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Thursday 14 December 2017

Tributes as 'acting legend and true gent' David Kelly dies at 82

STARS of the silver screen led tributes to renowned actor David Kelly who has died in hospital.

Kelly (82) starred in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory alongside Johnny Depp but he will be best remembered for his portrayal of Rashers Tierney in TV programme Strumpet City.

Director Tim Burton, who guided him in his role of Grandpa Joe in the Roald Dahl classic, and actor Colin Farrell paid tribute.

Actress Amy Huberman said that he was "an acting legend and a true gentleman" while Downton Abbey star Maria Doyle Kennedy said: "He was a beautiful man and a wonderful actor. An absolute sunbeam on a set."

The Dubliner's career spanned six decades and his movie accolades included Waking Ned, Stardust, A Terrible Beauty and Into The West.

He made a memorable performance as inept Irish builder O'Reilly in the hit comedy series Fawlty Towers - a role which he said was career defining.

"I was nine minutes on the screen of Fawlty Towers and I was signing autographs all over the world," he said.

Mr Kelly's long-time friend Niall Toibin said that he had a great sense of humour.

"It was just hilarious to know him, he would make you laugh all the time," he said today.

"Even when he was in the depths of a hangover, he would make you laugh."

Michael Colgan, Dublin's Gate Theatre director, described him as a master craftsman.

"He was an extraordinary versatile talent," Mr Colgan said.

"David was one of the funniest people I've ever met."

After school, Kelly studied art before attending the Gaiety School of acting. He is survived by his wife Laurie Norton, his son David and his daughter Miriam.

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