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A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story
Jack Kelly was a child performer, son of New York model, Nan Kelly, brother of actress, Nancy Kelly, brother-in-law of actor Edmond O'Brien and cinematographer Fred Jackman, Jr. On TV, from 1957 until 1962, he was James Garner's brother on the show, Maverick.
"Once they met in person, the professional rapport between Jack, and Jim Garner, appeared inexplicably instantaneous and, if nothing else, proved to Jack this show [Maverick] would be a success. Their chemistry was the clincher. 'The first time we ever met,' he explained in an interview, 'we had to make a test together. We weren't even introduced. I asked him why he was standing up so tall, trying to top me, and Jim took it from there.' The natural banter between them started right then, sealing the deal for Jack. The two men played off each other as if they were true brothers."
From Western Clippings
If you yearned for the inside story of what Warner Bros. did--and didn't do--for the "Maverick" brothers (Bret and Bart) in James Garner's autobiography, and didn't get it, you'll certainly find it in A MAVERICK LIFE: THE JACK KELLY STORY, a richly researched accounting by Linda Alexander of the "Maverick" years that deals not only with Kelly's "younger brother Bart" situation, but also of the strict WB contracts, James Garner's lawsuit and eventual exit, salary disputes, the writer's strike, the suffered promotional abuse, references to Clint Walker, Ty Hardin, producer Roy Huggins, Roger Moore and Robert Colbert, among others. Also presented is Jack's very personal life, his struggling younger years, his relationship to sister Nancy Kelly, his marriages to May Wynn (they hated the name) and Jo Kelly, Jack's daughter Nicole, his politics--and, sadly, his likely self-destruction from booze. As for books on "Maverick," this time kid brother Bart trumps big brother Bret. Jack's biography is a Royal Flush!
La Bartista Reviews
With A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story, author Linda Alexander lassoes the reader's interest and doesn't turn it loose until the very last sentence as she explores the colorful life of Jack Kelly, who played charming brother "Bart" to James Garner's wily "Bret" on the popular Maverick television series.
Ms. Alexander introduces us to the actor, born John Augustus Kelly, Jr., whose theatrical family roots stretched all the way back to Ireland. Kelly's mother Nan was an ambitious model who pushed all but one of her four children into show biz careers. His older sister was Nancy Kelly, who began acting as a child and matured into an acclaimed leading lady. Jack Kelly himself performed as a youngster in films, in radio, and on stage. Following a grown-up stint in the military, he moseyed back into films and then into television.
After headlining on Maverick for five years, Kelly drifted into perennial TV guest stardom, pausing along the way to appear in movies and in summer stock. He even emceed a game show. Kelly also made successful forays into business and politics. He served as city councilman and mayor in Huntington Beach, California--while still accepting occasional acting roles--before his tragic death at age 65 in 1992.
A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story is a brisk read, but it doesn't skimp on detail or on insight into Kelly's life. In addition to thoroughly researching her subject, Ms. Alexander obtained invaluable input from Kelly's family members (including both of his wives and his beloved daughter) along with memories from his fellow thespians such as Sir Roger Moore and James Drury, star of The Virginian.
The author unmasks the complicated human being inside the ebullient entertainer and pulls no punches. For example, many fans have wondered why Jack Kelly's success on Maverick didn't translate into enduring major stardom. Ms. Alexander traces part of the answer to Kelly's predilection to alcohol. She also reveals that the actor's formative family ties kept him bound far into adulthood. He was deeply affected by upheavals in his personal and professional lives and by events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Yet, Kelly remained in denial about his own life-threatening health condition until it was too late.
However, A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story is by no means a "downer". The reader also meets the Jack Kelly who was a loving father, a lively practical joker, an accomplished golfer, an expert cook, a talented writer, a dedicated politician, and a man who geniunely loved--and was loved by--some of the most glamorous gals in Hollywood.
And, once and for all, Linda Alexander busts the myth that Jack Kelly was just the "other guy" on Maverick. Ms. Alexander uncovers the behind-the-scenes intrigue and restores Kelly to his proper place in the Maverick equation.
A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story is generously illustrated with rare black and white photos from all phases of Kelly's life and career. Plus, the arresting color portrait on the cover perfectly captures the handsome actor in his most famous role: Bart Maverick.
As Linda Alexander puts it, "Jack Kelly really LIVED". A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story proves that he did, indeed.
Reviews for "A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story"
|Reviewed by Paul Kyriazi
|Hi Linda, just yesterday, I watched 'Forbidden Planet' for the 20th time that has jack Kelly in ..... well, I don't have to tell you.
It's great that you wrote a book on him and I'll be sure to get it onto my kindle for flying. I read some of the good reviews you got, too. Congratulations, Paul
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