Even as a child, I had no taste for pretty boys–give me your intense, misunderstood miscreants, your dark and complicated antiheroes. Give me Adam Chandler from the dearly departed All My Children, masterfully portrayed by David Canary, who passed away yesterday at age 77 from natural causes.
Adam was introduced as a wealthy businessman who financed Erica Kane’s autobiographical movie (titled Raising Kane, natch) and married her, to boot. Over the 27 years he spent on All My Children, he married (or was known to have married) 10 women (several of them twice or more), introduced a sweet, sensitive twin named Stuart, and fathered or adopted eight children.
He behaved like a total bastard to all of them. And yet you loved him anyway! That was due to the skill and charisma of five-time Daytime Emmy Award-winner Canary, who drew a portrait of a power-hungry man who clawed his way up from poverty to protect his loved ones–and yet ultimately didn’t believe he was worthy of love.
I mean, just look at some of the things he pulled (from Soap Central):
- Had his brother Stuart locked up in the west wing of the Chandler mansion for years
- Faked his own death to test wife Erica Kane
- Illegally divorced Erica; had Stuart stand in for him
- Cheated on wife Brooke English with their maid, Dixie Cooney, after learning Brooke was infertile and couldn’t produce a male heir (in his defense, Brooke told him the marriage was over and Dixie was hot to trot!)
- Tried to drive wife Dixie crazy, in order to get custody of their son, Adam Jr. (okay that was bad)
- Hired a thug to shoot lifelong rival Palmer Cortlandt
- Blackmailed Erica into marrying him again
- Kidnapped Erica and took her to Canada
- Staged his own kidnapping to test wife Gloria Marsh’s loyalty (I see a pattern here . . . )
- Swapped Jake Martin’s sperm specimen with his own so that wife Liza Colby would have his child
- Tossed Arlene Vaughn’s lifeless body overboard from the Fidelity after believing that his daughter Hayley had killed her (Arlene sucked)
- Kidnapped wife Krystal Carey’s baby and planned to sell it on the black market (what, the baby was Tad Martin’s!)
My favorite Adam pairing was of course, levelheaded former wild child/magazine journalist/Erica Kane’s rival Brooke English. Theirs was a sexy, mature romance between intellectual equals that just crackled with chemistry–even when Brooke knew being with Adam was a bad idea (especially when it was a bad idea). The silver lining of the demise of All My Children is that they looked like they were finally gonna make it work!
Here’s a great, hilarious clip of their 2002 affair:
I enjoyed Canary’s portrayal of sweet, sensitive Stuart as well–although that got a little weird in the later years. When Stuart was first introduced, he was clearly meant to be somewhat mentally disabled, and yet they eventually featured him in a romance and marriage with the very adult Marian Colby (mother of Adam’s then-wife Liza Colby–soaps!). So that was kind of Big for me. But whatever.
So goodbye, David Canary, and goodbye, Adam Chandler, you magnificent bastard! The world is a little less entertaining without you.