Kevin McCarthy (actor)
McCarthy in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
February 15, 1914|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Died||September 11, 2010
Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Augusta Dabney (m. 1941–61) 3 children
Kate Crane (m. 1979–2010) (his death) 2 children
Kevin McCarthy (February 15, 1914 – September 11, 2010) was an American stage, film, and television actor who gave over two hundred television and film performances. He is best remembered for portraying the male lead in the horror science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
Following several television guest roles, McCarthy gave his first credited film performance in Death of a Salesman (1951), portraying Biff Loman to Frederic March's Willy Loman. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.
Life and career
McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Martha Therese (née Preston) and Roy Winfield McCarthy. McCarthy's father was descended from a wealthy Irish American family based in Minnesota. His mother was born in Washington state to a Protestant father and a nonobservant Jewish mother; she converted to Catholicism before her marriage. He was the brother of author Mary McCarthy, and a distant cousin of U.S. senator and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. His parents both died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the four children went to live with relatives in Minneapolis. After five years of near-Dickensian mistreatment, described in Mary McCarthy's memoirs, the children were separated: Mary moved in with their maternal grandparents, and Kevin and his younger brothers were cared for by relatives in Minneapolis. McCarthy graduated in 1932 from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, then attended the University of Minnesota, where he appeared in his first play Henry IV, Part 1, and discovered a love of acting.
During his service in World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, in addition to his acting career, McCarthy appeared in a number of training films. At least one of these films (covering the Boeing B-17), has been distributed on DVD.
McCarthy enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a character actor, in both film and television. His breakthrough role came with Death of a Salesman (1951), in which he portrayed Biff Loman to Frederic March's Willy Loman. He had first performed the role in the London theatrical debut and was the only member of that ensemble to be cast in László Benedek's film adaptation. He received good notices for his onscreen work, receiving the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He went on to have a number of starring roles, most notably in the science fiction film classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). On television, he had starring roles in two short-lived series: The Survivors (1969) with Lana Turner; and NBC's Flamingo Road (1980–1982) as Claude Weldon, father of Morgan Fairchild character. He also appeared as a guest star in countless television programs, playing a wide variety of character roles.
McCarthy appeared with Alexis Smith in the NBC anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show in the episode "We Who Love Her" (1956). He was cast in an episode of the religion anthology series, Crossroads. McCarthy appeared in the 1959 episode "The Wall Between" of CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He guest starred in an episode of CBS's The Twilight Zone titled "Long Live Walter Jameson" (1960), as the title character.
McCarthy made two appearances in The Rifleman, portraying Mark Twain in "The Shattered Idol" (episode 120), original Air Date: 12/4/1961, and Winslow Quince in "Suspicion" (episode 157), original Air Date: 1/14/1963.  
In 1963, McCarthy appeared in the ABC medical drama Breaking Point in the episode titled "Fire and Ice". He guest starred in the ABC drama Going My Way, about the Roman Catholic priesthood in New York City. He was cast as well in a 1964 episode of James Franciscus's NBC education drama, Mr. Novak. In 1966, he appeared in the episode "Wife Killer" of the ABC adventure series The Fugitive. In 1967, he guest starred in the episode "Never Chase a Rainbow" of NBC's western series, The Road West starring Barry Sullivan.
In 1968, he guest starred on Hawaii Five-O in the episode "Full Fathom Five" as the chief antagonist, Victor Reese. The Wild Wild West (CBS) Season 4 (1968–69) His turn as Maj. Gen Kroll in The Night of the Doomsday Formula made one of the best villains of the series. In 1971, he guest starred in the "Conqueror's Gold" episode of Bearcats!, which starred Rod Taylor with whom McCarthy had appeared in the films A Gathering of Eagles, Hotel and The Hell With Heroes.
In 1977, he and Clu Gulager, previously cast with Barry Sullivan on NBC's The Tall Man, appeared in the episode "The Army Deserter" of the NBC western series The Oregon Trail, with Rod Taylor. In 1985, McCarthy guest-starred in a fourth-season episode of The A-Team called "Members Only". Earlier, he starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer
In 1978, McCarthy played a cameo role in a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as a man running through the streets shouting a warning in the same fashion as his character did in the original 1956 film.
McCarthy appeared as Judge Crandall in The Midnight Hour, a 1985 comedy/horror television movie.
McCarthy was one of three actors (with Dick Miller and Robert Picardo) often cast by director Joe Dante. McCarthy's most notable role in Dante's films was in 1987 as the prime antagonist, Victor Scrimshaw, in Innerspace.
In 1989, he played television station owner R. J. Fletcher in Weird Al Yankovic's film UHF. Yankovic noted that "Kevin McCarthy was terrific. We had set him up to be this really rotten bad guy; but every time the director said, 'CUT!,' McCarthy would burst out laughing."
His last role in a feature-length movie was as The Grand Inquisitor in the sci-fi musical comedy The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012).
From 1942, McCarthy and his wife Augusta Dabney had a close friendship with actor Montgomery Clift. McCarthy and Clift were cast in a play together, Ramon Naya's Mexican Mural. The two became the best of friends and were believed to be lovers according to Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and George Whitmore. They socialized together and acted together in several projects. The two collaborated on a screenplay for a film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams/Donald Windham play You Touched Me!, but the project never came to fruition.
McCarthy died of pneumonia on September 11, 2010, at the age of ninety-six.
- Winged Victory (1944)
- Death of a Salesman (1951)
- Drive a Crooked Road (1954 film), as Bank Robber Steve Norris
- Stranger on Horseback (1955)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), as Dr. Miles Bennell
- Nightmare (1956)
- The Twilight Zone (1960), Long Live Walter Jameson
- The Misfits (1961)
- Way Out (1961) (TV)
- A Gathering of Eagles (1963)
- An Affair of the Skin (1963)
- The Prize (1963)
- The Best Man (1964)
- Mirage (1965)
- A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)
- Hotel (1967)
- Ace High (1968)
- Operation Heartbeat (1969)
- Richard (1972)
- Columbo (1973)
- Kansas City Bomber (1972)
- June Moon (1974)
- Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), (cameo appearance)
- Piranha (1978)
- The Howling (1981)
- Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
- My Tutor (1983)
- Terror in the Aisles (1984) (archival footage)
- Invitation to Hell (1984), as Mr. Thompson
- The Midnight Hour (1985)
- A Masterpiece of Murder (1986)
- Innerspace (1987)
- Once Upon a Texas Train (TVM, 1987), as The Governor
- Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (1987) (TV)
- Dark Tower (1989), as Sergie
- UHF (1989)
- Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to College (1991)
- The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)
- Greedy (1994)
- Just Cause (1995)
- Addams Family Reunion (1998)
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), as Dr. Miles Bennell (cameo)
- Loving Annabelle (2006)
- Fallen Angels (2006), as Pastor Waltz
- Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007), as Latecomer
- Her Morbid Desires (2008), as The Monk
- Wesley (2009), as Bishop Ryder
- The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012), as The Grand Inquisitor
|1952||Theatre Guild on the Air||The Damask Check|
|1953||Radio Playhouse||Routine Assignment|
- McLellan, Dennis (1914-02-15). "Kevin McCarthy obituary: 'Body Snatchers' actor McCarthy dies". latimes.com. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
- Gates, Anita (September 12, 2010). "Kevin McCarthy, Actor, Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Patricia Bosworth. Montgomery Clift. p. 225.
- "Kevin McCarthy Biography (1914-)". film reference. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- "Mary McCarthy, age 11, returns to Seattle to live with her maternal grandparents in 1923.". HistoryLink.org. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
- "Campion Graduate Notables...". Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Birth of The Actors Studio: 1947-1950". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 52. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
Lewis' class included Herbert Berghof, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Mildred Dunnock, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Anne Jackson, Sidney Lumet, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Patricia Neal, William Redfield, Jerome Robbins, Maureen Stapleton, Beatrice Straight, Eli Wallach, and David Wayne.
- "Veteran Actor Kevin Mccarthy Honored at Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival". Film Festival Today.[dead link]
- Grobel, Lawrence (1985). Conversations with Truman Capote. Da Capo. ISBN 0306809443.
- George Whitmore in Winston Leyland (ed), Gay Sunshine Interviews, (San Francisco, Gay Sunshine Press 1978), p. 324.
- Kirby, Walter (December 7, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (October 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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