Cool Hand Luke actor George Kennedy has passed away at the age of 91.
The actor – who came to prominence for his Oscar winning supporting role alongside Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke – was known for a variety of performances, including supporting actor roles in Airport, The Naked Gun trilogy, The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of The Magnificent Seven, Earthquake, Death on The River Nile, Spartacusand many more. Kennedy also famously played villainous Texan oil baron ‘Carter Mckay’ in the last three seasons of classic US Drama Dallas.
He became known as one of Hollywood’s greatest supporting actors, carving out a character niche that ran from hard-bitten bad boy to bumbling spoof character across his long spanning career.
Digital Spy have revealed that the actor passed away on Sunday (February 28), the same night as the 88th Oscars Awards ceremony was taking place, due to multiple counts of ill health . According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor’s grandson, Cory Schenke, confirmed he had been in hospice care for the last month. “He was a great man who loved his family and his fans,” said Schenke.
Speaking in 1978 of his Best Supporting Actor Oscar win, Kennedy said: “The marvellous thing about that movie, was that as my part progresses, I changed from a bad guy to a good guy. The moguls in Hollywood must have said, “Hey, this fellow can do something besides be a bad guy.”‘
In more recent times, Kennedy was last seen co-starring alongside Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler
Tributes have begun to pour in on social media, with the likes of Bo Derek, Jon Hurwitz and Sons of Anarchy’s Emilio Rivera among those paying tribute to the star.
Feeling blue over the passing of George Kennedy. Hope he and Drebin have reunited and are back on the case. #RIPEd https://t.co/K4kJu4m3w2
— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) February 29, 2016
My friend George Kennedy has passed. #RIP #georgekennedy pic.twitter.com/xAo0B7DpuT
— Bo Derek (@boderek) February 29, 2016
Kennedy is survived by a daughter and granddaughter.