She was unique. No other comedienne has ever come close to registering with the public like Patsy Kelly.
She was also outspoken, proclaiming herself gay at a time when closet exits in Hollywood were rare to say the least.
She was all over Hollywood in the Thirties. With onscreen partner, Thelma Todd, she made some 35 Hal Roach comedies that cemented her strong public following.
One of Alan Mowbray’s biggest roles was as the butler in the 1938 comedy Merrily We Live. Patsy Kelly (with whom he’s pictured below) played the cook. The leads were Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne, with Billie Burke playing Bennett’s scatterbrained mother.
One programmer from 1936, Pigskin Parade, features a number of actors who would go on to super stardom.
The musical from 20th Century Fox starred Stu Erwin, Jack Haley and Patsy Kelly and featured a bunch of youngsters, Dixie Dunbar, Johnny Downs, Betty Grable, Tony Martin (billed as Anthony Martin) and a kid named Judy Garland.
Patsy was born in Brooklyn in 1910, was playing on vaudeville stages by the age of 12. Hal Roach introduced her to Hollywood, and paired her with Todd. With Patsy as the brash, wiseacre sidekick, a comedic reputation was sealed.