The rumors are true. ‘All My Children’s David Canary, who won five Daytime Emmys for his portrayal of twins Adam and Stuart Chandler, has announced that he will be leaving the show this spring. Though ABC’s official press release characterizes his departure as a decision to retire, in a recent interview show creator Agnes Nixon revealed that the 72 year old actor did not want to permanently relocate from New York to Los Angeles. Though his decision is certainly understandable, it is a tremendous loss for both the show and its fans.
Canary is quite simply one of the best actors on television, daytime or primetime. As Adam Chandler, he is powerful, sexy and controlling. I never had any trouble believing that any of his love interests found him attractive, no matter how young they were. Nor did I ever question that he has the business acumen to, as he once bragged, stabilize currencies. As Adam’s developmentally challenged brother Stuart, he was gentle and loving without ever resorting to any of the performance cliches mocked in ‘Tropic Thunder.’ I have long suspected that Stuart’s relationship with the HIV positive Cindy, in the era before there were any treatments for AIDS, was the inspiration for ‘Forrest Gump.’
Ironically, Canary did some of his best work in one of AMC’s worst storylines, the whodunnit murder of Stuart Chandler. The ridiculous revelation that a drugged Adam killed Stuart in a botched suicide attempt gave Canary the opportunity to deliver a gutwrenching performance that is guaranteed to get him another Emmy nomination.
Adam had, in my opinion, three great loves: Erica, Brooke and Liza. ABC’s press release claims that “Fans can expect a scandalous end to his marriage to Annie (Melissa Claire Egan) and a reunion with one of his former ex-wives.” In other words, he will leave Pine Valley with Brooke. If he has to leave, that is a satisfying resolution. Canary also promises this is not the last time we’ll see Adam. In a classy farewell statement he writes, ““My career on ‘All My Children’ has given me more than words could ever convey, both professionally and personally. I have cherished each and every moment. I would like to thank all the fans who have tuned in throughout the years. Their love and support has meant the world to me. I truly feel that I will leave the show in great hands. Viewers will be happy with how Adam departs the canvas, and I know that leaving JR as head of the Chandler household will continue to provide the show with many great stories to come. This is not the last you’ve seen of Adam Chandler. I will be back to check up on the Chandler Clan.”
I cannot help hoping that if the show’s quality improves permanently he might be inspired to return to Pine Valley full time. Until then, I intend to savor every remaining moment of Adam Chandler.