Adam Kennedy (actor)

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Adam Kennedy
Maria Tsien Adam Kennedy The Californians 1958.jpg
Kennedy with Maria Tsien in The Californians, 1958.
Born(1922-03-10)March 10, 1922
DiedOctober 16, 1997(1997-10-16) (aged 75)
Alma materDePauw University
OccupationActor (The Californians), Novelist, Screenwriter, Painter
Years active1955-1980
Spouse(s)Susan Adams Kennedy (?-1997) (his death)
ChildrenRegan Kennedy
Jack Kennedy
Anne Kennedy Stromsted

Adam Kennedy (March 10, 1922 – October 16, 1997) was an American actor, screenwriter, novelist, and painter, who starred as the Irish-American newspaper editor Dion Patrick during the first season, 1957–1958, of NBC's western television series, The Californians. Set in the San Francisco, California, of the 1850s, Patrick in the story line works with the vigilantes to restore order from the unrest created by the miners, the Forty-Niners.[1]

Early years[edit]

Originally from Otterbein near Lafayette, Indiana, Kennedy graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He studied acting under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan.[2]

Kennedy's first acting role, though uncredited was at the age of thirty-three as Yip Ryan, a United States Army pilot in the 1955 film, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. The film also starred Gary Cooper as Billy Mitchell and Dayton Lummis as General Douglas MacArthur.

In 1956 and 1957, he appeared in three episodes of the religiously themed anthology series Crossroads: as Don in "God's Healing"; as Ed Buckley in "Paratroop Padre"; and as Art Jackson in the series finale, "Half Mile Down". During this same period of time, Kennedy was cast as Benton in the episode "In a Small Motel" on the Chevron Hall of Stars and in "Outpost" on the H.J. Heinz Company's Studio 57.[1]

In 1957, he appeared in two syndicated series about the United States Navy: Men of Annapolis ("Mister Number Five") and The Silent Service ("The Spearfish Delivers"). That same year, he appeared in another anthology, CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, as Adam Dempster in the episode "A Man on the Run".[1]

Acting career[edit]

Cast in The Californians, Kennedy appeared in such episodes as "Skeleton in the Closet", "Pipeline", "The Foundling", "Second Trial", "The Inner Circle", "The Golden Bride", "Murietta", "Shanghai Queen", "Bridal Bouquet", and "Golden Grapes", his final segment on the program aired on June 17, 1958. His co-stars were Sean McClory and Herbert Rudley.[1]

Between 1955 and 1958, Kennedy appeared in four different roles in the CBS anthology series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars: as Charlie in "The Careless Cadet", as George in "Always the Best Man", as Johnnie in "The Blue Hotel", and as Steve Elliot in "The Trouble with Ruth". He appeared too in 1959 with Mary Astor, Suzanne Pleshette, and Inger Stevens in the episode "Diary of a Nurse" of CBS's Playhouse 90.[1]

He appeared twice on the half-hour version of CBS's Gunsmoke: as Andy Travis in "Kite's Reward" (1955) and as Bert Wells in "Gentleman's Disagreement" (1960). In 1962, he appeared as Sam Hagen in the episode "Stopover in Paradise" of another CBS western, Frontier Circus, starring Chill Wills. In 1965, he appeared as Brock Hayden in the NBC soap opera The Doctors. His final screen role was an uncredited part in the 1980 television movie, Act of Love, starring Ron Howard and Robert Foxworth and directed by Jud Taylor.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

After his acting career ended, Kennedy adapted a novel into a screenplay for Stanley Kramer's 1977 film, The Domino Principle, which stars Gene Hackman as a convict who becomes an assassin.[2] Kennedy wrote nine other screenplays, including Raise the Titanic, The Dove and Barlow's Kingdom. He penned twenty novels, including The Killing Season (1967), Maggie D. (1973), Just Like Humphrey Bogart (1978), The Fires of Summer (1987) and Somebody's Fool (1993). Kennedy's oil paintings and watercolors have been displayed in the United States and Europe.[2] In 1952, he was hailed in Paris as that city's most influential American painter.[3]

Kennedy was married twice, first to the model Barbara Lee, with whom he had two sons, Regan Kennedy, living in New York City at the time of his father's death, and Jack Kennedy, of Santa Barbara, California. He also had a daughter, Anne Kennedy Stromsted of Norway, with the actress Liv Stromsted. At his death he was married to the actress and radio host Susan Adams. According to his former agent, Kennedy died at the age of seventy-five of a heart attack at home in Kent in Litchfield County in western Connecticut.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Adam Kennedy". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Adam Kennedy, 77, Novelist and an Actor". The New York Times. November 9, 1997. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009.The New York Times has his age at death wrong. He was 75, not 77.
  3. ^ "Adam Kennedy; Actor Also Wrote Novels and Was Acclaimed Painter". The Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1997. October 21, 1997. Retrieved March 30, 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

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