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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

George Kennedy

It was announced today that actor George Kennedy died on Sunday morning:

Kennedy was probably most famous for his role in Cool Hand Luke, where he played a prisoner who at first bullied and then befriended the title character played by Paul Newman in 1967. He later appeared in the Airport series in the 70's, and then in the Naked Gun movies in the 80's and 90's.

I had forgotten about Kennedy, but upon seeing him again, I was struck by how much he looked like some of the forensic artists' recreations of Neanderthal man:

Kennedy had the same brow ridge, the prominent nose, and the somewhat receding chin. Plus he was a big, strong guy:

He wasn't jacked by the standards of today's stars, but remember, he came of age in an era when real men didn't work out, and steroids didn't exist.

Kennedy was often cast as a bully -- he certainly looked like one -- but he was reportedly a nice guy in real life. He must have been, because he worked until his 80's, and it's hard to sustain that sort of longevity as an actor if you have a reputation for being difficult.



Anonymous said...

Excellent post (as usual!) ... one minor correction: steroids have been around since the mid to late 1930s ... this from Wikipedia --

"Testosterone, the most active anabolic-androgenic steroid produced by Leydig cells in the testes, was first isolated in 1935 and chemically synthesized later in the same year. Synthetic derivatives of testosterone quickly followed. By the end of the following decade, both testosterone and its derivatives were applied with varying degrees of success for a number of medical conditions. It was not until the 1950s, however, that athletes began to discover that anabolic steroids could increase their muscle mass. According to sports physician John Ziegler, the first confirmed use of an anabolic steroid in an international athletic competition was at the weightlifting championships in Vienna in 1954, when the Russians weightlifters used testosterone."

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you. I guess I should have said, "before steroid use was widespread." (I don't think too many people used it in this country before the 1970's; the East Germans themselves didn't really start to systematically dope their athletes until the early 70's.)