David Canary, a veteran star of ’60’s cowboy series who parlayed his career into a three-decades-long stint as cunning Adam Chandler on “All My Children,” has died at age 77.
Born in Elwood, Indiana in 1938, Canary served in the U.S. Army. The Denver Broncos gave him an offer to play for them, but he turned it down, instead catching the acting bug with a small role on the ’60’s serial “Peyton Place,” his leading-man-chin and piercing blue eyes led to success in the popular Westerns of the period. He appeared opposite Paul Newman in the classic film “Hombre,” guest-starred on “Gunsmoke” and filmed nearly 100 episodes of “Bonanza” as Candy Canaday — in 2002, he appeared in a TV special from the Ponderosa Ranch, his last time as the beloved character.
Canary would find his greatest success, however, a decade after he left the Ponderosa.
Following short stints on other daytime soaps including “Search for Tomorrow,” “The Doctors” (playing a character inspired by cult leader Jim Jones) and “Another World,” Canary joined “All My Children” on New Year’s Eve, 1983.
Playing confident, classically-handsome Adam Chandler (and, at times, his timid brother Stuart), Chandler embraced the soap trappings. One career highlight came in May 2009, when Adam accidentally killed Stuart — allowing the actor to play a tragic scene with himself. In April 2010, the 72-year-old actor officially retired, filming his final “All My Children” scenes as his character left Pine Valley to live happily ever after with his ex-wife.
Outside of the soap world, Canary found time for appearances on everything from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to “Touched by an Angel” to the obligatory “Law & Order” appearance.
Canary also had a great ability to laugh at himself. In 2005, the beloved soap star presented an award at the 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards alongside another daytime icon: Oscar the Grouch from “Sesame Street.” Presenting at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Canary appeared on-stage with Oscar to hand out the award from the Muppet’s turf: A pair of side-by-side garbage cans.
Canary is survived by his wife Maureen, son Christopher and daughter Kathryn. Private funeral services have been arranged in Connecticut. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that people make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association under the “David Canary Memorial Fund.”