Monday, September 13, 2010

Obituary for Kevin McCarthy, Actor

It might seem a little odd for me to post the obituary of Kevin McCarthy, but 34 years ago, I was lucky enough to see Kevin McCarthy at Kent State University, where he came in just to perform the role of the narrator in Our Town. It was a treat to see him in that role, and I never forgot it. I'm grateful he was willing to come to Kent State, and perform with college students.
Prolific actor Kevin McCarthy, best known for 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers,' dies at 96

His career spanned more than 70 years and included a Golden Globe for 1951's 'Death of a Salesman' film.
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times

September 13, 2010

Kevin McCarthy, the veteran stage and screen actor best known for his starring role as the panicked doctor who tried to warn the world about the alien "pod people" who were taking over in the 1956 science-fiction suspense classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," died Saturday. He was 96.CQ

McCarthy died of natural causes at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass., said his daughter Lillah.

During a career that spanned more than 70 years, beginning on stage in New York in the late 1930s, McCarthy played Biff Loman opposite Paul Muni's Willy in the 1949 London production of "Death of a Salesman."

Reprising his role in the 1951 film version opposite Fredric March, he earned a supporting-actor Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe as most promising male newcomer.

McCarthy had appeared in several other films and had a string of TV anthology-series credits behind him when he was cast as Dr. Miles Bennell in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," director Don Siegel's thriller about an unsuspecting California town whose residents were being replaced by emotionless alien clones grown in oversized seed pods.

In the film's most memorable scene, McCarthy's frantic Bennell runs into traffic, screaming to motorists, "Stop and listen to me! …. They're not human! … Can't you see? Everyone! They're here already. You're next!"

The low-budget film became an enduring cult classic that was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1994.

McCarthy, who made a cameo appearance in the 1978 remake, got a lot of mileage out of the original film in his later years, appearing often as a guest at film festivals and autograph shows.

"I must say I'm enthralled by the power of the picture all over the world," he told the Knoxville News-Sentinel in 2000. "It's the science-fiction picture of our time. The toasts just keep coming my way."

McCarthy dismissed assertions that "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was an allegory about the communist infiltration of America or an indictment of McCarthyism.

"There was no assignment of political points of view when we were making the film," he told the Bangor Daily News in 1997. "People began to think of McCarthyism later.

"I thought it was really about the onset of a kind of life where the corporate people are trying to tell you how to live, what to do, how to behave. And you become puppets to these merchants that are somehow turning individuals into victims.

"It seemed to me to be about conforming, the need to control life so it would be more tolerable."

McCarthy's long career included numerous guest appearances on TV series including "The Twilight Zone," "Burke's Law," "Flamingo Road" and "Murder, She Wrote."

He appeared in about 50 films, including "An Annapolis Story," "40 Pounds of Trouble," "The Prize," "The Best Man," "Kansas City Bomber," "Buffalo Bill and the Indians," "Piranha" and "The Howling."

In addition to his many Broadway and other stage credits, McCarthy toured for many years as President Truman in the one-man show "Give 'Em Hell, Harry."

He also was a footnote in the movie career of Marilyn Monroe, playing the husband Monroe divorced in Reno at the outset of "The Misfits," the Arthur Miller-written, John Huston-directed 1961 drama starring Monroe, Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift.

McCarthy had to be talked into playing the role, in which he and Monroe talk on the courthouse steps.

"They wanted me to come out for it, but I was too vain," he told the Columbus Dispatch in 2003. "I said the part was too small. I finally said I would do it if they paid me a hundred dollars a word. They said they would. Turns out I had 29 words."

The son of a lawyer and his homemaker wife, McCarthy was born Feb. 15, 1914, in Seattle. He and his two brothers and sister — Mary McCarthy, who later became an author and wrote the bestselling novel "The Group" — were orphaned when both parents died in the 1918 flu epidemic, and were sent to live with relatives.

McCarthy began acting in the 1930s at the University of Minnesota, where, on a dare from a friend, he played a bit part in "Henry IV, Part 1."

"That day, I realized that I could do something," he told the Bangor Daily News. "I didn't study acting. I didn't even think about it. But evidently I have some innate ability, some talent. It was maybe a gift. In any case, I was in one play after another after that."

After moving to New York, he made his Broadway debut in 1938 in a small role in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois," starring Raymond Massey. As Sgt. Kevin McCarthy during World War II, he appeared in Moss Hart's "Winged Victory," the Broadway play produced by the Army Air Forces.

McCarthy appeared in several Broadway plays in the years immediately after the war, including Maxwell Anderson's short-lived "Truckline Cafe" with Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. He was a founding member of the Actors Studio.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 31 years, Kate Crane McCarthy; children James Kevin McCarthy, Mary Dabney McCarthy, Tess McCarthy and Patrick McCarthy; stepdaughter Kara Lichtman; a brother, Preston; and three grandchildren. He was divorced from actress Augusta Dabney, who died in 2008.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beth Hoffman's Blog

Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, has become a friend of mine over the last nine months, although we're only getting a chance to meet today, June 26th. But, here was her blog, at, before her appearance for Authors @ The Teague.

Heading for Authors at The Teague

For all my life I’ve loved libraries. Be they old or new, one story or an entire building, in a crowded city or on a country road, I always know I can walk into a library and spend hours browsing the shelves in peace. I also know that if I can’t find what I’m looking for or need a recommendation, a knowledgeable librarian will be more than happy to help me. With all the budget cuts that have hit libraries so hard, now, more than ever, I try to support them whenever I can. I can’t imagine a town without a library, and if we don’t take action, that just might happen.

During these scary economic times, I am especially excited and honored to be a guest author at the Velma Teague Library in Glendale, Arizona. Lesa Holstine, Library Branch Manager, was so kind in extending her invitation to me, and I gladly accepted. Velma Teague is a very special library; it’s the only one to receive the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, and, it’s also the oldest library in the valley, serving book-loving residents since 1895. I can’t wait to meet Lesa, see the library, and talk to the attendees. I know we’ll have a terrific time.

Lesa Holstine writes a fabulous blog. She is a contributing book reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, and various websites. Lesa’s Book Critiques is syndicated through Blogburst, and her reviews have been picked up by Reuters, USA Today and other distinguished news distributors. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer, Lesa’s book reviews and author interviews are always hugely popular with publishers, readers, and authors alike. You can visit Lesa’s blog HERE.

This event is free and open to the public, and I’m looking forward to meeting the residents of Glendale and surrounding areas. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, please come to the library and say hello. Lesa Holstine and I have a wonderful event planned. And, I have a special surprise for Lesa!

Here’s the information:

June 26th (Saturday)

Authors at The Teague, Glendale, Arizona

7010 N. 58th Avenue

Glendale, AZ 85301



(I just know I'm going to love Beth when I meet her today!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Tragedy & Inspiration that is Nashville

Nashville's tragedy is heartbreaking. I've been there. I loved the city, and the friendly people, who went out of their way to tell us, and show us, how friendly they were. I can't even say how sorry I am for this disaster, that never made the news as much as a few of our non-hurricanes did when I was in Florida.

This says it all. Thank you to the people who made this.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

One More Time by Barb Wiatrak-Young

A friend, R.J. McGinnis, sent me this. He was thinking of Jim when he read it. It's a perfect poem, since tomorrow would have been Jim's 61st birthday. The poem was written by one of R.J.'s former classmates. Thank you, R.J., and thank you, Barb Wiatrak-Young.

One More Time

by Barb Wiatrak-Young

If I could hug you one more time,

Or tell you that I care,

To hold your hand and see your smile

That follows everywhere...

If I could kiss your tender cheek,

Or dry a little tear,

If I could hear your laughter,

But there is none to hear.

If only for a moment

We could share a word or two,

I would give the world & all

If I could know you knew.

That you are missed so much,

In every thing I see,

Your sparkling eyes & joy

Were everything to me.

Why don't we hold each moment,

So fleeting and so fast,

The joy we only realize,

When it is gone and past.

We should cherish every moment,

There may not be another

To have just one more time,

To love and have each other.

One more time is gone,

It has vanished with your light,

And one more time, just one more time

Could fill my darkest night...