David Canary's career started off in a way that some might call unexpected. Canary attended the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship, played varsity ball throughout his college career, was a Pop Warner Scholastic All-American there, and graduated as a music major in voice from a unique university program that included study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. A native of Elwood, Indiana, he grew up in Massillon, OH, not far from the Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Mr. Canary went on to make his Broadway debut in Jose Quintero's production of Great Day in the Morning, with Colleen Dewhurst. Then came a draft call from the U.S. Army, and he entered and won the All Army Entertainment Contest for best popular singer. When Mr. Canary left the service, he restarted his career on the West Coast, starring in The Fantasticks in San Francisco. Television and movie roles followed.
Primetime television audiences knew him as Candy in Bonanza, as Russ Gehring in Peyton Place and from numerous guest appearances in other programs, including the made-for-television film The Dain Curse, opposite Ellis Rabb and Jean Simmons. Mr. Canary has also appeared on daytime television as Stephen Frame in Another World. Among his feature films are Hombre, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre and End of a Dark Street. He starred with Marian Seldes in the independently produced comedy film, In a Pig's Eye. He has also been featured in Law & Order and Touched by an Angel.
Periodically Canary has returned to Broadway in such roles as Edouard in Tennessee Williams' Clothes for a Summer Hotel, opposite Geraldine Page and Kenneth Haigh, also directed by Jose Quintero. New York audiences have seen him on stage in the title role of Strindberg's The Father, as El Gallo in The Fantasticks, and in the Broadway musical The Happiest Girl in the World. Other credits includeBlood Moon, Sally's Gone, She Left Her Name with Michael Learned, The Night of the Bear, Cobb, and Orphans, by Lyle Kessler.
In regional and stock theater he played the title role in Macbeth at The Actors Theater of Louisville, Elyot in Noel Coward's Private Lives and a reprise of Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, for John Kenley in Ohio. He also played Macheath in The Beggar's Opera at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and Trigorin in The Sea Gull at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, and he starred in Sweeney Todd at the North Shore Music Theatre. Mr. Canary returned to North Shore in the fall of 1998 to play the mercurial poet in Kismet. He has also performed Clarence Darrow, a one-man play by David Rintels.
David Canary died of natural causes on November 16, 2015, at the age of 77. For more on the passing of David Canary, please click here.