We lost two greats this week – Kevin McCarthy and Harold Gould.
Kevin McCarthy, Oscar nominated actor best known for his role in the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” passed away on September 11 at his Hyannis, Massachusetts home of natural causes. He was 96.
Born in Seattle on February 15, 1914, Mr. McCarthy and his family moved to Wisconsin where he graduated from Prairie du Chiens’ Campion High School in 1932. He then enrolled in the University of Minnesota, where he discovered a love for acting. After graduation he headed to New York City, where he began appearing on Broadway. Among his shows: “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” “Winged Victory” and “Bravo.” This lead to work in television and he began appearing in the various “Playhouse” television productions of the era, including “The Ford Theater Hour” and “Pulitzer Prize Playhouse.” While in New York he met another young actor who would remain a friend until he died…Montgomery Clift. In 1951, he was cast in the role of Biff in the film version of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” replacing Arthur Kennedy who had won a Tony Award for his performance. For his performance McCarthy was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. He lost the award to Karl Malden, who won for his role in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” However, since “Streetcar” won three of the four acting awards that night (only Marlon Brando, who lost to Humphrey Bogart for his work in “The African Queen,” went home empty handed) it wasn’t hard to believe the old adage that “it’s just an honor to be nominated.” He continued to rotate between television and Broadway for another half decade. In 1956, he won the role he would most be associated with for the rest of his career, Dr. Miles Bennell in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
For the rest of his career, McCarthy would be a highly sought character actor on stage and in both television and film. Among his many television credits are appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” “The Rifleman,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The F.B.I.” and “Flamingo Road,” where he had a recurring role. His films included “The Misfits,” “Kansas City Bomber,” the original “Piranha” and “Greedy.” He also reprised earlier roles in two films; the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the Joe Dante directed episode of “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” He was a favorite of director Dante, appearing in no less than four of the director’s films.
Harold Gould, a multiple Emmy Award nominated actor whose career spanned six decades, passed away this past weekend after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 86.
Best remembered for his television work on both “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” Gould appeared in several popular shows over his career, from “The Donna Reed Show” to “Nip/Tuck,” with roles in such programs as “Route 66,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Hazel,” “The Virginian,” “The Fugitive,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Golden Girls” and “Judging Amy” in between. He also appeared in several films, including “Harper” with Paul Newman and “Inside Daisy Clover” with Robert Redford. He re-teamed with both stars when he played Kid Twist in the Oscar winning Best Picture “The Sting,”
But Gould’s best known role was one he didn’t end up playing. He was cast as Howard Cunningham in a 1950s themed pilot which Garry Marshall filmed for ABC. When the show wasn’t picked up by the network, Gould moved on to the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” After the release and success of the film “American Graffiti,” ABC sought to capitalize on the craze and aired the pilot as an episode of “Love, American Style” entitled “Love and the Happy Days.” The character was re-cast with Tom Bosley and “Happy Days” went on to become one of the most popular and loved television series of all time. And even though Mr. Gould never got to work with Fonzie, he did co-star with Henry Winkler in the film “My One and Only.”
Both will be sadly missed.