Award Winning Actor George Kennedy Dies

Academy Award winning actor George Kennedy died February 28 in Boise, Idaho only 10 days after his 91st birthday. Grandson Cory Schenkel stated that Kennedy had been in ill health since the death of Kennedy’s wife last year.

Spending over 50 years as an actor, Kennedy is best known for his “Cool Hand Luke”, the “Airport” movies, and the “Naked Gun” series.

After his 1956 uncredited debut, Kennedy went on to appear in over 180 productions including the television series “Colt. 45”, “Cheyenne”, “Laramie”, “Peter Gunn”, “Maverick”, “Route 66”, “The Asphalt Jungle”, “Bat Masterson”, “The Untouchables”, “Rawhide”, “Death Valley Days”, “Tales of Wells Fargo”, “77 Sunset Strip”, “Have Gun – Will Travel”, “Perry Mason”, “McHale’s Navy”, “Bonanza”, “Daniel Boone”, “The Big Valley”, “Gunsmoke”, “Dr. Kildare”, “The Virginian”, “Ironside”, “Sarge”, “The Blue Knight”, “Fantasy Island”, “The Love Boat”, Carter McKay in 74 episodes of “Dallas”, and four episodes of “The Young and the Restless”.

His film credits include “Spartacus”, “Strait-Jacket”, “Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte”, “Shenandoah”, “The Sons of Katie Elder”, “The Flight of the Phoenix”, “The Dirty Dozen”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “The Boston Strangler”, “…tick…tick…tick…”, “Airport”, “Cahil U.S. Marshall”, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”, “Earthquake”, “The Eiger Sanction”, “Death on the Nile”, “The Delta Force”, “Creepshow 2”, “Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues”, and his final movie role in 2014 in “The Gambler”.

Kennedy made his only appearance on Broadway in the original musical “John Henry”.

He was born George Harris Kennedy Jr the son of an orchestra leader and ballet dancer on February 18, 1925 in New York City. With World War II having just broken out, Kennedy joined the Army when he was only 15 years old and that is where he spent the next 16 years working with the Armed Forces Radio.

It wasn’t until after he left the service that Kennedy went into acting. His first television role was that of a soldier on “The Phil Silvers Show”.

An author, Kennedy penned novels and his autobiography “Trust Me”.

Predeceased by his fourth wife Joan, Kennedy is survived by two children and grandchildren.

 


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