End Credits #43: Cinema's 2016 Lost Treasures George Kennedy
These are some of Cinema's sad departures of 2016 taken from my personal notes soon after the tragic events took place:
Another huge loss to the world of cinema has occurred with the death of actor George Kennedy. Was there ever any doubt that he was the distinctive characters he portrayed? His special creative artistry infused them with that rare combination of "down-to-earthiness" with a larger-than-life persona, always commanding one's acute attention whenever he appeared on the screen. He could be so formidably cold and menacing as he was in Lonely are the Brave, Charade, Straight-Jacket, Mirage, or The Sons of Katie Elder or be just as effectively warm and good-natured as his Slade in Earthquake or Ed Hocken in The Naked Gun movies or perhaps even a bit of both as in his Academy Award winning performance as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke (pictured above). He made three highly engaging characters come to life in stand-out films for Robert Aldrich: Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Flight of the Phoenix, and The Dirty Dozen. Other important roles in the '60s occurred in films such as Bandolero!, The Boston Strangler, and Guns of the Magnificent Seven. In the '70s just a few of his immensely authenticated performances enriched Fools' Parade, Cahill U.S. Marshal, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Eiger Sanction, and Death on the Nile. He brought vividly to life the no-nonsense, not-to-be-taken-lightly authority figures Joe Patroni in Airport, John Little in ... tick... tick... tick... and George S. Patton in Brass Target. Most of all George Kennedy had charisma in bucketloads that naturally spilled over into his characterizations throughout his career. I'm so grateful to have witnessed them and although I mourn his passing, will look forward to appreciating his tour de force performances again. George Kennedy (February 18, 1925 - February 28, 2016) R.I.P.