Obit: Jody McCrea


Jody McCrea, actor and son of Joel McCrea and Frances Dee, dies at 74



Roswell Daily Record



On April 4, 2009, Joel Dee “Jody” McCrea passed away from a storied and fulfilled life of Hollywood fame, worldly adventures, and ultimately peaceful tranquility found on the plains of New Mexico.


Born in Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 1934, Jody was the oldest of three sons to film actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. Upon the advice of their father’s mentor, Western entertainer Will Rogers, the McCreas purchased a ranch about an hour north of Los Angeles where Jody and his brothers were fortunate to be raised out of the spotlight. Jody’s rural upbringing, however, would not keep him out of the spotlight for long.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Because Will Rogers sent his sons to New Mexico Military Institute and spoke very highly of it, the McCreas sent Jody to NMMI for his last two years of high school. He excelled at boxing (winning the New Mexico State Golden Gloves), rodeo (as a roper and bareback rider) and football, before graduating from NMMI in 1952.


Jody began college at Principia College in Elsah, Ill., where he crossed paths with fellow actor Robert Duvall, before transferring to University of California at Los Angeles, where he threw the javelin on the 1956 NCAA championship track and field team alongside 1960 Olympic gold medalist decathlete Rafer Johnson.


After college, Jody joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in New York City as a member of the Special Services. He served for two years as a host on the Armed Services radio channel and then as a host of “Country Style, USA,” an Army-produced recruiting television program.


It was during his stint in New York that Jody began to consider following in his parents’ footsteps. He reenrolled in classes with acting coach Sanford “Sandy” Meisner of the Actor’s Studio where Steve McQueen, Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck and others also received their acting start. He then returned to Los Angeles where he acted with his father in 27 episodes of the television series “Wichita.” He also acted in more than 30 movies including “The Broken Land” with Jack Nicholson, “The Glory Stompers” with Dennis Hopper, “Young Guns of Texas” and “The First Texan.” Jody finally found a comedic niche as “Bonehead” in the 1960’s “Beach Party” films, alongside Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, before retiring from acting in 1970.


Jody later returned to the Roswell area where he ranched and entertained us all with tales from his world travels and friendships. His ability to always find common ground with everyone with whom he came in contact, and make them laugh, will be remembered and missed. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and he attended the Christian Science Church in Roswell.


Jody was predeceased by the love of his life, Dusty Iron Wing, whom he noticed dusting a rug on an apartment balcony on his way to pick up another date. He never made it to the date and instead spent the next 19 years of his life happily married to Dusty.


Jody is survived by his younger brothers, David and Peter; his nephews and nieces, Wyatt, Clay, Jeni, Bob, Mitchell, Sebastian, Jack and Will; and his grand-nephews and -nieces, Chelsea, Clay Paul, Brooke Ellen, Lou Lou, Payton and David Joel.


Services will be held for Jody at the Chapel at NMMI on Saturday, April 11, 2009, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Jody’s name to the Roswell Humane Society, 703 E. McGaffey St., Roswell, NM 88203, the,, or a charity of one’s choice.


Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online guest register can be accessed at



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2 Responses to “Obit: Jody McCrea”

  1. michael says:

    did joel not star with lisa minili(mispelled) in 1972 movie caberet. and my condolences to the family.

    A. — Hi Michael, no that was Joel Grey who was in Caberet. Thanks.

  2. Mr. T says:

    Am wondering if Jody was interred and where? May he rest in peace. T

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