Catherine O’Hara Reveals Crush On ‘Home Alone’ Co-Star John Candy

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Catherine O'Hara recalls working with John Candy on Home Alone and beyondCatherine O'Hara recalls working with John Candy on Home Alone and beyond

Home Alone crept into people’s hearts with its colorful cast of characters, from the too-clever Kevin to each of the bumbling Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv. Catherine O’Hara co-starred as Kevin’s fretful mothers, and the recurring role gave her a chance to cross paths with comedic legend John Candy, an encounter that left O’Hara quite taken.

John Candy had a smaller role compared to O’Hara, and especially compared to Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin. When Catherine’s Mrs. McCallister is fretting and desperately trying to reach her stranded son, Candy’s Gus Polinski is there in all his polka-loving unorthodox wisdom to ease some of the tension and get Mrs. McCallister back on the right path – and spark some feelings from O’Hara along the way.

Catherine O’Hara had a crush on John Candy while filming ‘Home Alone’

Catherine O'Hara admitted to having a crush on John Candy while they filmed Home AloneCatherine O'Hara admitted to having a crush on John Candy while they filmed Home Alone
Catherine O’Hara admitted to having a crush on John Candy while they filmed Home Alone / YouTube

It’s been said by many who knew Candy – both from colleagues and his family members – that Candy was as sweet as his name. “He was just as lovely as you want him to be,” gushed O’Hara, 69. Any feelings of attraction were entirely one-sided while they filmed the 1990 Christmas classic, as Candy was with Rosemary Hobor, whom he’d married back in 1979.

Candy’s involvement in Home Alone is a bewildering one, as he was paid just a little over $400 for his appearance in the film. Absolutely none of what he said in the film was in the script; it was all improvised by Candy himself.

Candy and O’Hara two had actually first crossed paths back in ‘74 when O’Hara joined the Second City theater troupe as an understudy for comedy powerhouse Gilda Radner.

While promoting her new film, Argylle, O’Hara continued, “I wouldn’t claim he was interested in me that way. But he was always really lovely to me in Second City Theater.”

John Candy lived up to his name

SCTV, (top): John Candy, (middle): Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, (bottom): Dave Thomas, Eugene LevySCTV, (top): John Candy, (middle): Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, (bottom): Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy
SCTV, (top): John Candy, (middle): Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, (bottom): Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy, 1976-81 / Everett Collection

Sadly, Candy died in 1994, just a few short years after filming once more with O’Hara; he was just 43 when he passed away in his sleep from a heart attack. However, he left many pleasant memories for all who worked with him.

He would always be willing to do an improv with me after the show,” shared O’Hara. “You do a show and then you do improvs after the show. That’s how you build the next show at Second City Theater. And he was always willing to try any idea.”

O'Hara and Candy crossed paths multiple times over the yearsO'Hara and Candy crossed paths multiple times over the years
O’Hara and Candy crossed paths multiple times over the years / TM and © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved

She also admired his creativity and devotion to the craft. When Candy interacted with audiences, he was dedicated to following some key rules of improv, especially when it came to use some helpful phrases. “People always say, ‘Yes, and …,’” explained O’Hara, “but ‘no, but …’ is just as important. Are you the doctor?’ ‘No, but I played one in commercials.’ He was the king of that.”

O’Hara also recalled, “You’d be on the street with him, in a mall, and somebody would come up and just want to do a comedy bit with him, and he would always pick up on it right away and give something back and see their eyes light up, like, ‘Oh, I’m doing a bit with John Candy.’”

She added, “It’s so nice to be able to not have to make up any bull, because people loved him. And when people ask, ‘What was he like?’ they want to hear what they think he’d be like. And it’s so lovely to be able to validate their guesses about what he would be like in person.”

SCTV, clockwise from top left: Joe Flaherty as Guy Caballero, Andrea Martin as Edith Prickley (center), Catherine O'hara as Lola Heatherton, John Candy as Johnny LaRue, Eugene Levy as Bobby Bittman, Martin Short as Ed Grimley, Rick Moranis as Bob MacKenzieSCTV, clockwise from top left: Joe Flaherty as Guy Caballero, Andrea Martin as Edith Prickley (center), Catherine O'hara as Lola Heatherton, John Candy as Johnny LaRue, Eugene Levy as Bobby Bittman, Martin Short as Ed Grimley, Rick Moranis as Bob MacKenzie
SCTV, clockwise from top left: Joe Flaherty as Guy Caballero, Andrea Martin as Edith Prickley (center), Catherine O’hara as Lola Heatherton, John Candy as Johnny LaRue, Eugene Levy as Bobby Bittman, Martin Short as Ed Grimley, Rick Moranis as Bob MacKenzie, 1976-1981 / Everett Collection

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