George Kennedy, Oscar-Winning Actor from Cool Hand Luke, Dies at 91: Report
George Kennedy, of The Naked Gun and Cool Hand Luke fame died at 91 on Sunday
George Kennedy, known for his role in Cool Hand Luke and The Naked Gun movies, has reportedly died at 91.
The Oscar-winning actor died Sunday morning in Boise, Idaho, his grandson Cory Schenkel confirmed on his Facebook page.
Schenkel told TMZ that his grandfather’s health had been in decline since the death of his wife Joan last year. He also reported that his grandfather had been under hospice care over the past month.
“I have created so many great memories and I will enjoy them for life,” Schenkel wrote of his grandparents on Facebook. “While I am extremely sad that they are both gone (my grandma in September 14 and my grandpa this morning) I am grateful for the life, memories, and knowledge they shared with me.”
Before winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Cool Hand Luke in 1967, the 6’4″ Kennedy was usually cast in tough-guy roles in films like Charade (1963), Strait-Jacket (1964), Mirage (1965) and Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (1974).
A former career army soldier, Kennedy also starred as Major Max Armbruster in The Dirty Dozen.
While his imposing stature made him a natural villain, the New York native won over audiences with his comedy chops, first as a mechanic in 1970s classic Airplane, and later as Captain Ed Hocken in The Naked Gun series.
Kennedy played the goofy police captain alongside Leslie Nielsen in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988), The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991) and The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994).
His last role was in 2014’s The Gambler alongside Mark Wahlberg.