Kelly, George

Kelly, George
orig. George Kelly Barnes, Jr. known as Machine Gun Kelly

born 1897, Memphis, Tenn., U.S.
died 1954, Alcatraz, Calif.

U.S. gangster.

He became notorious for committing a series of robberies and slayings in the Midwest. In 1933 he kidnapped the millionaire Charles F. Urschel; arrested soon afterward, he spent the rest of his life in Alcatraz prison. Though designated "Public Enemy No. 1," he was by no means the most dangerous criminal of his day.

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▪ American playwright
in full  George Edward Kelly  
born Jan. 16, 1887, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.
died June 18, 1974, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

      playwright, actor, and director whose dramas of the 1920s reflect the foibles of the American middle class with a telling accuracy.

      Kelly followed his elder brother Walter into vaudeville as an actor, writing his first sketches himself. His first success on Broadway was The Torchbearers (performed 1922), a satire on the social and aesthetic pretensions of the Little Theatre movement then flourishing in the United States. His next play, The Show-Off (1924), became an American comedy classic, made three times as a film (1926, 1934, 1946) and often revived on the stage. In Craig's Wife (1925), Kelly shifted his vision to the upper middle class and abandoned comedy to write a savage drama of a woman who sacrifices her husband to her possessions, ultimately losing both. Kelly wrote several other plays, but none was a popular success. He wrote film scripts, among them those for the motion-picture versions of his plays, including Craig's Wife (1936), remade as Harriet Craig (1950).

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Universalium. 2010.

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