David E. Kelley Celebrity

Credits  |  Biography

While other artists earn law degrees in case they need a stable career to fall back on, this Boston-based attorney traded the bar for showbiz after penning his first screenplay---the courtroom comedy From the Hip, which was made into a movie in 1987. A yea… (more)

Birth Place: Waterville, ME

Birthday: April 4, 1956, Aries

Profession: Writer, Producer, Lawyer

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Biography

While other artists earn law degrees in case they need a stable career to fall back on, this Boston-based attorney traded the bar for showbiz after penning his first screenplay---the courtroom comedy From the Hip, which was made into a movie in 1987. A year earlier, the then-unsold script inspired TV producer Steven Bochco to hire Kelley as a scribe on his new show, L.A. Law. After quickly being promoted to head writer, then executive producer, Kelley began creating his own hit series, including teen-doctor dramedy Doogie Howser, M.D.; eccentric small-town crime series Picket Fences; medical saga Chicago Hope; quirky legal comedy Ally McBeal; gritty legal drama The Practice; and its spin-off, Boston Legal. A workhorse able to craft unforgettable characters and infuse serious stories with offbeat humor, Kelley oversaw several shows simultaneously in the '90s. Kelley received a slew of honors for his small-screen projects, including a number of Emmys and TV GUIDE's Brandon Tartikoff Award in 2001.

Fast Facts

  • Father, Jack, was a Hall of Fame hockey coach at Boston University from 1962 to '72, winning NCAA championships in 1971 and '72. He later coached and held front-office positions in the NHL.
  • An avid hockey player himself, David captained his team at Princeton and played professionally for a year in Switzerland after graduation.
  • Worked as a lawyer at the Boston firm Fine & Ambrogne (1983-86).
  • Broke into television when Steven Bochco read his screenplay for 1987's From the Hip and hired him for the staff of L.A. Law.
  • Woman in rocking chair who says "You stinka" in closing credits of David E. Kelley Productions is Kelley's late grandmother.
  • In 2003, fired most of the original cast of The Practice in order to reduce costs. James Spader signed on as the series' new lead and in 2004 earned his own spin-off, Boston Legal.
  • Although initially very critical of the reality-TV craze, Kelley created his own short-lived reality show, The Law Firm, in 2005.

Awards

  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1989, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1989, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Drama Series: Winner

Relationships

  • Jack Kelley — Father
  • Ginny Kelley — Mother
  • Claudia Rose Kelley — Daughter
  • John Henry Kelley — Son
  • Michelle Pfeiffer — Wife

College

  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (BA in Political Science, 1979); Boston University, Boston, MA (JD, 1983)

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