Square-jawed, mellow-voiced character actor David Canary achieved his greatest prominence on television, in roles that typecast him as a "man's man" with an unmistakably tough edge but a smooth demeanor and approach. Born in Elwood, IN, Canary grew up in Ohio as the son of a JC Penney manager. He took to musical performance (as a baritone vocalist) during adolescence, then after high school attended the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship and concurrently took classes at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, qualifying as the first person to combine studies at both institutions, graduating as a music major in voice from the university. During that period, the university theater director, Paul Rutledge, observed Canary's innate dramatic gifts and strongly encouraged the student to try out for roles in numerous productions, many of which he landed with great ease, thereby opening himself up to a talent all but unrecognized and untapped, and paving the way for a prestigious foray into acting that commenced with several years of summer stock. Canary began his professional acting career on-stage, in musicals, but he made his Broadway debut in the play Great Day in the Morning, opposite Colleen Dewhurst. His career was put on hold for a time when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed at a base in Texas, but he made the most of it, entertaining the troops and winning the All Army Entertainment Contest for best popular singer. When his service time was completed, Canary returned to the theater, but it wasn't long before he moved into filmed work.
As a professional actor, Canary divided his time between big- and small-screen outings, but placed his strongest emphasis on television. He is best known for two ongoing, multi-season series roles: Candy, a wanderer hired onto the Cartwright property as a ranch hand, on the immensely popular Western saga Bonanza (a part held from 1967 through 1970 and again during the final season of 1972-1973), and -- on a much different note -- long-running portrayals of twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on the ABC daytime drama All My Children. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi