David Patrick Kelly

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David Patrick Kelly
Born (1951-01-23) January 23, 1951 (age 64)
Detroit, Michigan, US
Occupation Actor, musician

David Patrick Kelly (born January 23, 1951) is an American actor and musician who has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is perhaps best known for his role as Luther in the cult 1979 film The Warriors and T-Bird in the 1994 film The Crow.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kelly was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Margaret Elizabeth (Murphy) and Robert Corby Kelly, Sr., an accountant.[2][3] His father was a Bronze Star recipient for service during the Battle Of The Bulge in World War II. He is of Irish descent. His grandfather Daniel Murphy was from Lisnashershane near Cork. His great-grand-uncle was father William Corby, chaplain of the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg and subsequently president of Notre Dame University. Kelly was given a mandolin on St. Patricks Day 1964 by his mother and considers that the greatest influence on his artistic life.[4] Kelly graduated cum laude from the University of Detroit and was also a student of Marcel Marceau and Mira Rostova.[5]



In his role of Luther in the 1979 cult film The Warriors, Kelly screeches the famous line, "Warriors...come out to play-ee-ay!!", which he himself improvised.[6] He also played a character named Luther in the hit 1982 film 48 Hrs. starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. Besides this and his role in The Crow, Kelly's film credits include the 1985 hit action film Commando, in which he played Sully (a Green Beret-turned-mercenary who is thrown from a cliff by Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of the film's more humorous death scenes), as well as Crooklyn, Hammett, Wild At Heart, Dreamscape, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Last Man Standing, Songcatcher, K-PAX, the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, and Flags Of Our Fathers, John Wick. He also appeared in the pioneering video game Ripper.


David Lynch created the character of Jerry Horne on Twin Peaks specifically for Kelly; his many television guest appearances include Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Spenser: For Hire, Ghostwriter, Third Watch, Hack, Kidnapped, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gossip Girl, and Louie. Kelly also participated in the PBS production of the musical version of Working, which Studs Terkel, author of the source book, hosted; Kelly's role was that of a "copyboy," and his was the first singing voice heard in the selection "I Could've Been..."[citation needed]


On Broadway, Kelly originated the role of Da in "'Once'" which was awarded the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical. In 1998 he played Feste in the Lincoln Center production of Twelfth Night. Kelly has frequently appeared at the Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, Connecticut starring in the title roles in Woyzeck and Tartuffe, playing Iago in Othello and Hoss in Sam Shepard's Tooth Of Crime. At the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he played the title role in Pirandello's Enrico IV and starred in an adaption of the Yuan Dynasty Chinese classic Snow In June. He appeared in four plays by avant garde master Richard Foreman: Pearls For Pigs, The Mind King, Film Is Evil/Radio Is Good, and The Cure.


As a composer and musician, Kelly participated in New York's rock and cabaret scene playing such legendary venues as Max's Kansas City, Reno Sweeney's, CBGB, and The Lower Manhattan Ocean Club.

In May 2008, he released a CD of his original music titled David Patrick Kelly: Rip Van Boy Man, which contained new songs and live recordings from his club days in 1975.


Kelly sang and played mandolin on the Grammy Award winning soundtrack for the Broadway musical "'"Once'"". He received a Connecticut Critcs Circle Award for his performance in "Tartuffe" at Hartford Stage. He was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for his performance in Nathan Louis Jackson"s "When I Come To Die" at LCT3. In 1998 Kelly received an Obie Award for sustained excellence for his theater work in classics, new plays and the avant-garde.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly married theater actress and writer Juliana Francis at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery in New York on August 14, 2005.[5]


External links[edit]