Paula Kelly (actress/dancer)

Paula Kelly (actress/dancer)

Paula Kelly (b. October 21 1943, Jacksonville, Florida) is an Emmy Award-nominated African-American dancer and actress in motion pictures and television.

Daughter of a jazz musician, Kelly was raised in New York City's Harlem where she attended the Fiorello Laguardia High School of Music & Art, majoring in music. She continued her studies at the Juilliard School of Music majoring in dance under Martha Graham. Graduating with an M.S. degree, she performed as a soloist with major modern dance companies such as Martha Graham, Donald MacKayle, and Alvin Ailey. She also 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" for which she received an Emmy nomination; and Gene Kelly's "New York, New York" in which the two Kellys performed a duet.

Kelly performed a dance solo at the Academy Awards for the nominated song "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". She appeared on the London stage opposite dancer and actress Juliet Prowse in "Helen", 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 also appeared in the Duke Ellington musical "Sophisticated Ladies" on Broadway, which starred Gregory Hines and featuring Phyllis Hyman.

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"; "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling"; "Drop Squad"; and "Once Upon A Time. . . When We Were Colored".

Kelly has also guest starred in a variety of television movies and sitcoms including"Sanford and Son", "Golden Girls", "Good Times", "Any Day Now", and in the groundbreaking Oprah Winfrey-produced "The Women of Brewster Place" (based on the novel by Gloria Naylor) in which she portrayed one half of a lesbian couple (opposite Lonette McKee) struggling against homophobia in an inner city ghetto. Kelly also had a recurring role as Liz Williams on the first season of the sitcom "Night Court".

Kelly posed for the August 1969 issue of "Playboy" magazine in a full-frontal (though shadowed) dance posture and in a stop-motion nude dance sequence. Kelly was the first woman ever to be pictured in a full-frontal nude pose in the magazine, with Marilyn Cole being the first Playmate so pictured.


* "Sweet Charity" (1969)
* "The Andromeda Strain" (1971)
* "Cool Breeze" (1972)
* "Top Of The Heap" (1972)
* "Trouble Man" (1972)
* "Soylent Green" (1973)
* "The Spook Who Sat By The Door" (1973)
* "Tough Guys" (1974)
* "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974)
* "Drum" (1976)
* "Night Court" (1984, TV, season 1 only)

External links

* [ Paula Kelly's Official website]
*imdb name|id=0446780|name=Paula Kelly

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