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Jody McCrea
Jody McCrea (left) with father, Joel, in Wichita Town, 1959
Jody McCrea (left) with father, Joel, in Wichita Town, 1959
Born Joel Dee McCrea
(1934-09-06)September 6, 1934
Los Angeles, California, US
Died April 4, 2009(2009-04-04) (aged 74)
Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
Other names Joel D. McCrea
Joel Dee McCrea
Occupation Actor
Years active 1955–1985
Spouse(s) Dusty Ironwing McCrea (m. 1976; died 1996)
Relatives Stepchildren: Jaquet Ironwing, David Ironwing

Joel Dee "Jody" McCrea (September 6, 1934 – April 4, 2009),[1] was an American film and television actor; son of veteran film actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. He was married to Dusty Ironwing McCrea from 1976, until her death in 1996. He is survived by the stepchildren he raised, Jaquet Ironwing and David Ironwing.


McCrea served in the United States Army, Special Services. He later briefly hosted Country Style, USA, an Army-produced recruiting television program filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring various country entertainers. He began acting on the 1959–1960 television series Wichita Town with his father. He went on to star in films (mainly westerns), including the World War I drama Lafayette Escadrille, The Broken Land (with Jack Nicholson), Law of the Lawless, and Cry Blood, Apache, which he also produced.

In 1959, McCrea costarred with his father in the short-lived NBC western Wichita Town, set in Wichita, Kansas. Joel McCrea appeared as Marshal Mike Dunbar. Jody McCrea did not portray the role of Joel's son on the program but as the deputy marshal, Ben Matheson.

He was most notable for his comedic role as dumb-minded "Deadhead" ("Bonehead") in the 1960s Beach Party films made by American International Pictures. Other beach movies in which he has appeared include Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, and Beach Blanket Bingo.

He made several television appearances, including Wagon Train, Vacation Playhouse, and The Greatest Show on Earth. He played Lieutenant Brannin, a cocky cavalry officer based loosely on George Armstrong Custer, in Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee (1965), but his scene was deleted from the final cut.

In the early 1960s, McCrea made an appearance on the popular TV show I've Got a Secret as part of a group of entertainers related to famous Hollywood personalities.

When cast in the beach pictures, he realized his comedic potential. When first offered the role of "Deadhead", for example, he was quoted at the time as saying that he "wasn't sure what the character would become". McCrea felt that the audience enjoyed Deadhead as they felt superior to him.[2]

McCrea was an avid body builder, and the only actor appearing in the American International Pictures beach movies who could actually surf.

He recorded a 45 rpm single in 1964 for Canjo Records to coincide with the film Bikini Beach (Side A: "Chicken Surfer"/Side B: "Looney Gooney Bird")

Later career and deathEdit

Although he occasionally acted in community theater, McCrea retired from acting in 1970 after his final film Cry Blood, Apache. He became a rancher in Roswell, New Mexico, where he died in 2009 of a heart attack at age 74.


Year Film Role Notes
1955 Lucy Gallant Tom Dunning Uncredited
Alternative title: Oil Town
1956 The First Texan Lt. Baker
Naked Gun Young man Alternative title: The Hanging Judge
1957 The Monster That Challenged the World Seaman Fred Johnson
Trooper Hook Trooper Whittaker Uncredited
Gunsight Ridge Groom
1958 Lafayette Escadrille Tom Hitchcock Alternative titles: C'est la guerre
Hell Bent for Glory
With You in My Arms
The Restless Years Bruce Mitchell Alternative title: The Wonderful Years
1961 All Hands on Deck Lt. J.G. Schuyler
Force of Impulse Phil Anderson
1962 The Broken Land Deputy Ed Flynn
Young Guns of Texas Jeff Shelby
1963 Operation Bikini Seaman William Sherman Alternative title: The Seafighters
Beach Party Deadhead
Law of the Lawless Pete Stone Alternative title: Invitation to a Hanging
1964 Muscle Beach Party Deadhead
Bikini Beach Deadhead
Pajama Party Big Lunk
1965 Young Fury Stone
Major Dundee Lt. Brannin Uncredited
Beach Blanket Bingo Bonehead
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Bonehead
1966 The Girls from Thunder Strip Pike
1967 Sam Alternative title: The Hottest Fourth of July in the History of Brewster County
1968 The Glory Stompers Darryl
1969 Scream Free! Agent No. 1 Credited as Joel Dee McCrea
Alternative titles: Free Grass
Street Drugs
1970 Cry Blood, Apache Pitcalin Producer
1977 Nightmare County
1985 Lady Streetfighter Credited as Joel D. McCrea
Year Title Role Notes
1956 Chevron Hall of Stars Danny 1 episode
1957 Studio One Bobby Applegate 1 episode
1958 Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Jerry Turner 1 episode
Kraft Television Theatre 1 episode
1959 Wichita Town Deputy Ben Matheson 4 episodes
1959 Jukebox Jury "Juror" commenting on latest release by the Kingston Trio—Raspberries, Strawberries 1 episode
1961 Guestward, Ho! Danny "Brave Eagle" 1 episode
1962 Death Valley Days Lt. John F. Pershing 1 episode
1964 The Greatest Show on Earth Patrick Kelly 1 episode
1965 Wagon Train Calvin 1 episode
Vacation Playhouse Julius "Bulldog" Sweetley 1 episode


External linksEdit

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