The son of actor Joel McCrea and actress Frances Dee, actor Jody McCrea was born Joel McCrea, Jr. on September 6, 1934, in Los Angeles. He grew up on his parents' ranch, located north of Hollywood. The athletic McCrea graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1952 and from UCLA in 1956, where he excelled at track and boxing. Deciding to follow in his father's footsteps, McCrea turned to acting, landing his first film role in the 1956 western Naked Gun. Through the end of the 1950s, McCrea acted in a string of westerns before finding a knack for comedy in the 1960s. During the 1959-1960 television season, he appeared with father Joel McCrea in the NBC series Wichita Town, which was canceled after 26 episodes. The elder McCrea retired soon after this series wrapped, making few films afterward. In the 1960s Jody McCrea branched out into other roles, such as the low-budget drama Force of Impulse (1961; with Robert Alda, Jeff Donnell, and J. Carrol Naish) and the comedy All Hands on Deck (1961; with Pat Boone and Barbara Eden) before being cast as 'Deadhead' in American International's comedy Beach Party (1963; with Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello).

Jody McCrea and Joel McCreaJody McCrea

LEFT: With father Joel McCrea in the early 1950s. RIGHT: American International Pictures photo of Jody McCrea from 1964

Jody McCrea appeared in nearly all American International beach party films, with the exception of The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini. The 6'3" McCrea provided romantic and comedic relief in his six beach party films, leaving the series in 1965. He went on to make a few other films, including the biker flicks The Girls from Thunder Strip (1966; with Lindsay Crosby and Gary Graver) and The Glory Stompers (1968; with Dennis Hopper, Jock Mahoney, and Chris Noel) before halting his acting career in 1970.

the films of jody mccrea

The Restless Years (1958)

Jody McCrea

From the Universal-International teen drama The Restless Years

Lafayette Escadrille (1958)

William Wellman Jr., Tab Hunter, Jody McCrea, and David Janssen

From Lafayette Escadrille with William Wellman Jr., Tab Hunter, and David Janssen

The Broken Land (1962)

Jody McCrea

From the 20th Century Fox western The Broken Land with Diana Darrin

Beach Party (1963)

Jody McCreaJody McCrea with Bob Cummings, Annette Funicello, and John AshleyDorothy Malone, Jody McCrea, Bob Cummings, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

From AIP's first beach movie Beach Party. LEFT: McCrea as Deadhead. CENTER: With Bob Cummings, Annette Funicello, and John Ashley. RIGHT: With Dorothy Malone, Bob Cummings, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

Muscle Beach Party (1964)

Muscle Beach PartyJody McCrea with Dick Dale, John Ashley, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

From AIP's Muscle Beach Party. LEFT: As Deadhead, Jody McCrea proves that Peter Lupus isn't the only muscle on the beach. RIGHT: With Dick Dale, John Ashley, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

Bikini Beach (1964)

Jody McCrea with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello

From AIP's Bikini Beach with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello

Law of the Lawless (1964)

Jody McCrea

As Pete Stone in Paramount's western Law of the Lawless

Pajama Party (1964)

Jody McCreaJody McCreaJody McCrea and Annette Funicello

From AIP's Pajama Party. LEFT: Big Lunk (McCrea) and the gang play volleyball. CENTER: Big Lunk gets knocked out. RIGHT: With Annette Funicello

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

Mary Hughes and Jody McCreaJody McCreaJody McCrea

LEFT and CENTER: With the girls on the beach in Beach Blanket Bingo. RIGHT: As Bonehead

The Glory Stompers (1968)

Chris Noel, Astrid Warner, Jody McCrea, and Gary Wood

From AIP's biker film The Glory Stompers with Chris Noel, Astrid Warner, and Gary Wood

later years

After Jody McCrea's starring role in the western Cry Blood, Apache (1970; with Don Henley and Joel McCrea), which he also produced, he retired from the screen to become a cattle rancher. He married actress Dusty McCrea in 1976, who passed away in 1996. After a series of heart problems, Jody McCrea died on April 4, 2009, in Roswell, New Mexico, at the age of 74. He is survived by two brothers and two step-children.

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Lady Streetfighter (1985) with Liz Renay
Nightmare County (1971/1977)
Cry Blood, Apache (1970) with Joel McCrea; Jody McCrea also produced this film
Scream Free (1969) with Russ Tamblyn, Lana Wood, and Casey Kasem
The Glory Stompers (1967) with Jock Mahoney, Dennis Hopper, and Chris Noel
Sam (1967) with Pat Delaney and Bill Thurman; directed by Larry Buchanan
The Girls From Thunder Strip (1966) with Lindsay Crosby, Casey Kasem, and Gary Kent
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley, and John Ashley
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) with Annette Funicello, John Ashley, and Harvey Lembeck
Young Fury (1965) with Rory Calhoun, Virginia Mayo, Lon Chaney Jr., John Agar, Merry Anders, Richard Arlen, and William Wellman Jr.
Pajama Party (1964) with Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Donna Loren, and Elsa Lanchester
Bikini Beach (1964) with Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Donna Loren, Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn, Don Rickles, Harvey Lembeck, and John Ashley
Law of the Lawless (1964) with Yvonne De Carlo, Dale Robertson, William Bendix, John Agar, Kent Taylor, Bill Williams, Richard Arlen, and Lon Chaney Jr.
Muscle Beach Party (1964) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Peter Lupus, Luciana Paluzzi, Peter Lorre, Buddy Hackett, John Ashley, Donna Loren, and Don Rickles
Beach Party (1963) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, John Ashley, and Harvey Lembeck
Operation Bikini (1963) with Tab Hunter, Frankie Avalon, Scott Brady, Jim Backus, and Gary Crosby
Young Guns of Texas (1963) with James Mitchum, Gary Conway, and Chill Wills
The Broken Land (1962) with Kent Taylor, Diana Darrin, and Jack Nicholson
All Hands on Deck (1961) with Pat Boone, Barbara Eden, Buddy Hackett, Warren Berlinger, Gale Gordon, and Ann B. Davis
Force of Impulse (1961) with Robert Alda and Christina Crawford
Lafayette Escadrille (1958) with Tab Hunter, Brett Halsey, David Janssen, Paul Fix, Will Hutchins, Clint Eastwood, Tom Laughlin, Raymond Bailey, and William Wellman Jr.
The Restless Years (1958) with John Saxon, Sandra Dee, Luana Patten, Virginia Grey, and James Whitmore
Gunsight Ridge (1957) with Joel McCrea, Mark Stevens, Carolyn Craig, and Slim Pickens
The Monster That Challenged the World (1957) with Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton, Hans Conried, and Max Showalter
The First Texan (1956) with Joel McCrea, Felicia Farr, Jeff Morrow, and William Hopper
Naked Gun (1956) with Mara Corday, Veda Ann Borg, Morris Ankrum, Chick Chandler, and X. Brands

Wichita Town, 1959-1960 NBC TV series. Jody McCrea starred with Joel McCrea on this half-hour western program.

Hollywood Backstage 1966-1967 syndicated TV series. McCrea appeared numerous times on this program which mostly consisted of interviews with celebrities and clips from premieres.
Vacation Playhouse, episode Three on an Island, originally aired August 27, 1965
Wagon Train, episode The Betsy Blee Smith Story, originally aired March 28, 1965
The Greatest Show on Earth, episode Clancy, originally aired February 25, 1964
Death Valley Days, episode To Walk with Greatness, originally aired November 12, 1962
Guestward Ho!, episode The Wrestler, originally aired May 18, 1961
Kraft Television Theatre, episode The Last of the Belles, originally aired June 4, 1958
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, episode The Criminal Collie, originally aired February 27, 1958
Studio One, episode Babe in the Woods, originally aired May 13, 1957
Chevron Hall of Stars, episode Flowers for Charlie McDaniels, originally aired 1956

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Watch the trailer for Jody McCrea's 1981 action film Lady Street Fighter
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