A World War II veteran, sandy-haired, tall and burly George Kennedy at one stage in his career cornered the market at playing tough, no-nonsense characters who were either quite crooked or possessed hearts of gold. Kennedy has notched up an impressive 200+ appearances in both TV and film, and is well respected within the Hollywood community. He started out in TV westerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s ("Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957), "Rawhide" (1959), "Maverick" (1957), "Colt .45" (1957), among others) before scoring minor roles in films including Lonely Are the Brave (1962), The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965). The late 1960s was a very busy period for Kennedy, and he was strongly in favor with casting agents, appearing in Hurry Sundown (1967), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and scoring an Oscar win as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Cool Hand Luke (1967). The disaster film boom of the 1970s was kind to Kennedy, too, and his talents were in demand for Airport (1970) and the three subsequent sequels, as a grizzled cop in Earthquake (1974), plus the buddy/road film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) as vicious bank robber Red Leary.
The 1980s saw Kennedy appear in a mishmash of roles, playing various characters; however, Kennedy and Leslie Nielsen surprised everyone with their comedic talents in the hugely successful The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988), and the two screen veterans hammed it up again in, The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991), plus Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994).
Kennedy has remained busy in Hollywood and has lent his distinctive voice to the animated Cats Don't Dance (1997) and the children's action film Small Soldiers (1998). A Hollywod stalwart for nearly 50 years, he is one of the most enjoyable actors to watch on screen.
|Joan McCarthy||(24 August 1978 - present)|
|Norma Wurman||(22 November 1973 - 11 August 1978) (divorced)|
|Norma Wurman||(23 June 1959 - 1971) (divorced) 2 children|
|Dorothy Gillooly||(1943 - ?) (divorced)|
Frequently plays dependable sidekick roles
Has 4 adopted children
He enlisted in the Army during World War II and went on to serve 16 years, both in combat, and in his later years, as an Armed Forces Radio and Television officer.
He and Joan adopted their granddaughter in 1998, after their daughter was ruled unfit.
One of his first roles in film was that of a slave in Spartacus (1960). When the crowd was asked for Spartacus, he was the last close-up of a slave yelling "I am Spartacus".
He is the only actor to appear in all four of the "Airport" movie series.
Recently hosted the creation of a driving safety video.
Due to his tall, enormously broad frame, Kennedy was frequently cast in the 1960s and 1970s as bullies and thugs, and had the distinction of brutalizing stars like Cary Grant, Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood on screen while gaining a reputation off-screen as one of the nicest actors around. By his 60s he finally got the chance to play friendlier characters, such as his lovable Capt. Ed Hocken in the "Naked Gun" films.
Before his acting career really took off, he served as a military consultant on "The Phil Silvers Show" (1955).
Graduate of John Tarleton Agricultural College (Now Tarleton State University at Stephenville, Texas).
Graduated in 1943 from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York.
Has a daughter Betty who was also an actor.
Was considered for the role of Lex Luthor in Superman (1978).
(October 2002) Retired from acting in 1998 and currently living in Idaho.
(January 2004) Resumed his acting career after a five-year retirement.
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