elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
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elisa_rolle

George Kelly & William Weagley

George Edward Kelly (16 January 1887 – 18 June 1974, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania) was an American playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor. He began his career in vaudeville as an actor and sketch writer. He became best known for his satiric comedies, including The Torch-Bearers (1922) and The Show-Off (1924). George Kelly maintained a 55-year relationship with his lover William Weagley up until his death and was often referred to as his valet. That Kelly was gay was a closely guarded secret and went unacknowledged by his family to the point of not inviting Weagley to his funeral; he instead slipped in and sat quietly on a back seat, weeping quietly and completely ignored. He died a year later.

Born in Philadelphia, the second of ten children, Kelly was the brother of American businessman and Olympic champion sculler John B. Kelly, Sr. and the uncle of actress Grace Kelly. Not much is known about his early life, but he was an actor in his early years. He did not like the dramatic material available during the turn of the century, and wanted to change that. He served a year in France during WWI and after he came home starting writing.

Throughout his career, Kelly remained a realistic playwright, unaffected by the experiments of theatrical modernism. Novelist Edward Maisel described him as "a simple moralist using the theatre for simple moral purposes." Kelly's plays are often dominated by characters of monstrous egotism, and he casts a harsh light on their shortcomings. Uncompromising in his vision, he scrupulously avoided sentimentality and depictions of romance. Arthur Willis noted "Kelly appears to be anti-love, anti-romantic love, certainly, and distrustful of the tender emotions."


George Kelly was an American playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor. He was the brother of American businessman and Olympic champion sculler John B. Kelly, Sr. and the uncle of actress Grace Kelly. Kelly maintained a 55-years relationship with his lover William Weagley up until his death. That Kelly was gay was a closely guarded secret and went unacknowledged by his family to the point of not inviting Weagley to his funeral; he instead slipped in and sat quietly on a back seat, weeping quietly and completely ignored. He died a year later.

In his first full-length play, The Torch-Bearers, Kelly satirizes the "Little Theatre Movement", depicting it as made up of narcissistic and undisciplined amateurs. Their leader, Mrs. J. Duro Pampinelli, is a brilliant caricature of self-indulgent dilettantism. In the first act, Kelly shows the troupe incapable of conducting a competent rehearsal; in the second, he depicts with farcical brilliance their public performance collapsing in shambles. In the third act, however, the tone grows more earnest as the players are excoriated for their indulgences. In his greatest popular and commercial success, The Show-Off, Kelly focuses his critique on the figure of Aubrey Piper, a loud, lying, self-deluded businessman with an obnoxious laugh and an obvious toupee. With Craig's Wife (1925), Kelly's satire grew more severe; Harriet Craig destroys her marriage through her possessiveness and materialism.

In his later plays, Kelly grew even more severe and judgmental, and his audiences grew smaller. Behold the Bridegroom (1927) shows a shallow and decadent flapper pine away when she meets a morally upright man who makes her realize her lack of character. Despite a much-praised performance by Judith Anderson in the leading role, the play ran for only 88 performances. Philip Goes Forth (1931) is the story of a young man who is much enamored of his image of himself as a young playwright. He rebels against his family and moves into a boarding house for artists, only to discover that he has no talent. It enjoyed a run of only 97 performances. Two late plays, Maggie the Magnificent (1929) and The Deep Mrs. Sykes (1929), were very poorly received and were never even published. As a result of the box-office failure of his later works, Kelly moved to Hollywood, and only rarely returned to the theatre. The Fatal Weakness (1946) was his last Broadway play. At the time of his death, four of his plays remained unperformed and have yet to premiere.

William E. Weagley, Jr. (1891, Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania - November 25, 1975, Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland), died on November 25, 1975, at Avalon Manor Nursing Home in Hagerstown, Md. He had resided in Harrisonville for a number of years.

Born in Waynesboro, he was a son of William E. and Samantha Kauffman Weagley.

He had been employed as a Pattern Maker for Frick Co., and prior to his retirement in 1965, he was employed at Waynesboro Pipe Product Co. for 45 years.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Kelly_(playwright)

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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Tags: author: george kelly, days of love
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