Brookwood High School (BHS) grad (87) and Hall of Famer, Michael Kelly was out watering the garden at a friend’s beach house when he got the news that he had landed his second Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role on the Netflix series House of Cards (HOC).
“I forgot it was the day (for nomination announcements) and when my wife, Karyn came out to say there was a message on my phone, she reminded me I probably wasn’t going to be nominated because we’d never been together when I got good news,” Kelly laughed. He said right about then his agent called, “Didn’t you know…you’ve been nominated!”
“We were SO excited and the kids had no idea what was going on but they were jumping up and down because we were,” Kelly recalled. When seven-year old Frankie asked what happened that made him so happy, Kelly tried to explain to her.
“I said, ‘you know how there are hundreds of TV shows and thousands of actors? Well, only six get recognized for this award and I am one of them,’” he said.
“I’m not sure she understood but the significance of it hit me all over again and I’m thinking ‘OMG!’”
Kelly said although it’s not the same feeling of elation as the first time, he is “so thrilled, so touched and so honored” to be nominated again.
“What was totally amazing was this time I was with my family when I got the news,” he beamed.
When we talked in late August, Kelly was in Baltimore filming episode three and four of HOC in which he plays Doug Stamper, political hit man for Kevin Spacey’s President Frank Underwood, the role for which he was nominated. He laughed when asked if he is anything like Stamper.
“No, thank God. He never smiles and I am all smiles,” he said. “Inside there are some good parts of him, though.”
When filming was finished for the day, Kelly was heading to Los Angeles to appear on The Late, Late Show with James Corden. On the show that evening Corden, Kelly and Netflix actress Kate Mara, who was a HOC co-star early in the series, had a hilarious conversation about a certain “heirloom” that Kelly inherited from his dad. (So as not to totally embarrass his mom, the awesome Maureen Kelly, the item will not be identified. However, if curious, go to http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/VIDEO-Kate-Mara-and-Michael-Kelly-Visit-LATE-LATE-SHOW-20160826 and see it for yourself.)
From LA it was back to Baltimore to continue filming and a quick trip back home to Lawrenceville, to meet his new niece, Isla Rose just recently born to “little” brother Andrew Kelly and his wife, Amy Epstein Kelly.
Travel is a huge part of his life and fortunately he enjoys it. “The fact that someone is paying me to travel and see the things I have…it’s a blessing,” he said. He pointed to the 2015 film Avalanche. Filmed on Mt. Everest in Nepal, he says it was an unbelievable experience (The Citizen, September 2015). In the past year, over a period of five to six months, he traveled back and forth to London several times while filming Taboo, actor/writer Tom Hardy’s BBC One/FX eight-part series which premiers in October. Kelly plays an American doctor in the series, which takes place in early 19th Century London. He also filmed “Men Against Fire,” one of the episodes of the horror anthology series Black Mirror that begins its third season in October, in London.
His favorite trips though are when Karyn, Frankie and four-year-old Clinton travel to places like the beach and he can meet up with them or when they can meet him when he’s filming. Family is very important to him (as evidenced by his whirlwind trip to Georgia to meet his new niece) – Karyn and the children; his mom and dad, Maureen and Mike Kelly of Lawrenceville; and his siblings who also graduated from BHS. He is thrilled that in September when his mom receives an award in DC for her work with seniors, he will be in attendance. That’s because he is in DC that evening to MC the Sammies, the “Oscars” of government service.
Later in September it will be more than one reason for excitement when Kelly and Karyn are off to Los Angeles for the Emmy Award Ceremony: this time most of his family will be in attendance since he has purchased tickets for Mom, Dad and his sisters, Shannon and Casey.
“The competition is really tough with Game of Thrones,” Maureen Kelly said. “We are all just happy that he was nominated again and thrilled to be in attendance.”
Michael Kelly is recognized wherever he goes these days and is almost constantly asked to pose with strangers on the street. He says he never minds, even when they ask him to take on his Doug Stamper persona and pretend to choke them! “Sometimes you can make somebody’s day or week and it’s no sweat off my back. I’m honored to do it,” he said.
If you knew Michael Kelly when he was growing up in Lawrenceville you can be assured that if you met him today, you would meet the same friendly, outgoing guy he has always been. Success has not gone to his head.
Did he ever think he would gain the fame he has? “I was naive when I left college. I set goals like Mom taught me to do and I had dreams,” he reminisced. “I don’t know if I ever thought it (this kind of success) would happen. I hoped it would but I really just wanted to make a comfortable living as an actor. I’ve done that and it’s incredible.”
Gwinnett County is pulling for you, Michael!!! Good luck!!!