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George Kelly (George Edward Kelly) Biography

(1890–1974), (George Edward Kelly), The Torch-Bearers, Craig's Wife, Behold the Bridegroom

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Patrick Kavanagh Biography to Knocknarea Sligo

American dramatist, born in Philadelphia; Kelly was the uncle of the actress Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco. He began as an actor playing juvenile roles, and performed his own sketches in vaudeville. His first success was with The Torch-Bearers (1922), a satire on the little theatre movement. His fourth play, Craig's Wife (1925; Pulitzer Prize), was a social melodrama in which a wife's obsessive propriety spoils her marriage and isolates her and her husband, a theme played with variations in his next successful play, Behold the Bridegroom (1927), about the self-destructiveness of a wealthy, self-indulgent woman. His later plays are Maggie the Magnificent (1929), Philip Goes Forth (1931), Reflected Glory (1936), The Deep Mrs Sykes (1945), and The Fatal Weakness (1946). Kelly's insistent probing at human vanity and weakness proved less and less congenial to audiences, and he was never to repeat the success of Craig's Wife and Behold the Bridegroom.

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