Brash, beautiful Patsy Kelly, Hollywood’s Queen of Wisecracks, was born under the name Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly on January 12th, 1910 in Brooklyn. One of my all-time favorite comediennes, she had a rapid-fire delivery and street-smart working-class personality that made her the perfect foil for the blonde bombshell Thelma Todd; the pair made 35 comedy shorts for Hal Roach as his female Laurel and Hardy team before Todd’s untimely death in 1935.
She eventually made the leap to feature-length films, and although she rarely had a starring role, she easily stole the scene whenever she appeared in a film, usually with saucy double entendres and sardonic one-liners delivered out of the side of her mouth.
Despite a seventeen-year hiatus from film after her career began to decline in the 1940s, Patsy found steady work in her later years as a perennial guest-star on TV shows like “The Man from U.N.C.L.E,” “The Wild Wild West,” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and as a supporting player in 70’s hits like Rosemary’s Baby and Freaky Friday. Patsy was one of the few openly-gay actors in early Hollywood, and made absolutely no secret of the fact that she was a “dyke” and frankly discussed her relationship with actress Wilma Cox, and later, her affair with Tallulah Bankhead.
Happy birthday, Patsy, and thanks for all the laughs!