George Kennedy Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Oluwatosin Michael
Jan 31, 2024 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Jun 06, 2022
Edited by Shubhra Shukla
Fact-checked by Rakesh Pillai
George Kennedy was born in 1925 in New York City.
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Read time: 6.4 Min

About George Kennedy

George Harris Kennedy Jr. was an award-winning American actor.

In the course of his life, he acted in over a hundred films and TV shows throughout his career. George Kennedy was a famed Hollywood actor, and he played a variety of roles with many famous actors.

He belonged to a different era of cinema, so you may not have heard of him enough. He began acting in 1956, and he did not stop until 2014. George Kennedy acted in films like 'Airport', 'Cool Hand Luke', and 'The Gambler'. Interestingly enough, he has also acted in three foreign-language films. Stick around to know which ones. Here is information on his net worth, birthday, and personal life.

George Kennedy Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What was George Kennedy’s net worth?

George Kennedy had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death.

How much did George Kennedy earn per year?

There is no information regarding how much the actor made per annum.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall was George Kennedy?

George Harris Kennedy Jr. was 6 ft 3 in (193 cm) tall. His height often led him to be typecast in films as a villain or bully.

How old was George Kennedy?

He passed away just ten days after he turned 91 years old. George Harris Kennedy Jr. was born on February 18, 1925, in New York City. He passed away on February 28, 2016.

Childhood And Education

George Kennedy attended Chaminade High School. After graduation, he enlisted to serve in the US Army during World War II. He served for 16 years and reached up to the ranking of captain. He took part in combat and later worked as a Television and Armed Forces Radio officer. He tried re-enlisting in the late '50s but was discharged from a spine injury.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who are George Kennedy's parents?

George Harris Kennedy Jr. was born to George Kennedy and Helen A. George Kennedy Sr., who was a musician and orchestra leader. His mother was a ballet dancer. It's safe to say that he was born into a family full of talent that was in the showbiz for a while. George Kennedy grew up without his father; he passed away when George was only four years old.

His maternal grandfather was a German immigrant in the US. He is also of British and Irish descent.

Who was George Kennedy’s spouse?

The actor has a long list of marriages. To be precise, he was married four times to three women.

He married Dorothy Gillooly in 1946. She served in the Women's Army Corps. They had a son named Kevin Kennedy, who grew up with his mother after his parents divorced in 1959.

The same year he married Norma Wurman. They had two children: Christopher Kennedy and Karianna Kennedy. The couple got divorced in 1971. They remarried in 1973, and their second and final divorce took place in 1978.

He was married to Joan McCarthy until she passed away in 2015. They tied the knot in 1978. The couple adopted three children. They first adopted Shannon Kennedy Sullivan and Shaunna Leah Sullivan. Shannon developed a severe drug addiction problem and was deemed unfit to raise her child Taylor Riessen Kennedy. George Kennedy and Joan McCarthy adopted Taylor as well.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For

Although George Kennedy's first major debut came much later, he made his first on-stage debut at the age of two. He was with a touring company of the then-popular comic strip 'Bringing Up Father'.

He got his first significant role on 'The Phil Silvers Show', a sitcom where he portrayed a military policeman in 1955. He did not enter movies until 1961. He was cast in 'The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come'. He went on to act in several films like 'Lonely Are The Brave', 'Strait-Jacket', and 'Charade'.

1965 was the year that he shone. He earned the role to act beside one of America's most celebrated actors of the time, Gregory Pecks. They worked together on the mystery film 'Mirage'. He got busy with films lined up one after the other that year. Kennedy performed in 'The Flight Of The Phoenix', 'In Harm's Way', and 'The Sons Of Katie Elder'.

Again 1967 was a lucky year for him. He was cast together with Paul Newman in 'Cool Hand Luke' for which he was handed an Academy Award. 'Cool Hand Luke' was one of his famous films, and he acted as the character Dragline in it.

The actor took up one of the leading roles in the disaster film 'Airport', which won an Academy Award. He was cast as Captain Joe Patroni. The film was a four-part series. George Kennedy was the only member of the cast of the first film to have worked in all four parts.

George Kennedy acted with many famous actors. And Clint Eastwood was one of them. He co-starred with Clint Eastwood in the films 'Thunderbolt And Lightfoot' and 'The Eiger Sanction'.

Kennedy appeared in television series as well. He was in 'Sarge', which ran between 1971 to 1972, and in 'The Blue Knight' from 1975 to 1976. The latter mentioned series consisted of only 24 episodes.

The actor was definitely typecast because of his burliness. The supporting actor always got roles of a bully, and he changed that around by taking on roles as a policeman and such.

He also has three very unique films in his filmography list. George Kennedy was part of two Japanese productions and one Korean film. He acted in 'Proof Of The Man' and 'Virus'. Both the Japanese/English films did not do so well, but Kennedy was glad that he was involved.

'Mayumi' is the name of the Korean film Kennedy was a part of. The director of the film and his wife had been kidnapped by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-II. This movie was his comeback. 'Mayumi' was submitted for the 63 Academy Awards under the Best Foreign Language Film, but unfortunately, it was not nominated. In spite of George Kennedy's part in the film, it was a box office failure.

Between 1988 to 1991, he was part of the cast in the CBS TV series 'Dallas'.

Throughout the late '90s and early 2000s, he made appearances in several films and TV shows. 'The Young And The Restless', 'Don't Come Knocking', 'Sands Of Oblivion', and 'The Man Who Came Back' are some.

His last film before he retired in 2014 was 'The Gambler'. The film starred Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett. George Kennedy only appeared in the film for two minutes. He acted as Mark Wahlberg's dying grandfather.

What awards had George Kennedy won?

George Kennedy was an award-winning actor, and it's no doubt he was one of Hollywood's favorite supporting actors of the time.

George Kennedy was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the film 'Cool Hand Luke'. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the same movie.

He was nominated for the second time for a Golden Globe Award for his part in 'Airport'.

The actor was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, for his vast contribution to cinema.

George Kennedy’s Hobbies and Interests

George Kennedy loved flying. He owned a Cessna 210 and Beechcraft Bonanza. Because of his involvement in the two Japanese productions and his part in World War II, he developed a liking for Japanese culture and the country.

Other Interesting George Kennedy Facts And Trivia

  • George Harris Kennedy Jr. was awarded two Bronze Stars for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
  • He was a good friend of James Stewart and did the voiceover for his tribute film.
  • Kennedy wrote three books; two were murder mysteries called 'Murder On Location' and 'Murder On High', and one was an autobiography titled 'Trust Me', which was published in 2011.
  • He starred in Agatha Christie's 'Death On The Nile' film adaptation in 1978. He acted as Andrew Pennington.
  • George Kennedy passed away due to heart failure in 2016. He was living in Eagle, Idaho, at the time of his demise. He had a history of heart disease.

Main image credit: Serge Rocco /Shutterstock

George Kennedy Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

George Harris Kennedy

Date of Birth

1925-02-17

Date of Death

2016-02-27

Nationality

American

Place of Birth

New York City

Height

193 cm

Eye Color

Dark brown

Occupation

Actor

Education

Chaminade High School

Net Worth

5000000

Partner

Joan McCarthy

Parents

George Kennedy, Helen A.
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Sources

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

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Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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