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Oscar Winning Actor George Kennedy Dies At Age 91

Actor George Kennedy, known for films like Cool Hand Luke, Airport and the Naked Gun series has died at the age of 91 in Boise, Idaho. The Oscar winning character actor’s death was reported by his grandson Cory Schenkel. According to a report by CNN, Schenkel said his grandfather died “due to old age and some health issues”.

Kennedy was a US Army veteran, having served 16 years including during World War II. He won an Academy Award for his supporting role in the 1960’s movie Cool Hand Luke, where he portrayed Dragline, the uncouth leader of a group of prisoners. His character first clashed with Paul Newman’s protagonist Luke Jackson, before turning into his disciple. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kennedy said in 1978 that the ‘marvelous’ thing about the film was his character’s progression, that made Hollywood producers see that he can play characters besides the ‘bad guy’.

The marvelous 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.’

Fox News reported that Kennedy was also an advocate for adopting children later in his life. The actor is reported to have adopted four children, advising people to adopt regardless of how old they are and if they’re single. He is reported to have said every child needs someone to say “I love you, kid, good night'”.

Don’t let the fact that you’re 77 or 70 get in your way. Don’t let the fact that you’re a single parent and you want to adopt get in your way […] That kid, some place right now, cold and wet, needs somebody to say, ‘I love you, kid, good night.’

Filmmaker Albert Brooks who worked with Kennedy, took to Twitter to show his respect for the actor, saying: “R.I.P. George Kennedy. Lucky enough to work with him in Modern Romance. Great guy.”

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