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Kevin McCarthy

Birthplace: Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
Death: Died in Barnstable, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Immediate Family:

Son of Roy Winfield McCarthy and Therese Martha McCarthy
Brother of Mary Therese Wilson

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Kevin McCarthy

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 1951 film version of Death of a Salesman, 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, a 1956 horror science fiction film.

Early life and career

McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Martha Therese (née Preston) and Roy Winfield McCarthy. McCarthy's father was from a wealthy Irish American family based in Minnesota, and his mother was born in Washington state to a Protestant father and a Jewish mother. He was the brother of the author Mary McCarthy, and a distant cousin of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. 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 from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in 1932, and 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.

McCarthy went on to have a long and distinguished career as a character actor. He has had some starring roles sprinkled in his career, most notably the science fiction film classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. On television, he had roles in two short-lived series: The Survivors with Lana Turner; and NBC's Flamingo Road as Claude Weldon, father of the Morgan Fairchild character. In 1956, he appeared with Alexis Smith in the NBC anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show in the episode "We Who Love Her". McCarthy appeared too in the 1959 episode "The Wall Between" of CBS's anthology series, The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He guest starred in the 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "Long Live Walter Jameson", as the title character.

In 1963, McCarthy appeared in the ABC medical drama Breaking Point in the episode entitled "Fire and Ice". In 1966 he appeared in the episode "Wife Killer" of the ABC series The Fugitive. In 1967, he appeared in the episode "Never Chase a Rainbow" of NBC's western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan. In 1971, he guest starred in the "Conqueror's Gold" episode of Bearcats! which starred Rod Taylor with whom he appeared in the films "A Gathering of Eagles," "Hotel (1967 film)" and "The Hell With Heroes". In 1977, he and Clu Gulager 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".

He starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer.

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 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.

His last appearance in a feature-length movie was as Bishop Ryder in the period drama Wesley.

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 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 of them, 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 together and acted in several projects together. The two also collaborated on a screenplay for a film adaptation of the Williams/Windham play You Touched Me!, but the project never came to fruition.


McCarthy died of pneumonia on September 11, 2010 at the age of 96.

Selected filmography

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Kevin McCarthy's Timeline

February 15, 1914
Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
September 11, 2010
Age 96
Barnstable, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States