Oscar Winner George Kennedy Dies At Age 91

NBC News reports:

George Kennedy, who won an Academy Award for his bruising performance in “Cool Hand Luke” and later starred in the goofy “Naked Gun” franchise,” died Sunday in Idaho. He was 91. Cory Schenkel, Kennedy’s grandson, told the Associated Press that he died of old age.

Kennedy, who stood nearly 6½ feet tall, was a World War II veteran who broke into acting, in part, through military dramas and TV Westerns. In 1967, he appeared in the Oscar-winning World War II film “The Dirty Dozen.”

That same year, he starred alongside Paul Newman in what would be the best-known role of his career— Dragline in the prison drama “Cool Hank Luke.” The film won him an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

Beginning in 1988, Kennedy starred with Leslie Nielsen in the slapstick police trilogy “The Naked Gun.” In 2002, Kennedy moved to Idaho to be closer to family, the AP reported.

  • Phil

    RIP, Dragline…..

  • Mark

    What an incredible actor and gentleman. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • Paula

    Takin’ it off, Boss.. RIP

  • Bummer.

  • Joe in PA

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    One of my favorite lines from Cool Hand Luke.

    RIP George.

    • ceeenbee

      By the great Strother Martin.

    • johncAtl

      That’s one of the great movie lines of all time. I think it often in real life.

    • Robert Adams

      Not to nit pick, but “a” was not in the line of dialog. It was:

      “What we have here is…failure to communicate.”

      • johncAtl

        The actual line is “what we’ve got here….is failure to communicate.

        But after 48 years getting one or two words wrong isn’t a big deal.


      • Furface

        Both versions were in the film. Without the ‘a’, said by Strother Martin to Paul Newman. With the ‘a’ said by Newman at the end of the film in the church scene where he’s shot.


        • johncAtl

          True, but it’s the first time it’s used in the movie that everyone remembers.

          And of course Paul Newman would be grammatically correct.

          And to go slightly off topic…. my all time favorite Paul Newman movie is The Sting. There were a lot of really depressing movies made in that time, but you walked out of The Sting with a smile on your face.

          • BobSF_94117

            Both versions are grammatically correct, depending on what one is actually trying to say.

      • Joe in PA

        no problem with the nitpick, I normally include “I’m paraphrasing”, but this time I thought, “how could I mess this up”? :


  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    Even George Kennedy himself can’t believe it. He has to double-check.


    Thank you and rest in peace, kind sir!

    • Joe in PA

      Wow, I JUST watched that movie a few weeks ago. 🙂

      • TuuxKabin

        My favorite sinister of those sinister characters. RIP George and thanks for all the thrills and chills.

      • johncAtl

        I was only 8 when that was released, and I don’t remember if I’ve seen it or not. I’m going to check Netflix and Amazon Prime now for it.

        • Oh’behr

          Thanks for the mention of not seeing it. I will also do the same.

        • Joe in PA

          yup, Netflix.

          • David Milley

            One of my all-time favorites. Time to re-watch…

  • Reality.Bites

    91 and died of natural causes?

    Brietbart will disagree.

    • Todd20036

      My thoughts exactly. He died from Obama’s “old age gun”

      • technically it’s a beam from space, but never mind that little detail. 😉

      • Librarykid

        His death was decided by one of those Death Panels that Palin the Wise said we would have under Obamacare.

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      • Reality.Bites

        It looks like Phyllis Schafly has somehow survived multiple blasts.

        I think it’s going to take one of these in her case:


  • RobynWatts

    R.I.P.. Thanks for the range of characters that you were known for over the years.

  • vorpal

    Thanks, Obama.

  • Brian Moore

    Hot, macho man that put quite a few male movie stars to shame. They don’t make ’em like him anymore.

    • SweetHoleLuke

      I bet he had a great big cock too!!!

  • Lazycrockett

    K i kinda laughed at the “dying of old age” part. You just don’t hear that anymore. Its always natural causes or peacefully.

    • Vista-Cruiser

      I have a copy of the death certificate for one of my relatives. She died in 1926, and the cause of death was listed as “exhaustion due to old age”. I picture her taking a deep breath, exhaling, and then falling over…

      • Can you die from “exhaustion due to middle age”?

        • KentDean

          Well, not me. Not anymore.

        • Nope…. and believe me, if anyone could it would be ME!!

  • Michael

    I saw it here first. How very sad. He was a great actor. May he rest in peace.

  • William

    George Kennedy saved the day in all those Airport movies.

  • bkmn

    All good things must come to an end. Sadly.

  • shellback

    Straight Jacket. He almost out-shined Joan Crawford… almost.

    • Derrick Johns

      I think Crawford had started hitting the bottle on the set by then.
      My favorite (and most sentimental) scene in “Cool Hand Luke” was due to the fine work of an actress not the wonderful actors in the movie. It was when Jo Van Fleet came to the camp gate in the back of a wagon to say goodbye to her Luke.
      I’m starting to cry now.

  • Octavio

    Ooooo, all them’s hots and sweaty mens on the chain gang, nekked in the sun. Uh, excuse me for about six minutes . . . .

    • Joe knows who I am.

      Six? Even I go 8!

  • The Sentinel

    A wonderful actor. George gave Joan the ax in STRAIT JACKET!

  • Goodbye.

  • james_from_cambridge

    Naked Gun is what I know him from. It was my dad’s favorite movie and we watched it a lot! RIP!


    • Joe knows who I am.

      You have to wonder what went through his mind the first time he picked that up! 😀

  • Holly Far From The Woods

    So many entertainers are leaving us these last few months. RIP from a long life Mr. Kennedy.

  • Cuberly

    Of course he was in some great quality stuff, but my fave has to be the cheesy Airport movies. Especially the first one. The cranky irascible mechanic. He was born for that role.


    RIP George.

    • johncAtl

      The Airport movies were his best. You just know he had fun making them.

      • thatotherjean

        He may have won an Oscar for “Cool Hand Luke,” but he was never better than Joe Patroni in “Airport” and its sequels.

        • dr morbius

          A terrible thing to say.

          • thatotherjean

            Not if you enjoyed them as much as I did. They certainly weren’t high art, but they were decently plotted and well acted. With plentiful helpings of cheese, true.

      • dr morbius

        They were shit.

        • thatotherjean

          Helen Hayes didn’t make shit movies. The fact that she made them at all elevated them far above that.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Oh for fuck’s sake 2016! Are you going to take all of my childhood heros this year? It’s just barely March and you’ve take so many already.

    • johncAtl

      I turned 60 in September, and for several years it’s already been painful watching all the actors and musicians that I grew up loving die. I expect it to get worse.

  • JCF

    RIP. I remember him saying in a Paul Newman tribute (when Paul was still alive), “Paul will look better 3 days dead than I do now). Film will keep BOTH of you looking in your prime, gentlemen. Happy trails to you, till we meet again…

  • RIP George. what fun your career must have been!

    he got to make the greatest, the funniest and the worst films, all in one career. i’m not in any way mocking him, he got to ham it up in movies that weren’t meant to be funny at the time, but are today because they are so cheesy. i’m sure he got a kick out of that, when he petted his oscar. thanks for the memories, George.

    • dr morbius

      No, we laughed at the bad ones then. We were not stupid in the ’70s.

  • Bj Lincoln

    I grew up watching him in army/prison movies. “The Dirty Dozen” is one of my favorites. He seemed to be a nice man and I never heard anything to the contrary.
    RIP Mr. Kennedy

  • The last Titan of an Era is gone…. the world is a smaller place for it. Freya grant thee rest, George, Idunn grant thee peace.

  • 2karmanot

    RIP old boy…good life, good work