Jody McCrea (left) with father, Joel, in Wichita Town, 1959
|Born||Joel Dee McCrea
September 6, 1934
Los Angeles, California, US
|Died||April 4, 2009
Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
|Other names||Joel D. McCrea
Joel Dee McCrea
|Spouse(s)||Dusty Ironwing McCrea (m. 1976; died 1996)|
|Relatives||Stepchildren: Jaquet Ironwing, David Ironwing|
Joel Dee McCrea, known as Jody McCrea (September 6, 1934 – April 4, 2009), was an American film and television actor; son of veteran film actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. He was married to Dusty Ironwing McCrea from 1976, until her death in 1996. He is survived by the stepchildren he raised, Jaquet Ironwing and David Ironwing.
Jody McCrea served in the United States Army, Special Services. He later briefly hosted Country Style, USA, an Army-produced recruiting television program filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring various country entertainers. He began acting on the 1959–1960 television series Wichita Town with his father. He went on to star in films (mainly westerns), including the World War I drama Lafayette Escadrille, The Broken Land (with Jack Nicholson), Law of the Lawless, and Cry Blood, Apache, which he also produced.
In 1959, McCrea costarred with his father in the short-lived NBC western Wichita Town, set in Wichita, Kansas. Joel McCrea appeared as Marshal Mike Dunbar. Jody McCrea did not portray the role of Joel's son on the program but as the deputy marshal, Ben Matheson.
He was most notable for his comedic role as dumb-minded "Deadhead" ("Bonehead") in the 1960s Beach Party films made by American International Pictures. Other beach movies in which he has appeared include Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, and Beach Blanket Bingo.
He made several television appearances, including Wagon Train, Vacation Playhouse, and The Greatest Show on Earth. He played Lieutenant Brannin, a cocky cavalry officer based loosely on George Armstrong Custer, in Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee (1965), but his scene was deleted from the final cut.
In the early 1960s, Jody made an amusing appearance on the popular TV show I've Got a Secret as part of a group of entertainers related to famous Hollywood personalities.
When cast in the beach pictures, McCrea realized his comedic potential. When first offered the role of "Deadhead", for example, he was quoted at the time as saying that he "wasn't sure what the character would become". McCrea felt that the audience enjoyed Deadhead as they felt superior to him.
McCrea was an avid body builder, and the only actor appearing in the American International Pictures beach movies who could actually surf.
He recorded a 45 rpm single in 1964 for Canjo Records to coincide with the film Bikini Beach (Side A: "Chicken Surfer"/Side B: "Looney Gooney Bird")
Later career and death
Although he occasionally acted in community theater, McCrea retired from acting in 1970 after his final film Cry Blood, Apache. He became a rancher in Roswell, New Mexico, where he died in 2009 of a heart attack at age 74.
|1955||Lucy Gallant||Tom Dunning||Uncredited
Alternative title: Oil Town
|1956||The First Texan||Lt. Baker|
|Naked Gun||Young man||Alternative title: The Hanging Judge|
|1957||The Monster That Challenged the World||Seaman Fred Johnson|
|Trooper Hook||Trooper Whittaker||Uncredited|
|1958||Lafayette Escadrille||Tom Hitchcock||Alternative titles: C'est la guerre
Hell Bent for Glory
With You in My Arms
|The Restless Years||Bruce Mitchell||Alternative title: The Wonderful Years|
|1961||All Hands on Deck||Lt. J.G. Schuyler|
|Force of Impulse||Phil Anderson|
|1962||The Broken Land||Deputy Ed Flynn|
|Young Guns of Texas||Jeff Shelby|
|1963||Operation Bikini||Seaman William Sherman||Alternative title: The Seafighters|
|Law of the Lawless||Pete Stone||Alternative title: Invitation to a Hanging|
|1964||Muscle Beach Party||Deadhead|
|Pajama Party||Big Lunk|
|Major Dundee||Lt. Brannin||Uncredited|
|Beach Blanket Bingo||Bonehead|
|How to Stuff a Wild Bikini||Bonehead|
|1966||The Girls from Thunder Strip||Pike|
|1967||Sam||Alternative title: The Hottest Fourth of July in the History of Brewster County|
|1968||The Glory Stompers||Darryl|
|1969||Scream Free!||Agent No. 1||Credited as Joel Dee McCrea
Alternative titles: Free Grass
|1970||Cry Blood, Apache||Pitcalin||Producer|
|1985||Lady Streetfighter||Credited as Joel D. McCrea|
|1956||Chevron Hall of Stars||Danny||1 episode|
|1957||Studio One||Bobby Applegate||1 episode|
|1958||Sergeant Preston of the Yukon||Jerry Turner||1 episode|
|Kraft Television Theatre||1 episode|
|1959||Wichita Town||Deputy Ben Matheson||4 episodes|
|1959||Jukebox Jury||"Juror" commenting on latest release by the Kingston Trio -- Raspberries, Strawberries||1 episode|
|1961||Guestward, Ho!||Danny "Brave Eagle"||1 episode|
|1962||Death Valley Days||Lt. John F. Pershing||1 episode|
|1964||The Greatest Show on Earth||Patrick Kelly||1 episode|
|1965||Wagon Train||Calvin||1 episode|
|Vacation Playhouse||Julius "Bulldog" Sweetley||1 episode|
- "Jody McCrea, Actor in 'Beach Party' Films, Dies at 74". The New York Times. April 17, 2009.
- "The Tide Goes Out for 'Beach Party'". Cinema Retro. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- Official website
- Jody McCrea at the Internet Movie Database
- Jody McCrea at Find a Grave
- Jody McCrea at Brian's Drive-in Theatre
- Obituary at Los Angeles Times