Oscar winning actor George Kennedy has died at age 91, five months after the passing of his wife Joan. Kennedy's popularity as a character actor led to eventual leading man roles in major films. Born in New York City, he experienced stage life early, working with his parents in Vaudeville. During WWII he served under General Patton and was decorated for bravery. He drifted into acting on television in the 1950s. With his imposing physical presence (he was 6'4"), Kennedy immediately found work, generally playing heavies who squared off against the series' heroes. Among the shows he guest-starred on were such hits as "Have Gun, Will Travel", "Rawhide", "Gunsmoke" and "The Untouchables". He crossed into feature films in the early 1960s and first made a splash in Stanley Donen's 1963 comedy thriller "Charade" in which he played a crook with a hook hand who attempts to kill Cary Grant in a rooftop fight. The film demonstrated that Kennedy could play light comedy as well as menacing characters. From that point he never stopped working and quickly became one of the most popular "second bananas" in the film industry. He specialized in Westerns and appeared in plenty- squaring off against John Wayne in "The Sons of Katie Elder" and co-starring with James Stewart, Dean Martin and Raquel Welch in "Bandolero!". He also had a major role in the 1967 WWII blockbuster "The Dirty Dozen". His appearance as a buffoonish convict who initially fights but later befriends Paul Newman on a chain gain in "Cool Hand Luke" won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1968. This elevated his marketability in Hollywood and Kennedy got the occasional starring roles in films such as "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" and "The Human Factor". Generally, however, he was relegated to supporting roles, but high profile ones. As gruff, cigar crunching engine Joe Patroni in the original "Airport", Kennedy made a significant enough impression that he became the only cast member from that film to appear in the three sequels. He also co-starred with Clint Eastwood in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" and "The Eiger Sanction". He enjoyed a late career surge in popularity as Lesiie Nielsen's co-star in the three hit "Naked Gun" comedies. Kennedy had two children from his first marriage. After marrying Joan, the couple adopted four more including Kennedy's granddaughter, whose mother had been battling drug addiction. In 2011 he published his memoirs under the title "Trust Me".