His career covered television, radio, theatre, music, screenwriting and film. He played Father Jack Hackett in the Channel Four sitcom Father Ted, and was also the son of the cartoonist Charles E. Kelly. Kelly died on 28 February 2016, after suffering a heart attack. He revealed he had Parkinson’s disease in October 2015, and was recovering from bowel cancer. He had previously survived skin cancer. His death came exactly 18 years after the death of his Father Ted co-star Dermot Morgan.
Though best known for his role as Father Jack Hackett in the Channel 4 sitcom ‘Father Ted’; he became a household name through the RTÉ satirical show ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ and the RTÉ children’s programme ‘Wanderly Wagon’.
Amongst Kelly’s other TV appearances, he had roles in the RTÉ Irish language programme Anois is Arís, RTÉ’s soap Glenroe, and ITV’s Emmerdale, to name but a few. Many of his comedy sketches came from ‘The Glen Abbey Show’ on RTÉ Radio 1. He also appeared as an unnamed prison officer in the opening sequence of The Italian Job in 1969 and had a chart hit with A Christmas Countdown, a comedy version of the 12 Days of Christmas written by Hugh Leonard.
He was born in Blackrock, Co Dublin where he spent most of his life there. His father, Charles was a cartoonist and founder of the satirical magazine Dublin Opinion. Kelly was married to the drama teacher Bairbre Neldon and they had seven children.
He died on 28 February 2016.