Paula Kelly was a multi-talented performer who made a significant impact on the entertainment industry as an actress, singer, and dancer. She was born on October 21, 1943, in Jacksonville, Florida, and passed away on February 8, 2020, in Whittier, California, at the age of 76. Kelly’s career spanned over five decades, and she left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. In this post, we will take a closer look at the life and legacy of this remarkable artist.
Early Life and Career
Childhood and Education
Paula Kelly was born into a family of performers. Her mother, Jennie Paul, was a jazz singer, and her father, Harold Kelly, was a vaudeville performer. Kelly grew up in New York City and attended the High School of Performing Arts. She went on to study at the Juilliard School of Music, where she honed her skills as a dancer.
Breakthrough as a Dancer
After graduating from Juilliard, Kelly began her career as a dancer on Broadway. She appeared in several productions, including “Something More!” and “The Dozens.” In 1964, she landed a breakthrough role in the musical “Sweet Charity,” which starred Gwen Verdon. Kelly’s performance as Helene earned her critical acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She went on to appear in several other Broadway productions, including “The Song of Jacob Zulu” and “King Hedley II.”
Paula Kelly’s acting career began in the 1960s, with appearances on several popular television shows, including “The Nurses,” “The Red Skelton Hour,” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” In the 1980s, she landed a recurring role on the hit sitcom “Night Court,” playing public defender Liz Williams. Kelly’s performance on the show was widely praised, and she became a fan favorite. She also appeared on several other TV shows, including “The Golden Girls,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” and “Santa Barbara.”
Paula Kelly also had a successful film career, appearing in several notable movies throughout the years. She made her film debut in the 1969 drama “The April Fools,” starring Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve. She went on to appear in several other films, including “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Soylent Green,” and “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Kelly’s performance in the 1974 film “Claudine” earned her critical acclaim and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards.
Impact on the Entertainment Industry
Paula Kelly’s talent and dedication to her craft made her a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. She was a trailblazer for African American performers, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. Kelly’s legacy lives on through her work, which continues to inspire and entertain audiences around the world.
Remembering Paula Kelly
Paula Kelly passed away on February 8, 2020, at the age of 76. Her death was a great loss to the entertainment industry and to her fans around the world. However, her legacy lives on, and she will always be remembered as a talented and inspiring performer who made a significant impact on the world of entertainment.
Who was Paula Kelly?
Paula Kelly was an American actress, singer, and dancer who rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s.
What were some of Paula Kelly’s most notable roles?
Paula Kelly was known for her roles in films such as “Sweet Charity,” “The Andromeda Strain,” and “Uptown Saturday Night.” She also appeared on TV shows like “Night Court,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” and “The Golden Girls.”
What was Paula Kelly’s background in dance?
Paula Kelly began her dance training at a young age and eventually studied under dance legends Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. She went on to perform in Broadway productions such as “Something More!” and “The Dozens.”
Did Paula Kelly receive any awards or recognition for her work?
Yes, Paula Kelly was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway production of “Sweet Charity.” She also received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the TV movie “The Women of Brewster Place.”
When did Paula Kelly pass away?
Paula Kelly passed away on February 8, 2020, at the age of 77.