Belfast Telegraph

Stars pay tribute at Kelly funeral

Stars of the stage and screen have turned out to bid a fond farewell to actor David Kelly.

Tributes were paid at the funeral of the Irish star, who died on Sunday aged 82 after a short illness.

The dapper dresser, who in 2005 played the part of Grandpa Joe Bucket in Tim Burton's film Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, was remembered as a gentleman with a golden voice. Dozens of famous faces joined his wife of 51 years, Laurie Morton, son, Dave, and daughter, Miriam, at a service in south Dublin.

Michael Colgan, director of the Gate Theatre in Dublin, described Kelly as a gentleman of the acting profession, an unforgettable character and a man with a golden voice.

He said the actor was an exotic creature who was everyone's grandad, a frail, gentle soul who could make Oscar Wilde look underdressed. "Always happy, always generous, he was our very own sunshine boy. The gentleman of our profession," Mr Colgan told the congregation. "And if we'd ever needed an ambassador for actors, he would have been the perfect casting."

Mourners at the Church of the Miraculous Medal in Clonskeagh included Father Ted's Frank Kelly, Niall Toibin (Ballykissangel), Fionnuala Flannagan (Lost), Pat Laffan (The Snapper), Bryan Murray (Brookside), Sean McGinley (The Wind That Shakes The Barley), Riverdance creator John McColgan and Senator Fiach Mac Conghail, director of the Abbey Theatre.

Toibin, who lived with Kelly in London for six months, previously said he would always remember him with a smile. "He was a hilarious man. He had an outlook on life that was slightly skewed and made you laugh all the time," he added.

Born in Dublin, Kelly was a calligrapher and talented watercolour artist and began acting aged eight at the Gaiety Theatre. His impressive list of film credits includes The Italian Job in 1969, Into The West, and Waking Ned, for which he earned a Screen Actors' Guild nomination after riding a motorcycle naked for the role.

Despite his longevity, Kelly's nine-minute appearance as a feckless builder in Fawlty Towers gave him more fame worldwide than all his other acting roles.

Other television work included parts in Oh Father, On The Buses, Never Mind The Quality Feel The Width, Ballykissangel, Emmerdale Farm and long-running Irish soap Glenroe.


From Belfast Telegraph