Monday, September 13, 2010

“A Versatile Actor and a Thorough Professional”

I was saddened to read that actor Kevin McCarthy died over the weekend at age 96. As the blog A Shroud of Thoughts observes, the Seattle-born McCarthy was “best known for his role in the film version of Death of a Saleman (1951) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), [but] his career spanned over seventy years.”

I remember that his was a familiar face on boob-tube programs from the 1950s through the ’90s. In addition to regular parts in the mini-series The Survivors (1969-1970) and the short-lived prime-time soap opera Flamingo Road, McCarthy (the brother of author Mary McCarthy) did guest shots in such crime dramas as The Defenders, Honey West, Burke’s Law, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Judd for the Defense, Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, and In the Heat of the Night. “McCarthy worked with everyone from Robert Altman to Marilyn Monroe,” the A.V. Club blog recalls, “and enjoyed late-career success via the touring one-man-show Give ’Em Hell, Harry, in which he played Harry Truman.”

Thank you, Mr. McCarthy, for your lifetime of entertainment.

READ MORE:So Long, Old Friend--Kevin McCarthy,” by Ed Gorman (Ed Gorman’s Blog); “Kevin McCarthy,” by Nicolas Pillai (Squeezegut Alley); “Snatch Me If You Can,” by Matthew R. Bradley (Bradley on Film).

5 comments:

Maxine said...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers must be my favourite film ever (the 1950s version). It is brilliant. What sad news. Did you note his cameo in the 1970s (Donald Sutherland) version?

Matthew Bradley said...

Many thanks for mentioning my piece on Kevin, whose legacy will far outlive him...and us. For the record, when I interviewed him for INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS: A TRIBUTE (wherein, for Maxine's benefit, he discussed his cameo in the Sutherland version at great length), he said he was related to neither Eugene nor Joseph McCarthy.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

That's interesting, Matthew, since most if not all of the Kevin McCarthy obituaries say that he was related to Eugene McCarthy. This one included:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/14/
kevin-mccarthy-obituary

Cheers,
Jeff

Matthew Bradley said...

Yes, even during his lifetime, many sources made that claim, which is one reason why my colleague Gilbert Colon and I particularly wanted to ask him about that and set the record straight. I encountered similar widespread misinformation while researching my book RICHARD MATHESON ON SCREEN, e.g., that Matheson had appeared uncredited as a senator in THE GODFATHER PART II, and had a hand in writing the film THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD. I asked him about both of these Internet rumors, and he denied them categorically. All I can say is, I'm sure Kevin knew better than the GUARDIAN!

J. Kingston Pierce said...

OK, Matthew, based on your information, I am removing the reference to actor Kevin McCarthy having been a distant cousin of onetime U.S. presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.

Cheers,
Jeff