H. Wesley Kenney

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H. Wesley Kenney
Born Harold Wesley Kenney, Jr.
(1926-01-03)January 3, 1926
Dayton, Ohio
Died January 13, 2015(2015-01-13) (aged 89)
Santa Monica, California
Cause of death Cardiac Arrest
Other names Wes Kenney
Occupation Television producer, director
Years active 1952–2000s
Spouse(s) Heather North (m. 1971; d. 2015)

Harold Wesley Kenney, Jr. (January 3, 1926 – January 13, 2015), was an American television producer and director whose career extended from the medium's formative years in the early 1950s, into the 2000s, and included thousands of episodes, both primetime and daytime, as well as five Emmy wins and eight nominations. He was frequently billed as Wes Kenney.

Early years[edit]

Shortly after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering in 1951, Kenney was hired by the DuMont Television Network. According to the 2004 book The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television, Kenney directed up to twelve different broadcasts each day during his career at the network and its flagship station WABD.[1] This was because most of DuMont's programs were broadcast live, and were often done on small budgets. Kenney continued to direct many programs after DuMont's dissolution in 1956.

Daytime dramas[edit]

He is best known for his work on soap operas, producing and directing Days of Our Lives from 1968 to 1979, and then becoming Co-Executive Producer of The Young and the Restless, a spot he held from 1982 to 1987. Under Kenney's run as Y&R's Co-Executive Producer, he helped the show win three daytime emmy's for outstanding drama series in 1983, 1985, and 1986. From 1987 to 1989, Kenney replaced the legendary Gloria Monty as Executive Producer of General Hospital. He became General Hospital 's Head Writer during the 1988 WGA strike.

Kenney's directing credits include All In The Family, Big John, Little John, Inside Detective, and Flo.

Personal life[edit]

He married actress Heather North in 1971, after meeting her on the set of Days of Our Lives (she was playing the part of Sandy Horton at the time).

After Kenney retired from directing, he was a professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He died of cardiac arrest at Saint John's Health Center on January 13, 2015, at the age of 89.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]


"One day, a baby elephant was going to appear on Manhattan Spotlight. Meanwhile, Captain Video was on the air. Suddenly, the elephant started trumpeting...On the air, Captain Video stood up and said, 'What the hell is that?' And the Ranger said, 'I don't know, Captain, but get down, it might be dangerous!'".[3]

Head writing tenure[edit]

Preceded by
Ann Marcus
Norma Monty
Head Writer of General Hospital (during the 1988 WGA strike)
Succeeded by
Gene Palumbo

Executive Producing Tenure[edit]

Preceded by
Betty Corday
Executive Producer of Days of Our Lives
(with Betty Corday)

April 20, 1977 – January 18, 1980
Succeeded by
Betty Corday
Al Rabin
Preceded by
William J. Bell
John Conboy
Executive Producer of The Young and the Restless
(with William J. Bell)

February 1982 – 1986
Succeeded by
William J. Bell
Edward J. Scott
Preceded by
Gloria Monty
Executive Producer of General Hospital
January 1987 – November 30, 1989
Succeeded by
Joseph Hardy



  • Weinstein, D. (2004). The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 1-59213-499-8

External links[edit]