Screenwriter Burt Kennedy dies

Screenwriter and director Burt Kennedy, who wrote and directed western films and TV series, died late Thursday, AP reports. He was 78.

Kennedy died of cancer at his Sherman Oaks, Calif. home. He was known as a director who brought humor into the western genre, directing James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter. He also directed The War Wagon with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in 1967 after a stint directing episodes of The Lawman and The Virginian on TV in the 1960s.

The son of vaudevillians who performed as The Dancing Kennedys, Kennedy won the Purple Heart for his U.S. Army service in the Pacific theater during World War II.