David Kelly (actor)

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David Kelly
David Kelly.jpg
Born(1929-07-11)11 July 1929
Died12 February 2012(2012-02-12) (aged 82)
Goatstown, Dublin, Ireland
Resting place Mount Venus Cemetery, Rockbrook, Rathfarnham, County Dublin, Ireland
Education Synge Street CBS
Alma mater The Abbey School of Acting
Years active1951–2012
Notable work
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , Waking Ned , The Jigsaw Man , Stardust , Into the West
Television Robin's Nest , Fawlty Towers , Strumpet City , Emmerdale Farm, Glenroe
Laurie Morton
(m. 1961;died 2012)
AwardsHelen Hayes Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Lifetime Achievement Award

David Kelly (11 July 1929 – 12 February 2012) was an Irish actor who had regular roles in several film and television works from the 1950s onwards. One of the most recognisable voices and faces of Irish stage and screen, [1] Kelly was known for his roles as Rashers Tierney in Strumpet City , Cousin Enda in Me Mammy , the builder Mr O'Reilly in Fawlty Towers , and Grandpa Joe in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Another notable role was as Michael O'Sullivan in Waking Ned Devine . [2]

Me Mammy is a British sitcom that aired on BBC1 from 1968 to 1971. Starring Milo O'Shea, it was written by Hugh Leonard.

<i>Fawlty Towers</i> BBC television sitcom

Fawlty Towers is a British television sitcom broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979. Just two series of six episodes each were made. The show was created and written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, who also starred in the show and were married at the time of the first series, but divorced before recording the second series. The show was ranked first on a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, and in 2019 it was named the "greatest ever British TV sitcom" by a panel of comedy experts compiled by the Radio Times.

<i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i> (film) 2005 film by Tim Burton

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 2005 musical fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and written by John August, based on the 1964 British novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film stars Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, alongside David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy and Christopher Lee. The storyline follows Charlie as he wins a contest along with four other children and is led by Wonka on a tour of his chocolate factory.


Early life and career

Kelly was born 11 July 1929 in Dublin, Ireland, [3] [4] and educated at Dublin's Synge Street CBS Christian Brothers school. [5] He began acting at the age of eight at the city's Gaiety Theatre, [3] and trained at The Abbey School of Acting. [5] As a backup career, he additionally trained as a draughtsman and calligrapher, [5] and also learned watercolour art. [3] He appeared onstage in the original production of Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow , and gained his first major career attention in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 1959. [6] By then he had made his screen debut in a small part in director John Pomeroy's 1958 film noir Dublin Nightmare . [5]

Dublin Capital of, and largest city in, Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the province of Leinster. It is bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region as of 2016 was 1,347,359. The population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806 per the 2016 census.

Synge Street CBS

Synge Street CBS is a Christian Brothers School located on Synge Street, in Dublin 8, Ireland. It was founded in 1864. It has a particularly notable history of success in the Young Scientist competition, with former teacher Jim Cooke mentoring multiple winning student groups over many years.

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin theater

The Gaiety Theatre is a theatre on South King Street in Dublin, Ireland, off Grafton Street and close to St. Stephen's Green. It specialises in operatic and musical productions, with occasional dramatic shows.

One of his first television appearances was on RTE in "O'Dea's your Man" (1964) in which he played the part of Ignatius opposite Jimmy O'Dea. He went on to become a familiar face on British television with the BBC comedy Me Mammy , opposite Milo O'Shea and Anna Manahan. He went on to often-memorable guest roles on such series as Oh Father! , Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width , and On the Buses , and particularly during the 1970s with a long-running role as the one-armed dishwasher Albert Riddle in the Man About the House spin-off Robin's Nest . [6] He also had a regular long running role alongside Bruce Forsyth in both series of the comedy Slingers Day from 1986 to 1987.

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Milo OShea

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He gained some of his greatest recognition in 1975, playing inept builder Mr O'Reilly on the second episode of Fawlty Towers ("The Builders"). [3]

"The Builders" is the second episode in the first series of the BBC TV sitcom Fawlty Towers.

Kelly was in the voice cast of The Light Princess , a partly animated, hour-long family fantasy that aired on the BBC in 1978. [7]

<i>The Light Princess</i> short story by George MacDonald

The Light Princess is a Scottish fairy tale by George MacDonald. It was published in 1864. Drawing on inspiration from "Sleeping Beauty", it tells the story of a princess afflicted by a constant weightlessness, unable to get her feet on the ground, both literally and metaphorically, until she finds a love that brings her down to earth. An animated version was released in 1978. In 2013, a musical version by Tori Amos and Samuel Adamson inspired by the original story was premiered for the Royal National Theatre in London. The stage production featured actress Rosalie Craig as the title character. The musical was generally well-received, enjoyed an extended run in the theatre, and had its cast recording released in 2015. Another musical also titled The Light Princess was written by Tony Lawton with music by Alex Bechtel, and debuted in April 2017 at the Arden Theatre Company.

In Ireland, he may be most famous for his portrayal of the character "Rashers" Tierney in the 1980 RTÉ miniseries Strumpet City , [3] which starred Peter O'Toole, Cyril Cusack and Peter Ustinov. He went on to have starring roles in television shows such as Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s and Glenroe in the 1990s, as well as playing the grandfather in Mike Newell's film Into the West (1992).

<i>Strumpet City</i> book by James Plunkett

Strumpet City is a 1969 historical novel by James Plunkett set in Dublin, Ireland, around the time of the 1913 Dublin Lock-out. In 1980, it was adapted into a successful TV drama by Hugh Leonard for RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcaster. The novel is an epic, tracing the lives of a dozen characters as they are swept up in the tumultuous events that affected Dublin between 1907 and 1914.

Peter OToole British actor

Peter Seamus O'Toole was a British stage and film actor of Irish descent. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company before making his film debut in 1959.

Cyril Cusack

Cyril James Cusack was an Irish actor, who appeared in numerous films and television productions in a career lasting more than 70 years.

Following his appearance as Michael O'Sullivan in the 1998 film Waking Ned , he played roles in such films as Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), in which he played Grandpa Joe and Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London . He played title character Frank Kovak in the mystery film The Kovak Box , in a rare villainous role. In 2007, he appeared in Stardust , which featured Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, and which was also his final film. He also did extensive radio work, including a guest appearance on the BBC Radio 4 series Baldi . [ citation needed ]

Later life and death

Kelly was married to actress Laurie Morton, who survived him, along with children David and Miriam. [8] He died after a short illness on 12 February 2012 [3] [9] at age 82. The Irish Times referred to him as the "grand old man of Irish acting". [3] A Catholic funeral mass took place on 16 February 2012, at the Church of the Miraculous Medal, in the actor's home town of Dublin. Kelly was cremated at Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium. [10]

Awards and honours

Kelly won a 1991 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production, for a Kennedy Center revival of The Playboy of the Western World . [11] As well, he earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for the 1998 film Waking Ned . [12]

In 2005, Kelly won the Irish Film & Television Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award, in addition to earning a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . [13]

TV and filmography

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  1. "Actor David Kelly Dies Aged 82". Irish Examiner . Thomas Crosbie Holdings. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. "Irish Actor David Kelly Dies Aged 82". BBC News. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Healy, Alison (13 February 2012). "Grand Old Man of Irish Acting Dies, Aged 82". The Irish Times . Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012. Kelly was born in Dublin on July 11th, 1929 and educated at Synge Street Catholic Boys School.
  4. One source, which interviewed him, gives 1928: "Why Life's Sweet for Oscar-Hopeful David". Irish Independent . Independent News & Media. 30 July 2005. Archived from the original on 4 November 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Irish Independent, 2005
  6. 1 2 Quinn, Michael (14 February 2012). "Leading Irish Actor David Kelly Dies". The Stage . The Stage Media Company Limited. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  7. Anderson, Paul (13 February 2012). "Irish actor David Kelly, "Grandpa Joe," Dies at 82". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  8. "David Kelly Dies Aged 82". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 12 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  9. "David Kelly, Irish Film Actor, Dies at 82". The New York Times . Associated Press. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  10. "Funeral takes place of acting legend Kelly". RTÉ Ten. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 16 February 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  11. "Kelly, David – 1991". TheatreWashington.org. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012.
  12. "The 5th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAGAwards.org. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012.
  13. "Winners of the 3rd Annual Irish Film & Television Awards". Irish Film & Television Academy. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.