EXPIRED: 09/11/10 – Kevin McCarthy, 96, was a classically trained actor. So it was probably a source of much amusement to him that he is best remembered for his role in a low budget sci-fi film that has since become a classic.
“Stop and listen to me! …. They’re not human! … Can’t you see? Everyone! They’re here already. You’re next!”
Obviously, the body snatchers took a long time finding him.
As the lead in the 1950s film The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, McCarthy played Miles Bennell, a doctor who becomes alarmed when he discovers that the people in his small town have been transformed…..into aliens. The fact that the film, produced at the height of the McCarthy period, was a deep allegory has made it one of the most iconic of the Eisenhower era.
Although his iconic role was still his most famous, McCarthy’s career extended far beyond that. A stage player from Seattle, Washington, McCarthy earned a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his first film, playing the role of the elder son Biff in the filmed version of the Arthur Miller classic Death of a Salesman in 1951. McCarthy had originated the role on the London stage.
Over the next 10 years he alternated leads in small movies: Nightmare, in 1956, with supporting roles in larger movies, like The Misfits (1961 playing Marilyn Monroe’s husband), and The Best Man, in ’64. In the 80’s and 90’s, director Joe Dante cast McCarthy in colorful roles in a number of his films, including The Howling, Twilight Zone – The Movie, Innerspace, and Matinee. Even in his 90’s McCarthy could still be seen both in large-scale theatrical films and made-for-video cheapies, though he took greater pride, no doubt, in his long-running stage vehicle “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!” where he played President Harry Truman.
In 2007 McCarthy appeared as himself in the Anthony Hopkins film Slipstream. The film made several references to his Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Then in 2009 McCarthy was honored this evening with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening night gala ceremonies of the 24th edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.