Burt Kennedy


Director
Burt Kennedy

About

Also Known As
Z. X. Jones
Birth Place
Muskegon, Michigan, USA
Born
September 03, 1922
Died
February 15, 2001
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

Coming to film from radio Westerns, Kennedy penned "Seven Men from Now" (1956), the first of four collaborations with director Budd Boetticher and the first of three with producer-director Andrew V. McLaglen. Moving from the typewriter to the director's chair by the early 1960s, Kennedy continued for a time creating lean, leathery B's and TV Westerns. He also received acclaim for his gri...

Family & Companions

Sheila Theresa Foster
Wife
Married on July 11, 1973.
Nancy Pendelton
Companion
Survived him.

Bibliography

"Hollywood Trail Boss"
Burt Kennedy, Boulevard Books (1997)

Notes

"I think Burt Kennedy is the best western screenwriter there ever was," said [Budd] Boetticher in a phone interview. "Burt is so carefully authentic in everything he does." --From The Hollywood Reporter, January 12, 1993.

Biography

Coming to film from radio Westerns, Kennedy penned "Seven Men from Now" (1956), the first of four collaborations with director Budd Boetticher and the first of three with producer-director Andrew V. McLaglen. Moving from the typewriter to the director's chair by the early 1960s, Kennedy continued for a time creating lean, leathery B's and TV Westerns. He also received acclaim for his gritty WWII action drama, "Combat" (ABC, 1962-67).

Kennedy's traditional action fare brandished occasional laconic comic touches, but it was really with "The Rounders" (1965) and its spin-off TV series that comedy came to the fore in his work. "The War Wagon" (1967) basked in the by-play between John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, and by the time Kennedy made the popular "Support Your Local Sheriff" (1969) and its enjoyable sequel, "Support Your Local Gunfighter" (1971) he had firmly moved into spoof territory.

TV-movies dominated Kennedy's credits from the 70s on; "Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid" (1978) and "More Wild, Wild West" (1980) are typical of the light touch he brought to the small screen during this period. The broadly handled Hulk Hogan action feature "Suburban Commando" (1991) played up Kennedy's jokey side, but his elegiac TV-saga "Once Upon a Texas Train" (1988), with Willie Nelson as an aging outlaw and Richard Widmark as a former Texas ranger, showed that Kennedy's earlier affectionate sobriety had not left him entirely.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Suburban Commando (1991)
Director
Big Bad John (1990)
Director
Where the Hell's That Gold?!!? (1988)
Director
Once Upon a Texas Train (1988)
Director
The Trouble With Spies (1987)
Director
The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory (1987)
Director
Louis L'Amour's Down the Long Hills (1986)
Director
Wolf Lake (1981)
Director
The Wild Wild West Revisited (1979)
Director
The Concrete Cowboys (1979)
Director
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (1978)
Director
The Killer Inside Me (1976)
Director
Sidekicks (1974)
Director
All the Kind Strangers (1974)
Director
Shootout In A One Dog Town (1973)
Director
The Train Robbers (1973)
Director
Hannie Caulder (1972)
Director
The Deserter (1971)
Director
Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)
Director
La Spina Dorsale del Diavola (1971)
Director
Dirty Dingus Magee (1970)
Director
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)
Director
Young Billy Young (1969)
Director
Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)
Director
The War Wagon (1967)
Director
Welcome to Hard Times (1967)
Director
Return of the Seven (1966)
Director
The Money Trap (1966)
Director
The Rounders (1965)
Director
Mail Order Bride (1964)
Director
The Canadians (1961)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western (1997)
James Cagney: Top Of The World (1992)

Writer (Feature Film)

White Hunter Black Heart (1990)
Screenplay
Once Upon a Texas Train (1988)
Screenplay
Where the Hell's That Gold?!!? (1988)
Screenplay
The Trouble With Spies (1987)
Screenplay
Wolf Lake (1981)
Screenwriter
The Littlest Horse Thieves (1976)
From Story
The Train Robbers (1973)
Screenplay
Hannie Caulder (1972)
Screenwriter
Young Billy Young (1969)
Screenwriter
Stay Away, Joe (1968)
Original treatment
Welcome to Hard Times (1967)
Screenwriter
Return of the Gunfighter (1967)
Story By
Return of the Gunfighter (1967)
From Story
The Rounders (1965)
Screenwriter
Mail Order Bride (1964)
Screenwriter
Six Black Horses (1962)
Screenwriter
The Canadians (1961)
Screenwriter
Comanche Station (1960)
Wrt by
Yellowstone Kelly (1959)
Screenwriter
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Writer
Fort Dobbs (1958)
Writer
The Tall T (1957)
Screenwriter
Seven Men from Now (1956)
Original story and Screenplay
Gun the Man Down (1956)
Screenwriter
Man in the Vault (1956)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Where the Hell's That Gold?!!? (1988)
Producer
Once Upon a Texas Train (1988)
Producer
The Trouble With Spies (1987)
Producer
Sidekicks (1974)
Producer
Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)
Executive Producer
Dirty Dingus Magee (1970)
Producer

Director (Special)

Rowdies (1986)
Director
More Wild Wild West (1980)
Director

Life Events

1942

Served with the US Army; awarded Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

1956

First feature writing credit, "Seven Men from Now"

1961

Feature directorial debut, "The Canadians"

1970

First feature producing credit, "Dirty Dingus Magee"

1977

Directed the three-part miniseries, "The Rhineman Exchange", a war and espionage drama

1987

First feature producing credit for over 15 years, "The Trouble with Spies"

1989

Directed the premiere episode of the sophisticated comedy-mystery series, "Snoops"

1990

Co-wrote (with James Bridges) the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood film, "White Hunter, Black Heart"

1992

Appeared as one of the interviewees on the TV biographical documentary, "James Cagney: Top of the World"

Videos

Movie Clip

Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - Running For Governor? Corny ending after the crooks are caught in the train crash staged outside Chama, New Mexico, then-governor David Cargo uses his own name interviewing the fictional mayor (Martin Balsam), then ex-lawman Robert Mitchum, reformed crook George Kennedy, and new marshal Dick Peabody wrap things up, in The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - Opening, Marshal Flagg Opening with the custom-written title song (by William Lava and Ned Washington, sung by Glenn Yarbrough), exploiting the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, which was what drew writer-producers Ronald Cohen and Dennis Shryack to Chama, New Mexico, and introducing Robert Mitchum, in The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - The Lord Made Men After some early plotting, late 19th-century New Mexico marshal Flagg (Robert Mitchum) encounters his landlady (Lois Nettleton) and her son (Bobby Riha), then is pursued by deputy Boyle (Dick Peabody, “Littlejohn” from TV’s Combat), in director Burt Kennedy’s The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) - Stay Here And Hold His Hand Kicked out of his job as marshal in nearby Progress but determined to stop the gang that includes washed-up bandit McKay (George Kennedy), Flagg (Robert Mitchum) attempts an arrest but is thwarted by Deuce (John Davis Chandler) and his self-assured boss Waco (David Carradine), in The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969.
Fort Dobbs (1958) - I'd Hate To Have To Hang You After riding into dusty Largo, Clint Walker (enormous man then known for the small screen Western series Cheyenne) confers with the sheriff (Michael Dante), conducts an apparent revenge killing, then flees, opening Fort Dobbs, 1958, co-starring Virginia Mayo.
Fort Dobbs (1958) - I Acted Like A Fool Having just escorted her son (Richard Eyer) across a river, Davis (Clint Walker) finds his mother (Virginia Mayo) hasn’t waited her turn as instructed, a big rescue helping director Gordon Douglas get both his stars disrobed, fleeing the Comanche, in Fort Dobbs, 1958.
Fort Dobbs (1958) - I Like A Good Argument Davis (Clint Walker) has crossed the valley to draw out the Comanche war party, planning to make his stand, when gun-runner Clegg (Brian Keith) unexpectedly arrives to help, then Mrs. Gray and son (Virginia Mayo, Richard Eyer) get scolded for not following orders, in Fort Dobbs, 1958.
Fort Dobbs (1958) - He's A Horse Thief Having switched clothes with a guy killed by Indians and left his horse behind to get the posse trailing him to quit, Davis (Clint Walker, star of TV’s Cheyenne) meets young Chad (Richard Eyer) and his mom (Virignia Mayo), Gordon Douglas directing, in Fort Dobbs, 1958.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - Something Pure Awful Brigade (Randolph Scott) with prisoner Billy (James Best) arrives at the station, meeting Boone (Pernell Roberts), Wid (James Coburn) and the master's wife Carrie (Karen Steele), plot thickening in Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - I Did Him A Hurt Once With director Budd Boetticher’s landscapes, about an hour into the picture, we finally meet villain Frank (Lee Van Cleef) who, explaining to a sidekick (Dyke Johnson), begins to realize why bounty hunter Randolph Scott (not seen) doesn’t mind being followed, in Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) - Old Arizona Trick First scene for McCullough (James Garner), who rides into the gold-rush town of Calendar and faces down bully Joe Danby (Bruce Dern) early in Support Your Local Sheriff!, 1969.
Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) - -- Sobered Up The Whole Town Accident-prone daughter Prudy (Joan Hackett) is preparing her first meal for her father (Harry Morgan) and their new boarder, the new sheriff, McCullough (James Garner), upon whom she’s made an erratic impression, in Support Your Local Sheriff!, 1969.

Trailer

Return Of The Seven (1966) -- Theatrical Trailer Yul Brynner does return as Chris and Robert Fuller pretends to be Steve McQueen (“Vin”) but the others are all recruited anew, with more Elmer Bernstein music and a variation on the plot, Burt Kennedy directing in John Sturges’ stead, in the first sequel (to The Magnificent Seven, 1960), from the Mirisch company and United Artists, shot Spaghetti-Western style in Spain, Return Of The Seven, 1966.
Chisum (1970) -- (Original Trailer) The star is just about the only emphasis in the original trailer for director Andrew V. McLaglen’s 1970 John Wayne Western, Chisum.
Good Guys And The Bad Guys, The (1969) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for director Burt Kennedy’s comic-Western The Good Guys And The Bad Guys, 1969, with Robert Mitchum, George Kennedy, David Carradine and Tina Louise.
Dirty Dingus Magee (1970) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for the Frank Sinatra comic-Western Dirty Dingus Magee, 1970, featuring George Kennedy, Anne Jackson and Michele Carey, directed by Burt Kennedy.
Tall T, The - (Original Trailer) Randolph Scott rides into a hostage situation headed by amiable but dangerous outlaw Richard Boone in Budd Boetticher's The Tall T (1957).
White Hunter, Black Heart - (Original Trailer) A filmmaker (Clint Eastwood) travels to Africa to shoot a movie but becomes obsessed with hunting elephants in White Hunter, Black Heart (1990).
War Wagon, The - (Original Trailer) John Wayne and Kirk Douglas plan to steal a half million in gold from a greedy mine owner. Trouble is, it's in The War Wagon (1967).
Support Your Local Gunfighter - (Original Trailer) When a con man (James Garner) sneaks off a train, he's mistaken for a gunman in Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971).
Return of the Gunfighter - (Original Trailer) An aging gunfighter (Robert Taylor) tries to help a younger man accused of murder in Return of the Gunfighter (1967).
Money Trap, The - (Original Trailer) A cop with financial problems turns crooked in The Money Trap (1966) starring Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth.
Rounders, The - (Original Trailer) Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford are two ne'er-do-well cowpokes looking for sex and easy money in the modern West in The Rounders (1965).
Support Your Local Sheriff! - (Original Trailer) A mild-mannered cowboy (James Garner) drifts into a town so lawless they refuse to Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969).

Family

Thomas James Kennedy
Father
Vaudevillian. Half of "The Dancing Kennedys".
Gertrude Amelia Kennedy
Mother
Vaudevillian. Half of "The Dancing Kennedys".
Susan Kennedy-McNutt
Daughter
Survived him.
Bridget Kennedy
Daughter
Survived him.

Companions

Sheila Theresa Foster
Wife
Married on July 11, 1973.
Nancy Pendelton
Companion
Survived him.

Bibliography

"Hollywood Trail Boss"
Burt Kennedy, Boulevard Books (1997)

Notes

"I think Burt Kennedy is the best western screenwriter there ever was," said [Budd] Boetticher in a phone interview. "Burt is so carefully authentic in everything he does." --From The Hollywood Reporter, January 12, 1993.