Thesp Kevin McCarthy, who starred in “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Death of a Salesman,” died Sept. 11 in Hyannis, Mass., of natural causes. He was 96.
In the 1956 cult horror pic, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” McCarthy played the doctor who tried to warn townspeople of the attacking aliens, yelling, “They’re here already. You’re next!”
In a career that spanned eight decades and hundreds of stage, film and TV shows, McCarthy also played Biff in the 1951 bigscreen adaptation of Arthur Miller’s classic. He won a supporting actor Oscar nomination for the role, which was a reprisal of the stage version.
In later years McCarthy would reject all allusions to McCarthyism or communism in the film. “There was no assignment of political points of view when we were making the film,” McCarthy told Maine’s 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.”
McCarthy played plenty of other character parts including in pics like “The Misfits,” where he had a small part playing Marilyn Monroe’s husband, “The Prize,” and the original “Piranha.” He also had recurring roles in series such as “Schlitz Playhouse,” “Studio One in Hollywood,” “The FBI,” “Amanda’s” and “The District,” as well as guested on shows like “Dr. Kildare,” “The Fugitive,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “Golden Girls” among others.
McCarthy, whose parents died when he was 4, and his siblings were raised by a series of relatives. While attending the U. of Minnesota he joined the student theater group.
McCarthy made his Broadway debut in 1938’s “Abe Lincoln in Illinois.” From there he would go on to perform in 18 other plays. Later in his career McCarthy toured nationally with his solo show “Give ‘Em Hell Harry.”
His last role was as a doctor in “Drawback,” a short film by Daniel Rigdon.
His sister, novelist Mary McCarthy, died in 1989. Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Kate; two sons, three daughters, including Lillah McCarthy, a senior VP of original programming at Turner, and a stepdaughter; three grandchildren; and a brother.