Written by Staff Writer
01 Mar, 2016 | 11:34 am
George Kennedy, a bear of a man who won an Oscar for his performance as the sadistic chain gang prisoner Dragline in Cool Hand Luke and delighted audiences as a dimwitted police captain in the zany Naked Gun comedies, has died. He was 91.
Kennedy died Sunday morning of natural causes in Boise, Idaho, his grandson, Cory Schenkel, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. “He was a great man who loved his family and his fans,” he said.
Until his recognition in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Kennedy was usually cast as a tough guy. Following his Oscar win for best supporting actor, he went on to star in The Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) and received second billing in such films as The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969) with Robert Mitchum; Dirty Dingus Magee (1970) with Frank Sinatra; Fools’ Parade (1971) with James Stewart; andThe Eiger Sanction (1975) with Clint Eastwood, a frequent co-star.
A former Army career soldier, Kennedy played a series of heavies in the movies. He attacked Cary Grant with a steel claw in Stanley Donen’s Charade (1963), pursued Joan Crawford with an ax in Strait-Jacket (1964), attempted to assassinate Gregory Peck in Mirage (1965) and kicked Jeff Bridges to death in Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (1974).
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