Kevin McCarthy (February 15, 1914 – September 11, 2010) was an American stage, film, and television actor who appeared in over two hundred television and film roles. For his role in the film version of Death of a Salesman (1951), he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor. McCarthy is probably best known for his starring role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), a horror science fiction film.
Life and career
McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Martha Therese (née Preston) and Roy Winfield McCarthy. 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 Jewishmother. He was the brother of the author Mary McCarthy, and a distant cousin of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota. His parents both died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the four children were sent to live with relatives in Minneapolis. After five years of near-Dickensian mistreatment, described in Mary McCarthy's memoirs, the children were split up: Mary moved in with their maternal grandparents, and Kevin and his younger brothers were cared for by other relatives in Minneapolis. McCarthy graduated in 1932 from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and he then attended the University of Minnesota, where he participated in his first play Henry IV, Part 1, and discovered a love of acting.
During World War II, in addition to his regular acting career, McCarthy appeared in a number of training films for the United States Army Air Corps. At least one of these films (covering the Boeing B-17), has been distributed on DVD.
A founding member of the Actors Studio,
McCarthy went on to have a long and distinguished career as a character actor. He has had some starring roles sprinkled in his career, in particular the science fiction film classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). On television, he had roles in two short-lived series: The Survivors (1969) with Lana Turner; and NBC's Flamingo Road(1980–1982) as Claude Weldon, father of the Morgan Fairchild character.
McCarthy appeared with Alexis Smith in the NBC anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show in the episode "We Who Love Her" (1956). He was also cast in an episode of the religion anthology series, Crossroads. McCarthy appeared in the 1959 episode "The Wall Between" of CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He guest starred in an episode of CBS's The Twilight Zone entitled "Long Live Walter Jameson" (1960), as the title character.
McCarthy made two appearances in The Rifleman, portraying Mark Twain in "The Shattered Idol" (episode 120), original Air Date: 12/4/1961, and Winslow Quince in "Suspicion" (episode 157), original Air Date: 1/14/1963. http://www.therifleman.net/episodes/season4/ http://www.therifleman.net/episodes/epi.asp?yrid=5&epid=157
In 1963, McCarthy appeared in the ABC medical drama Breaking Point in the episode entitled "Fire and Ice". He also guest starred in the ABC drama Going My Way, about the Roman Catholicpriesthood 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 main antagonist, Victor Reese. In 1971, he guest starred in the "Conqueror's Gold" episode of Bearcats! which starred Rod Taylor with whom McCarthy had appeared in the films "A Gathering of Eagles," "Hotel (1967 film)" and "The Hell With Heroes".
In 1977, he and Clu Gulager, formerly cast with Barry Sullivan on NBC's The Tall Man, appeared in the episode "The Army Deserter" of another NBC western series, The Oregon Trail, which also starred Rod Taylor. In 1985, McCarthy guest-starred in a fourth Season episode of The A-Team called "Members Only". Earlier, he had starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer.
McCarthy appeared as Judge Crandall in The Midnight Hour, a 1985 comedy/horror television movie.
McCarthy was one of three actors (along with Dick Miller and Robert Picardo) frequently cast by director Joe Dante. McCarthy's most notable role in Dante's films was in 1987 as the main antagonist, Victor Scrimshaw, in Innerspace.
In 1989, he played television station owner R.J. Fletcher in Weird Al Yankovic's cult classic UHF. Yankovic himself noted that "Kevin McCarthy was teriffic. We had set him up to be this really rotten bad guy; but every time the director said, 'CUT!,' McCarthy would burst out laughing."
In 1996 he played the role of Gordon Fitzpatrick in The Pandora Directive, an FMV adventure game starring Tex Murphy.
In 2007 McCarthy appeared as himself in the Anthony Hopkins film Slipstream. The film made several references to his Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
On October 24, 2009, McCarthy was honored at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in Florida.
His last appearance in a feature-length movie was as The Grand Inquisitor in the sci-fi musical comedy The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.
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 had a long and close friendship with the actor Montgomery Clift. McCarthy and Clift were cast in the same play together, Ramon Naya's Mexican Mural. The two, along with McCarthy's wife Augusta Dabney, quickly became the best of friends and were believed to be lovers by Tennessee Williams and George Whitmore. They socialized with each other and acted together in several projects. The two 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 the age of ninety-six.