Irish Actor Frank Kelly Dies

Irish born actor Frank Kelly died February 28 at the age of 77. While no official cause of death has been listed, Kelly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last year.

After revealing his Parkinson’s diagnosis Kelly said, “I’ve been working as an actor for over 50 years and a shaky hand won’t stop me. I remain open to offers for work on stage and screen. I’m quite available and my mobile is always on. I’m not going to let Parkinson’s beat me. I’m just not that kind of person.”

Kelly died exactly 18 years to the day that fellow “Father Ted” actor Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted.

While Best known for his role as Father Jack Hackett in 25 episodes of “Father Ted”, Kelly appeared in a total of 40 film and television productions beginning with his 1969 debut in an episode of “Wanderly Wagon” and including “The Italian Job”, “Second City Firsts”, “The Irish R.M.”, “Remington Steele”, “Miracle at Midnight”, the mini series “Aristocrats”, “Glenroe”, “Lexx”, “The Boys & Girl from Country Clare”, “Cowboys & Angels”, “Turning Green”, the mini series “The Running Mate”, six episodes of “Paddywhackery”, 43 episodes of “Emmerdale”, and his final appearance last year in the film short “69 and Dead”.

Kelly was also known for his radio persona Gobnaith O Lunasa on “The Glen Abbey Show”.

In 1982 Kelly released a holiday single “Christmas Countdown”.

Born Francis O’Kelly on December 28, 1938 in Ireland. While he took a Law degree from the University College in Dublin, Kelly never practices law. He began his acting career on the stage at Olympia before moving into television. Kelly worked as a journalist for a time until he could make acting a full time career.

He is survived by his wife of over 50 years Bairbre, seven children, and 17 grandchildren.


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