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George Harris Kennedy Jr. (February 18, 1925 – February 28, 2016) was an American actor who appeared in more than two hundred film and television productions. His wide variety of roles include "Dragline" in Cool Hand Luke, for which he won an Academy Award; as Joe Patroni in all four of the 1970s Airport disaster films; as Police Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun series of comedy films; and as corrupt oil tycoon Carter McKay on the original Dallas television series.
Kennedy was born in New York City, into a show business family. His father, George Harris Kennedy, a musician and orchestra leader, died when Kennedy was four years old. He was raised by his mother, Helen A. (née Kieselbach), a ballet dancer. His maternal grandfather was a German immigrant; his ancestry also includes Irish and English.
Kennedy made his stage debut at the age of two, later becoming a radio performer. Kennedy put aside show business during World War II and served in the United States Army for sixteen years, having seen combat and working in Armed Forces radio. He was involved with the opening of the first Army Information Office, which provided technical assistance to films and television shows, like the Phil Silvers Show.
Kennedy resided in Eagle in Ada County in southwestern Idaho. He was married to Joan McCarthy and they have a daughter, Shaunna. The couple adopted their grandchildren, Taylor and Cory, after the incarceration of the child's mother. On September 14, 2015, Kennedy's wife of 37 years, Joan McCarthy died.
He was also good friends with James Stewart and his voice is featured in a TCM commercial commemorating Stewart. Kennedy was a licensed pilot who enjoyed flying and owned a Cessna 210 and Beechcraft Bonanza.
Kennedy died on the morning of February 28, 2016, of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Idaho, at the age of 91. Prior to his death he had a history of heart problems. He was survived by his daughter and his two grandchildren.
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George Harris Kennedy Jr.
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George Harris Kennedy Jr. (February 18, 1925 – February 28, 2016) was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 film and television productions. He played "Dragline" opposite Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967), winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role and being nominated for the corresponding Golden Globe. He received a second Golden Globe nomination for portraying Joe Patroni in Airport (1970).
Frequently plays dependable sidekick roles, Deep Voice
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1927-1943, 1955–present, 1927–1943, 1955–present
Place of Death
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George Harris Kennedy
Helen A. Kieselbach
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