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Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly

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Also Known As: Died: January 2, 1995
Born: March 25, 1921 Cause of Death: complications from diabetes
Birth Place: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Child actress of the stage and several features of the 1920s and 30s who, after playing in Broadway's "Susan and God" (1937), began her film career in earnest. Pretty without being beautiful, with brunette hair and full lips, Kelly was signed by 20th Century-Fox and played opposite Richard Greene in a lesser John Ford, "Submarine Patrol" (1938). She did the best she could with her modest role as Spencer Tracy's requisite romantic interest in the superior biopic "Stanley and Livingstone" (1939) and also acted in the big Westerns "Frontier Marshal" and "Jesse James" (both 1939). Unlike the similarly utilized Olivia de Havilland, however, Kelly never quite established herself as a major star. The female aviator romantic drama "Tail Spin" (1939), in which, cast opposite Alice Faye and Constance Bennett, she more than held her own while carrying the bulk of the melodrama, didn't quite come off, and "He Married His Wife" (1940) saw Kelly a bit strained in her big bid to be a screwball heroine. She played second fiddle to Maureen O'Hara in "To the Shores of Tripoli" (1942) and she and Fox parted company soon thereafter.Kelly did pretty well for herself for a time, performing delightfully in Robert Siodmak's...

Child actress of the stage and several features of the 1920s and 30s who, after playing in Broadway's "Susan and God" (1937), began her film career in earnest. Pretty without being beautiful, with brunette hair and full lips, Kelly was signed by 20th Century-Fox and played opposite Richard Greene in a lesser John Ford, "Submarine Patrol" (1938). She did the best she could with her modest role as Spencer Tracy's requisite romantic interest in the superior biopic "Stanley and Livingstone" (1939) and also acted in the big Westerns "Frontier Marshal" and "Jesse James" (both 1939). Unlike the similarly utilized Olivia de Havilland, however, Kelly never quite established herself as a major star. The female aviator romantic drama "Tail Spin" (1939), in which, cast opposite Alice Faye and Constance Bennett, she more than held her own while carrying the bulk of the melodrama, didn't quite come off, and "He Married His Wife" (1940) saw Kelly a bit strained in her big bid to be a screwball heroine. She played second fiddle to Maureen O'Hara in "To the Shores of Tripoli" (1942) and she and Fox parted company soon thereafter.

Kelly did pretty well for herself for a time, performing delightfully in Robert Siodmak's "B" adventure gem, "Fly by Night" (1942). Other good films included the charmingly nostalgic musical "Show Business" (1944) and the unjustly neglected mystery "The Woman Who Came Back" (1945), but she saw the writing on the wall when she took a back seat to skater Vera Hruba Ralston in "Murder at the Music Hall" (1946). The stage provided Kelly with much meatier roles in "The Big Knife" and "Season in the Sun", and she won a Tony for her excellent performance as a distraught, disbelieving mother who discovers that her young daughter is genuinely evil in "The Bad Seed" (1955). Contrary to custom, Kelly managed to recreate the role in the slightly compromised but still powerful 1956 film version. She preferred theater work, though, but did make sporadic TV appearances through the late 1970s. Married briefly to actor Edmond O'Brien (1941-42), she is the elder sister of actor Jack Kelly of "Maverick" fame.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Ghostbusters (1984) Reporter
3.
 Murder at the World Series (1977) Alice Dakso
4.
 Imposter, The (1975) Victoria Kent
5.
 The Bad Seed (1956) Christine Penmark
6.
 Crowded Paradise (1956) Louise Heath
7.
 Murder in the Music Hall (1946) Rita Morgan
8.
 Betrayal from the East (1945) Peggy Harrison
9.
 The Woman Who Came Back (1945) Lorna Webster
10.
 Follow That Woman (1945) Nancy Boone
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Acted on Broadway as a child in "Give Me Yesterday"
1926:
Earliest feature film credits as child actor include "Untamed Lady", "Mismates" and "The Great Gatsby"
1937:
Acted on Broadway in "Susan and God"
1938:
Signed with 20th Century-Fox; first film in an adult role, "Submarine Patrol"
1942:
Association with Fox ended
1946:
Last Hollywood film for nine years, "Murder in the Music Hall"
:
Returned to stage work
1949:
Acted regularly on TV anthology dramas of the early 1950s including "Silver Theater", "Suspense", "Starlight Theater", "Faith Baldwin's Theater of Romance" and "The Kaiser Aluminum Hour" (date approximate)
1951:
Was a regular on the CBS summer replacement variety series, "Summer in the City"
1955:
Returned to features to play a leading role in "Crowded Paradise"
1956:
Last feature film, "The Bad Seed"
:
Performed in the national stage tour of "The Gingerbread Lady"
1975:
Acted in first TV-movie, "The Imposter"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bentley School for Girls: -
Immaculate Conception Academy: New York , New York -
St Lawrence Academy: Long Island , New York -

Notes

Kelly is not to be confused with the director Nancy Kelly who made "1000 Pieces of Gold" in 1990.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Edmond O'Brien. Actor. Married in 1941; divorced in 1942; born on September 10, 1915; died on May 9, 1985; Hollywood leading man of the 1940s and 50s turned character actor; won Best Suppporting Actor Oscar for "The Barefoot Contessa" (1954).
husband:
Fred Jackman. Cameraman. Divorced.
husband:
Warren Caro. Married from the mid-1950s until his death on January 1, 1994 at age 87.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Nan Kelly Yorke. Actor. Born in 1895; died in 1978.
brother:
Jack Kelly. Actor. Born on September 16, 1927; died on November 7, 1992; best known for the TV series "King's Row" and "Maverick".
daughter:
Kelly Caro Rosenberg. Survived her.

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