Publicity photo of George Kennedy, 1975
|Born||George Harris Kennedy, Jr.
February 18, 1925
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Eagle, Idaho, U.S.|
|Education||Chaminade High School, Mineola, New York, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, U.S.|
|Years active||1927–1943, 1955–present|
|Home town||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Norma Wurman (1959–1971; divorced)
Joan McCarthy (1978–present)
George Harris Kennedy, Jr. (born February 18, 1925) is an American actor who has appeared in more than two hundred film and television productions. His wide variety of roles include "Dragline" in Cool Hand Luke, for which he won an Academy Award; as Joe Patroni in all four of the 1970s Airport disaster films; as Police Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun series of comedy films; and as corrupt oil tycoon Carter McKay on the original Dallas television series.
Kennedy was born in New York City, into a show business family. His father, George Harris Kennedy, a musician and orchestra leader, died when Kennedy was four years old. He was raised by his mother, Helen A. (née Kieselbach), a ballet dancer. His maternal grandfather was a German immigrant; his ancestry also includes Irish and English.
Kennedy made his stage debut at the age of two, later becoming a radio performer. Kennedy put aside show business during World War II and served in the United States Army for sixteen years, having seen combat and working in Armed Forces radio. He was involved with the opening of the first Army Information Office, which provided technical assistance to films and television shows, like the Phil Silvers Show.
Kennedy became a technical adviser for the television series The Phil Silvers Show; where, after encouragement from Silvers, his acting career began with a few one-line parts. After a very brief appearance in the 1960 blockbuster Spartacus, his film career began in 1961 in The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. He appeared in several prominent Hollywood movies, including Charade (1963); Strait-Jacket (1964); Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964); The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) and In Harm's Way (1965).
He made numerous television appearances on such programs as The Asphalt Jungle, The Andy Griffith Show, Peter Gunn, Bonanza, Maverick, McHale's Navy and Gunsmoke. Kennedy played George Spangler in the 1963 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Greek Goddess." He portrayed the character "Blodgett" in a 1966 episode "Return to Lawrence" of the ABC western series The Legend of Jesse James, starring Christopher Jones in the title role. Then came the role for which Kennedy won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Cool Hand Luke (1967), that of "Dragline", a chain-gang convict who at first resents the new prisoner in camp played by Paul Newman, then comes to idolize the rebellious Luke.
Kennedy followed this role with films such as The Dirty Dozen, Bandolero! and The Boston Strangler. In 1970, he appeared in the Academy Award-winning disaster story Airport, in which he played one of its key characters, airline troubleshooter Joe Patroni. He reprised this role in Airport 1975, Airport '77 and The Concorde ... Airport '79. Continuing to work with some of the biggest names in the business, Kennedy co-starred with Clint Eastwood in a pair of films, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and The Eiger Sanction and with an ensemble cast including Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner in the disaster film Earthquake. He was part of an all-star cast in the Agatha Christie mystery Death on the Nile in 1978.
In 1984, Kennedy starred opposite Bo Derek in the box-office bomb Bolero. He made other minor films including Savage Dawn, The Delta Force, and Creepshow 2 before connecting in the comedy hit The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! in 1988, playing Captain Ed Hocken opposite Leslie Nielsen's comical cop Frank Drebin. There were two sequels in which Kennedy co-starred.
On television, Kennedy starred as Carter McKay in the CBS prime time serial Dallas (1978–1991), appearing from 1988-1991. In the late 1990s, he promoted Breathasure tablets in television commercials with the quote, "I never go anywhere without my Breathasure." Around this time, he reprised his role as McKay in the television films Dallas: JR Returns and Dallas: War of the Ewings. In the late 1970s Kennedy also appeared as a celebrity guest on the television game show Match Game.
In 1998, he voiced Brick Bazooka for the film Small Soldiers. He then made several independent films before making a 2003 comeback to television in the soap opera The Young and the Restless, playing the character Albert Miller, the biological father to legendary character Victor Newman. In 2005, he made a cameo appearance in the small film Don't Come Knocking, playing the director of an ill-fated western.
Kennedy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to motion pictures, located at 6352 Hollywood Blvd.
Kennedy has written three books. In 1983, he wrote the murder mystery Murder On Location, set on a film shoot. A second novel, Murder on High, was released in 1984. In 2011, he wrote his autobiography, Trust Me.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2012)|
Kennedy resides in Eagle in Ada County in southwestern Idaho. He is married to Joan McCarthy and they have a daughter, Shaunna. The couple adopted their granddaughter, Taylor, after the incarceration of the child's mother.
He was also good friends with James Stewart and his voice is featured in a TCM commercial commemorating Stewart.
|1959||Cheyenne||Lee Nelson||episode: "Prisoner of Moon Mesa"|
|1959||Colt .45||Hank||episode: "The Rival Gun"|
|1959||The Deputy||Tex||episode: "The Big Four"|
|1959||Sugarfoot||Sykes||episode: "The Canary Kid, Inc."|
|1960||Gunsmoke||Emil||episode: "The Blacksmith"|
|1960||Peter Gunn||Karl||episode: "The Crossbow"|
|1960||Sugarfoot||Ross Kuhn||episode: "Funeral at Forty Mile"|
|1960||Shotgun Slade||Tex||episode: "The Spanish Box"|
|1960||Laramie||Gallagher Henchman||episode: "Duel at Alta Mesa"|
|1960||Maverick||Deputy Jones||episode: "Hadley's Hunters"|
|1960||The Lawman||Burt||episode: "To Capture the West"|
|1960||Have Gun Will Travel||Tarnitzer||episode: "The Legacy"|
|1960||Have Gun Will Travel||Lt. John Bryson||episode: "A Head of Hair"|
|1961||Bat Masterson||Sherriff||episode: "The Fourth Man"|
|1961||Have Gun Will Travel||Preston||episode: "The Road"|
|1961||Have Gun Will Travel||Deke||episode: "The Vigil"|
|1961||Have Gun Will Travel||Rud Saxon||episode: "A Proof of Life"|
|1961||Have Gun Will Travel||Brother Grace||episode: "Squatter's Rights"|
|1961||Gunsmoke||Pat Swooner||episode: "Big Man"|
|1961||The Untouchables||Birdie||episode: "The King of Champagne"|
|1961||Gunslinger||episode: Sheriff||episode: "The Buried People"|
|1961||Bonanza||Peter Long||episode: "The Infernal Machine"|
|1961||Gunsmoke||Jake Bayloe||episode: Kitty Shot|
|1962||The Tall Man||Hyram Killgore||episode: "One for All"|
|1962||Rawhide||George Wales||episode: "The Peddler"|
|1962||Gunsmoke||Hug||episode: "The Boys"|
|1962||Have Gun Will Travel||Big John||episode: "Don't Shoot the Piano Player"|
|1962||Going My Way||Mike||episode: "A Man for Mary"|
|1962||Death Valley Days||Steamboat Sully||episode: "Miracle at Whiskey Gulch"|
|1962||The Outlaws||Joe Ferris||episode: "Farewell Performance"|
|1963||The Andy Griffith Show||State Police Detective||episode: "The Big House"|
|1963||Have Gun Will Travel||Brother Grace||episode: "The Eve of St. Elmo"|
|1963||Dr. Kildare||Joe Cramer||episode: "To Each His Own Prison"|
|1963||Perry Mason||George Spangler||episode: "The Case of the Greek Goddess"|
|1963||The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters||Angus||episode: "The Day of the Long Night"|
|1963-1964||McHale's Navy||Big Frenchy||episodes: "French Leave for McHale", and "The Return of Big Frenchy"|
|1964||Gunsmoke||Cyrus||episode: "Crooked Mile"|
|1964||Bonanza||Waldo||episode: "The Scapegoat"|
|1964||The Virginian||Jack Marshman||episode: "A Gallows for Sam Horn"|
|1964||Gunsmoke||Warden Stryker||episode: "The Warden"|
|1965||Daniel Boone||Zach Morgan||episode: "A Rope for Mingo"|
|1965||Laredo||Jess Moran||episode: "Pride of the Rangers"|
|1965||The Virginian||Tom 'Bear' Suchette||episode: "Nobility of Kings"|
|1965||A Man Called Shenandoah||Mitchell Canady||episode: "A Special Talent for Killing"|
|1966||Gunsmoke||Ben Payson||episode: "Harvest"|
|1966||The Legend of Jesse James||Blodgett||episode "Return to Lawrence"|
|1966||Dr. Kildare||Sgt. Hensley||episodes: "Mercy or Murder", and "Strange Sort of Accident"|
|1966||The Big Valley||Jack Thatcher||episode: "Barbary Red"|
|1967||Tarzan||Crandell||episode: "Thief Catcher"|
|1971||Sarge||Father Samuel Patrick "Sarge" Cavanaugh (Swanson)||16 episodes|
|1971||Ironside||Father Samuel Cavanaugh||episode: "The Priest Killer"|
|1975||The Blue Knight||Bumper Morgan||24 episodes|
|1979||Backstairs at the White House||President Warren G. Harding||episode: #1.2|
|1981||Saturday Night Live||Himself-Guest host||1 episode, 10/17/81|
|1983||Fantasy Island||Adam Cobb||episode: "God Child/Curtain Call"|
|1988–1991; 1996; 1998||Dallas||Carter McKay||67 episodes + 2 TV Movies|
|1994||Lonesome Dove||Judge J.T. 'Rope' Calder||episode: "Judgement Day"|
|1996||The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||General Axton||episode: "DNA Doomsday"|
|2003||The Young and the Restless||Albert Miller||episodes: #1.7762, #1.7763, and #1.7764|
|2010||The Young and the Restless||Albert Miller (ghost)||episode: #1.9553|
- George Kennedy genealogy. Rootsweb.com.
- Interview with George Kennedy Actor & Movie Star, HealthyHearing.com, March 21, 2005; accessed July 24, 2014.
- George Kennedy Biography, FilmReference.com; accessed July 24, 2014.
- George Kennedy. Hollywood.com.
- George Kennedy at the Internet Movie Database
- "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Kennedy.|