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Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthyBorn: 15-Feb-1914
Birthplace: Seattle, WA
Died: 11-Sep-2010
Location of death: Hyannis, MA
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Military service: US Army Air Corps (WWII, Sgt.)

Kevin McCarthy was mostly a B-movie lead actor, with frequent forays into big-budget films as a neighborly character actor. He also worked extensively on stage, on radio, and on television.

He was orphaned at the age of four when the 1918 flu epidemic killed his parents. McCarthy and his sister were then raised by both sets of grandparents, in two separate households. In college he studied journalism but joined the drama club, and never worked as a reporter. He first appeared on Broadway with a small role in the original 1938 run of Young Abe Lincoln. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and appeared in the stage propaganda piece Winged Victory, both in its Broadway run and in the subsequent film.

In his most famous role, McCarthy played the small town doctor who suspects a new disease but discovers something far worse, in the first film adaptation of Jack Finney's cautionary tale against conformity, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. As originally scripted, the film was to end with McCarthy screaming into the camera, warning the audience, "They're here already! You're next, you're next!" but the studio feared the audience would be repulsed. Even with the film's ending rewritten and a subsequent scene added to make it seem more optimistic, it is still terrifying. And with only a $15,000 budget for special effects, much of what made the movie so scary was in McCarthy's easygoing everyman-gone-panicked performance.

In the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- almost as chilling, with Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy -- McCarthy had a tiny cameo as a man running, screaming, down the street, basically reprising his role from the first film. He also had memorable cameos in Twilight Zone: The Movie and the homage to low-budget horror, Matinee, with John Goodman.

Among his many other roles, he played Biff Loman, the disillusioned elder son, in the first film of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1951), and was nominated for an Oscar. In Cornell Woolrich's Nightmare, McCarthy played a clarinetist who dreams he is a killer. In The Misfits, he played the husband Marilyn Monroe couldn't wait to divorce. He was a capitalist in Hotel, and in Kansas City Bomber, he played the owner of the roller derby team Raquel Welch played for. In Buffalo Bill and the Indians, he played Paul Newman's press agent.

McCarthy frequently returned to the Broadway stage, including the original productions of Advise and Consent with Ed Begley, Sr. and Cactus Flower with Brenda Vaccaro. Both plays were made into major motion pictures, without McCarthy. He also starred in a touring one-man play, Give 'Em Hell, Harry, as Harry S. Truman.

In the mid-1970s, McCarthy frequently worked on CBS Mystery Theater, performing in radio plays of everything from Sherlock Holmes to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The programs still air in reruns, in some cities. He was a regular or semi-regular in several TV series in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, including The Survivors, Flamingo Road, and Amanda's, The Colbys, and Charlie Hoover.

McCarthy was a working actor well into his 90s, and died in 2010. His sister was noted novelist and critic Mary McCarthy, and he was a distant cousin of Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minnesota).

Father: Robert E. McCarthy (b. 1880, d. 1918 influenza)
Mother: Martha Therese McCarthy ("Tess", b. 1888, d. 1918 influenza)
Sister: Mary McCarthy (author, b. 1912, d. 1989)
Brother: Preston McCarthy (b. 1915)
Wife: Augusta Dabney (actress, b. 1918, m. 1941, div. 1961, d. 2008, three children)
Son: James Kevin McCarthy
Daughter: Lillah McCarthy (TV producer)
Daughter: Mary Dabney McCarthy
Wife: Kate Crane (attorney, b. 1951, m. 1979 until his death, three children)
Daughter: Kara Lichtman (stepdaughter)
Daughter: Tess McCarthy (b. 1980)
Daughter: Patrick McCarthy (b. 1982)

    High School: Campion High School, Prairie du Chien, WI (1932)
    University: University of Minnesota

    Golden Globe 1951 Most Promising Male Newcomer, for Death of a Salesman
    Endorsement of Mars Twix bars

    Flamingo Road Claude Weldon (1981-82)

    Slipstream (10-Feb-2007)
    Fallen Angels (Nov-2006) · Pastor Waltz
    Loving Annabelle (8-Mar-2006) · Fr. Harris
    Looney Tunes: Back in Action (9-Nov-2003)
    Addams Family Reunion (22-Sep-1998)
    The Second Civil War (15-Mar-1997)
    Mommy (28-Nov-1995)
    Steal Big, Steal Little (9-Sep-1995) · Reed Tyler
    Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (21-May-1995)
    Just Cause (17-Feb-1995) · Phil Prentiss
    Roadracers (22-Jul-1994) · Miles
    Greedy (4-Mar-1994) · Bartlett
    Judicial Consent (1994)
    The Distinguished Gentleman (4-Dec-1992) · Terry Corrigan
    Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go to College (19-Aug-1991)
    Final Approach (24-Jul-1991)
    The Sleeping Car (2-Feb-1990)
    Love or Money (5-Jan-1990) · William Reed
    UHF (21-Jul-1989) · R. J. Fletcher
    Fast Food (28-Apr-1989)
    Once Upon a Texas Train (3-Jan-1988) · Govenor
    Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (16-Nov-1987)
    Innerspace (1-Jul-1987) · Victor Scrimshaw
    LBJ: The Early Years (1-Feb-1987) · Joseph Kennedy
    Dark Tower (1987)
    The Midnight Hour (1-Nov-1985)
    Deadly Intentions (19-May-1985)
    The Ratings Game (15-Dec-1984)
    Invitation to Hell (24-May-1984)
    Making of a Male Model (9-Oct-1983)
    Twilight Zone: The Movie (24-Jun-1983) · Uncle Walt
    My Tutor (4-Mar-1983)
    Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story (8-Dec-1982) · Dr. Jones
    The Howling (10-Apr-1981) · Fred Francis
    Those Lips, Those Eyes (15-Aug-1980) · Mickey Bellinger
    Hero at Large (5-Jun-1980)
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (20-Dec-1978) · Running Man
    Piranha (3-Aug-1978)
    Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night (5-Oct-1977)
    Exo-Man (18-Jun-1977)
    Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (24-Jun-1976)
    Dan Candy's Law (22-Feb-1974)
    Kansas City Bomber (2-Aug-1972)
    Ace High (31-Oct-1968)
    If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (9-Oct-1968)
    The Hell with Heroes (28-Aug-1968)
    Hotel (19-Jan-1967) · O'Keefe
    A Big Hand for the Little Lady (8-Jun-1966) · Otto Habershaw
    The Three Sisters (1966)
    Mirage (26-May-1965) · Josephson
    The Best Man (5-Apr-1964) · Dick Jensen
    The Prize (25-Dec-1963) · Dr. John Garrett
    A Gathering of Eagles (21-Jun-1963)
    40 Pounds of Trouble (31-Dec-1962)
    The Misfits (1-Feb-1961) · Raymond Taber
    Nightmare (11-May-1956)
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (5-Feb-1956)
    An Annapolis Story (10-Apr-1955) · Jim
    Stranger on Horseback (23-Mar-1955)
    The Gambler from Natchez (4-Aug-1954)
    Drive a Crooked Road (10-Mar-1954)
    Death of a Salesman (20-Dec-1951)

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