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John Candy admitted something truly sad while making Cool Runnings

John Candy was a hilarious comedy movie actor, but he was also insecure about his career and wanted to be a people pleaser, says those who worked with him.

John Candy in Cool Runnings

October 2023 marked the 30th anniversary of the family-friendly comedy classic Cool Runnings – which follows the first Jamaican bobsled team at the Winter Olympics. John Candy was the only ‘star’ in the movie, coming in to support the team as a mentor and coach – a role which the cast say that he took on during filming as well.

As part of The Independent‘s anniversary celebration, Leon (who plays Derice) said of John Candy; “He was so generous, forthcoming and genuinely happy to be doing that movie. I think it was because it gave him a chance to show a different side of himself.” Rawle Lewis (who plays Junior) has similar memories; “He took us under his wing and shared stories with us. [He] said ‘This is your movie. I’m just here to help it along.’ He literally played the coach to us.”

Malik Yoba (who plays Yul Brenner) says that despite Candy being associated with some of the best comedy movies, he also noticed a sadness about him. “He was 42 at that point and had never taken a vacation in his professional career. He said it was because he was afraid he’d never work again. That always stuck with me…He was very insecure about his place in the Hollywood ecosystem. Most people would never imagine that would be the case for the great John Candy – but it was.”

Director Jon Turtletaub says; “I know he had fears about his career and how he was perceived by people. His whole life, John hated not being liked. He was afraid of it on a personal and professional level.” He adds that Candy couldn’t turn down autograph requests during filming of the family movie; “John had trouble doing that because he felt like a bad person if he didn’t. That eats away at a person.”

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Candy tragically died from a heart attack in 1994 (aged just 43), just five months after the feel-good movie was released. “It’s a bit clichéd that the funny guy might not be the happy guy, but there’s a little truth to that. John was a fun, happy person, but if you got really deep, there was a lot of sadness and anger under there,” says Turtletaub. Candy is definitely a big part of what makes Cool Runnings one of the funniest 90s movies.

Check out our guide to the best Disney movies and the best kids movies. As it’s the season, we also recommend the best scary movies for kids and the best Disney Halloween movies.