Paul Kelly (actor)
Paul Michael Kelly (August 9, 1899 – November 6, 1956) was an American 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.
Kelly in The High and the Mighty (1954)
Paul Michael Kelly
August 9, 1899
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||November 6, 1956 57) (aged|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California|
(m. 1931; died 1940)
(m. 1941; his death 1956)
Born in Brooklyn, New York to a Roman Catholic family of Irish descent, Paul Michael Kelly was the ninth of ten children. His father owned a saloon, Kelly's Kafe, in the shadow of Vitagraph Studios, on E. 14th St. in Midwood, Brooklyn. After his father's death, he began his career as a child actor at age 7 and was appearing on the stage. In 1911, at age 12, Kelly began making silent films with Vitagraph Studios, 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 career, and relatively short life, it has been 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 – during 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.
On April 16, 1927, a drunk Kelly confronted actor Ray Raymond, who was also drunk, over Kelly's affair with and love for Raymond's wife, actress Dorothy Mackaye. Raymond was no match for Kelly, who bashed Raymond's head against a wall until he fell unconscious. At his trial, Kelly contended that Raymond had started the fight and did not show signs of serious injury at the time. He showed no remorse.
Mackaye denied claims in court that she had been romantically involved with Kelly before Raymond's death, but Kelly's love letters to her were introduced as evidence. She was charged with felony conspiracy for the attempted coverup, and sentenced to one to three years but served less than 10 months. Kelly was sentenced to up to 10 years but served only 25 months in San Quentin prison. Conditions of his release included that he must not marry for eighteen months after his release, and that he would have to take a job as a clerk for $30 per week. Kelly found working as a clerk untenable, and convinced the supervisors of his parole to allow him to return to acting on Broadway, with the condition that he continued to be limited to an income of $30 per week.
Kelly and Mackaye married in 1931, shortly after the expiration on Kelly's parole condition prohibiting him from marrying. They performed on Broadway, and then returned to California, where Mackaye's daughter Valerie Raymond was apparently adopted by her stepfather and became known as Mimi Kelly. Mimi would later have her own modest Broadway career.
Mackaye died in a 1940 auto crash, when her car swerved and rolled into a ditch. She walked home, and, seeking to assuage Kelly's concerns, insisted that she was not seriously hurt. However, she had suffered internal injuries, and died within hours. In 1941, Kelly married Claire Owen (born Zona Mardelle Zwicker), a bit player he had met on the set of Flight Command (1940). She retired from acting, and went on to survive him.
Kelly died of a heart attack at 57 on November 6, 1956, in Beverly Hills, California.
|1919||Fit to Win||Hank Simpson|
|Anne of Green Gables||Gilbert Blythe|
|1920||Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge||Young Sam|
|1921||The Great Adventure||Another Leek Son|
|The Old Oaken Bucket||The Youth|
|1926||The New Klondike||Bing Allen|
|1927||Slide, Kelly, Slide||Dillon|
|Special Delivery||Tuck, another detective||(scenes deleted)|
|The Poor Nut||Spike Hoyt||Uncredited|
|1932||The Girl from Calgary||Larry Boyd|
|1933||Broadway Through a Keyhole||Frank Rocci|
|1934||School for Girls||Garry Waltham|
|The Love Captive||Dr. Norman Ware|
|Side Streets||Tim O'Hara|
|Blind Date||Bill Lowry|
|Death on the Diamond||Jimmie Downey|
|The President Vanishes||Chick Moffat|
|1935||When a Man's a Man||Phil Acton|
|Star of Midnight||Jim Kinland|
|Public Hero No. 1||James Duff|
|Speed Devils||Martin Gray|
|Silk Hat Kid||Tim Martin|
|It's a Great Life||Rockie Johnson|
|1936||My Marriage||Barney Dolan|
|Here Comes Trouble||Duke Donovan|
|Song and Dance Man||Hap Farrell|
|The Country Beyond||Sgt. Cassidy|
|Women Are Trouble||Bill Blaine|
|Murder with Pictures||I. B. McCoogin|
|The Accusing Finger||Douglas Goodwin|
|1937||Join the Marines||Philip H. 'Phil' Donlan|
|Parole Racket||Police Lieutenant Tony Roberts|
|It Happened Out West||Richard P. Howe|
|The Frame-Up||Mark MacArthur|
|Fit for a King||Briggs|
|Navy Blue and Gold||Tommy Milton (varsity coach)|
|1938||Island in the Sky||Johnny Doyle|
|Torchy Blane in Panama||Steve McBride|
|The Nurse from Brooklyn||Jim Barnes|
|The Devil's Party||Jerry Donovan|
|The Missing Guest||'Scoop' Hanlon|
|Juvenile Court||Gary Franklin||Leading role opposite Rita Hayworth|
|Adventure in Sahara||Jim Wilson||Starring role|
|1939||Within the Law||Joe Garson|
|The Flying Irishman||Butch Brannan|
|Forged Passport||Dan Frazer|
|6,000 Enemies||Dr. Malcolm Scott|
|The Roaring Twenties||Nick Brown|
|Invisible Stripes||Ed Kruger|
|1940||Queen of the Mob||Tom Webster|
|The Howards of Virginia||Captain Jabez Allen||Alternative title: The Tree of Liberty|
|Girls Under 21||Johnny Cane|
|Flight Command||Lieutenant Commander "Dusty" Rhodes|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||John Slayton|
|I'll Wait for You||Police Lieutenant 'Mac' McFarley|
|Parachute Battalion||Sgt. Tex McBride|
|1942||Mr. and Mrs. North||Lieutenant Weigand|
|Call Out the Marines||Jim Blake|
|Not a Ladies' Man||Robert Bruce|
|Tarzan's New York Adventure||Jimmy Shields|
|Tough As They Come||Dan Stevens|
|The Secret Code||Dan Barton||15-chapter serial; leading role|
|Flying Tigers||Hap Davis|
|1943||The Man from Music Mountain||Victor Marsh|
|1944||The Story of Dr. Wassell||Murdock|
|Dead Man's Eyes||Dr. Alan Bittaker|
|Faces in the Fog||Tom Elliott|
|1945||Grissly's Millions||Joe Simmons|
|China's Little Devils||Big Butch Dooley|
|Allotment Wives||Major Pete Martin|
|San Antonio||Roy Stuart|
|1946||The Glass Alibi||Max Anderson|
|The Cat Creeps||Ken Grady|
|Deadline for Murder||Lt. Jerry E. McMullen|
|Strange Journey||Lucky Leeds|
|1947||Fear in the Night||Cliff Herlihy|
|Spoilers of the North||Matt Garraway|
|Adventure Island||Captain Donald Lochlin|
|1950||The File on Thelma Jordon||Miles Scott|
|Guilty of Treason||Tom Kelly|
|The Secret Fury||District Attorney Eric Lowell|
|Side Street||Captain Walter Anderson|
|1951||The Painted Hills||Jonathan Harvey||Alternative titles: Lassie's Adventures in the Goldrush, Lassie's Christmas Story|
|1952||Springfield Rifle||Lieutenant Colonel John Hudson|
|1953||Gunsmoke||Dan Saxon||Alternative titles: A Man's Country, Roughshod|
|Split Second||Bart Moore|
|1954||Duffy of San Quentin||Warden Clinton T. Duffy|
|The High and the Mighty||Donald Flaherty|
|Johnny Dark||William H. "Scotty" Scott|
|The Steel Cage||Warden Clinton T. Duffy|
|1955||The Square Jungle||Jim McBride|
|1956||Storm Center||Judge Robert Ellerbe|
|1957||Curfew Breakers||Police Lieutenant Lacey|
|Bailout at 43,000||Colonel Hughes||last film role|
|1950||The Ford Theatre Hour||1 episode|
|1952||Robert Montgomery Presents||1 episode|
|1954–1955||Fireside Theater||2 episodes|
|Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Joe Tierney / Bunter||3 episodes|
|1955||Cavalcade of America||1 episode|
- Paul Kelly on IMDb
- Profile, ibdb.com; accessed July 28, 2015.
- "Dorothy Mackaye Released from Prison". Delaware County Daily Times. Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. January 2, 1929. Archived from the original on April 7, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gene Coughlin, "Tragedies of the Stage", Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (September 12, 1948), p. American Weekly, p. 7.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 166. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- John Holmstrom, The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 13-14.
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