Irish actor David Kelly passed on 12 Februrary 2012 at the age of 82.
David Kelly was born on 11 July 1929 in Dublin, Ireland. He started acting when he was only 8, at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. He made his television debut on an episode of The Passing Show in 1951. He made his movie debut in The Wrong Man in 1956. In the later Fifties he appeared in episodes of the TV shows G.E. Theatre, ITV Play of the Week, and ITV Television Playhouse. He appeared in the film short "The Mail Van Murder" and the feature film Dublin Nightmare (1958). He also appeared frequently on stage.
In the Sixties Mr. Kelly appeared in the films The Quare Fellow (1962), Girl With Green Eyes (1964), Young Cassidy (1965), Ulysses (1967), The Italian Job (1969), Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970), and The McKenzie Break (1970). He guest starred on such TV shows as Undermind, Public Eye, The Informer, The Wednesday Play, Adam Adamant Lives!, Half Hour Story, The Ronnie Barker Playhouse, and For Amusement Only.
In the Seventies David Kelly provided the voice of the Dead Man in the series Tales From the Lazy Ace. He was a regular on the shows Robin's Nest, Oh Father!, and Last of Summer. He appeared on the RTE mini-series Strumpet City. He made guest appearances on such shows as Armchair Theatre, Z Cars, Doctor on the Go, The Adventurer, Fawlty Towers (one of his most famous appearances), Mr. Big, Citizen Smith, and Time of My Life. He appeared in such films as Never Mind the Quality: Feel the Width (1973), Philadelphia, Here I Come (1975), and The Next Man (1976).
In the Eighties he was a regular on the series Cowboys. He appeared on such shows as The Gentle Touch, Whoops Apocalypse, Glenroe, The Irish R.M., Yellowthread Street, and In Sickness and In Health. He appeared in the films The Jigsaw Man (1984), Stryker's War (1985), Pirates (1986), and Joyriders (1989). In the Nineties he appeared in the American mini-series Scarlett. He appeared on such shows as Heartbeat, Ballykissangel, and Upwardly Mobile. He appeared in the films Into the West (1992), A Man of No Importance (1994), Moondance (1995), The Run of the Country (1995), The Matchmaker (1997), Walking Ned Devine (1998), Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000), and Greenfingers (2000).
In the Naughts he appeared in such films as Mean Machine (2001), Mystics (2003), Laws of Attraction (2004), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), The Kovak Box (2006), and Stardust (2007).
Although probably best known to audiences for his guest appearance on Fawlty Towers as incompetent builder O'Reilly in the episode "The Builders" and his role as the kindly Grandpa Joe in Tim Burton's adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, David Kelly had long and varied career in which he gave many good performances. Throughout his career he played everything from Catholic priests (in The Run of the Country) to a slightly mad scientist (in The Kovak Box). What is more, he was convincing in all of them. David Kelly was a brilliant actor who gave great performances even in the smallest of roles before becoming famous late in his career.