The Notable - Sam Kelly (Roger Michael Kelly) – 1943-2014
Sam was born in 1943, but was abandoned at birth in Manchester and adopted by a couple who moved to Liverpool, where he attended Liverpool Collegiate School from 1955 to 1961 and sang in the choir of the Anglican cathedral. After seeing a production of The Wind in the Willows at the Liverpool Playhouse at the age of eight, he decided to make the theatre his career.
He worked as a clerk for three years after leaving school, but then trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, graduating in 1967. He performed in rep for five years. In 1974, he was seen at the Garrick Theatre in a Moira Lister play, "Birds of Paradise", directed by Ray Cooney. In 1987, he appeared in "Dangerous Obsession" at the Apollo. He was in Terry Johnson's play "Dead Funny" at the Savoy in 1995.
In 2004 he played "Senex" in the National Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and performed in "Aladdin" with Ian McKellen and Maureen Lipman atthe Old Vic. The following year, he was part of Peter Hall's company at the Theatre Royal, Bath, appearing in "Much Ado About Nothing", Shaw's "You Never Can Tell", "Waiting for Godot" and Coward's "Private Lives".
Towards the end of last year, he had to leave "Wicked" at the Apollo Victoria as a result of ill health.
From 1955 to 1961 Kelly was one of Mike Leigh's favourite actors, appearing in his. latest film, Mr Turner. Leigh paid this tribute to him: "Generous, sensitive, considerate, sociable. He was a consummate professional, a character actor of great truth and versatility, a vaudevillian to his fingertips."
© Liverpool Collegiate Old Boys' Association (2018)