REST IN PEACE GEORGE KENNEDY …
One of my favorite supporting actors of all times has died, George Kennedy has passed away at the age of 91. As reported, George Kennedy was born in New York City and he first appeared onstage at the age of two. But would later spend 16 years in the U.S. Army, ultimately working for Armed Forces Radio. Most remember Kennedy for his role with Paul Newman in the movie favorite, “Cool Hand Luke” and the 1970′s films “Airport” and “Earthquake.” Of course those films were classics, but I liked him as well in other movies such as “Delta Force,” “The Dirty Dozen,” and the TV series “The Blue Knight.”
George Kennedy winning Best Supporting Actor For Cool Hand Luke
George Kennedy, who won a supporting actor Oscar for his role alongside Paul Newman in the beloved film “Cool Hand Luke,” and was also a fixture of 1970s disaster movies including the “Airport” franchise and “Earthquake,” died Sunday in Boise, Idaho. He was 91. His grandson Cory Schenkel reported the death on his Facebook page.
While Kennedy largely played gruff, blue-collar characters in dramas and genre films, he allowed a comedic side to emerge in the deadpan “The Naked Gun” movies.
Kennedy appeared in all four of the “Airport” movies of the 1970s as Joe Patroni, the reluctant, cigar-chomping but highly effective chief mechanic who could be counted upon when the chips were down and supreme expertise was required. He also turned in a powerful performance in 1975’s “Earthquake” as the hearty, sentimental police sergeant Slade, who helps where he can in the wake of the devastating temblor.
Kennedy toiled in the TV trenches for much of the 1960s, especially guesting on Westerns — and occasionally appearing in supporting roles in high-profile films such as “In Harm’s Way,” “The Sons of Katie Elder,” “The Flight of the Phoenix” and “The Dirty Dozen.”
New York Times Obit – George Kennedy, Versatile Actor Who Won an Oscar for ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ Dies at 91.
George Kennedy, who played tough guys, oafs, G.I.’s and a bonanza of cowboys as one of Hollywood’s most versatile and durable character actors, and who won an Oscar as the best supporting actor of 1967 for his performance in the Paul Newman film “Cool Hand Luke,” died on Sunday in Boise, Idaho. He was 91.
No critic ever spoke of a George Kennedy oeuvre. Many of his films were hokey, with absurd plots and over-the-top acting. And, with the exception of his Academy Award performance and his work in about a dozen other films, he was most often a peripheral player, a sidekick of the star or the straight man with setup lines for the comedian.
But from the early 1960s on, hardly a year went by without a Kennedy picture — often there were four or five a year — and he was memorable as the heavy in “Charade” (1963), with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant; as Maj. Max Armbruster on a World War II mission in “The Dirty Dozen” (1967); as a regular in the “Airport” pictures, and later as Leslie Nielsen’s dumbstruck captain in the “Naked Gun” comedies.
He was perhaps best known for his role in “Cool Hand Luke”: Dragline, a chain-gang prisoner whose brutality and compassion as the gang leader not only revealed Mr. Kennedy’s rarely seen range as an actor, but also deftly illuminated the character of his tormented fellow convict, played by Mr. Newman.
George Harris Kennedy Jr. was born in New York City on Feb. 18, 1925, the son of George and Helen Kennedy. His father, a musician and bandleader, died when he was 4, and he was raised by his mother, a ballet dancer. His parents put him on the stage at 2, and he later worked in radio. But his entertainment career got off to a late start.
A military career seemed more likely. After graduating from W. C. Mepham High School in Bellmore, N.Y., he joined the Army, fought in the infantry in Europe in World War II and spent 16 years in the service.