Paul Kelly (actor)
Kelly in The High and the Mighty
|Born||Paul Michael Kelly
August 9, 1899
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||November 6, 1956
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City|
|Spouse(s)||Mardelle Zwicker (Claire Owen) (1941-1956) (his death)
Dorothy Mackaye (1931-1940) (her death)
Paul Michael Kelly (August 9, 1899 – November 6, 1956) was an American child actor who later as an adult became a stage, film, and television actor. His career survived a manslaughter conviction, tied to a sex scandal, that caused him to spend time in prison in the late 1920s.
In 1911, Kelly began making silent films at age 12 with the Vitagraph Studios, which was based in Brooklyn, and where he was billed as Master Paul Kelly. Kelly was possibly the first male child actor to be given any starring roles in American films, predating better remembered child stars such as Bobby Connelly and Jackie Coogan.
Kelly made his talking film debut in 1933's Broadway Through a Keyhole.
In the course of his long career, and relatively short life, it's estimated that Kelly worked on stage, screen, and television in over four hundred roles.
Later in his film career, as an adult, Kelly appeared in films mostly as a character actor playing tough guys—some sympathetic, some not—in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
Kelly alternated between stage and screen as an actor. He was a handsome and popular male lead or costar in Broadway plays from the late 1910s and throughout the 1920s.
In 1948, Kelly won a Best Actor Tony Award for his role in Command Decision. (Clark Gable later played the same role in the film version of the play.) Kelly shared the award with Henry Fonda for Mister Roberts and Basil Rathbone for The Heiress.
His career underwent a two-year (1927–1929) forced hiatus when he served 25 months for manslaughter in California's San Quentin prison for the death of actor Ray Raymond, a few days after their fistfight. At his trial, Kelly contended that Raymond had started the fight and did not show signs of serious injury at the time.
Raymond's widow, Dorothy Mackaye, eventually married Kelly. She denied claims in court that she had been romantically involved with Kelly before her first husband's death, but she was briefly imprisoned for being an accomplice in the killing. Her written account of her experiences, titled "Women in Prison," became a 1933 film, Ladies They Talk About, with Barbara Stanwyck. Mackaye died in a 1940 auto crash.
Working in all manner of films from the silent era, talkies, television, and beyond. Many of his films are available on Home Media, or are in the Public Domain. Some have not survived, and are no longer extant.
|Year 1954||Film Duffy of San Quentin||Role Warden T. Duffy||Notes|
|1919||Anne of Green Gables||Gilbert Blythe|
|1927||Slide, Kelly, Slide||Dillon|
|Special Delivery||Tuck, another detective|
|1934||Death on the Diamond||Jimmie Downey|
|1936||Murder with Pictures||I. B. McCoogin|
|1937||Navy Blue and Gold||Tommy Milton (varsity coach)|
|1938||Island in the Sky||Gloria Stuart, Michael Whalen, Paul Kelly|
|1939||6,000 Enemies||Dr. Malcolm Scott|
|The Roaring Twenties||Nick Brown|
|1940||The Howards of Virginia||Captain Jabez Allen||Alternative title: The Tree of Liberty|
|Flight Command||Lieutenant Commander "Dusty" Rhodes|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||John Slayton|
|1942||Flying Tigers||Hap Smith - Pilot|
|Tarzan's New York Adventure||Jimmy Shields - Pilot|
|The Secret Code||Dan Barton||15-chapter serial; leading role|
|1945||Allotment Wives||Major Pete Martin|
|1947||Fear in the Night||Cliff Herlihy|
|1950||The File on Thelma Jordon||Miles Scott|
|The Secret Fury||District Attorney Eric Lowell|
|1951||The Painted Hills||Jonathan Harvey||Alternative titles: Lassie's Adventures in the Goldrush
Lassie's Christmas Story
|1953||Gunsmoke||Dan Saxon||Alternative titles: A Man's Country
|1954||The High and the Mighty||Donald Flaherty|
|1956||Storm Center||Judge Robert Ellerbe|
|1950||The Ford Theatre Hour||1 episode|
|1952||Robert Montgomery Presents||1 episode|
|1954–1955||Fireside Theater||2 episodes|
|Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||3 episodes|
|1955||Cavalcade of America||1 episode|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Kelly (actor).|
- Paul Kelly at the Internet Broadway Database
- Paul Kelly at the Internet Movie Database
- Paul Kelly at Find a Grave