Brian Kelly (actor)

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For other people named Brian Kelly, see Brian Kelly (disambiguation).
Brian Kelly
Flipper Brian Kelly 1966.jpg
Brian Kelly, circa 1966.
Born Brian Kelly
(1931-02-14)February 14, 1931
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Died February 12, 2005(2005-02-12) (aged 73)
Voorhees Township, New Jersey
Resting place New Jersey
Occupation Actor
Years active 1958–1970
Spouse(s) Laura Devon, m. 1962 - 1966 (divorced)
Valerie Anne Romero, m. 1973
Children Hallie (b. 1975)
Devin (b. 1980)

Brian Kelly (February 14, 1931 – February 12, 2005) was an American actor best known for his role as Porter Ricks, the widowed father of two sons on the NBC television series Flipper, and as Scott Ross in the ABC adventure series Straightaway, with co-star John Ashley.

Early years[edit]

Kelly was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Republican Governor of Michigan Harry F. Kelly and the former Anne Veronica O'Brien. Kelly had three sisters and two brothers, one of whom was his identical twin. His nephew (sister's son) is actor Brian d'Arcy James.[1] He was of Irish descent.

Kelly served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Kelly graduated in 1953 from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He attended the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor for a year before settling on acting. During his college years, Kelly modelled and acted in radio and television commercials in Detroit.

Acting career[edit]

Kelly headed to Hollywood in the late fifties after choosing acting as his career. Following minor roles in Adventures in Paradise, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Rifleman, Kelly starred in two short-lived television series, NBC's 21 Beacon Street (1959), with Dennis Morgan and Joanna Barnes,[2] and ABC's Straightaway (1961-1962) with costar John Ashley.

Kelly with Tommy Norden (left) and Luke Halpin (right) in Flipper, 1964

In 1964, Kelly was chosen to play Porter Ricks, Chief Warden at Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve in the family-oriented action and adventure television program Flipper. Kelly is remembered today for his strong and convincing portrayal of a morally responsible single dad. Kelly was quoted at the time as saying that he loved the role because of its family-friendly qualities. The success of Flipper, which was filmed in Miami and the Bahamas, led to a brief movie career, including a lead in Around the World Under the Sea (1966).

In 1970, Kelly sought to change his image by playing the lead role of The Love Machine. During filming he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which left his right arm and leg paralyzed. John Phillip Law took over the role and wardrobe.[3] Kelly won a legal settlement in the case but the accident ended his acting career.[4] He used the money in the settlement to build homes and then to produce films. He served as executive producer of Blade Runner (1982)[4] and associate producer of Cities of the Wild (1996).

Marriages and death[edit]

Kelly married actress Laura Devon in 1962. They were divorced in 1966. In 1972, he married Valerie Ann Romero, with whom he had a daughter Hallie in 1975 and a son Devin in 1980. Kelly died in February 2005 of pneumonia in Voorhees Township in South New Jersey, two days before his 74th birthday.



Year Film Role Notes
1963 Thunder Island Vincent Dodge
1964 Flipper's New Adventure Porter Ricks
1966 Around the World Under the Sea Dr. Craig Mosby
1968 Shoot, Gringo... Shoot! Chad Stark


Year Film Role Notes
1958 Flight Episode: "Mercy Commando"
Panic! Randy Burke Episode: "Fingerprints"
1959 21 Beacon Street Brian Episodes: "The Rub Out", "The Hostage"
Adventures in Paradise Captain Rivers Episode: "The Haunted"
1960 Insight Father Bergen Episode: "Fisher of Men"
1961–1962 Straightaway Scott Ross 24 episodes
1963 The Beverly Hillbillies 2nd Policeman
Officer Kelly
Episodes: "Elly's Animals", "Jed Plays Solomon"
1964–1967 Flipper Porter Ricks Nominated-TV Land Award for Favorite Pet-Human Relationship (2003)
1970 Company of Killers Nick Andros
Berlin Affair (de) Paul Strand
1973 Drive Hard, Drive Fast Mark Driscoll


  1. ^
  2. ^ "21 Beacon Street (1959)". Internet movie Data Base. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ p.360 Seaman, Barbara Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann 2003 Seven Stories Press
  4. ^ a b "Brian Kelly - Actor in Flipper". The Independent. 25 March 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 

External links[edit]