McCarthy quickly left an indelible footprint on Hollywood's long history. After establishing himself on the Broadway stage, the 30-something actor found his big Hollywood break. Elia Kazan cast him as Biff in a London production of 'Death of a Salesman,' which led to a cinematic version that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. (The role did win him a Golden Globe for "Most Promising Newcomer.") However, though he quickly made a splash in Hollywood, it was his work some five years later -- in a film the AFI calls one of the Top Ten science fiction films of all time -- where he truly left his mark, starring as Dr. Miles Bennell in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers.'
He had achieved what the New York Times calls "cult immortality," which continued as McCarthy took on over 200 small and big-screen credits, alongside numerous stage bows. Perhaps you remember him from 'Piranha,' 'The Howling,' 'Twilight Zone: The Movie,' or 'UHF.' To me, he'll always be Victor Scrimshaw, the dastardly baddie after Tuck Pendleton in 'Innerspace.' But that was his magic -- finding roles that stick with you, and having the drive to show off both acting grace and humor. His final screen role is a 2010 short by Daniel Rigdon called 'Drawback,' where he -- once again -- played a doctor.
He wasn't as young as Patrick Swayze, who passed away almost one year ago, but it's a loss that still hits us deeply. Rest in peace, Mr. McCarthy. You are missed.