Paul Kelly (actor)

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Paul Kelly
PaulKellyHighandMightyTrailerScreenshot1954.jpg
Kelly in The High and the Mighty (1954)
BornPaul Michael Kelly
(1899-08-09)August 9, 1899
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 6, 1956(1956-11-06) (aged 57)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City
OccupationActor
Years active1906–1956
Spouse(s)Mardelle Zwicker (Claire Owen) (1941-1956) (his death)
Dorothy Mackaye (1931-1940) (her death)
 
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Paul Kelly
PaulKellyHighandMightyTrailerScreenshot1954.jpg
Kelly in The High and the Mighty (1954)
BornPaul Michael Kelly
(1899-08-09)August 9, 1899
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 6, 1956(1956-11-06) (aged 57)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City
OccupationActor
Years active1906–1956
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 actor of 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.

Child actor[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, the ninth of ten children, Kelly began his career as a child actor at age 7 and was appearing on the stage.

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.[1]

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.

Mary Miles Minter (playing Anne Shirley) snuggles with Paul Kelly (Gilbert Blythe) in a scene still for the 1919 silent film Anne of Green Gables
Paul Kelly (1937), in Fit for a King

Career[edit]

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.[2] (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.

Personal life[edit]

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.

Years later, Kelly played the part of San Quentin Warden Clinton Duffy in the film Duffy of San Quentin.[3]

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 film Ladies They Talk About (1933) with Barbara Stanwyck and remade as Lady Gangster in 1942. Mackaye died in a 1940 auto crash.

In 1941, Kelly married Claire Owen (née 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.

He died of a heart attack at 57 on November 6, 1956.

Selected Filmography[edit]

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.[4]

Film
YearFilmRoleNotes
1919Anne of Green GablesGilbert Blythe
1927Slide, Kelly, SlideDillon
Special DeliveryTuck, another detective
1934Death on the DiamondJimmie Downey
1934Side StreetsTim
1936Murder with PicturesI. B. McCoogin
1937Navy Blue and GoldTommy Milton (varsity coach)
1938Island in the SkyGloria Stuart, Michael Whalen, Paul Kelly
19396,000 EnemiesDr. Malcolm Scott
The Roaring TwentiesNick Brown
1940The Howards of VirginiaCaptain Jabez AllenAlternative title: The Tree of Liberty
Flight CommandLieutenant Commander "Dusty" Rhodes
1941Ziegfeld GirlJohn Slayton
1942Flying TigersHap Smith - Pilot
Tarzan's New York AdventureJimmy Shields - Pilot
The Secret CodeDan Barton15-chapter serial; leading role
1945Allotment WivesMajor Pete Martin
1947Fear in the NightCliff Herlihy
CrossfireThe Man
1950The File on Thelma JordonMiles Scott
Guilty of TreasonTom Kelly
The Secret FuryDistrict Attorney Eric Lowell
1951The Painted HillsJonathan HarveyAlternative titles: Lassie's Adventures in the Goldrush
Lassie's Christmas Story
1953GunsmokeDan SaxonAlternative titles: A Man's Country
Roughshod
1954The High and the MightyDonald Flaherty
1956Storm CenterJudge Robert Ellerbe
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1950The Ford Theatre Hour1 episode
1952Robert Montgomery Presents1 episode
1954–1955Fireside Theater2 episodes
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars3 episodes
1955Cavalcade of America1 episode

References[edit]

External links[edit]