Birthday: 19 December 1943, Manchester, England, UK
Birth Name: Roger Michael Kelly
Genial Manchester-born comic actor Sam Kelly had a considerable gift for timing and observation. His special forte was playing decrepit, rheumy characters of more advanced years than his own actual age. Among the many endearing impressions he made on the small screen, he is probably best remembered as the illiterate crook 'Bunny' Warren i...
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Genial Manchester-born comic actor Sam Kelly had a considerable gift for timing and observation. His special forte was playing decrepit, rheumy characters of more advanced years than his own actual age. Among the many endearing impressions he made on the small screen, he is probably best remembered as the illiterate crook 'Bunny' Warren in Porridge (1974) and as the inept German officer Hans Geering in 'Allo 'Allo! (1982), forever abbreviating the Nazi salute to a shout of "Tler!" (which to many ears sounded like 'klop' or 'club'). His other sitcom credits include Norman Elston in Now and Then (1983), the servant Nathaniel Grunge in the Georgian period romp Haggard (1990) and the chauffeur Sam Jones in On the Up (1990). Kelly's expressive features also splendidly suited a varied gallery of Dickensian characters: the timid Mr. Snagsby (Bleak House (1985); the undertaker Mr. Mould (Martin Chuzzlewit (1994); the kindly manservant Giles (Oliver Twist (1999); and the grocer Cudlipp (in John Sullivan's ITV adaptation Micawber (2001)).By his own admission, Kelly might have been content running a village post office. He began his working life as a clerk in the Liverpool civil service before enrolling at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of twenty. He graduated in 1967 and then acted in regional repertory theatre for five years. In the course of his subsequent career, he made frequent appearances at London's West End, at the Old Vic and at the Royal Court in plays ranging from "The Odd Couple" and "HMS Pinafore" to "War and Peace". The stage was to remain his preferred medium, allowing him to occasionally branch out into serious roles (while regular television work necessarily paid the bills). His dramatic performance as a sorrowful bachelor facing retirement in "Grief" (2011) at the National Theatre was said to have been his best.In 1977, Kelly co-founded the Croydon Warehouse Theatre, which operated until its closure due to financial and structural problems in 2012. Show less «