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Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (3) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 3 September 1922Muskegon, Michigan, USA
Date of Death 15 February 2001Sherman Oaks, California, USA  (cancer)

Mini Bio (1)

American screenwriter and director--particularly of westerns--Burt Kennedy was the son of performers. He was part of their act, "The Dancing Kennedys", from infancy. He served in World War II as a cavalry officer and was highly decorated. After the war he joined the Pasadena Community Playhouse, but was ousted after one play as an actor for missing rehearsal. He found a job writing radio programs such as "Hash Knife Hartley" and "The Used Story Lot", then used his army fencing training to land work as a stunt fencer in films. Kennedy was hired to write 13 scripts for a proposed television program, "Juan and Diablo", with plans for John Wayne's Batjac Co. contract player Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez to star. The show was never produced, but Kennedy was kept on at Batjac to write films for producer Wayne. His initial effort, Seven Men from Now (1956), was a superb western, the first of the esteemed collaboration between director Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott. Kennedy wrote most of that series, as well as a number of others for Batjac, although it would be nearly 20 years before Wayne actually appeared in the film of a Kennedy script. In 1960 Kennedy got his first job as director on a western, The Canadians (1961), but it was a critical failure. He turned to television where he wrote and directed episodes of Lawman (1958), The Virginian (1962) and most notably Combat! (1962). He returned to films in 1965 with the successful The Rounders (1965), later producing and directing the pilot for the TV series of the same name.

His output since then has consisted of a number of popular Westerns, both theatrical and for television, as well as an occasional non-Western, but always with his trademark humor and stylish dialogue.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Trivia (3)

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 515-517. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Not to be confused with more elderly character actor and stunt man Bert Kennedy, who appeared in several films from 1936-1952 and often worked as Pat O'Brien's stunt double.
He was quite a prolific writer/director, compared to other directors working post-1960. This was especially from 1964-76, where he directed 20 films, 17 of them feature films (which take much more time than television movies do), writing six of them, producing three of them, and writing three others.

Personal Quotes (2)

[c. 1985, on Kirk Douglas] . . . he's tough, too; the people who are good are the ones that can be difficult. I remember one day we had to stop filming on The War Wagon (1967) to do a special promo film with John Wayne when Ronald Reagan was standing for governor. Kirk at that time was a Democrat; I think that now Kirk is a Reagan man.
[on John Wayne] Wayne was a stickler at work. He was fine if he realized you knew what you were doing. But if you weren't prepared, or fluffed anything, and fortunately I never did, well, then you could be in trouble. He was tough, but then so am I!

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