In 1997, or some five or six years after the flop of Curly Sue and his retreat from Hollywood, the late John Hughes shared his concerns about the malignant effects of the film industry upon family and friends with female pen pal Alison Byrne Fields.
“John told me about why he left Hollywood just a few years earlier,” Fields writes in an 8.6 blog post called “Sincerely, John Hughes.” “He was terrified of the impact it was having on his sons. He was scared it was going to cause them to lose perspective on what was important and what happiness meant. And he told me a sad story about how, a big reason behind his decision to give it all up was that ‘they’ (Hollywood) had ‘killed‘ his friend, John Candy, by greedily working him too hard.”
In other words, Candy’s death at age 43 from a heart attack and cardiac arrythmia wasn’t, in Hughes’ opinion, primarily due to his being severely overweight and having been a smoker most of his life. In fact, Hughes believed that Candy might well have survived if Hollywood hadn’t maliciously forced him to constantly perform as the star of various movies, for which he was presumably well paid.
That’s interesting. I never knew that. But this is what genius-level auteurs do — they create their own worlds by investing in them whole-hog.
Candy’s Wikipedia biography — obviously suspect in the wake of Hughes’ just-revealed opinion — claims that the extremely bulky actor “had been making a significant effort to improve his health in the last year of his life, [having] recently quit smoking” and making progress at losing weight. “His family had a history of heart disease, and he had been warned by doctors several times before to reduce his weight, but Candy had trouble doing so.”