David Canary joined Bonanza as the Western drama still was looking to replace a void in the cast created when Pernell Roberts left the show.
Canary played Candy Canaday, the dapper, handsome ranch foreman of the Ponderosa. On the show, his character was a former soldier turned cowboy who was hired by Ben Cartwright, the Bonanza patriarch.
Canary actually was former military. He played football and studied at the University of Cincinnati. Rather than turn pro — he was drafted by the Denver Broncos — Canary went to New York to work on his acting skills.
He also served two years in the Army. After he left the service, he picked up some recurring roles in several TV series, including Peyton Place and Gunsmoke. And he also was cast in Hombre, a movie starring Paul Newman and Richard Boone.
Bonanza Creator Pondered if Canary Was Mean Enough for Candy
Bonanza creator David Dortort saw Canary in the movie and set up an audition. However, he wanted Canary to be snarly enough to play the new part of Candy. Canary said, “I think I actually literally scared him” in the audition.
Canary was the Ponderosa ranch foreman and Cartwright loyalist until 1970. He then left Bonanza because of a contract dispute. But he returned in 1973 after the death of Dan Blocker, who played middle son, Hoss Cartwright.
Canary said Lorne Greene, who played Ben Cartwright, tried to give him some advice while they were on Bonanza. But Canary conceded he was young and kind of dumb when it came to listening to long-time acting pros.
“The reason I’m telling you this is it didn’t make a bit of difference to him that I didn’t take his note,” Canary said in an interview in 2004. “This young whipper-snapper’s ignoring what Lorne Greene said. On a lot of sets, that could get you fired. But no, the man was a prince.”
After Bonanza, David Canary Became Huge Soap Star
After Bonanza, Canary found fame on the ABC soap opera, All My Children. He played Adam Chandler, the delicious, super elegant, super villainous millionaire in Pine Valley, Pa. Most soap opera stars try to use day-time as a push towards a prime-time job. But Canary was so good on All My Children that he never needed to leave daytime.
Plus, Canary played two characters on the soap. He also portrayed Adam’s twin, Stuart, who was as gentle and kind-hearted as Adam was mean and nasty. Adam preferred Brooks Brothers suits, while Stuart wore pullovers and button-downs.
Canary earned 17 daytime Emmy nominations and won five times. He was one of the handful of actors who dominated daytime. He retired in 2010, but returned to All My Children, briefly, in 2011, to help close the show when it was canceled by ABC.
Canary died in 2015 at age 77. Canary was suffering from Alzheimer’s. He was survived by his wife of 33 years and his two children.
At the time of his death, the site Idol Net Worth estimated that the former Bonanza star was worth $8 million.