04/11/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
The premature death of funny man John Candy (PEOPLE, March 21), at 43, prompted correspondents to celebrate the pleasure they took from his work. A small minority expressed their unhappiness with what they felt were too many references to the late comedian's weight.
My own John Candy encounter may shed a lot of light on the Hollywood community in general and Candy's popularity in particular. I served as a backstage press escort at the Academy Awards for three years. I guided dozens of nominees and presenters through the often grueling press interviews and photo shoots most Oscar participants engage in once they leave the stage. Needless to say, the ego level in that environment is almost impossible to describe. Of all the actors and actresses I worked with during those three years, only one turned to me and said "Thank you" when we parted company—John Candy. I'll never forget that.
ED MARTIN, Norwalk, Conn.
God does indeed work in mysterious ways. There are people in the world who lie, steal, cheat and kill and are worthless to themselves and society. Yet someone who is bright, beautiful, kind and loving like John Candy is suddenly whisked away. He made us laugh and cry and gave so much pleasure to our world.
LISA INMAN, Festus, Mo.
It was hard enough to deal with the death of such a young, gifted comedian. It was even harder to read the unfeeling stories from the smut magazines. I was angry at the needless puns about his weight and eating habits. Who cares! What about his talent, generosity and sweetness? As an overweight person myself, I have always admired John for not letting the sometimes cruel world stop him from pursuing his dream.
JULIE PHILLIPS, Spring Hill, Fla.
You obviously see the brilliant John Candy as a fat man who happened to be a fine actor. Your well-intentioned tribute to him was spoiled by one fat reference after another. Candy's cigarette smoking and family history of heart disease were equally lethal. We have lost a gem, and the whys are unimportant.
STEVE ANTON, Houston
I wish to compliment you on a fine tribute to one of my favorite actors, John Candy. As a practicing bariatric physician—weight-loss doctor—I felt certain that Mr. Candy was more than the 275 pounds that other news sources had reported. At 330 pounds, he would have been about 78 percent over his ideal weight. Men greater than 50 percent overweight have at least a 71 percent greater risk of death than normal-weight men, so John Candy was truly a walking time bomb for a heart attack. Certainly other factors could have contributed to his death. However, you performed a great public service in using his story to highlight the risks of excessive weight.
LARRY ALAN RICHARDSON, M.D., Humble, Texas
It absolutely enrages me to hear David Kellyhouse casually condone the systematic killing of Alaskan wolves in order to preserve the so-called human "use opportunity" of the Delta caribou. And this man is the director of wildlife conservation? Thinning the ranks of predatory bureaucrats like David Kellyhouse would create no threat, as far as I can see, to the population of politicians in Alaska or any part of this country.
MAGGIE HOELZL, Newport Beach Calif.
Three months ago I wrote letters to Alaska governor Walter Hickel and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to express my outrage at the senseless killing of wolves in Alaska. To date, I have not heard one word from either. Their silence has only made me more determined to help these intelligent animals. Some wolf facts: 1. Wolves mate for life. 2. Males and females take equal roles in raising the pups. 3. Wolves kill other animals only for food. 4. There has never been an attack on humans by a healthy wolf. Humans should have such a good track record!
LINDA SHANNON, Bremerton, Wash.
I can't even describe the anger I feel after reading 'The Killing Fields." Not only do I find the methods of elimination inhumane but I question the need for them at all. My family was considering a cruise to Alaska, but in light of this information we are changing our travel plans.
MICHELLE WILSON, Imperial Pa.
Your article is a one-sided, unsubstantiated piece of animal-rights propaganda. First, who said Gordon Haber is "an expert on wolves"? Let's set the record straight: Predators kill over 80 percent of Alaska's prey species, humans take 3 to 5 percent. In reality, it's the moose, caribou and sheep that benefit from predator control. The true "killing fields" is from antihunting groups who are making a killing from their misinformed fund-raising techniques.
GREG MACHACEK, North Pole, Alaska
Out of respect to Dinah Shore, and as tribute to her lifelong accomplishments, I would have expected to see her photo on the cover, given priority over Sharon Stone and her flavor-of-the-month boyfriend.
KAREN ANN JOHNSON, Indianapolis