Oscar-Winner George Kennedy, Of 'Cool Hand Luke,' Dies At 91
Actor George Kennedy, known for roles in films like Cool Hand Luke, The Dirty Dozen, the Naked Gun series, and the TV show Gunsmoke died in his home in Boise, Idaho on Sunday. He was 91.
Kennedy's grandson Cory Schenkel told TMZ that George died in his sleep around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Accoding to Schenkle, Kennedy's health had been poor since his wife Joan died last year, and had been under hospice care for the last month.
Kennedy won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1968 for his role as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke. Here is winning the award, which was presented by Patty Duke:
Kennedy's role as Dragline was a departure from his previous roles in which he was more or less typecast as a villain. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kennedy said in 1978, "The marvelous thing about that movie was that as my part progresses, I changed from a bad guy to a good guy...The moguls in Hollywood must have said, 'Hey, this fellow can do something besides be a bad guy.'"
According to CNN, Kennedy spent 16 years in the U.S. Army and served in World War II. After the war, he was an adviser to the TV show Sgt. Bilko before getting acting roles of his own. One of his early roles was as a gangster in 1963's Audrey Hepburn flick Charade.
Kennedy was also in the 1981 film Modern Romance. Director and star Albert Brooks tweeted his condolences earlier today:
R.I.P. George Kennedy. Lucky enough to work with him in Modern Romance. Great guy.— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) February 29, 2016
As The Wrap notes, Kennedy was also an author, writing three books: two murder mysteries in the 1980s titled Murder on Location and Murder on High, and an autobiography Trust Me, published in 2011.