Kevin McCarthy, an actor best known for his lead role in the hit movie classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” died Saturday, Sept. 11, at Cape Cod hospital in Hyannis, Mass., of pneumonia, according to The Washington Post. He was 96 years old and lived in Sherman Oaks, Calif.. His death was confirmed to the New York Times by his daughter, Lillah McCarthy.
Kevin McCarthy: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was a low budget B-picture shot in the 1950s. McCarthy was cast as the handsome doctor who, alongside Dana Wynter, a beautiful divorcee, fought to avoid becoming a pod person and to help others avoid the same. This horror film became a cult classic and, in 1994, it was selected for the National Film Registry. In 2008, it was chosen by the American Film Institute for inclusion as one of the top 10 science fiction films of all time.
He even made a cameo appearance in the 1978 remake of the film, throwing himself in front of the car driven by Donald Sutherland and yelling, “Help! They’re coming! Listen to me!” just as he did in the first version
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and The Philosophical Development of One High Schooler
Whether you love the film for its warning against conformity, or its metaphor for the paranoia of Senator McCarthy’s Communist witch hunts (not to be confused with the actor), I loved the movie for the drama. I don’t know how many times I watched “Body Snatchers” in high school. I loved the grainy look of the film, the cheesy melodrama, the music, the close-up shots of McCarthy’s horror-stricken face, the quick cuts without transition between scenes. It made movies feel accessible and funny, and appealed to my philosophic belief that, if one wasn’t vigilant, if one didn’t stay awake (the transformation from person to pod person occurs in the movie while you are sleeping), then you would become mindless, controlled and, well, boring.
McCarthy’s excellent portrayal of the doctor who realizes the threat before anyone else and his struggle to warn people while avoiding becoming a pod person himself struck a chord with me.
Kevin McCarthy: Renowned Stage Actor
Perhaps lesser known than his film work, McCarthy’s stage work was a fantastic excursion into the art of the theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1938 with “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” took a break to serve as a military police officer in World War II, and then returned to his acting career. He appeared in 18 Broadway productions, including Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and Vonnegut’s “Happy Birthday, Wanda June.”
He also played Biff in “Death of a Salesman” for the London stage, a role he re-lived for the 1951 film version. His performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Kevin McCarthy: An Inspiration to Actors
Cult film lovers revere him and actors want to be him. He continued to work all the way up until 2009. He did what he loved and never stopped. Many actors respect his stage work; film buffs love his “bad guy” and supporting roles in TV and film.
He leaves behind his wife, children, stepchildren, grandchildren and a host of fans who will never forget him or his work.
Kevin McCarthy, Actor, Dies at 96
Kevin McCarthy, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” star, dies
Kevin McCarthy dies at 96; actor starred in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”