Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Moira Kelly!

Picture Legend
1. Moira Kelly
2. Another version
3. In "Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me"
4. "The Cutting Edge"
5. With Robert Downy Jr. in "Chaplin"
6. In "With Honors"
7. Nerd
8. With Matthew Broderick in "The Lion King"
9. Sexy
10. Publicity Still for "One Tree Hill"
11. "Heros"
12. With Some Old Pals

    It is my great pleasure and honor to give a great big happy birthday shout out yesterday to one of my very favorite actresses, the lovely Moira Kelly!
   Moira was born as a small infant, at a very early age (I'm sorry, but I could not find any baby pictures on the Internet machine) in Queens, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City, the largest in area and the second-largest in population. She didn't stay there long though, and was raised in a place called Ronkonkoma, New York, which is on Long Island... as is Queens for that matter... and Brooklyn, but none of this is to to the point really, so let's move on.
   Moira was the middle child sort of Peter Kelly, a professional violinist, and Anne, a professional nurse. They had six children, and Moira was the third to appear. Peter and Anne came to the United States from Ireland, which makes Moira an Irish American, just like me.
   Like her dad, she had a musical bent, and began learning to play the violin, drums, and flute, which is a pretty diverse set of instruments when you think about it. While attending Connetquot High School she also competed in opera, which I'm sure sure how that's done. She became interested in acting and was cast in a small part in the high school's production of "Annie." She got a break when the actress playing Miss Hannigan came down with mononucleosis, which opened up a major role, and Moira got the part of Grace Farrell, who was and is Daddy Warbucks faithful secretary. 
   Moira worked her way through college, New York City's Marymount Manhattan College to be precise.
   Like a lot of people of Irish ancestry she was a devout Catholic and had dreamt of becoming a nun at one time, and it was a tough decision for her to choose which way she wanted to take her life. I'm told she discussed this with her priest, which is what Catholic people do, and we have to thank him for telling her that acting may be part of God's plan for her, which is quite a liberal thing for a Catholic priest to do.
   Moira was on her way.
   At the ripe old age of 23 she made professional acting debut in a four hour long television movie called, "Love, Lies, and Murder," as a teenage murderer. That movie also starred a young actress named Sheryl Lee, with whom Moira would work with a little later.
   She continued in small roles in "The Boy Who Cried Bitch," and the Dustin Hoffman vehicle, "Billy Bathgate," before being cast as Donna Hayward in David Lynch's motion picture prequel to his television show, "Twin Peaks," appropriately named, "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me," which starred the aforementioned Sheryl Lee. The part of Donna Hayward had been played by the lovely Lara Flynn Boyle, who would go on the play the alien antagonist in "Men in Black II."
   Moira felt she needed to consult with her priest again due to an explicit sex scene.
   I love this priest.
   I was a big fan of Lynch's work since "Eraserhead," and the television show, and this prequel, and I became aware of this talented lovely young actress in this film as her performance was quite noteworthy. But I also became aware of Sheryl Lee, Phoebe Augustine, and Heather Graham as well. But that same year (1992), I saw "The Cutting Edge," and I became very aware of Moira, as did a lot of others.
   Here's a clip with Moira and D.B. Sweeney:
   Moira spent over two months in figure skate training with D.B. and they became close friends and so remain.
   That year she was also cast opposite Geena Davis in LaVerne DeFazio's "A League of Their Own," but she had hurt her ankle while working on Cutting and the role went to Lori Petty instead.
   The next year she co-starred with a young Robert Downy Jr. in Richard Attenborough's "Chaplin," playing two roles, Chaplin's first love and then his fourth wife. I guess the production was running low on cash and couldn't afford another actress. In any case she was wonderful in it.
   I first became aware of Downy in this film and remember thinking he was very talented and should also have a bright career ahead of him. This was of course before all of the drugs and jail time. But fortunately he straightened and became an international star after "Tropic Thunder."
   Here's a clip:
   The next year she starred with Cuba Gooding Jr (she's worked with a lot of juniors) in "Daybreak." Before accepting the role she felt the need to once again talk to her priest.  "Being a Catholic, I wondered if it would be against my religion to play a girl who has premarital sex." He told her "it was okay, as long as my artistic intentions were true and I wasn't doing it for the notoriety or the money."
   She should have put this guy on retainer and have him follow her around.
   In 1994 she appeared with an actor I see on TV about three times a freaking week, Brandon Fraser, and Joe Pesci in one of my very favorite films, "With Honors." Here's a clip:
   This film is also notable, at least for me, for using the only song by Madonna that I like during the closing credits, "I'll Remember." Here it is just for the pure sweet hell of it:
   That year she supplied the voice for the lion Nala, in "The Lion King." Now I don't particularly care for animated films, but I did see this one, and while I was watching I kept thinking that voice sounded familiar. Now I know why.
   She also appeared with Tim Roth and Edward Furlong that year in  "Little Odessa." 
   In 1995 she was a target for Daryl Hannah and Keith Carradine in "The Tie That Binds." 
   Moira went on to work in many fine films such as "Drive, She Said," and  "Dangerous Beauty."    She starred in her own television show, "To Have and to Hold," before playing Mandy Hampton in the first season of "The West Wing." In 2003, Kelly began playing single mother Karen Roe on the teen drama One Tree Hill.
   Here's a clip:
   In 2000 she married businessman Steve Hewitt, and they have two children. Her daughter is named Ella and was born in 2001, her son is named Eamon and was born in 2003.
   In recent years Moira has guest starred on television shows such as "Law and Order," "Heros," and "Numb3rs."
   In 2011 a 3D version of "The Lion King," was produced for a limited theatrical run. Here's a interview with her promoting it:
   Isn't she wonderful?!
   And all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her and her lovely family continued good health and fortune, and of course a very happy birthday!
   Happy Birthday Moira!

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to top being in both the Cutting Edge and The West Wing