How John Candy Helped Days Of Our Lives' John Kapelos Shape His Career

With all the crazy supernatural happenings that tend to occur on "Days of Our Lives," it came as no surprise to fans of the '90s supernatural drama "Forever Knight" that one of its stars, John Kapelos, made his way to Salem. On "Forever Knight," Kapelos played Detective Don Schanke, partner to Detective Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies), who also happened to be a vampire (although Schanke never learned that secret). Kapelos was in the original pilot, starring alongside "General Hospital" alum Rick Springfield who played the title vampire. Since April 2023, Kapelos has played the scheming Konstantin Meleounis on "Days."

Kapelos has enjoyed a long acting career, starting his screen career with a small role in the 1981 James Caan thriller, "Thief." But before he emerged as a film and TV star, Kapelos honed his acting skills in Canada, where the legendary comedian John Candy proved to be a big influence.

In a January 2024 interview, Kapelos told Soap Opera Digest that he'd taken classes at the Second City improv school in Toronto, stating: "Next to my family, Second City was the most formative experience in my life. I owe a lot to it." He was very glad to have the guidance he received there, especially from Candy. "John Candy ... was a big mentor in my early career," he said. Kapelos added: "I could have gotten lost; instead, I had to go work in the theater every night. And that was a blessing."

John Kapelos' father gave him one year to get a job

"Days of Our Lives" star John Kapelos' career has thus far been extraordinary. He was in no less than three John Hughes classic films — "Sixteen Candles" (1984), "The Breakfast Club" (1985), and "Weird Science" (1986) — as well as an incredible amount of other films and TV shows. Originally from London, Ontario, the Canadian actor set out at age 21 to seek his fortune.

On the podcast "The Mild Adventures of Fred Stoller," he explained that when he made the decision to become an actor, his father stated: "”Listen, okay if you wanna be an actor, you do it for one year, and if you don't get a job in a year, you're going back to school.'" Kapelos rose to the challenge, saying, "So that motivated me and within three months I got a job with Second City in Chicago." Having already trained at the Toronto branch of Second City, Kapelos was a good fit for its Chicago location and he found there were a lot of jobs in the city.

Kapelos stayed in touch with John Candy. Years after being mentored by the comedy great, Kapelos went to visit the iconic comedian on the set of "Delirious" (1991). Kapelos recalled that the camera person looked at Candy and made an inappropriate joke regarding his weight. Candy didn't stand for it and yelled loudly enough that the set went quiet. Their friendship would go on until Candy sadly died on set in 1994.

John Candy encouraged John Kapelos to go to Second City in Chicago

"Days of Our Lives" star John Kapelos also explained in his Soap Opera Digest interview that it was John Candy who urged him to join Second City in Chicago. His dad was concerned that he would end up working menial jobs. "My father, God rest his soul, said to me, 'If you're going to become an actor, don't become a bartender. Become an actor. Get a job where they pay you.'" He further stated that his mother was from Boston and retained her American citizenship, making him a citizen as well. He revealed that, in a serendipitous moment, his American passport arrived in the mail on the same day as his audition for Second City in Chicago. It was the start of a new life for the rising star. "They accepted me and I never looked back," he said.

In a 2012 interview with Kickin' it Old School (via Rediscover the '80s), Kapelos recounted his time with the comedy group: "I toured for three years and was in the main company for five. That's really where I learned how to act, how to improvise and how to work."

Of the late Candy, he stated: "He really was a wonderful person and obviously a great performer. Sadly, he is missed after dying way too young. He was also a really, really good teacher." Kapelos is glad that, through John Candy's guidance, he never had to go back to school.