- The Washington Times - Monday, February 29, 2016

Actor George Kennedy, known for playing rough-hewn characters and then for parodying them, died Sunday, family members told TMZ.

The 91-year-old actor had been in hospice care for a month after his health began deteriorating upon his wife’s death a year ago, grandson Cory Schenkel told TMZ on Monday.

There was no immediate indication of the cause of death.

Mr. Kennedy was best known early for his roles in TV westerns, where he’d often play menacing characters.

It was for such a role that he won an Academy Award for the 1967 film “Cold Hand Luke,” in which he played the “alpha” inmate on a chain gang who looks down on new convict Paul Newman.

In some of that film’s most famous scenes, Newman won Kennedy’s respect by refusing to quit a fight long after he’d been licked and eating dozens of hard-boiled eggs unto sickness.

Later in his career, he played softer authority figures in the disaster-movies cycle of the 1970s, such as an airline-troubleshooter in the “Airport” series of films. Then he parodied such roles in “The Naked Gun” films, in which he was the precinct captain ordering around Leslie Nielsen’s clueless cop.

He appeared in more than 200 films and TV episodes, getting his start in showbiz after a career in the Army in the 1940s and ‘50s, when he was serving as a technical advisor on “The Phil Silvers Show.”

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