What was George Kennedy’s Net Worth?
George Kennedy was an American actor who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death in 2016. George Kennedy died on February 28, 2016 at the age of 91. George Kennedy began his performance career in the theater as a toddler. He then went on to a successful radio career, before leaving performance behind in order to serve in the United States Army. After sixteen years in the Armed Forces, he retired, and began working as a technical advisor in Hollywood. He began his professional acting career as an adult, with small speaking roles in such projects as “Sargeant Bilko” and “Spartacus”. By the mid-60s, he was appearing in supporting and co-starring roles in such projects as “Charade”, “The Flight of the Phoenix”, and “In Harm’s Way”. He won an Oscar for his work in 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke”. He continued to work steadily for the rest of his life but to younger audiences, he was best known for playing Leslie Nielsen and O.J. Simpson’s police side-kick in the “Naked Gun” comedy film franchise.
George Kennedy was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City. His father, George Harris Kennedy, was a musician and orchestra leader. However, he unfortunately died when Kennedy was only four years old, leaving Kennedy to be raised by his mother, Helen, who was a ballet dancer. Kennedy started appearing on stage early on, making his stage debut at the age of two. He attended Chaminade High School in Long Island, New York and graduated in 1943. He then enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. He served for 16 years, eventually reaching the rank of captain. He served under George S. Patton and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war ended ,he re-enlisted but was later discharged in the late 1950s because of a back injury.
After his military career, Kennedy almost immediately began acting. His first notable screen role was as a policeman on the television sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show.” He also worked on the show as a technical advisor. He then booked his first film role in 1961 when he appeared in “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.” Over the next few years, he appeared in films like “Lonely Are the Brave,” “Charade,” and “Strait-Jacket.” He worked with high profile actors like Cary Grant and Kirk Douglas.
In 1965, Kennedy appeared alongside Gregory Peck in the film “Mirage.” The same year, he appeared in “The Flight of the Phoenix” with James Stewart, “In Harm’s Way” with John Wayne, and in “The Sons of Katie Elder” with Dean Martin and Wayne. The following year, in 1966, he appeared in the ABC Western series, “The Legend of Jesse James.”
His credibility as a serious actor grew in 1967 when he appeared in “Cool Hand Luke” alongside Paul Newman. In the film he played the character of Dragline, a chain-gang convict. For his role, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Kennedy continued booking major film roles, such as in “The Dirty Dozen,” “Bandolero!” and “The Boston Strangler.” In 1970, he appeared in the Academy Award-winning disaster film “Airport.” He played one of the film’s main characters, Joe Patroni. He then reprised the role in “Airport 1975,” “Airport ’77,” and “The Concorde…Airport ’79.” He was the only original cast member to appear in each film in the series.
Kennedy went on to star alongside Clint Eastwood in two additional films. He appeared in “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” and “The Eiger Sanction.” He also appeared with large ensemble casts in the movies “Earthquake” and “Death on the Nile.” From 1971 to 1972, he starred in the television series “Sarge” and then in “Blue Knight” from 1975 to 1976.
In 1977 and 1980, Kennedy starred in two Japanese films – “Proof of the Man” and “Virus.” Both of the films were produced by Haruki Kadokawa. The films featured extensive international casts and took place across multiple international shooting location. Though the films did not do well in the United States, Kennedy thoroughly enjoyed his experience and remained interested in Japan and Japanese culture throughout the rest of his life.
In 1984, Kennedy starred in the box-office bomb “Bolero” opposite of Bo Derek. Throughout the rest of the 1980s, he also appeared in the films “Savage Dawn,” “The Delta Force,” and “Creepshow 2.” He then landed a top role in the comedy film “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” in 1988. He played opposite of Leslie Nielsen and reprised his role of Captain Ed Hocken in the subsequent two sequels. He also landed a starring role on “Dallas” from 1988 to 1991. In the late 1990s, he reprised his role in the television films “Dallas: J.R. Returns” and “Dallas: War of the Ewings.”
Throughout the 2000s, Kennedy made a number of independent films. He then made a comeback to television in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” In 2005, he made a cameo appearance in the film “Don’t Come Knocking.” His final film appearance came in “The Gambler” in 2014. He played the dying grandfather of Mark Wahlberg’s character.
George Kennedy was married four times throughout his life. In the 1940s, he married Dorothy Gillooly, who served in the Women’s Army Corp. Together, they had a son, Kevin, before divorcing in the 1950s. In 1959, Kennedy married Norma Wurman. They had two children – Christopher and Karianna. They divorced in 1971 but then remarried in 1973. However, they divorced a second time in 1978. The same year, Kennedy married Joan McCarthy. The two remained married until McCarthy died in September of 2015. During their married, the couple adopted three children.
Kennedy was interested in aviation. He had his pilot’s license and owned several airplanes, like a Cessna 210 and a Beechcraft Bonanza.
In his later years, Kennedy lived in Eagle, Idaho. On the morning of February 28, 2016, Kennedy passed away at an assisted living facility due to a heart ailment. He was 91 years old.