Kevin McCarthy Dies

Kevin McCarthy, immortalized by the B-movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, died September 11 at the age of 96.  

The movie was selected as one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 science fiction films of all time in 2008, quite an achievement for a film that had a special effects budget of less than 15,000 dollars.

A by-product of living anywhere in the LA area is that one’s home is never far from a house, street or landmark made famous in the movies. I lived four years in Sierra Madre just a few hundred paces from the town square featured in Body Snatchers. (It’s actually a triangle, but I offer the same rationalization Tom Smothers gave for yelling “Fire!” when he fell into the chocolate.)

McCarthy ended up better known for being chased by Body Snatchers pod people than for playing Willy Loman’s son in Death of a Salesman although the latter role earned him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

He was an actor who got a great deal of work throughout his life, though little of it was in the genre. He did star in the horror comedy Piranha and do a cameo in the remake of Body Snatchers, both in 1978. One of his most visible roles in later years was as President Truman in a one-man show “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

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