Paula Kelly: Famed Actress, Dancer and Singer Dies

The blogosphere is reporting famed actress, singer and dancer Paula Kelly has died. Kelly was a staple in television and film during the 1970s and 1980s. The celebrated actress starred as Dahomey Queen in Ivan Dixon’s seminal 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by the Door. In the film, Kelly played a prostitute with a conscious who works with Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) to help topple the United States government.

Famed actress Paula Kelly dies at 76.
(Photo: Google Images)

The Juilliard trained actress’ other films included Trouble Man (1972), Uptown Saturday Night (1974),  Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored (1995) and The Drop Squad (1994) among others. Kelly also had a robust television career appearing on Good Times, The Streets of San Francisco, the Carol Burnett Show, The Women of Brewster Place and The Richard Pryor Show. Kelly had a recurring role on the popular soap opera Santa Barbara.

The Jacksonville, FL born actress, was raised in Harlem and attended the world famous LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. Kelly had a stellar careeer on Broadway where she starred in Sophisticated Ladies with Gregory Hines and Phyllis Hyman and Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity on the London stage. A trained dancer, she also starred in the film version of Sweet Charity (1969) and performed as a dancer at the 41st Academy Awards to the score of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).

According to, Kelly was married briefly to Don Chaffey, and is survived by a daughter from that union. Kelly was 76.

Rest in power to one of the best to ever do it.

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