That would be Kevin McCarthy who left us last Saturday. Although he never made it to the top tier of leading men, at least twice in his long acting life McCarthy created unforgettable characters. The first was in the 1949 Arthur Miller play, “Death of a Salesman” where he reprised his Broadway role in the Laslo Benedek film of the same name. He plays Biff Loman, a small-time loser who can never meet his father’s expectations. The father, of course, played by the formidable Fredric March as traveling salesman Willy Loman, adores his son through whom he hoped to vicariously fulfill his own dreams.
No such thing happened and they both remain failures, with Loman unable to hide from his son his profound disappointment bordering on contempt. For this supporting role, McCarthy was nominated for an Academy Award.
The other character he will be remembered as is Dr. Miles Bennell in “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” a perfect 1956 sci-fi film in which the hero tries pushing back the wave of impostors from outer space taking the place of the inhabitants of the small town where he lives. The problem with having such strong roles at the beginning of a career is that they overshadow everything that comes after, in McCarthy’s case decades of films, plays, and TV shows.
Still, to live almost a century and to leave this legacy, what an achievement!