David Canary was born on August 25 1938 in Elwood, Indiana. He attended the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship and majored in music. It was while he was at the University of Cincinnati that he developed an interest in acting. The Denver Broncos tried to recruit him for a career in professional American football, but David Canary turned them down to move to New York City to pursue a career in acting instead. He served two years in the United States Army before resuming his acting career.
David Canary made his debut on Broadway in The Happiest Girl in the World in 1961. He appeared on Broadway in the production Great Day in the Morning in 1962. In 1965 he made his television debut in a regular role on the night-time soap opera Peyton Place. In 1967 Mr. Canary was cast in the role of Candy Canaday, the Cartwrights' ranch foreman, on the classic TV Western Bonanza. He remained in the role for three years before leaving due to a contract dispute. He returned to the show for its final season. In the Sixties David Canary also guest starred on Gunsmoke, Dundee and the Culhane, and Cimarron Strip. He made his film debut in Hombre in 1967. In the Sixties he appeared in the films The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967) and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969).
In the Seventies David Canary had a recurring role in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He guest starred on the shows The F.B.I., Hawaii Five-O, Bearcats!, Alias Smith and Jones, Police Story, Kung Fu, and S.W.A.T. He appeared in the mini-series The Dain Curse. He appeared in the films Sharks' Treasure (1975), Posse (1975), and Johnny Firecloud (1975) .He appeared on Broadway in Clothes for a Summer Hotel.
In 1984 David Canary joined the cast of the soap opera All My Children, where he remained for nearly thirty years. In the Eighties he also appeared on the soap opera Another World. He appeared in an edition of American Playhouse on PBS, as well as in the feature film In a Pig's Eye (1990). In the Nineties he guest starred on Remember WENN and Law & Order. He appeared in the feature film Secret Santa.
In the Naughts David Canary guest starred on the soap opera One Life to Life, as well as the primetime semi-anthology Touched by An Angel. In the teens he guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
During his career David Canary also appeared frequently on stage, in such productions as The Fantastics, Kismet, Macbeth, The Man of La Mancha, and The Seagull.
For many, perhaps most, people David Canary will always be Candy Canaday on Bonanza. He was perfectly cast as the gutsy and confidant ranch foreman. As a member of the cast of Bonanza David Canary fit in so well that it was hard to believe that he was not one of the Cartwright family. Indeed, besides Hoss, Little Joe, and Ben Cartwright themselves, he might be the most popular character on the show (possibly more popular even than Adam Cartwright).
Of course, David Canary played many other roles besides Candy, some of them as far removed from the brave ranch foreman as possible. He played gangster Frank Gusenberg in The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Reportedly one of his two characters on All My Children (he played twins) was the ruthless businessman Adam Chandler. Although perhaps best known for playing a Western hero, David Canary was perfectly capable of playing villains. He was quite versatile.