Jack Kelly

Active - 1939 - 2014  |   Born - Sep 16, 1927   |   Died - Nov 7, 1992   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Mystery, Crime, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of actress Nan Kelly Yorke, Jack Kelly was the younger brother of stage and film star Nancy Kelly. Like Nancy, Jack was a professional from an early age, acting in radio and on stage before the age of 10, and in films from 1937 (he is quite prominent in a brace of 1939 20th Century-Fox films, Young Mr. Lincoln and The Story of Alexander Graham Bell). He reemerged as a leading man in the early 1950s, appearing in such films as Forbidden Planet (1956, as the ill-fated Lieutenant Farnam). Signed by Warner Bros. in 1955, Kelly starred as Dr. Paris Mitchell in the weekly TV version of the 1942 film King's Row. He went on to play gamblin' man Bart Maverick on the longer-running Warners western series Maverick. Though his popularity never matched that of his co-star James Garner, Kelly still developed a fan following as Bart; he remained with the series from 1957 until its cancellation in 1962, appearing opposite such Garner successors as Roger Moore and Robert Colbert. Kelly dabbled in a little bit of everything after that: hosting the anthology series NBC Comedy Playhouse (1973), emceeing the game show Sale of the Century (1969-71), and playing hard-nosed Lt. Ryan on the Teresa Graves series Get Christie Love (1974) and Harry Hammond on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-79). He revived the Bart Maverick character on 1978's The New Maverick and the 1990 TV movie The Gambler Returns: Luck of the Draw. Chances are that, had he lived, Jack Kelly would have been invited to co-star again with Garner in the 1994 Mel Gibson theatrical-feature version of Maverick.

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