PATSY KELLY, American actress died (b. 1910) The Todd-Kelly shorts cemented Patsy Kelly’s image: a brash, wisecracking woman who frequently punctured the pomposity of other characters. Later entries in the series showcased Kelly’s dancing skills. Thelma Todd died in 1935, and Kelly finished out the series, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti. Patsy Kelly then moved into the more ambitious world of feature films, often playing working-class character roles in comedies and musicals.

Off-screen, Kelly’s out-of-the-closet style resulted in loud ejections from cocktail lounges and restaurants. On occasion she would uninhibitedly admit, in public and with typical candor, to being a Lesbian. By 1943 movie producers had distanced themselves from what they considered to be a loose-cannon Kelly, and she could only find work at Producers Releasing Corporation, smallest and cheapest of the movie studios. Her last starring roles were in two PRC comedies, My Son, the Hero and Danger! Women at Work.

On television she appeared on top-rated shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Wild Wild West, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as well as many unsold pilots. Patsy also made a memorable appearance as “Laura-Louise” in the film thriller Rosemary’s Baby (1968), directed by Roman Polanski, alongside veteran actors Sidney Blackmer, Ruth Gordon, and Maurice Evans.

She returned to Broadway in 1971 in the revival of No, No, Nanette with fellow Irish Catholic hoofers Ruby Keeler and Helen Gallagher. Patsy scored a huge success as the wisecracking, tap-dancing maid, and won Broadway’s 1971 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress for her performance in the show. She topped that success the following year when she starred in Irene with Debbie Reynolds, and was again nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She died in 1981 at the age of 71 in Woodland Hills, California, of cancer.