Saturday, 14 June 2014

RIP Sam Kelly

Another sad loss to the world of comedy, the actor Sam Kelly has passed away this morning following a long illness at the age of 70.

A former civil servant in the Liverpool area, Kelly graduated at LAMDA in 1967. He became famous for his roles in a series of successful BBC comedies including that of illiterate inmate Bunny Warren in Porridge, Dennis Waterman's cheery chauffeur Sam in On The Up and, perhaps most famous of all, Captain Hans Geering in 'Allo, 'Allo with his distinctive 'clop' sounding catchphrase (actually he's saying 'tler', an abbreviated greeting of Hitler done whilst greeting fellow officers with a sieg heil) Kelly also appeared in ITV sitcoms Haggard and Barbara as well as playing Bill Bailey's father in Black Books and John Thompson's father in Cold Feet.

Kelly was also a regular in several Mike Leigh productions, starting out in Leigh's TV plays including a superbly observed turn in Grown-Ups and Who's Who (pictured above) He is seen creating a character on spec and rehearsing in that role, alongside Alison Steadman and David Threlfall, in the fascinating Arena documentary on Leigh from the early 80s and would go on to appear in Leigh's films Topsy Turvy, All Or Nothing and most recently, A Running Jump. He appeared in Leigh's stage play Grief at the National, just one role in a distinguished theatrical career that included parts in Jean Paul Sartre's Kean and the musical Wicked where he played the Wizard on several occasions, pictured below


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