Paula Kelly


Actor

About

Born
October 21, 1942
Died
February 08, 2020

Biography

After studying dancing at Juilliard under legendary choreographer Martha Graham, Paula Kelly danced professionally for Graham and others before landing significant roles on Broadway as a performer and choreographer in her own right. New York wasn't the only stage for her talents, though. She appeared on London's West End in "Sweet Charity," the 1967 musical version of Fellini's "Nights o...

Biography

After studying dancing at Juilliard under legendary choreographer Martha Graham, Paula Kelly danced professionally for Graham and others before landing significant roles on Broadway as a performer and choreographer in her own right. New York wasn't the only stage for her talents, though. She appeared on London's West End in "Sweet Charity," the 1967 musical version of Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria," winning an award for her triumphant performance as the sultry Helene. When the show's director/choreographer, Bob Fosse, mounted a costly movie version of the show, Kelly reprised her role to much acclaim, although the film itself was a bomb. More film work followed, but surprisingly her roles were far from glitzy dance/musical productions. Like many African-American actors working in the early 1970s, Kelly found substantial parts in the gritty, frequently politically charged so-called blaxploitation genre--she starred in the thriller "The Spook Who Sat by the Door," the ambitious fantasy-tinged "Top of the Heap," the crime story "Trouble Man," and the comedy "Uptown Saturday Night" with Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Harry Belafonte. Her big-screen work during this time wasn't relegated only to black-focused themes, however. She had prominent roles in the science fiction favorite "Soylent Green," starring Charlton Heston, and in the chilling "The Andromeda Strain." When film roles became scarce, there was plentiful television work for her, most notably a recurring guest spot on "Night Court" in 1984 and in the 1989 miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place," both earning her Emmy nominations.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story (1996)
Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored (1995)
Mama Pearl
DROP Squad (1994)
Bank Robber (1993)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987)
Cassy
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986)
Drum (1976)
Uptown Saturday Night (1974)
Lost in the Stars (1974)
Rose
Three Tough Guys (1974)
Soylent Green (1973)
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
Dahomey
Trouble Man (1972)
Cleo
Top of the Heap (1972)
Black chick
Cool Breeze (1972)
Martha Harris
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Karen Anson
Sweet Charity (1969)
Helene

Dance (Feature Film)

Alex in Wonderland (1970)
Choreography

Make-Up (Feature Film)

Beware the Night (2014)
Makeup
Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Makeup
Salt (2010)
Makeup Artist
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Makeup Artist
Tenderness (2009)
Makeup Artist
Body of Lies (2008)
Makeup Artist
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
Makeup Artist
The Departed (2006)
Makeup Artist
Amistad (1997)
Makeup Artist
The Crucible (1996)
Makeup Artist
Distant Justice (1995)
Makeup Artist

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Million Dollar Mystery (1987)
Craft Service

Cast (Special)

Zora Is My Name! (1990)
Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration (1990)
Kung Fu: The Next Generation (1987)
Feel the Heat (1983)
Sally Long (Guest)
Peter Marshall Salutes the Big Bands (1981)
The Cheap Detective (1980)
Komedy Tonite (1978)
Peter Pan (1976)
Duke Ellington... We Love You Madly (1973)

Make-Up (Special)

Concealed Enemies (1984)
Makeup Assistant

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Women of Brewster Place (1989)
Chiefs (1983)

Life Events

Bibliography