September 13, 2010 / 7:35 AM / 8 years ago

U.S. actor McCarthy of "Body Snatchers" fame dies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American actor Kevin McCarthy, who starred as a terror-stricken small-town doctor in the acclaimed 1956 science fiction film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” died on Saturday at age 96, U.S. media reported.

McCarthy appeared in numerous U.S. stage, film and television productions and was nominated for an Academy Award for the movie version of Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman.”

But he earned his most recognition with his memorable performance as a doctor who tries in vain to warn fellow townsfolk about alien “pod people” in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

The low-budget film was selected in 2008 by the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 science fiction films of all time and was chosen for inclusion in the U.S. Library of Congress National Film Registry for its importance.

The film, directed by Don Siegel, is considered by many experts as a metaphor for the anti-Communist scares of its era. In the plot, residents of a California town are systematically replaced by emotionless, alien duplicates in bubbling pods.

McCarthy, in the film’s best known scene, runs panicked into traffic, shouting warnings: “They’re not human” and “You’re next.”

The film also starred Dana Wynter, King Donovan and Carolyn Jones. He later appeared briefly in the 1978 remake of the film, which starred Donald Sutherland.

McCarthy earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in the role of Biff Loman in the 1951 film version of “Death of a Salesman,.” McCarthy appeared in the same role in the 1949 London production of the play.

Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Matthew Jones

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