Paula Kelly

Active - 1969 - 2005  |   Born - Oct 21, 1943   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Tall, elegant African American musical performer Paula Kelly was the daughter of a popular nightclub and band singer of the same name; the elder Paula Kelly had been instrumental in popularizing such 1930s and 1940s standards as "Jeepers Creepers" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo." The younger Kelly launched her own career in the early 1960s. In 1969 she made her first film, re-creating her Broadway role as dance-hall girl Helene in Sweet Charity. Kelly's later films ranged from the excellent (The Andromeda Strain) to the barely tolerable (Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling). Extremely active on series TV, Paula Kelly has played such roles as public defender Liz Williams on Night Court (1984), Theresa in The Women of Brewster Place (the 1989 pilot for Oprah Winfrey's abortive weekly) and Sweets in South Central (1994).

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