Elijah Kelley

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Elijah Kelley
Elijah Kelley, January 2008
Born (1986-08-01) August 1, 1986 (age 37)
Occupation(s)Actor, singer, dancer
Years active1998–present

Elijah Kelley (born August 1, 1986) is an American actor, singer, and dancer. He appeared in films such as 28 Days (2000), Take the Lead (2006), Hairspray (2007), Red Tails (2012), Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013), NBC's live-musical event The Wiz Live! (2015), as Ricky Bell in The New Edition Story (2017), and Star (2017).

Early life[edit]

Kelley was born and raised in LaGrange, Georgia. He attended Long Cane Middle School and Troup County High School, where he participated in the school's show choir for years.[1][2] As a child, he starred in Coca-Cola commercials and played a role in the film Mama Flora's Family. He also performed in a church choir and gospel band with his family.[3] His parents, determined to keep their son down to earth, went with him when he moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school.[4]


In 2007, Kelley starred in the film adaptation of Hairspray.[5] Both his performance and the film received positive reviews.[6] On December 2, 2011, Kelley sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

In 2015, Kelley was cast in the role of the Scarecrow in NBC's production of The Wiz Live![7]

He was cast as singer Ricky Bell for the 2017 BET Biography Miniseries The New Edition Story. He was credited for his help in considering Luke James, who is a long time musical associate of his to audition for the producers of the miniseries to be cast as the bandmate Johnny Gill.[8]

In 2017, Elijah was cast alongside Luke James as a recurring role for the 2nd season of Lee Daniels musical drama Star on FOX.



Year Title Role Notes
2000 28 Days Darnell
2006 Take the Lead Danjou
2006 Heavens Fall Leroy Wright
2007 Hairspray Seaweed J. Stubbs Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble Of The Year
Young Hollywood Award for One to Watch
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2008 Rome & Jewel Ben Direct-to-video
2012 Red Tails Samuel "Joker" George
2013 The Butler Charlie Gaines
2014 Boys of Abu Ghraib Tunde
2015 Strange Magic Sunny Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Mama Flora's Family Young Willie Television film
1999 A Lesson Before Dying Clarence Television film
2005 The Shield Jaymon Episode: "Grave"
2005 Everybody Hates Chris Waiter Episode: "Everybody Hates the Babysitter"
2006 Numb3rs Anthony Episode: "The OG"
2009 Dirty Sexy Money Elon Elder Episode: "The Facts"
2015 The Wiz Live! Scarecrow / Sticks The Farmhand Man #3 NBC live TV musical
2017 The New Edition Story Ricky Bell BET 3-part Miniseries
2017-2018 Star Andy Recurring Role
2018 The Bobby Brown Story Ricky Bell BET 2-part Miniseries
2019 Tales Paul Episode: “Brothers”



Hairspray singles[edit]

  • "Run and Tell That"
  • "Come So Far"
  • "Without Love"
  • "You Can't Stop the Beat"

DisneyMania 6 singles[edit]

  • "He Lives in You"


  • "Shining Star"


  1. ^ Barnes, Brad (July 20, 2007). "LaGrange to honor local 'Hairspray' star". Ledger-Enquirer. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  2. ^ Eisner, Ken (July 19, 2007). "Hairspray's Kelley energized by cast". Straight.com. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  3. ^ "Elijah Kelley: Whoa, Who's That Kid?". Time. July 19, 2007. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007.
  4. ^ Philadelphia, Desa (July 15, 2007). "Elijah Kelley has the total package". USA Weekend.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Elijah Kelley to Play Seaweed in Hairspray Film". BroadwayWorld.com. July 3, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2007.
  6. ^ VH1.com Archived September 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Prudom, Laura (August 13, 2015). "'The Wiz': Common, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley Join NBC Live Musical". Variety. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Wendy Williams (January 17, 2017), New Edition Story, archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved October 20, 2017

External links[edit]