregular role as Russ Gehring in the primetime serial Peyton Place, Canary came to international prominence in 1967 on the Western series Bonanza. In 1967, he appeared in the now-classic Western movie Hombre, in which he was featured with Paul Newman, Richard Boone, and Cameron Mitchell. Canary guest-starred in a two-part episode of CBS’s Gunsmoke entitled “Nitro”, played mobster Frank Gusenberg in the film The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and appeared on the short-lived CBS Western Dundee and the Culhane.

A contract dispute that year between Leonard Nimoy and the producers of Star Trek forced Herb Solow, Robert H. Justman, and Gene Roddenberry to compile a list of candidates for consideration to take over the role of Mr. Spock. As revealed in Solow and Justman’s book, Star Trek – The Inside Story, Canary was one of these candidates.

David Dortort, the creator/producer of Bonanza, saw Canary in Hombre and cast him in the role of the new ranch foreman, Candy Canaday. Dortort said that Canary was “the kind of kid who comes on and suddenly, there’s nobody else on the screen”. Canary left Bonanza in June 1970 after a contract dispute. He returned after Dan Blocker’s death in May 1972. Canary said that he loved Bonanza, except for filming in Nevada in 100° heat.

Canary appeared on Broadway with Colleen Dewhurst in Great Day in the Morning and with Geraldine Page in Tennessee Williams’s Clothes for a Summer Hotel. He did numerous musical stage roles in shows such as Kismet, Man Of La Mancha, and The Fantasticks, and dramatic performances in The Seagull and Macbeth. David’s first daytime television role was on Search for Tomorrow, where he played the short-term role of Liza Walton’s agent. He had two short stints on The Doctors as Far Wind, a cult leader who took the hospital staff hostage and killed Melissa Dancy (Dorian Lo Pinto). In 1981, he assumed the role of Steve Frame on the soap opera Another World. The revival of the Steve/Alice/Rachel romantic triangle was unsuccessful, and he left the show in 1983 after his character was killed off.

On New Year’s Eve 1983, he joined the cast of All My Children in the role of Adam Chandler. The following year, he was also cast as Adam’s meek twin brother, Stuart, whom everybody (including the audience) believed was Adam. The actor brought several facets to the twins, portraying the impeccably dressed, cutthroat Adam and the messy, big-hearted, guileless Stuart (who was originally a deranged would-be murderer) with equal ability. A May 2009 storyline had Adam accidentally shoot and kill Stuart while using prescription narcotics. Canary retired from full-time acting and departed from All My Children in 2010; his last episode was taped in late March and aired April 23, 2010. He announced that he intended to return to AMC occasionally. He reprised both of his roles as Adam and Stuart Chandler for several days before its September 23, 2011, finale on ABC. In 2013, he returned to the role of Adam when the show began to produce online episodes.

His primetime television guest appearances include Law & Order, Touched by an Angel, S.W.A.T., Primus, Alias Smith and Jones, Police Story, Kung-Fu, Hawaii Five-O, Remember WENN, and Cimarron Strip. The actor also appeared as the locomotive engineer in the movie Atomic Train. In 2004, he appeared as mathematical genius Robert in a well-reviewed production of David Auburn’s Proof in Canton, Ohio, near his hometown of Massillon.

Canary had been known to be most affable and accessible to fans of both All My Children and Bonanza. At Disney resorts, he did “meet and greet” appearances signing autographs for AMC fans. He also made several appearances at the Lake Tahoe site of the Ponderosa ranch, a tourist attraction from 1967-2004. His last appearance at the Ponderosa ranch in character was in 2002 for a PAX-TV special. In March 2012, David was announced as replacing the ailing 90-year-old Jack Klugman in a limited-run production of Twelve Angry Men in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Personal life

Canary was married to actress Maureen Maloney, with whom he had a son, Chris, and a daughter, Kate. With his first wife, actress Julie M. Anderson, he had a daughter, Lisa.


Canary died on November 16, 2015, of natural causes in Wilton, Connecticut at the age of 77. While his death was from natural causes, Canary had been diagnosed some years before with Alzheimer’s.


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Hombre Lamar Dean
1967 The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Frank Gusenberg
1969 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Mr. Walski Uncredited
1973 Incident on a Dark Street Peter Gallagher TV movie
1974 Melvin Purvis: G-Man Eugene T. Farber TV movie
1975 Sharks’ Treasure Larry
1975 Posse Pensteman
1975 Johnny Firecloud Jesse
1990 In a Pig’s Eye
1994 Secret Santa Santa Short
Year Title Role Notes
1965-1966 Peyton Place Dr. Russ Gehrig 26 episodes
1967 Gunsmoke George McClaney Episodes: “Nitro Part 1 & 2”
1967 Dundee and the Culhane Charlie Montana Episode: “The Dead Man’s Brief”
1967 Cimarron Strip Tal St. James Episode: “Knife in the Darkness”
1967-1973 Bonanza Candy Canaday 93 episodes
1971 The F.B.I. Eugene Bradshaw Episode: “The Last Job”
1971 Hawaii Five-O George Episode: “3000 Crooked Miles to Honolulu”
1971 Bearcats! Joe Bascom Episode: “The Hostage”
Alias Smith and Jones Sheriff W.D. Coffin
Doc Donovan
Episode: “Everything Else You Can Steal”
Episode: “The Strange Fate of Conrad Meyer Zulick”
1973 Police Story Wally Baker Episode: “Death on Credit”
1973 Kung Fu Frank Grogan Episode: “The Elixir”
The Rookies TJ Curlew
Episode: “Down Home Boy”
Episode: “A Test of Courage”
1975 S.W.A.T. Blake Phillips Episode: “Kill S.W.A.T.”
1978 The Dain Curse Jack Santos
1978 Search for Tomorrow Arthur Benson
1981-1983 Another World Steve Frame
1982 American Playhouse Bingham Episode: “King of America”
1984-2011, 2013
1984-2009, 2011
All My Children Adam Chandler
Stuart Chandler
(final appearance)
1997 Remember WENN Luke Langly Episode: “Strange Bedfellows”
1998 Law & Order Jeremy Orenstein Episode: “Venom”
One Life to Live Adam Chandler
2001 Touched by an Angel Carter Winslow Episodes: “Shallow Water Part 1 & 2”
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm White Haired Man at Park Episode: “The Bi-Sexual”

Awards and nominations

He had won five Daytime Emmy Awards as ‘Outstanding Lead Actor’, and had been nominated an additional 11 times, most recently in 2008 for Best Lead Actor. A baritone, Canary has performed in such musicals as, Man of La Mancha, Sweeny Todd, Kismet and Carousel, as well as performing in dramatic pieces such as The Seagull (Pittsburgh Public Theater, April 1981) and the one man play Clarence Darrow.

External Links

Actor David Canary – Wikipedia

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