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Monday 29 May 2017

Colleagues pay tribute to dapper gent who was always in good form

Sam Smyth

FRIENDS and former colleagues of David Kelly were remembering the late great actor with great affection yesterday.

One of the best-loved members of his profession, the tributes paid to him were frequently hilarious and always heartfelt.

Producer John McColgan recalled meeting chain-smoking David in 2005 on a flight to London and asking why he was travelling.

"It was after the smoking ban in Ireland and David said he was going to London for a cigarette," said Mr McColgan.

"He was actually going for an audition for the part he got in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' with Johnny Depp."

Mr McColgan said that Mr Kelly, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 82, was a consummate artist who worked very hard at his craft and was the most entertaining of companions, who will be greatly missed.

Producer Noel Pearson recalled working with him on Brian Friel's 'Give Me Your Answer Do' in 1997 at the Abbey Theatre in the capital.

"Halfway through rehearsals Brian Friel suggested he tone down the posh Dublin accent and David replied: 'Too late, too late, too late, I fear'," said Mr Pearson.

"But he did it with great charm and a sense of fun.

"He was very proper, perfectly groomed, used a cigarette holder when he smoked and always introduced his wife Laurie (the actor Laurie Morton) by her family name," said Mr Pearson.

Speaking from his holiday home in Donegal, broadcaster and former 'Late Late Show' presenter Gay Byrne remembered Mr Kelly as always smiling.

"He was always in the best of humour," said Mr Byrne. "Always full of gossip about who was doing what with whom and up to date with what all the actors were doing.

"He was also self-deprecating.

"He had seen bad times as well as good times and he was amazed at some actors' pretensions."

Mr Byrne added: "David and Laurie were very, very close and went everywhere together."

Veteran theatrical publicist Gerry Lundberg recalled Mr Kelly as a brilliant actor and an extremely dapper dresser who was always great fun.

"I met David after his famous nude scene in the film 'Waking Ned' and he was laughing about all the publicity and being some sort of matinee idol as he was approaching 70," said Mr Lundberg.

He added: "David always enjoyed life to the full and he was so precise about his clothes, his work, everything he did or undertook.

"He was a great credit to his art."

Irish Independent

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