Another great Hollywood legend has left us, as George Kennedy has died. The Oscar award winning star of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and the ‘Naked Gun’ series of movies passed away on Feb. 28. He was 91 years old.
The world of film has to say good-bye to another one of its great actors, because George Kennedy has died. The 91-year-old actor who brought the character of Dragline to life in the classic film, Cool Hand Luke, has passed away.
George died in his Boise, Idaho home around 4:30 A.M. on Feb. 28, according to TMZ. George’s grandson, Cory Schenkel, says that his grandfather had been in “failing health” ever since his wife, Joan McCarthy, died just over a year ago. George, who played Dept. Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun series of parody films, had been in hospice care for the past month. The exact cause of death is unknown at this time.
After growing up in New York City, George enrolled in the Army. He even served under legendary Gen. George Patton and won two Bronze stars and four rows of combat and service ribbons, according to The Hollywood Reporter. His acting career started when he worked as a technical adviser on the army-camp comedy, Sgt. Bilko.
The acting bug bit George and he moved out to Hollywood to pursue a life in show business. His barrel-chest and 6’4 height, along with his tough-guy persona, usually landed him tough-guy roles, often on the wrong side of the law. But, as Dragline, the leader of the prisoners who gives Paul Newman’s character his nickname in Cool Hand Luke, George proved he was more than just a tough guy. His role in that film won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1968.
In addition to his numerous film appearances, George had a handful of noted television roles. He played the corrupt oil tycoon Carter McKay on the original Dallas television series. He also played William “Bumper” Morgan on the police drama, The Blue Knight. He also made numerous appearances on Gunsmoke, playing a variety of characters. He also lent his voice to a pair of animated features: like 1997’s Cats Don’t Dance and 1998’s Small Soldiers.
George was good friends with Jimmy Stewart, and was a licensed pilot. He also continued to work, even later in life. His last movie was 2014’s The Gambler, featuring Mark Wahlberg. In addition to his grandson, George leaves behind two children and a memorable career.
Our thoughts go out to George’s family and friends during their time of loss.