Blog Archives

Andy Griffith, dead at 86.

We remember him from “The Andy Griffith Show” or, later, from “Matlock.” Andy Griffith died about 7 a.m. this morning of a heart attack.

In more than half a century of performing on stage, on film and on television, Mr. Griffith became a symbol of North Carolina in the role of Sheriff Andy Taylor. “The Andy Griffith Show,” which initially aired from 1960 to 1968, was seen somewhere in the world every day.Griffith’s career was in”No Time for Sergeants” on Broadway, in movies such as Elia Kazan‘s “A Face in the Crowd“,  and he made musical records. He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame in 1992 and in 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“The Andy Griffith Show” was one of only three series in TV history to bow out at the top of the ratings. The others were “I Love Lucy” and “Seinfeld.”

Kevin McCarthy has died at 96…

Kevin McCarthy, the suave, square-jawed actor who will always be best known as the star of the 1956 science fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” died Saturday at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. He was 96 and lived in Sherman Oaks, Calif. His death was confirmed by his daughter Lillah McCarthy.

Nothing in the NY Times notice said why he was on Cape Cod, but I assume he was vacationing. The Hyannis hospital serves the entire Cape, so he might have been staying in any of the towns from Provincetown to the Canal. One of his daughters, Mary Dabney McCarthy, lives on Cape Cod.

Kevin McCarthy was born on Feb. 15, 1914, in Seattle, the son of Roy Winfield McCarthy and the former Therese Preston. Both parents died in the famous influenza epidemic of 1918… their four children (one of which became the famous writer Mary McCarthy) were sent to live with relatives in Minneapolis. After five years of near-Dickensian mistreatment, described in Ms. McCarthy’s memoirs, the youngsters moved in with their maternal grandfather.

McCarthy went to college at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with the intention of having a career in diplomacy… but at some point he took up acting and went to New York in the late 1930s. His first part was in Abe Lincoln In Illinois.

After serving as a Military Policeman in WWII, he returned to NY to actively pursue a theatrical career. At 35, a veteran of seven Broadway plays,  he was cast as Biff, the shallow, elder son of Willy Loman, in the London stage production of “Death of a Salesman,” Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1949 drama about illusion and the common man. His portrayal of Biff in the 1951 film version earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

Although Body Snatchers is what most people knew him from during his long life, he never abandoned the stage and did both live and filmed performances for the rest of his life (his last film was 2 years ago.)