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Kevin McCarthy, 1914 - 2010

(Sorry about the ad at the end here, but the picture quality on this one beats all the other versions I could find.)

"Kevin McCarthy, the veteran stage and screen actor best known for his starring role as the panicked doctor who tried to warn the world about the alien 'pod people' who were taking over in the 1956 science-fiction suspense classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, died Saturday," reports Dennis McLellan for the Los Angeles Times. "During a career that spanned more than 70 years, beginning on stage in New York in the late 1930s, McCarthy played Biff Loman opposite Paul Muni's Willy in the 1949 London production of Death of a Salesman. Reprising his role in the 1951 film version opposite Fredric March, he earned a supporting-actor Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe as most promising male newcomer."

"Everybody's ostensibly-little-known fact about McCarthy is that he was Mary McCarthy's brother, which, among other things, briefly made him Edmund Wilson's brother-in-law," notes Glenn Kenny. "I feel there's little I can tell the Some Came Running readership about McCarthy that they don't already know. For a certain movie lover, McCarthy is one of those guys, one of those faces, one of those presences, that's almost axiomatic of cinema. A law unto himself." A fun McCarthy and Vonnegut anecdote, recalled sightings and an update follow.

"I think every generation starting with the kids who saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers in '56 has a genuine soft spot for this man," writes Quint at AICN, where he's gathered pix and clips. "That's a testament to his work ethic and his continuing energy, even into his 70s and 80s. It's not every actor that has impacted grandparents, parents and grandchildren the way McCarthy did."

"Despite his film and television success Mr McCarthy never abandoned the stage," writes Anita Gates, listing seemingly countless roles performed on stage and on screens, big and small. The range is a little mind-blowing. McLellan mentions, just as one example, Maxwell Anderson's Broadway production of Truckline Cafe with Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. Oh, and: "He was a founding member of the Actors Studio."

On Edward Copeland's list are John Huston's The Misfits (he was the husband Marilyn Monroe divorces) and Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians. David Cairns "last saw him in 2007's Trail of the Screaming Forehead, happily playing off his association with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, his first real classic movie role. Despite having this gigantically iconic performance in his resumé, and despite referencing it a few times, notably by appearing in Philip Kaufman's excellent remake [see Unexplained Cinema], he was much more than that single, beautifully modulated perf: his long association with Joe Dante (Innerspace is probably my favourite example from that collaboration) showed him to have a real gift for comedy. In this age of mass-produced pod people entertainers, he was an original."

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Let’s not forget UHF. He was an icon, if largely ignored.

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