Canary died of natural causes on November 16, according to a Bouton Funeral Home obituary posted Tuesday
. He is survived by wife, Maureen, and two adult children.
Canary delighted audiences in the dual roles of diabolical businessmen Adam Chandler, patriarch of the wealthy Pine Valley family, and his kinder counterpart Stuart, who spends years locked in the west wing of the Chandler mansion thanks to his twin brother.
Canary made his debut as the Chandler brothers in 1984, earning five outstanding actor daytime Emmys and 16 nominations before retiring from acting full-time in 2010. He returned to the role briefly before the show's final episode in September 2011.
Canary was born on August 25, 1938, in Elwood, Indiana, and grew up in Massillon, Ohio, where he seemed destined for a career on the gridiron. He played football in high school and earned a football scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated with a major in music, according to his obituary. He turned down an offer to play with the Denver Broncos to move to New York pursue an acting career.
He got his start acting in regional theater and summer stock before making his Broadway debut in "Great Day in the Morning" with Colleen Dewhurst. After two years of service with the U.S. Army, he moved to Los Angeles to find work in film and television.
His film roles included "Hombre" with Paul Newman and "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" with Jason Robards. He broke into television with a stint as Mia Farrow's physical therapist in the popular soap "Peyton Place" followed by roles in the popular Westerns "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza." In the latter, he played ranch foreman Candy Canaday.
He returned to New York in 1975 and met his future wife. He landed stage roles including Tennessee Williams' final play "Clothes for a Summer Hotel" opposite Geraldine Page.
Canary played shrewd businessman Steve Frame on the NBC soap "Another World" from 1981 to 1983 before joining "All My Children" on ABC for his most memorable role.
In a release, ABC said, "For more than two decades David Canary defined daytime drama on ABC. Our hearts go out to his family and we mourn his passing."
Fans and "All My Children" co-stars mourned his death.
"You were the epitome of class. It was a joy and an honor to call you a colleague," said Sarah Michelle Gellar, who appeared on the show as Kendall Hart from 1993 to 1995.
"So sad to learn of the passing of the great David Canary. A incredibly talented actor. A wonderful man. I was lucky to know you," said Kelly Ripa, who played his daughter.