Star of both the big and small screen, George Kennedy has died. The actor passed away at the age of 91. It was reported by the Oscar-winning actor's grandson that Kennedy had been in failing health since the death of his wife over a year ago. He is best known for his role on the hit TV series Dallas and turns in such iconic movies as Cool Hand Luke and Airport.
The actor won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as prison warden Dragline in Cool Hand Luke. He died this past Sunday in Boise, Idaho. Grandson Cory Schenkel told TMZ that the actor had been in hospice care this entire past month. Though, an exact cause of death was not immediately stated.
George Kennedy has a long and storied history in Hollywood, with over 183 acting credits to his name. He made his debut appearance on The Phil Silvers Show in 1955, starring as MP Sgt. Kennedy, and was one of the few actors of that time who easily transitioned between TV and feature film roles. He would take on a number of small screen gigs before making his first movie appearance in 1960's Spartacus, playing a Rebel Soldier. It was a role he would go uncredited for.
Throughout the early 60s, he made an appearance on nearly every popular show at the time. Then, in 1962, he had his first two substantial movie roles in Lonely Are the Brave and The Silent Witness. He would later go onto star opposite Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the blockbuster mystery Charade in 1963, which brought him his first real acclaim. This lead to other prominent roles in such 60s hits as McHale's Navy and The Sons of Katie Elder. He also continued working on TV throughout this decade, appearing in a number of popular small screen Westerns.
In 1967, he took his best role to date as Maj. Max Armbruster in The Dirty Dozen. He then quicky followed this up with his Oscar-winning turn in Cool Hand Luke. In 1970, he would appear as one of the main cast members in the epic ensemble thriller Airport, which defined the disaster movies of that burgeoning era. Throughout the 70s, he would continue bouncing between movies and TV shows, finally landing the iconic role of Carter McKay in the 80s ratings hit Dallas. He would also return for the reunion movies Dallas: J.R. Returns and Dallas: War of the Ewings, though he was unable to participate in the new Dallas reboot on TNT, which brought back most of the original cast.
George Kennedy also had a memorable role in The Delta Force starring opposite Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin, and starred as Det. Captain Ed Hocken in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad and its two sequels. He most recently appeared in the 2014 remake The Gambler starring opposite Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson and Jessica Lange. That role marked his final big screen performance.
George Kennedy was also an accomplished author, penning the 1983 murder mystery Murder on Location, the follow-up Murder on High and his 2011 autobiography Trust Me. The actor's final TV role came in 2003, when he played Victor Newman's biological farther on the hit soap opera The Young and the Restless. No further details about his death have been released at this time.