Paula Kelly, Emmy-nominated actress, dancer and singer, dies at 77

Actress, singer and dancer Paula Kelly, who gained an Emmy Award nomination on the sitcom “Night Court” and co-starred with Chita Rivera and Shirley MacLaine in the film “Sweet Charity,” has died at a care facility in Whittier.

Kelly died Sunday of continual obstructive pulmonary disorder, in accordance to the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles. She was 77.

Kelly gained a very best supporting actress Emmy nomination in 1984 for portraying community defender Liz Williams on the initially time of NBC’s “Night Court” and been given an additional in 1989 for the ABC miniseries “The Gals of Brewster Put,” in which she played what is believed to be one particular of television’s initially black lesbian figures.

Paula Alma Kelly was born Oct. 21, 1942, in Jacksonville, Fla., and lifted in New York City’s Harlem, wherever the family members moved when she was young. She graduated from the Juilliard University and later carried out as a dancer for administrators and choreographers such as Martha Graham, Donald MacKayle and Alvin Ailey.

Kelly produced her Broadway debut in the 1964 musical “Something Far more!” directed by Jule Styne and starring Barbara Cook dinner. She later shared the stage with Morgan Freeman on Broadway in “The Dozens.”

Just one of her most crucial roles was Helene in “Sweet Charity,” which she played onstage in London, New York and Los Angeles, then reprised in Bob Fosse’s characteristic film debut.

Her other film credits incorporated “The Andromeda Strain,” “Top of the Heap” and “Soylent Inexperienced.”

Her vast Tv set credits also incorporated “Santa Barbara,” “Mission: Not possible,” “Kojak”, “The Golden Girls” and “The Richard Pryor Display.”

Kelly won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for very best supporting actress for her function in “Don’t Trouble Me, I Can not Cope” at the Mark Taper Forum. She also carried out at The Shubert Theatre and the Pasadena Playhouse.

“She was a uncommon and gifted artist, whom we will cherish endlessly,” said Wren T. Brown, inventive director at the Ebony Repertory Theatre.

Kelly is survived by longtime companion George Parkington.

A Times employees writer contributed to this report.