Veteran tough-guy actor in movies and television
for over fifty years, George Kennedy, took his
final bow on February 18, just ten days after his 91st
birthday. Kennedy appeared in many westerns, crime
dramas, a few comedies (The Naked Gun films with
Leslie Nielsen, the latter playing cluelessly goofy
police detective Frank Drebin), some mysteries,
and some heartwarming family films, usually playing
tough, strong, but often big-hearted men in a wide range
of stories put to celluloid.
Kennedy was also a military veteran, serving in the
U.S. Army for sixteen years, seeing combat in WWII
and the Korean War. He had a great love of country,
and was proud to serve; he might have made the military
his career rather than show business but for a back injury
which necessitated his leaving, mustering out a captain,
upon which he returned to the realm of entertainment.
Kennedy was a man of many interests and activities.
He owned and piloted a Cessna 210 and a Beechcraft
Bonanza, and also wrote three books; two murder
mysteries (each inspired by some of the mystery movies
he appeared in) and his autobiography, "Trust Me", which
was published in 2011.
During his long and storied acting career he worked with
the some of the biggest stars in the business, including
John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Barbara Eden, Cary Grant,
Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, Lee Marvin, and
Ernest Borgnine. Quite fitting, as George Kennedy was
a big star in his own right. He was also a class act
away from the set; a loving husband and father,
a renaissance man of a sort, and a patriot. God bless
and Godspeed, George. R.I.P.