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David Kelly Dies
The Waking Ned actor was 82

13 February 2012  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  |  Source: Irish Examiner

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David Kelly Dies

Irish actor David Kelly has died in hospital after a short illness. The Dubliner, who was best known for his roles in Waking Ned and as Grandpa Joe Bucket in Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, was 82. 

Kelly's first break on the screen came with two small role but noteworthy roles: the vicar presiding over Great Aunt Nelly's funeral in The Italian Job and inept builder O'Reilly in Fawlty Towers.

He went on to combine work on the stage with stalwart TV turns in Ballykissangel, On The Buses and Emmerdale Farm. Samuel Beckett's one-man play Krapp’s Last Tape, in which Kelly played the title role to great acclaim, was a high-water mark for his career in theatre. 

Kelly also scored notable sucesses on the big screen. As elderly chancer Michael O'Sullivan in Kirk Jones' knockabout comedy Waking Ned, he landed a SAG award nod and generated talk of an Oscar nomination. It was a part that cleared a space for him on Hollywood's casting couches and led to a role as Charlie Bucket's benevolent grandpa, Joe, in Burton's trippy adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel.

As Kelly himself joked, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was a part tailor made for a professional septuagenarian. “I remember on my 70th birthday," he told The Irish Times in 2005, "some journalist writing: 'David Kelly is 70 today. But what I want to know is how come he’s been 70 for the past 40 years.’ And it’s perfectly true. It’s a very strange thing.” He went on to discount the possibility of retiring. “Oh God, no. I will continue hanging on to the script until they prise it from my cold, dead hands.”

Kelly is survived by his wife Laurie and two children.


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Your Comments

Greatly missed
David Kelly, you will be greatly missed. The huge omission here is 'Strumpet City' in which he played his greatest role Rashers Tierney. If you are a fan of David Kelly you have to seek it out. An astounding performance. I think RTE have it for sale online. Codladh samh mo chara. More

Posted by Heman at 23:04 on 14 February 2012 | Report This Post

Greatly missed
David Kelly, you will be greatly missed. The huge omission here is 'Strumpet City' in which he played his greatest role Rashers Tierney. If you are a fan of David Kelly you have to seek it out. An astounding performance. I think RTE have it for sale online. Codladh samh mo chara. More

Posted by Heman at 23:04 on 14 February 2012 | Report This Post

A great and very likeable actor
David Kelly was a great screen presence and will be sorely missed. Thought he was very good in Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I hope he passed peacefully and may he rest in peace. More

Posted by dannyfletch at 11:44 on 14 February 2012 | Report This Post

A legend in Irish film and theater
He will be greatly missed. Loved him in Fawlty Towers. More

Posted by GFoley83 at 23:08 on 13 February 2012 | Report This Post

Such a sad loss...
I remember him best as one-armed chef Albert Riddle from Robin's Nest (it was years before I realised he actually had 2 arms!) and Murphy the inept builder that Cybil despised in Fawlty Towers. Brilliant! RIP Mr Kelly More

Posted by DouglasW at 19:06 on 13 February 2012 | Report This Post

RIP Rashers
Go mbeannai Dia dhuit David. Codladh samh mo chara More

Posted by bnicholson50 at 18:48 on 13 February 2012 | Report This Post

Legend
You guys forgot about Rashers Tierney. That is the role that he'll be most remembered for - Italian Job, me hole!!! More

Posted by potemkin1925 at 18:26 on 13 February 2012 | Report This Post

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