David Kelly Dead: Tributes Pour In For Irish Actor

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Tributes have been paid to Irish actor David Kelly who has died after a short illness aged 82.

The dapper dresser, who in 2005 played the part of Grandpa Joe Bucket in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was a star of stage and screen for 50 years.

Despite his longevity, Kelly reckoned a nine-minute part as a feckless builder on Fawlty Towers gave him more fame worldwide than all his years acting.

Kelly also remarked he finally made it as a sex symbol after an unforgettable scene in the 1998 film Waking Ned where he rode a motorbike naked.

Actor friend Niall Toibin, who lived with him in London for six months, paid a warm tribute to Kelly, saying he would always remember him with a smile.

"He was a hilarious man. He had an outlook on life that was slightly skewed and made you laugh all the time," the former Ballykissangel star said.

"Even when he was down in the dumps recovering from our mutual, sort of, weakness for the bottle, he was still extremely funny and very light-hearted and he had a wicked sense of humour."

Born in Dublin, Kelly was a calligrapher and talented watercolour artist and began acting aged eight at the Gaiety Theatre.

His impressive list of film credits includes The Italian Job in 1969, Into The West and Waking Ned for which he earned a Screen Actors' Guild nomination. Others included Agent Cody Banks 2, Laws of Attraction, Stardust and his role as Grandpa Joe for which he was widely tipped for an Oscar nomination.

Toibin told RTE Radio: "Even when he was in the depths of hangover he was hilarious company, always."

Kelly, considered a charmer, continued to work up until last year but one of his most acclaimed performances was his portrayal of Rashers Tierney in the 1980 RTE series Strumpet City. He also pointed to it as one of his favourite roles.

In 1975 he took the Fawlty Towers role of O'Reilly for one episode. He also had parts on British sitcoms like Oh Father, On the Buses and Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width. Other television work included Glenroe on RTE, Ballykissangel and Emmerdale Farm.

Born on July 11 1929, Kelly went to Synge Street Catholic Boys School.
He was married to actor Laurie Morton and had two children.