Here's What Happened to George Kennedy of 'The Blue Knight' after the Show Ended

Bettina Dizon
Jun 25, 2019
04:38 A.M.
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George Kennedy died at age 90, but lived a successful Hollywood life, staring in many films and winning an Oscar for best supporting actor before his demise. 


George Kennedy, a world war II veteran, was 90 when he died of natural causes in 2016, but left a legacy through his well-loved movies, including “Cool Hand Luke” where he bagged an Oscar award for best-supporting actor.

In 1967, Kennedy’s fame heightened as he starred in “Cool Hand Luke” where he co-stared with Paul Newman. The New York Times described him as a “powerfully obsessive as the top-dog who handles things his way as effectively and finally as destructively as does the warden or the guards.”


“The marvelous thing about that movie,” Kennedy recalled in an interview, “was that as my part progresses, I changed from a bad guy to a good guy. The moguls in Hollywood must have said, “Hey, this fellow can do something besides be a bad guy.’”

Among his notable films was the 1970s “Airport” which he stared as Joe Patroni for all four installments. He also had a powerful performance in “Earthquake” as police sergeant Slade, who guided people amid the horrifying calamity.


Three years later, Kennedy began his own series: 1971’s “Sarge,” where he played a priest, and 1975’s “The Blue Night,” where he played a Los Angeles beat cop.

Kennedy’s role diversified in 1980 as he attempted to do comedic stunts in the hit “The Naked Gun” From the Files of Police Squad!,” “The Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear,” and “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.”


On February 28, 2016, ten days shy of his 91st birthday, Kennedy died of natural causes in his home in Middleton, Idaho. 

There are not a lot of World War II veterans who enter a career in Hollywood. Like Kennedy, Freddie Hart, a classic country star, also served during the Second World War.

He was 73 when he died of natural causes as well in Cool Springs, leaving his wife, Ginger, and four sons: Freddie Jr., Andy, Joe, and Victor. He became a Nashville Hall of Famer and was most known for his song “Behind Closed Doors.”