Despite possessing a morbid streak as wide as William Conrad, I don’t usually do obituaries here. Perhaps because I try to ration myself to one blog post a day (and I sometimes fail), and so any unexpected news items like the recent passing of the great Claude Chabrol kind of put me off my stride if I attempt to memorialize them. Perhaps because, if you mention one noted departure, you have to mention them all, and I hate the way the Oscars have that role-call of the dead that always manages to slight some unforgettable talent.
But, morbid as I am, I couldn’t very well miss the chance to head an obituary with the words “You’re next!” And Kevin McCarthy, who has passed away at aged 96, was a superb talent and an always-welcome presence on our screens. I last saw him in 2007’s TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD, happily playing off his association with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, his first real classic movie role. Despite having this gigantically iconic performance in his resumé, and despite referencing it a few times, notably by appearing in Philip Kaufman’s excellent remake, he was much more than that single, beautifully modulated perf: his long association with Joe Dante (INNERSPACE is probably my favourite example from that collaboration) showed him to have a real gift for comedy. In this age of mass-produced pod people entertainers, he was an original.