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David E. Kelley

David E. Kelley

David E. Kelley is an American television and movie producer. Born in Waterville, Maine, he attended Belmont Hill School, Princeton University and Boston University School of Law and initially worked as a lawyer in Boston. But in the 1980s he became involved with screenwriting. Initially, he wrote several episodes for the television series L.A. Law, which he later produced as well, and later co-created Doogie Howser, M.D. (with L.A. Law creator Steven Bochco), Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Snoops, Girls Club, Boston Public, The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H., and Boston Legal.

Kelley's father is Jack Kelley, the coach of the Boston University hockey team from 1962 to 1972 and of the World Hockey Association's New England Whalers in their inaugural season of 1972-1973. Jack Kelley compiled a 206-80-8 record at BU, winning back-to-back NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972; he led the Whalers to the inaugural Avco Cup championship in 1973.

Kelley's shows are renowned for their whimsical, occasionally surreal comedic touches, as well as moments of seriousness.

Kelley married actress Michelle Pfeiffer in 1993. They have two children, a girl adopted by Pfeiffer before the marriage and a son.

Sometimes assumed to be a Catholic (because of his surname and the character Bobby Donnell on The Practice having a Catholic background and a personal estrangement from the Church over the issue of pedophile priests), Kelley is actually a Protestant.

David E. Kelley's shows tend to be revolving door ensemble casts with no single principal character. Even on Ally McBeal there were episodes in which the title character had fewer lines or was even omitted. Every season (sometimes even more often) some of the old regular characters get written out and are replaced by new regular characters. As Kelley focuses on the newer characters, he tends neglect developing older characters who've stayed. For example, the last season of The Practice was almost completely dominated by Alan Shore, to the point that the older regulars Eugene Young and Jimmy Berlutti had nothing to do except plot to fire Shore from the firm. On the first season of Boston Legal, Shore and Denny Crane started to recede to the background as Shirley Schmidt was added.

Kelley has no problem using regular actors from older shows in newer shows, or viceversa. For example, Anthony Heald and Rene Auberjonois both played judges on The Practice, and both went on to be regular cast members in later shows (Heald on Boston Public as a vice-principal and Auberjonois on Boston Legal as a partner at a law firm).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

David E. Kelley Facts

Birth NameDavid Edward Kelley
BirthplaceWaterville, Maine, USA

Selected Filmography

Turtle Island
Beauty and the Beast
The O.G.
Day of the Dove
The Apple
A Taste of Armageddon
The Last Thing You Should Do
Everything's Got a Shelf Life
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