Angie Dickinson and Kelly in an episode of the NBC TV series Police Woman (1976)
Paula Kelly (October 21, 1943 - February 9, 2020) was a dancer, singer, and actress in films, television and theatre. Kelly made her Broadway debut as Mrs. Veloz in the 1964 musical Something More!, sharing the stage with Barbara Cook. Her other Broadway credits include The Dozens (1969), Paul Sills' Story Theatre (1971), Ovid's Metamorphoses (1971), and Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies (1981) with Gregory Hines and Phyllis Hyman.
1 Early years
3 Personal life
6 External links
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of a jazz musician, Kelly was raised in New York City's Harlem. She attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, majoring in music, and continued her studies at the Juilliard School of Music, where she majored in dance under Martha Hill. Graduating with an M.S. degree, she performed as a soloist with major modern dance companies such as Martha Graham, Donald McKayle, and Alvin Ailey.
Kelly performed as guest artist and sometimes assistant choreographer for numerous television musical specials, including Sammy and Friends (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.); co-choreographer of the BBC production of Peter Pan, in which she also performed the role of Tiger-Lily; Quincy Jones' TV tribute to Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly; The Richard Pryor Show; and Gene Kelly's New York, New York, in which the two Kellys performed a duet.
Kelly performed a dance solo at the 41st Academy Awards for the nominated title song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). She appeared on the London stage in Sweet Charity with dancer and actress Juliet Prowse, for which Kelly won the London Variety Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in the record-breaking west coast premiere of Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope at the Mark Taper Forum, for which she was awarded the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Variety, and the first of three NAACP Image Awards.
Kelly's film credits include the Bob Fosse-directed film Sweet Charity; Soylent Green; The Spook Who Sat by the Door; The Andromeda Strain; Uptown Saturday Night; Lost in the Stars, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling; Drop Squad; and Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored. Kelly had a recurring role as Liz Williams on the first season of the sitcom Night Court, for which she received an Emmy Award nomination. Kelly also guest-starred in a variety of television movies and sitcoms, including Sanford and Son, Kojak, Police Woman, Golden Girls, Good Times, Any Day Now and in the Oprah Winfrey-produced TV mini-series The Women of Brewster Place (based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Gloria Naylor), in which she portrayed one half of a lesbian couple (with Lonette McKee) struggling against homophobia in an inner-city ghetto. She was nominated for a second Emmy for her role in The Women of Brewster Place.
Kelly married British born director Don Chaffey in 1985. They had one child together before Chaffey died in 1990.
Paula Kelly (third from right) in Sweet Charity (1969). Chita Rivera is second from right.
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