Walter C. Kelly

Walter C. Kelly (October 29, 1873 – January 6, 1939) was a Vaudeville comedian and actor.

He was born in Mineville, New York. He was the brother of Jack Kelly (Olympic Gold Medalist and father of actress Grace Kelly) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright George Kelly. Kelly toured for years as The Virginia Judge, and was sometimes credited as Walter "Judge" Kelly.

Although Kelly did a number of different Southern dialects playing the various characters in his "Virginian Judge" sketches, an Irish flavor sometimes sneaked through. In one such sketch where three men appear before the Judge for "disturbin' the peace and quarrelin' on the highway", the word "highway" came through as very Irish. He released five recordings of his act on Victor Records. He also appeared in several Broadway productions.

He brought the role to the movies in the 1935 Paramount film The Virginia Judge. His other movie acting roles include "'Guns' Costello" in Seas Beneath (1931); "Dan McFadden" in McFadden's Flats (1935); "Judge Calhoun Davis" in The Virginia Judge (1935); "Capt. Zack Livermore" in Tugboat Princess (1936); and "Pat Kelly" in Laughing Irish Eyes (1936).

His autobiography, Of Me I Sing: An Informal Autobiography, was published in 1953. He was also the author of a 1935 short story, "The Virginia Judge", which served as the basis for the 1935 movie.

On December 8, 1938, Kelly was struck by a car in Hollywood, California. He was taken to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he died on January 6, 1939, from the injuries he sustained.

Birth and Death Data: Born October 29th, 1873

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1920 - 1926

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-24197 10-in. 7/6/1920 Southern court scene, first session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor B-24198 10-in. 7/6/1920 Southern court scene, first session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor B-24199 10-in. 7/6/1920 Southern court scene, second session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor B-24300 10-in. 7/6/1920 Southern court scene, second session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor B-25074 10-in. 5/4/1921 Darky stories Walter C. Kelly Comic monologue speaker  
Victor B-25075 10-in. 5/4/1921 Irish stories Walter C. Kelly Comic monologue speaker  
Victor B-25076 10-in. 5/4/1921 Southern court scene, third session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor B-25077 10-in. 5/4/1921 Southern court scene, third session Walter C. Kelly Monologue author, speaker  
Victor BVE-35297 10-in. 4/8/1926 Southern court scene, fourth session Walter C. Kelly Monologue speaker, author  
Victor BVE-35298 10-in. 4/8/1926 Southern court scene, fourth session Walter C. Kelly Monologue speaker, author  
Victor BVE-35396 10-in. 5/12/1926 Southern court scene, fifth session Walter C. Kelly Monologue speaker, author  
Victor BVE-35397 10-in. 5/12/1926 Southern court scene, fifth session Walter C. Kelly Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Trial 1920-05-10-02] Not documented 5/10/1920 Virginia judge Walter C. Kelly Monologue speaker  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kelly, Walter C.," accessed October 28, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108882.

Kelly, Walter C.. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108882.

"Kelly, Walter C.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 28 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108882

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