Kelley, Malcolm David

views updated May 17 2018

Malcolm David Kelley



Child actor Malcolm David Kelley's star rose when 16 million viewers tuned in to see him and other actors on the hit ABC drama Lost during its debut season in 2004. The Los Angeles-area native played Walt Lloyd, the only child on the series. He shared a Screen Actors Guild Award with his fellow cast members during the series' second season. Later that year Teen People named Kelley one of "20 Teens Who Will Change the World" for his involvement in several public-service initiatives, including aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina and their pets.

Born on May 12, 1992, Kelley grew up in suburban Los Angeles, California. He spent the first year of his life in foster care, but was adopted by a family named Kelley, who also brought his sister Sydney into their home a few months later. At the age of five, he began appearing in television commercials for Cap'n Crunch cereal, Kool Aid, and Disney. "I watched a lot of TV when I was little, and it was something I thought I could do, and I wanted to give it a try," he explained in a Back Stage East interview with Sarah Kuhn about how his career began.

Kelley's first television series appearance came in 1998 in an episode of a new WB sitcom, For Your Love, in a flashback in which he played one of the characters at age five. He went on to several other guest spots in other series, including Malcolm in the Middle, Girlfriends, and Judging Amy. He made a stellar feature-film debut in Antwone Fisher, the 2002 biopic that starred Denzel Washington, who directed it as well. The story, based on the autobiography of a movie-studio security guard who had survived an abusive childhood and went on to become a decorated U.S. Navy officer, was a wrenching tale, and Kelley was cast as Fisher at the age of seven for some of the film's most harrowing scenes.

In 2004, Kelley went on to appear in You Got Served, a urban dance-contest movie, and in an episode of the UPN sitcom Eve that same year. His breakout role, however, came in a new ABC drama that debuted in the prime-time line-up for the fall season of 2004, and Lost quickly emerged as one of the top-rated dramas for the network. Kelley played one of a motley band of plane-crash survivors who find themselves stranded on a tropical island. His character, Walt Lloyd, was en route to a new life with a father (Harold Perrineau) he barely knew when the plane went down. Little information was given about their relationship, but his story—like those of the other survivors—was revealed in flashback sequences. Kelley approached the role, as he told Kuhn in the Back Stage East interview, by thinking to himself that Walt was "going through a rough time where he lost his mom, and now he's stuck on an island and doesn't know his dad, and his dog is gone somewhere."

Lost became the surprise new hit series of the 2004–05 season, and quickly garnered a cult following on the Internet for its spooky plot twists. Kelley's character, as it turned out, seemed to possess telekinetic and clairvoyant powers, and some of his actions serve to introduce further plot mysteries. He was kidnapped at the end of the first season, and appeared in only four episodes of Season 2, after being snatched by a shadowy group, known as "the Others," who live elsewhere on the island and seem to have also arrived there thanks to a plane crash. Near the end of the second season, Walt was reunited with his father, and both set off on a raft hoping to reach civilization and send back a rescue team. Kelley's character, was slated to return for Season 4 of Lost in the fall of 2007.

Kelley's other television credits include the A&E cable-channel movie Knights of the South Bronx. The 2005 drama centered around an idealistic teacher (Ted Danson) who leaves the corporate world to teach at a New York City public school. Kelley played Jimmy, the student who discovers that his new teacher is a chess whiz. "In TV-movie tradition, the children are fascinated by chess, become proficient and end up at a big national championship," wrote New York Times journalist Anita Gates in her review. Gates concluded, however, that despite this formulaic set-up, the movie "makes its point that influencing one classroom at a time is more efficient than working with one child at a time." Kelley also appeared in two episodes of the popular NBC sitcom My Name Is Earl and in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2006.

The second-season hiatus from Lost gave a break from filming in Hawaii and let Kelley return to a more normal life back in southern California. He played soccer and basketball, served as class treasurer at his middle school, and even traveled to Britain as part of a student-ambassador program. "Last year when I was in Hawaii, I would want to come back all the time," he told People. "It's good that I'm back here now."

While not working Kelley also dedicates his time to several charitable organizations, including First Star, an organization that aids victims of child abuse and neglect. He serves as its spokesperson, and also mentors youngsters in his own community who have had contact with the foster-care and social-services system. "I want to give back," he told Teen People writer Lindzi Scharf, "by … making them feel like they're not left alone."

Selected works


Antwone Fisher, 2002.
You Got Served, 2004.


For Your Love, 1998.
Lost, 2004–.
Knights of the South Bronx (movie), 2005.

At a Glance …

Born on May 12, 1992, in Bellflower, CA.

Career: Television commercial appearances, 1997; television series actor, 1998–; film actor, 2002–.

Awards: Screen Actors Guild, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, for Lost, 2006.

Addresses: Agent—Carolyn Thompson-Goldstein, Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier, 5055 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 865, Los Angeles, CA 90036.


Back Stage East, October 12, 2006, p. 11.

Entertainment Weekly, December 3, 2004, p. 28.

New York Times, December 6, 2005, p. E9; May 25, 2006, p E1.

People, October 17, 2005, p. 143.

Teen People, April 2006, p. 106.

Kelley, Malcolm David 1992- (Malcolm Kelley, Malcom David Kelley)

views updated May 17 2018

Kelley, Malcolm David 1992- (Malcolm Kelley, Malcom David Kelley)


Born May 12, 1992, in Bellflower, CA; son of Gary and Patricia Kelley. Avocational Interests: Soccer and basketball.


Agent—Amsel, Eisenstadt and Frazier, 5055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 865, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Manager—ESI Network, 6310 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 340, Los Angeles, CA 90048.



Awards, Honors:

Young Artist Award nomination, best performance in a feature film—young actor age ten or under, 2003, for Antwone Fisher; Young Artist Award nomination, best performance in a television series, comedy or drama—leading young actor, 2005, Young Artist Award, best performance in a television series, drama—supporting young actor, Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series, 2006, all for Lost; Young Artist Award nomination, best performance in a feature film—supporting young actor, 2005, for You Got Served; Vision Award nomination, best dramatic performance, 2006, for Knights of the South Bronx.


Film Appearances:

Antwone Fisher at age 7, Antwone Fisher, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002.

Lil Saint, You Got Served, Screen Gems, 2004.

Television Appearances; Series:

Walt Lloyd, Lost, ABC, 2004—.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Jimmy, Knights of the South Bronx, Arts and Entertainment, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Reggie at age five, "The Brother's Day," For Your Love, The WB, 1998.

Kid number one, "Malcolm's Girlfriend," Malcolm in the Middle, Fox, 2001.

Malcolm, "I Have a Dream House," Girlfriends, UPN, 2002.

(As Malcolm Kelley) Rudy Spruell, "Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition," Judging Amy, CBS, 2002.

Martin, "They've Come Undone: Part 2," Eve, UPN, 2004.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC, 2005, 2006.

Nathan Phelps, "Infected," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (also known as Law & Order: SVU and Special Victims Unit), NBC, 2006.

(As Malcom David Kelley) Alby, "Boogeyman," My Name Is Earl, NBC, 2006.

Himself, "Locations," TV Land Confidential (also known as TV Land Confidential: The Untold Stories), TV Land, 2007.

Benjamin Cooley, "Everything's Got a Shelf Life," Saving Grace, TNT, 2007.


Music Videos:

Appeared in KeKe Palmer's "All My Girlz," 2006.



Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 59, Thomson Gale, 2007.