Kelley, William 1929-2003

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KELLEY, William 1929-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 27, 1929, in Staten Island, NY; died of cancer February 3, 2003, in Bishop, CA. Editor and author. Kelley was an award-winning writer of screenplays for television and film, as well as a novelist and editor. After serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1947 to 1950, he attended Villanova University for three years, studying for the priesthood. However, he then decided to transfer to Brown University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1955 and going on to receive a master's degree in Irish literature from Harvard University two years later. In 1957 Kelley took a job as an editor for the publisher Doubleday in New York City, where he stayed until 1961. He also worked from 1961 to 1962 as an editor for McGraw-Hill Books. By the late 1950s, however, Kelley was already finding success as an author, and his first novel, Gemini, became a best seller after it was published in 1959. While continuing to pen novels such as The God Hunters (1964), in the 1960s Kelley began writing for television for series such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Kung Fu, and also wrote the script for the miniseries How the West Was Won and television screenplays such as The Winds of Kitty Hawk (1978), Blue Lightning, and The Demon Murder Case. Although he had less success writing for the silver screen, his movie Witness (1985), which he cowrote with Earl W. Wallace, won an Oscar. In the years just prior to his death Kelley completed his last two novels, The Sweet Summer (2000) and A Servant of Slaves (2003).



Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 7, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.


Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2003, p. B23.

Times (London), March 14, 2003.

Washington Post, February 10, 2003, p. B7.

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Kelley, William 1929-2003

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