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George Kennedy (1925 – 2016)

by Kirk Fox

George Kennedy, the actor who won an Oscar for his role in the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” has died. He was 91.

George Kennedy, the actor who won an Oscar for his role in the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” has died at 91.

Kennedy died Sunday morning in Boise, Idaho, his grandson, Cory Schenkel, posted on his Facebook page.


Kennedy usually played the role of the tough guy. He won the Oscar in 1967 for playing Dragline, a chain-gang convict initially at odds with Paul Newman’s character in “Cool Hand Luke.” After that movie, he went on to star in the Western classic “The Guns of the Magnificent Seven” and had major roles in other highly regarded movies such as 1975’s “The Eiger Sanction” with Clint Eastwood.

Another popular role for Kennedy was his portrayal of Captain Ed Hocken in the “Naked Gun” police satire movies alongside Leslie Nielsen, another actor playing against type in his role, like Kennedy.

On television, he had a role on the TV soap “Dallas,” as a rival of the powerful Ewing clan.

Recently he appeared in the movie “The Gambler,” which starred Mark Wahlberg.

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He was born Feb. 18, 1925, in New York City. After he graduated from high school, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II under General George Patton. His bravery won him two Bronze Star honors during his war service in Europe.

In 1959, he moved to Hollywood and got his start playing tough guys on TV Westerns.

He is survived by two children and several grandchildren.

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