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Oscar-winning actor George Kennedy dies at 91

Actor George Kennedy, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a chain-gang convict in the 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke," has died. Kennedy was one of the most popular supporting actors of the 1970s.

George Kennedy's grandson Cory Schenkel said Monday the Oscar-winning actor had died on Sunday morning of natural causes.

He made his debut in Hollywood in 1960 with a brief appearance in the movie "Spartacus" but his acting career actually took off in 1961 in "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come." Kennedy's biggest acting achievement was his role in "Cool Hand Luke" as the prisoner Dragline, also a chain-gang boss. The movie earned four Academy Award nominations, with Kennedy taking home an Oscar for best supporting actor.

Kennedy went on to become one of the most recognizable supporting actors in the 1970s. One of his most famous films during that time was the 1970 hit "Airport," which spawned several sequels. "Earthquake" and "Death on the Nile" are his other successful films from the 70s.

The actor's fortunes declined in the 1980s, as a number of his movies flopped at the box office. However, he made a comeback with his comic role in the three "Naked Gun" movies.

Kennedy also penned three books, including two murder mysteries - "Murder on Location" (1983) and "Murder on High" (1984), and an autobiography, "Trust Me" (2011).

The veteran actor married four times and had four adopted children.

shs/kms (Reuters, AP)

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