Paula Kelly


Award-winning actress, singer, and dancer, Paula Kelly, remembered especially for her performance as "Helene", one of the three principals (with Chita Rivera and Shirley MacLaine) in the film version of Sweet Charity, debuted her first cabaret act at The Gardenia in 1992 after persistent encouragement from Tom Rolla. That act led to a singing appearance on The Tonight Show, and accolades from all over town, including those from Leonard Feather, who said of her, "She is the ultimate sophisticated lady--as Duke Ellington himself would have said, she is beyond category...Paula Kelly...has the most exciting act of its kind this town has seen in a long time." With film credits that also include That's Dancing, Richard Pryor's JoJo Dancer, and Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, in which she portrayed the 80 year old matriarch, she has garnered an NAACP Image Award for her work in Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, was honored by the Thalians for Ladies of the Musical Film, and received the Lehman Dance Award for Outstanding Contributions in Dance. She starred with Gregory Hines in Sophisticated Ladies at the Los Angeles Shubert Theater, and received Emmy nominations for her performance in The Women of Brewster Place, and for her portrayal of "Liz Williams" on Night Court.


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