George Kennedy could do anything. Comedy, thugs and sensitivity. Most famous for playing next to Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. He made a name for himself as a great supporting actor. He surpassed the unrecognisable brilliance of the supporting actor who cannot be remembered. The guy who was great and and made the star cast look great. Most notably like J.T Walsh.
George Kennedy was instantly recognisable as a star in his own right.
One of his best roles was in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. He plays a bank robber thug who eventually beats up the young pretender Jeff Bridges to death. He manages to come across as a thug who is sexually frustrated in an era of free love having missed the “sex” boat.
There is a sinister edginess to him. A man where just below the surface there is a volcano of violence about to erupt. But you never know when. He was physically a big man which made him all the more menacing. He brilliantly played against type in the Airplane movies. Playing it drool and straight. He managed to convince the viewer that he had never played a thug!
In another twist in later years, Kennedy became a supporter for adopted children. He had four adopted children, including his granddaughter Taylor, whose mother, also adopted by Kennedy, had become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“Don’t let the fact that you’re 77 or 70 get in your way. Don’t let the fact that you’re a single parent and you want to adopt get in your way,” Kennedy said in a Fox interview in 2002. “That kid, some place right now, cold and wet, needs somebody to say, “I love you, kid, good night.’”
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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