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Kent Franklin McWhirter was born on September 26, 1942 at French Hospital, located at the corner of College and Hill in downtown Los Angeles, California. 

He grew up in the San Gabriel Valley town of Baldwin Park, California.

At right: Kent on his first horse, Toby. Kent's dad Bert McWhirter is at right.

A child of hard-working parents, Kent learned responsibility at an early age. He was handling his first horse, Toby, at the age of eight.

At ten he began working at his father’s Richfield gas station that was located near what is now the intersection of the 10 and 605 freeways.

In 1954 Kent got a job at Brackett Field Airport in La Verne, California with the help of a family friend.  Unable to be legally paid at twelve years old, he instead was given flying lessons in exchange for his work.  For the next five years Kent worked weekends and summers at the airport.

Kent starred on the football team at Baldwin Park High School.  After graduation, he attended Citrus Junior College and then accepted a football scholarship to the University of Utah in 1962.  It was during this time that perhaps the two most important events in Kent’s young life occurred.

Kent servicing a plane
at Brackett Field

Kent McCord (left) with friend Ricky Nelson
In February of 1961, a friend asked Kent if he would like to participate in a touch football game.  This was no ordinary game, as Kent would be playing on a team captained by Ricky Nelson, and none other than Elvis Presley would lead the opposing squad.  As a result of this game, Kent began a friendship with Ricky Nelson that quickly led to his first acting job on the immensely popular series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  At first a background player, Kent soon became a regular on the show, and would appear as part of America’s favorite family for the next five years.  Kent began to take acting much more seriously, and finally made the decision to pursue a career as an actor.  During this time he worked on a mulitude of films and television shows doing bits, background and stunts.

The next big moment in Kent’s life took place on July 14, 1962.  This was the day that he married his high school sweetheart, Cynthia Lee Doty.

While working on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Kent was asked to screen test at Universal Studios for a long term contract.  While waiting for the studio to sign him, he continued working on other shows including several of Elvis Presley’s films,  Viva Las Vegas, Girl Happy, Kissin’ Cousins, and Roustabout.

Finally, in November of 1965, Universal put Kent under contract and immediately sent him to work.  He appeared in shows such as McHale’s Navy and The Virginian.

Kent and Cynthia on
their wedding day

Kent with Bob Cinader
and Martin Milner

Kent also tallied several appearances on Jack Webb’s Dragnet.  It was his appearances on Dragnet that led Bob Cinader and Jack Webb, the producers, to cast Kent as one the stars in their brand new series: Adam-12

With partner Martin Milner, Kent helped propel Adam-12 to the top of the ratings and into television history. 

A worldwide phenomenon, Adam-12 aired from 1968-1975, a span of 174 episodes that continue to air today. 

Appearing on a top rated television show offered Kent many tremendous opportunities.  Among his favorites was being a guest at the Indianapolis 500 and being trackside for the race itself.  A lifelong racing fan, this was a special moment for Kent and led to his continued involvement in the sport.  He has competed as a driver in automobile races such as the annual Toyota Pro Celebrity Challenge in Long Beach, California, and Watkins Glen, New York.  He has also competed in several professional racing series in the Sports Car Club of America and IMSA, in such events as the 12 Hours of Sebring. 

Another great moment was when legendary film director John Ford, who was a big fan of the show, visited the Adam-12 set.  Being able to sit with the great director and hear his wonderful stories and fond memories was an incredible thrill for Kent, who grew up admiring Ford’s films.

Kent with friend
Robert Hays (left)

Kent as Officer Jim Reed
in Adam-12
Kent and Martin Milner have made numerous personal appearances together, including co-hosting the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for NBC.  Always wanting to give something back to the public, Kent and Martin also hosted numerous telethons across the country, including the Variety Club Telethon in Nashville, Tennessee.  This was a particularly memorable event, as the “local” talent included many legendary performers such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller.

After Adam-12, Kent starred with Barry Van Dyke in the ABC series Galactica 1980, and in the 1989 NBC series UNSUB.  He has recently appeared in recurring roles in the NBC series Seaquest DSV, and the USA Networks Renegade, Silk Stalkings, and Pacific Blue, as well asthe SCI-FI Channels Farscape and the hit CBS series Jag.

Among his many other television, film, and theatrical credits are Marcus Welby, Ironside, The Outsider, Ba Ba Blacksheep, The Love Boat, Monsters, MacGyver, Private Eye, The Highwayman, J.J. Starbuck, 21 Jump Street, Murder, She Wrote, DarkSkies, Lawless, Diagnosis Murder,  Joey and Dad, Merv Griffin, Laugh-In, Hollywood Squares, The Tonight Show, and others.  Movies for television include Dragnet 66, The Outsider, Shadow Over Elveron, Jigsaw, Breakout, Beg, Borrow or Steal, Telethon, Pine Canyon is Burning (a pilot for NBC), For Heaven’s Sake, Nashville Beat (a pilot for The Nashville Network, which Kent Executive Produced and Co-Created), DarkJustice, a CBS M.O.W., and Accidental Meeting for USA Cable.

Kent with Peter Graves in Airplane II.

Kent with Danny Glover In Predator 2
His movies include The Young Warriors, Did you Hear about the One the Traveling Saleslady, Conquest of Earth, Airplane II-The Sequel, Predator II, Illicit Behavior, and Return of the Living Dead III-Ashes.  His last legitimate theater appearance was on the famous Kenley Circuit In Tunnel of Love with Martin Milner. He has just completed roles in the movies Run Ronnie Run, Megiddo-The Omega Code 2, and stars with Erin Grey in Woman’s Story.  

For ten years, Kent was a member of the Celebrity All Stars Basketball team that played throughout Southern California to help raise money to support various charities.  

Kent has also worked for his fellow actors, having served on The Screen Actor’s Guild’s Board of Directors, as well as serving four years as its first Vice President.  He chaired the Children’s Committee, which helped fashion protections for child performers throughout the world.  In 1999, Kent received the prestigious Ralph Morgan Award, named after The Screen Actors Guild’s first President, which is given by SAG members to honor another member’s devotion to the cause of actors. 

Kent receives the Ralph Morgan Award from the Screen Actors Guild

Kent and Marty receive the Jack Webb Award from LA Police Chief Bernard Parks

On October 14, 2000,  Kent and Martin Milner received The Jack Webb Award given by the LA Police Historical Society for their support of the LAPD and the community it serves.

Kent and Cynthia are the proud parents of daughters Kristen, and Megan, an actress, and their son, Michael.  Kent continues to work, and still looks forward to the next great role or adventure to add to an already illustrious career and life.

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