Heather North, the actress best known for voicing Daphne on the Scooby-Doo cartoon series, has died at age 71. North was married to American television producer, H. Welsey Kenney, for 44 years before his death in 2015.
An accomplished director and producer, Kenney is remembered for his work on a number of well-known daytime dramas, including All in the Family and Days Of Our Lives. He worked for the DuMont Television Network for 35 years.
Read on to learn more about the life and career of H. Wesley Kenney.
1. He Died of Cardiac Arrest on January 13, 2015
Kenney was born on January 3, 1926, in Dayton, Ohio. His father, Harry W. Kenney Sr., was a division manager at Dayton Rubber Company. Growing up, Kenney was involved in theater and sports, and had particular passion for football.
After graduating high school, Kenney enlisted in the Navy during WWII. He served on the USS Cocopa, and after returning home, he attended Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. Kenney graduated from the school in 1951, and went on to work for DuMont Television Network as a television director.
Kenney died of cardiac arrest on January 13, 2015, at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. He was 89.
2. He Was a Director and Producer
While he’s best known for his eleven years working on Days of Our Lives, Kenney also worked on Filthy Rich, All in the Family, Big John, Little John, Far Out Space Nuts, My Favorite Martian, and Your First Impression. He was also the head writer of General Hospital in 1998, during the 1988 WGA strike.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television in 2008, Kenney said, “I was an average guy, who with great luck was able to be successful… I think that’s as much as I can say. I love people. I love actors. I love doing the dramatic shows. So that’s how I’d like to be remembered, working with terrific people, great talented people.”
3. He Won 5 Emmy’s over the Course of His Career
Kenney is arguably best known for directing Days of Our Lives from 1968 to 1979. He also worked as the Co-Executive Producer on The Young and the Restless from 1982 to 1987. During his time on the show, The Young and the Restless won three daytime Emmy’s for Outstanding Drama Series in 1983, 1985, and 1986.
While some sources report that Kenney won five Emmys over the course of his career, others state he took home seven Emmy wins. The Hollywood Reporter states that he took home three Emmys in 1974 alone for his work directing NBC’s Days of Our Lives, along with an episode of The ABC Afternoon Playbreak starring Patty Duke.
4. He Had 5 Children, 7 Grandchildren, and 9 Great-Grandchildren
While working at the Dumont Television Network, Kenney met his first wife, Kathryn (Kay) Snure. Together, the couple had three children: Nina Mecham, H.Wesley Kenney III, Kara Ricard .
He met North, his second wife, on the set of Days of Our Lives after moving to Los Angeles. Together, the couple has one son, Kevin. Kenney’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times reads, “Wesley loved his family, his work and career, his friends and sports. He had a huge sense of humor, a loud voice, a plethora of stories, and a kind heart.”
5. He Was Often Billed as Wes Kenney
In 2008, Kenney was interviewed by the Archive of American Television for nearly four hours about his accomplished career.
Asked about his proudest achievement and his legacy, Kenney said, “I’m proud of all the things I did and my years at DuMont. I would have to say probably “True Story” interestingly enough, in New York, for a reason. I did that show for four years– 52 weeks a year where I hired the writers, edited the stories, did the casting, shot the shows live– for four years. And met some great people. I had great actors… great writers… and some of those shows I was very proud of.”