Jack Kelly, best remembered as the co-star of the popular television series “Maverick,” died Saturday at Humana Hospital in Huntington Beach. He was 65.
Kelly, who served as a councilman and former mayor of Huntington Beach, succumbed after suffering a stroke last Wednesday, according to city spokesman Dave Kelly, no relation to the actor. He had undergone bypass surgery in May after a heart attack. Although he never fully recovered, Kelly was still active politically and had attended last Monday’s City Council meeting.
Kelly co-starred as the wise-cracking Bret Maverick to James Garner’s Bart Maverick in the popular comedy-drama western series that ran on ABC-TV from 1957 -62.
The Mavericks, including Roger Moore as cousin Beauregard for one season, were atypical of television’s macho western heroes. They weren’t afraid to show fear in the face of danger or to run from a gunfight whenever possible.
Kelly was a member of an acting family that included his mother, Nan Kelly Yorke, and sister, Nancy Kelly. He began his film career in 1950 in “Fighting Men of the West,” and also appeared in such films as “The Country Girl,””To Hell and Back,””Where Danger Lives,””Drive a Crooked Road,””She-Devil” and “Forbidden Planet.”
After “Maverick,” Kelly invested heavily in real estate and purchased the Huntington Beach News, which folded earlier this year. Although politics and real estate kept him fairly busy, in recent years Kelly made several cameo appearances on television, the last being in the miniseries “Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns.” He also provided voiceovers for commercials.
At the time of his death he was halfway through his third four-year term on the City Council. He had served as mayor of Huntington Beach from 1983-86.
Kelly is survived by his wife, Jo Ann, and daughter, Nicole. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday morning at 11 a.m. at Huntington Beach City Hall. In lieu of flowers the family suggest donations in Kelly’s name to the Huntington Art Center, in care of City Hall.