Nancy Kelly was a Hollywood leading lady in the 1930s and 40s

 

Nancy Kelly (March 25, 1921 – January 2, 1995) was an American actress who was a Hollywood leading lady in the late 1930s and 1940s, making thirty-six movies total between 1926 and 1977. Kelly was also the older sister of actor Jack Kelly, who played “Bart Maverick” alongside James Garner and Roger Moore in the 1957 television series Maverick.

 

Nancy Kelly (March 25, 1921 – January 2, 1995)

Nancy Kelly
(March 25, 1921 – January 2, 1995)

Nancy Kelly was born March 25, 1921 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Kelly started in show business as a one-year-old model for James Montgomery Flagg. By the time she was nine years old, Kelly had appeared in so many different advertisements that Film Daily called her “the most photographed child in America due to commercial posing.” In 1929, as an eight year old, she appeared on Broadway in a revival of “Macbeth”. Kelly also played Dorothy Gale in a 1933 to 1934 radio show based on the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Kelly’s film debut was in the 1926 silent film “The Untamed Lady” which starred Gloria Swanson. In 1929, Kelly had a small role in the silent version of “The Great Gatsby” which starred Warner Baxter and William Powell. As an adult Kelly was a leading lady in twenty-seven movies in the 1930s and 1940s, including portraying Tyrone Power’s love interest in the classic “Jesse James” (1939) which also featured Henry Fonda and playing opposite Spencer Tracy in “Stanley and Livingstone” (1939). Other movies of note Kelly starred in include director John Ford’s “Submarine Patrol” (1938), “Tail Spin” (1939) with Alice Faye, the comedy “He Married His Wife” (1940) with Joel McCrea, “Frontier Marshal” (1939) with Randolph Scott as Wyatt Earp, and “Tarzan’s Desert Mystery” (1943) with Johnny Weismuller. In between films Kelly worked the stage and was subsequently a two-time winner of the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre as well as a Tony Award winner for her performance in “The Bad Seed”, a 1954 play by American playwright Maxwell Anderson. In 1956, Kelly followed up by starring in the film version of “The Bad Seed” for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but lost to Ingrid Bergman’s “Anastasia” (1956).

 

Nancy Kelly in "The Bad Seed" (1956) Kelly was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in the film.

Nancy Kelly in “The Bad Seed” (1956) Kelly was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in the film.

 

After “The Bad Seed” Nancy Kelly appeared almost exclusively on television. In 1957 she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actress for the TV episode “The Pilot” (1956) in Studio One. Kelly’s other television appearances include leading roles in “Circle of the Day” (1957) episode of Playhouse 90, “The Storm” (1961) episode of Thriller and “The Lonely Hours” (1963) episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Her last role was in the 1977 made for television film “Murder at the World Series” (1977).

 

Nancy Kelly -- a Hollywood leading lady in the 1930s and 1940s

Nancy Kelly — a Hollywood leading lady in the
1930s and 1940s

 

Nancy Kelly was married three times. Her first marriage was to actor Edmond O’Brien in February 1941. They were divorced one year later in February 1942. Kelly’s second marriage was to Fred Jackman Jr., the son of silent Hollywood cameraman and director Fred Jackman. They were married February 14, 1946 and divorced in January of 1950. Her third marriage was to theatre director Warren Caro on November 25, 1955. The couple had a daughter together, Kelly Caro in 1957. That marriage also ended in divorce in September of 1968.

 

Nancy Kelly with Tyrone Power in the classic "Jesse James" (1939)

Nancy Kelly with Tyrone Power in the classic
“Jesse James” (1939)

 

Nancy Kelly died from complications of diabetes on January 2, 1995 in Bel Air, California. She was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

 

Nancy Kelly with Johnny Weissmuller in "Tarzan's Desert Mystery" (1943)

Nancy Kelly with Johnny Weissmuller in
“Tarzan’s Desert Mystery” (1943)

 

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Nancy Kelly has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

 

Nancy Kelly with Joel McCrea in "He Married His Wife" (1940)

Nancy Kelly with Joel McCrea in “He Married His Wife” (1940)

Be sociable...Share!!Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest5Share on StumbleUpon0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Tumblr0

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Nancy Kelly was a Hollywood leading lady in the 1930s and 40s”

  1. […] Nancy Kelly (March 25, 1921 – January 2, 1995) American actress made 36 movies between 1926 and 1977, including portraying Tyrone Power’s love interest in the classic “Jesse James” (1939) which also featured Henry Fonda; “Stanley and Livingstone” (1939) with Spencer Tracy and Walter Brennan; “To the Shores of Tripoli” (1942) with John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, and Randolph Scott; and “Tarzan’s Desert Mystery” (1943) with Johnny Weismuller. Kelly had her greatest success in a character role as the suicidal mother in the “The Bad Seed”, receiving a Tony Award for the 1955 stage production and an Academy Award nomination for the 1956 film adaptation. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Nancy Kelly has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. […]

Leave a Reply

*