War Hero, Youngest Assistant Secretary of State : Producer Frank McCarthy Dies at 74

Frank McCarthy, a military-trained film producer who at age 33 became the youngest man ever appointed an assistant secretary of state and at age 58 won an Academy Award for “Patton,” is dead.

He died Monday night at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 74 and had cancer.

McCarthy’s life was almost divided equally in two. He was a retired brigadier general, a former press agent, a successful film producer and a war hero.


He transferred much of his military enthusiasm to the screen with not just “Patton” in 1970 but “Decision Before Dawn,” a 1951 spy film nominated for an Academy Award; “MacArthur,” a 1977 biographical account of the latter years of the general’s life, and “Fireball Forward,” a war drama made for television in 1972.

A Richmond, Va., native, McCarthy was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a former press agent (for the venerated stage producer George Abbott) who was named military secretary to Gen. George C. Marshall and then assistant secretary of state under James F. Byrnes.

His World War II decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit and an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

His survivors include two brothers and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.