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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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.

jody mccrea films available from movies unlimited

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The First Texan [DVD](1956) DVD
Joel McCrea delivers an unforgettable performance as famed Texas statesman, politician, and hero Sam Houston. After moving to the Lone Star State from Tennessee, he becomes an icon when he fights to prevent Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna from thwarting the Texas independence movement. With Felicia Farr, Jeff Morrow, Wallace Ford. 82 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
The Monster That Challenged The World (1957)/It! The Terror From Beyond Space [DVD](1958) DVD
The planet is under attack in "The Monster That Challenged the World" by, in fact, many gigantic snail-like creatures released from their undersea resting place by seismic activity. Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton, and Hans Conried star. Next, an interplanetary ship rescues the sole survivor of a Martian scouting mission and heads for home, unaware that "It! The Terror from Beyond Space" has stowed away in the cargo hold and is slowly approaching the crew's quarters. This unofficial inspiration for "Alien" stars Marshall Thompson, Ann Doran, and Ray "Crash" Corrigan as "It." 152 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: Spanish, French; theatrical trailer.
Lafayette Escadrille (Remastered Edition) [DVD](1958) DVD
Spectacular aerial sequences highlight this high-flying epic involving the young American volunteers of the famous French air group during World War I. Tab Hunter, Etchika Choureau, Jody McCrea star, with early appearances by Clint Eastwood and David Janssen. Director William Wellman's story was based in part on his own WWI exploits. 93 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
All Hands On Deck [DVD](1961) DVD
Engaging service comedy-musical casts Pat Boone as a naval lieutenant facing a literal boatload of challenges after casting off, from journalist sweetheart Barbara Eden (who stowed away rather than be parted from him) to wacky Native American gob Buddy Hackett (who couldn't be parted from his pet turkey). Dennis O'Keefe, Gale Gordon, Joe E. Ross co-star; Ray Evans-Jay Livingston score includes "I've Got It Made" and the title tune. 98 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
Force Of Impulse [DVD](1961) DVD
"Kids in trouble" drama about two high schoolers from opposite sides of the tracks who fall in love, over the objections of the girl's father. Robert Alda, Tony Anthony, Teri Hope, Jody McCrea, and J. Carroll Naish star; look for Christina Crawford ("Mommie Dearest" author). 84 min.
Young Guns Of Texas [DVD](1962) DVD
Turned out of West Point after his brother is accused of robbing an Army payroll, ex-cadet Gary Conway saddles up for the Lone Star State to hunt down his sibling as well as the truth. Enjoyable oater noted for its stunt-casting from second-generation Hollywood (James Mitchum, Jody McCrea, Alanna Ladd) also features Chill Wills, Robert Lowery. 78 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Operation Bikini [DVD](1963) DVD
American International infused its "Beach Party" regulars into this World War II actioner of a Navy demolitions crew charged with finding and destroying a sunken sub before its secrets can be captured by the Japanese. One-of-a-kind ensemble includes Tab Hunter, Frankie Avalon, Scott Brady, Jim Backus, Jody McCrea, Gary Crosby, and Eva Six. 80 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
The Frankie & Annette Collection [DVD] DVD
"Surf's up" in this four-disc boxed set saluting AIP's teen comedy series and seaside sweethearts Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Anthropologist Bob Cummings uses the pair as part of a study of modern mating habits in the original "Beach Party" (1963), with Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Annette has her hands full when the Potato Bug, a British pop star who's Frankie's double, arrives at "Bikini Beach" (1964). Don Rickles and Little Stevie Wonder guest star. Gym owner Rickles wants to take over the kids' surf spot, and heiress Luciana Paluzzi wants to woo Frankie from Annette, in "Muscle Beach Party" (1964). Avalon trades his board for slats and joins Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley and James Brown for a "Ski Party" (1965). "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965) boasts a missing singer, a mermaid, and skydiving surfdogs. Avalon wants to keep pal Hickman away from Funicello while he's on military duty in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965), with Buster Keaton. Frankie's a moonshine-running hot rodder competing with racer Fabian for Annette's hand in "Fireball 500" (1966). And Fabian and Funicello burn rubber together in "Thunder Alley" (1967). 12 1/2 hrs. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English mono.
Beach Party (1963)/Bikini Beach [DVD](1964) DVD
The first entry in A.I.P.'s surfside slapstick series, "Beach Party" stars Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as fun-loving teens who become the subject of anthropologist Bob Cummings' research into adolescent mating rituals. With Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, Dick Dale and The Del-Tones, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Next, Frankie plays himself and mop-topped British pop idol the Potato Bug (get it?)--and both are vying for Annette's attention--in "Bikini Beach," co-starring Don Rickles, Keenan Wynn, Little Stevie Wonder, and Boris Karloff. 198 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)/How To Stuff A Wild Bikini [DVD](1965) DVD
The "Beach Party" gang is back in a double bill that's packed with more fun than a two-piece bathing suit. "Beach Blanket Bingo," a wild mix about a missing singing star, a mermaid, and biker Eric Von Zipper's gang, features guest stars Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Buster Keaton, and Linda Evans joining series regulars Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon and Harvey Lembeck. Then, while Frankie is away on Army Reserve duty, he gets witch doctor Keaton to send a bikini-clad beauty to keep rival Dwayne Hickman away from Annette, in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." Beverly Adams, Mickey Rooney, and The Kingsmen also star. 192 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
Girls From Thunder Strip [DVD](1966) DVD
Ever wonder what would happen if a group of hippie chicks on motorcycles descended upon the moonshine-making denizens of Appalachia? The results of such a culture clash are depicted in this one-of-a-kind sixties shocker featuring "beach movie" star Jody McCrea, Lindsay Crosby and Casey Kasem; directed by David L. Hewitt ("The Mighty Gorga").
The Glory Stompers [DVD](1968) DVD
There's nothing "easy" about the ride biker gang boss Chino (Dennis Hopper) has here, as he attacks rival gangleader Darryl (Jody McCrea), leaving him for dead and kidnapping his girl (Chris Noel). But Darryl recovers, setting the stage for a violent fight for revenge. Action-filled chopper saga also stars Jock Mahoney, Robert Tessier, and Casey Kasem as "Mouth." 84 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English.
Cry Blood, Apache [DVD](1970) DVD
Unusual western drama about an Apache warrior seeking a brutal vengeance on the prospectors who killed his people and took his sister hostage on their search for gold. Jody McCrea and, in a cameo, dad Joel star; with Marie Gahva, Dan Kemp. 82 min.
The Great American Western, Vol. 19 [DVD] DVD
The hunt for a Mexican outlaw through the New Mexico frontier forges a strange alliance between a marshal, a government agent, and the fugitives lover, in "Four Rode Out" (1969). Pernell Roberts, Leslie Nielsen, Sue Lyon star. "Cry Blood, Apache" (1970) is an unusual Western drama about an Apache warrior seeking a brutal vengeance on the prospectors who killed his people and took his sister hostage. Jody McCrea and, in a cameo, dad Joel star. Fred Williamson stars as a Civil War veteran who returns home to find his family massacred by outlaws, sending him on a one-man mission of revenge, in "Joshua" (1976). AKA: "Joshua the Black Rider." And, Leif Garrett is a young pioneer who hits the trail in search of Lee Van Cleef and the outlaw band who killed his parents, in "Kid Vengeance" (1977). Jim Brown, Glynnis O'Connor also star. AKA: "Take Another Hard Ride."

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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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