“You’re next!”

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.

8 Responses to ““You’re next!””

  1. Christopher Says:

    My buddy Greg did double work for Kevin when they shot some underwater stuff on Joe Dante’s Piranha in San Marcos here..

  2. “Space, you say? Space is a flop. Didn’t you know that? An endless junkyard of orbiting debris. Ah, but! – miniaturization, Jack. That’s the ticket. That’s the edge everyone is looking for. Who will have that edge, Jack? Which country will control minaturization? Frankly, I don’t give a shit. I’m just in this for the money.”

    A film I love and an actor I loved as a kid and remembered that I still did whenever hge popped up onscreen. A seriously good age to live to. RIP Mr McCarthy.

  3. Lovely. Maybe what was so special about him was that he was a leading man and a character actor at one and the same time. He was probably too damn interesting to become a megastar, but he brought total conviction to everything he did, which is essential in something like Body Snatchers. And when the film was a comedy he could adjust to deliver that conviction in a comedic manner.

  4. Funny, but I’d forgotten how much Joe Dante had used him. When I heard of his deatht the first image that cmae to mind was him running up the courthouse steps to beg Marilyn to reconsider divorcing him in The Misfits

    Meanwhile. . .

    COMING SOON!

    As you can well imagine I can hardly wait.

  5. david wingrove Says:

    I had no idea Kevin McCarthy was that old! That means he was over 40 when he shot BODY SNATCHERS and he certainly doesn’t look it. Did Siegel perhaps contemplate a follow-up, starring him in THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY?

    Is the lovely Dana Wynter still with us? I last saw her in the early 80s, playing Queen Elizabeth II in a cheesy TV film – with Catherine Oxenberg as Diana, Stewart Granger as Prince Philip and Olivia de Havilland as the Queen Mother. That certainly tops THE QUEEN in terms of camp appeal.

  6. Wow, Guy Pierce is really channelling Zachary Scott there. Which is not something it would even occur to most of us to attempt.

    Dana Wynter is apparently retired from the biz but still with us.

    To make it to 96 you’ve got to have good genes. I would think seeming preternaturally young for your age would be a prerequisite. Polanski has a good chance of making it to 100.

  7. I sincerely hope he does, the better to spite his enemies.

  8. “Never beg! NEVER BEG!”

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