Patsy Kelly was an American stage and film comedic actress.
Kelly was born Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly in Brooklyn, New York to Irish immigrants, John and Delia Kelly, and made her Broadway debut in 1928. In 1930 and 1931, she performed for producer Earl Carroll in his popular Sketches and Vanities musicals. She also appeared with popular stage comic Frank Fay. During one performance she arrived at the theater late, and Fay was already on stage. Kelly explained to Fay and the audience that she had been at the beauty parlor. Fay ad-libbed, “You weren’t waited on, were you?”
Kelly, like other New York actors, made her screen debut in a Vitaphone short subject filmed there. In 1933 producer Hal Roach hired Kelly to co-star with Thelma Todd in a series of short-subject comedies. The Todd-Kelly shorts cemented Patsy Kelly’s image: a brash, wisecracking woman who frequently punctured the pomposity of other characters. Later entries in the series showcased Kelly’s dancing skills. Thelma Todd died in 1935, and Kelly finished out the series, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti.
Patsy Kelly then moved into the more ambitious world of feature films, often playing working-class character roles in comedies and musicals.