Kevin McCarthy: American actor (1914 - 2010) | Biography
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Kevin McCarthy
American actor

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Was Actor Film actor Stage actor Television actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 15 February 1914, Seattle, USA
Death 11 September 2010, Hyannis, USA (aged 96 years)
Star sign Aquarius
Politics Republican Party
Siblings: Mary McCarthy
Spouse: Augusta Dabney
University of Minnesota
The details (from wikipedia)


Kevin McCarthy (February 15, 1914 – September 11, 2010) was an American actor who gave over 200 television and film performances. He is best remembered for portraying the male lead in the horror science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

Following several television guest roles,Kevin McCarthy gave his first credited film performance in Death of a Salesman (1951), portraying Biff Loman to Fredric March's Willy Loman. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Life and career

Kevin McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Roy Winfield McCarthy and Martha Therese (née Preston). Kevin McCarthy's father was descended from a wealthy Irish American family based in Minnesota. His mother was born in Washington state to a Protestant father and a nonobservant Jewish mother; Kevin McCarthy's mother converted to Catholicism before her marriage. He was the brother of author Mary McCarthy, and a distant cousin of U.S. senator and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. His parents both died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the four children went to live with relatives in Minneapolis. After five years of near-Dickensian mistreatment, described in Mary McCarthy's memoirs, the children were separated: Mary moved in with their maternal grandparents, and Kevin and his younger brothers were cared for by relatives in Minneapolis. Kevin McCarthy graduated in 1932 from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, then attended the University of Minnesota, where he appeared in his first play Henry IV, Part 1, and discovered a love of acting.

During his service in World War II in the United States Army Air Forces, in addition to his acting career, Kevin McCarthy appeared in a number of training films. At least one of these films (covering the Boeing B-17), has been distributed on DVD.

Kevin McCarthy was a founding member of The Actors Studio.

Kevin McCarthy enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a character actor, in both film and television. His breakthrough role came with Death of a Salesman (1951), in which he portrayed Biff Loman to Fredric March's Willy Loman. He had first performed the role in the London theatrical debut and was the only member of that ensemble to be cast in László Benedek's film adaptation. He received good notices for his onscreen work, receiving the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He went on to have a number of starring roles, most notably in the science fiction film classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). On television, he had starring roles in two short-lived series: The Survivors (1969) with Lana Turner; and NBC's Flamingo Road (1980–1982) as Claude Weldon, father of Morgan Fairchild's character. He also appeared as a guest star in countless television programs, playing a wide variety of character roles.

Kevin appeared with Alexis Smith in the NBC anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show in the episode "We Who Love Her" (1956). He was cast in an episode of the religion anthology series, Crossroads. Kevin appeared in the 1959 episode "The Wall Between" of CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He guest starred in a classic episode of CBS's The Twilight Zone entitled "Long Live Walter Jameson" (1960), as the title character.

Kevin made two appearances in The Rifleman, starring Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford. He portrayed the historical Mark Twain in "The Shattered Idol" (episode 120), original air date: December 4, 1961, and Winslow Quince in "Suspicion" (episode 157), original air date: January 14, 1963. The Rifleman - Season 4 Episodes The Rifleman - Suspicion, Episode 157, Season 5

In 1963, Kevin appeared in the ABC medical drama Breaking Point in the episode titled "Fire and Ice". He guest starred in the ABC drama Going My Way, about the Roman Catholic priesthood in New York City. He was cast as well in a 1964 episode of James Franciscus's NBC education drama, Mr. Novak. In 1966, he appeared in the episode "Wife Killer" of the ABC adventure series The Fugitive. In 1967, he guest starred in the episode "Never Chase a Rainbow" of NBC's western series, The Road West starring Barry Sullivan.

In 1968, he guest starred on Hawaii Five-O in the episode "Full Fathom Five" as the chief antagonist, Victor Reese. The Wild Wild West (CBS) Season 4 (1968–69) His turn as Maj. Gen Kroll in The Night of the Doomsday Formula made one of the best villains of the series. In 1971, he guest starred in the "Conqueror's Gold" episode of Bearcats!, which starred Rod Taylor with whom Kevin had appeared in the films A Gathering of Eagles, Hotel and The Hell With Heroes.

In 1977, he and Clu Gulager, previously cast with Barry Sullivan on NBC's The Tall Man, appeared in the episode "The Army Deserter" of the NBC western series The Oregon Trail, with Rod Taylor. In 1985, Kevin guest-starred in a fourth-season episode of The A-Team called "Members Only". Earlier, he starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer

In 1978, Kevin played a cameo role in a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as a man running through the streets shouting a warning in the same fashion as his character did in the original 1956 film.

Kevin appeared as Judge Crandall in The Midnight Hour, a 1985 comedy/horror television movie.

Kevin was one of four actors (with Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski and Robert Picardo) often cast by director Joe Dante. Kevin's most notable role in Dante's films was in 1987 as the prime antagonist, Victor Scrimshaw, in Innerspace. They also were in Dante's Matinee (1993 film).

In 1989, he played television station owner R.J. Fletcher in Weird Al Yankovic's film UHF. Yankovic noted that "Kevin McCarthy was terrific. We had set him up to be this really rotten bad guy; but every time the director said, 'CUT!,' (Kevin) McCarthy would burst out laughing."

In 1996, he played Gordon Fitzpatrick in The Pandora Directive, a Full motion video (FMV) adventure game starring Tex Murphy.

In 2007, Kevin appeared as himself in the Anthony Hopkins film Slipstream which made references to McCarthy's film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

On October 24, 2009, Kevin was honored at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in Florida.

His last role in a feature-length movie was as The Grand Inquisitor in the sci-fi musical comedy The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012).

Personal life

McCarthy was married to Augusta Dabney, with whom he had three children, from 1941 until their divorce in 1961. In 1979, he married Kate Crane, who survived him. The couple had two children.

From 1942, McCarthy and his wife Augusta Dabney had a close friendship with actor Montgomery Clift. McCarthy and Clift were cast in a play together, Ramon Naya's Mexican Mural. The two became best friends, acted together in several more projects and were believed by some prominent individuals, including Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and George Whitmore, to have been lovers. They also collaborated on a screenplay for a film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams/Donald Windham play You Touched Me!, but the project never came to fruition.

McCarthy died of pneumonia on September 11, 2010 at Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts at the age of ninety-six.

Selected filmography

  • Winged Victory (1944) as Ronnie Meade (uncredited)
  • Death of a Salesman (1951) as Biff Loman
  • Drive a Crooked Road (1954) as Bank Robber Steve Norris
  • The Gambler from Natchez (1954) as André Rivage
  • Stranger on Horseback (1955) as Tom Bannerman
  • An Annapolis Story (1955) as James R. 'Jim' Scott
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) as Dr. Miles Bennell
  • Nightmare (1956) as Stan Grayson
  • Diamond Safari (1958) as Harry Jordan
  • The Twilight Zone (1960, TV Series) as Prof. Walter Jameson / Tom Bowen / Maj. Hugh Skelton
  • The Misfits (1961) as Raymond Tabor
  • Way Out (1961, TV Series) as Dr. Paul Sandham
  • 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962) as Louie Blanchard
  • A Gathering of Eagles (1963) as Gen. 'Happy Jack' Kirby
  • An Affair of the Skin (1963) as Allen McCleod
  • The Prize (1963) as Dr. John Garrett
  • The Best Man (1964) as Dick Jensen
  • Mirage (1965) as Sylvester Josephson
  • A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966) as Otto Habershaw
  • The Three Sisters (1966) as Vershinin
  • Hotel (1967) as Curtis O'Keefe
  • The Hell with Heroes (1968) as Col. Wilson
  • If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (1968) as Leslie Whitlock
  • Ace High (1968) as Drake
  • Operation Heartbeat (1969, TV Series) as Clifford Coswell
  • Richard (1972) as Washington Doctor
  • Kansas City Bomber (1972) as Burt Henry
  • Columbo (1973, TV Series) as Dr. Frank Simmons
  • June Moon (1974, TV Series) as Hart
  • Alien Thunder (1974) as Sgt. Malcolm Grant
  • Order to Assassinate (1975) as Ed McLean
  • Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) as The Publicist (Maj. John Burke)
  • Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night (1977, TV Movie) as Tom Atherton
  • Piranha (1978) as Dr. Robert Hoak
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) as Running man (cameo appearance)
  • Hero at Large (1980) as Calvin Donnelly
  • Those Lips, Those Eyes (1980) as Mickey Bellinger
  • The Howling (1981) as Fred Francis
  • My Tutor (1983) as Mr. Chrystal
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) as Uncle Walt (segment "It's a Good Life")
  • Making of a Male Model (1983) as Ward Hawley
  • Terror in the Aisles (1984) (archival footage)
  • Invitation to Hell (1984, TV Movie) as Mr. Thompson
  • The Midnight Hour (1985, TV Movie) as Judge Crandall
  • Raw Terror (1986)
  • A Masterpiece of Murder (1986, TV Movie) as Jonathan Hire
  • The Golden Girls (Second Motherhood) (1986)
  • Innerspace (1987) as Victor Eugene Scrimshaw
  • Hostage (1987) as Col. Tim Shaw
  • Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (1987) (TV) as Franklyn Hutton (parts 1-4)
  • Once Upon a Texas Train (1988, TV Movie) as The Governor
  • Dark Tower (1989) as Sergie
  • Fast Food (1989) as Judge Reinholte
  • UHF (1989) as R.J. Fletcher
  • Love or Money (1990) as William Reed
  • The Sleeping Car (1990) as Vincent Tuttle
  • Eve of Destruction (1991) as William Simmons (uncredited)
  • Final Approach (1991) as Gen. Geller
  • Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to College (1991, Video) as Professor Ragnar
  • The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) as Terry Corrigan
  • Matinee (1993) as Gen. Ankrum (uncredited)
  • Greedy (1994) as Bartlett
  • Judicial Consent (1994) as Judge Pollan
  • Just Cause (1995) as Phil Prentiss
  • Steal Big Steal Little (1995) as Reed Tyler
  • Mommy (1995) as Fire Department Rescuer
  • Addams Family Reunion (1998, TV Movie) as Grandpa Addams
  • The Legend of Razorback (2002) as Zondervan
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) as Dr. Miles Bennell (cameo)
  • Loving Annabelle (2006) as Father Harris
  • Fallen Angels (2006) as Pastor Waltz
  • Slipstream (2007) as Himself
  • Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007) as Latecomer
  • The Boneyard Collection (2008)
  • Her Morbid Desires (2008, Video) as The Monk
  • Wesley (2009) as Bishop Ryder
  • The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012) as The Grand Inquisitor (final film role)

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air The Damask Check
1953 Radio Playhouse Routine Assignment
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 11 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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