On This Day … 15 February [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1914 – Kevin McCarthy, American actor (d. 2010)
  • 1918 – Allan Arbus, American actor and photographer (d. 2013)
  • 1971 – Renee O’Connor, American actress, director, and producer

People (Deaths)

  • 1996 – McLean Stevenson, American actor (b. 1929)
  • 2002 – Kevin Smith, New Zealand actor (b. 1963)
  • 2016 – George Gaynes, Finnish-American actor (b. 1917)

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy (15 February 1914 to 11 September 2010) was an American stage, film and television actor remembered as the male lead in the horror science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

Following several television guest roles, McCarthy gave his first credited film performance in Death of a Salesman (1951), portraying Biff Loman to Fredric March’s Willy Loman. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

During his service in World War II in the United States Army Air Forces, in addition to his acting career, McCarthy appeared in a number of training films. At least one of these films (covering the Boeing B-17), has been distributed on DVD. McCarthy was a founding member of The Actors Studio.

Allan Arbus

Allan Franklin Arbus (15 February 1918 to 19 April 2013) was an American actor and photographer. He was the former husband of photographer Diane Arbus. He is known for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on the CBS television series M*A*S*H.

During the 1940s, Arbus became a photographer for the United States Army, completing his military service in 1946.

Renee O’Connor

Evelyn Renee O’Connor (born 15 February 1971) is an American actress, producer, and director, known for the role of Gabrielle on the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

McLean Stevenson

Edgar “Mac” McLean Stevenson Jr. (14 November 1927 to 15 February 1996) was an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his role as Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake in the television series M*A*S*H, which earned him a Golden Globe Award in 1974. Stevenson also appeared on a number of television series, notably The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Doris Day Show.

After high school, he joined the United States Navy, and served from January 1946 to November 1947 as a hospital corpsman.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Tod Smith (16 March 1963 to 15 February 2002) was a New Zealand actor and musician, best known for starring as the Greek god of war, Ares, in the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and in its two spin-offs – Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules. He died in a fall at a film studio in China.

George Gaynes

George Gaynes (born George Jongejans; 16 May 1917 to 15 February 2016) was a Finnish-born American singer, actor, and voice artist. Born to Dutch and Russian-Finnish parents in the Grand Duchy of Finland of the Russian Empire, he served in the Royal Netherlands Navy during World War II, and subsequently emigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen and began his acting career on Broadway.

Gaynes’ most recognized roles in cinema were that of Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series and as John Van Horn in the 1982 comedy film Tootsie. He appeared as Senator Strobe Smithers in the hit TV show Hearts Afire; as the curmudgeonly but lovable foster parent Henry Warnimont on the NBC series Punky Brewster; as high-powered theatrical producer Arthur Feldman on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, in which Gaynes’ real-life wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, co-starred as his love interest; and as Frank Smith, the mob boss brought down by Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Spencer (Genie Francis) on the soap opera General Hospital.

World War II

In 1940, Gaynes lived in France, but after the Battle of France and the German occupation, he escaped to the Pyrenees, but was soon arrested by the Francoist Spain police. In 1942 after his release, Gaynes intended to return to the Netherlands to join the Dutch resistance against the Nazi occupation, but instead made his way to the United Kingdom to enlist in the Royal Dutch Navy. On 08 April 1943, Gaynes was commissioned as a seaman recruit and assigned to the auxiliary ship HNLMS Oranje Nassau, which was stationed at Holyhead in Wales. Because of his multilingualism (he spoke Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Russian), he was detached on 01 May 1943, to the Royal Navy as a translator assigned to the convoy commodore aboard HMS Hilary, which participated during July and August 1943 in Operation Husky the Allied invasion of Sicily. On 01 September 1943, Gaynes was reassigned to the destroyer HMS Wilton, which participated during January 1944 in the Battle of Anzio. On 01 January 1944, he was promoted to sergeant (petty officer, 1st class). After the Battle of Anzio, HMS Wilton was assigned to the Adriatic Sea and continued to see action during the Adriatic Campaign. On 14 July 1946, Gaynes was honorably discharged from the Royal Dutch Navy.

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