We had the good fortune of connecting with Eddie Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eddie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My feelings about risk taking is that everyone takes risks every day of their life. My father took a great risk when he had to decide to adhere to a decision made by the principal of my Catholic High School to either not attend school any longer because I attended a Television Program called Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” ;That was 1959. Rock N Roll Music was considered at that time the Devil’s Music. Believe it or not. My dad said the Catholic Church will not tell my son what he can or cannot do. The decision was made. I left and attended a Business School and later got my GED certificate for graduating from a regular High School. That decision changed my life forever. I became a teenage celebrity from dancing on American Bandstand. Once I was interviewed by Dick Clark because of a letter received by a viewer that I looked exactly like her son who was in the Air Force stationed in Pakistan I started to receive fan mail, fan clubs were established. From 1960 through the present I have been interviewed by many magazines, newspapers, featured in documentaries, TV Specials with Dick Clark and receiving a telephone call from the New York Times for an interview because because I was being compared to a character “Link” appearing on Broadway in the musical “Hairspray.” At that time I was outed as “gay” when it was mentioned that I attended the show with my partner. I also was a guest on Oprah, The Today Show, Dr. Oz and other types of media. American Bandstand aired 5 days a week Monday thru Friday for 2-1/2 hours a day. Twenty Million viewers tuned in on a daily basis.
I currently live in North Hollywood with my partner Tony of 50 years and consider myself very lucky that I am still being invited to participate in various types of social media. I just hope that some of your risks work out as well as mine did.
For those who are still interested in American Bandstand and the “Regulars” as we were known back then please see “Bandstanddiaries.com.” Thank you. Best, Eddie
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am retired and I do acting gigs from time to time and most important I do weekly volunteering at the front desk of a hospital in the Valley. Being gay and appearing on American Bandstand the bullying and being ridiculed from the time I was 11 years old through the 50’s and 60’s at times got to be unbearable . I had to take back streets not to be noticed and my life was threatened a few times. In spite of it all would I do it all again. Probably. Have Faith and that will help you get through it. Risk taking is much easier and able to handle when you are young. I worked 5 years in the Music Business and 30 years in the legal Profession as an Administrator for law firms.
Do what your heart tells you and always have faith. I want everyone to know that Ed listens to everyone and hopefully at times when I respond that it helps them in someway or other. If it does that means I did my job. I look at it as God’s will. Sadly we have to experience because most of the time we do not take advice. I will say I feel Volunteering Feeds The Soul. I wish everyone Success, Love and Happiness Always. Thank you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Grove, Beaches, Theatre, Movies , Restaurants, Movie and TV Studios and meeting some of my Neighbors
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
– My dad Edward Lawrence Kelly Sr. – Sue Cassidy Wilson (American Bandstand The The Philadelphia Years 1952-1964
– Sharon Sultan Cutler (Bandstanddiaries)
– Arlene Sullivan
– Carmen & Ivette Jimenez
– Joyce Shafer Roth
– My Mom Margaret Kelly
– Dorothy Maniscalco
– My Facebook viewers who like and comment
Website: Bandstanddiaries.com / American Bandstand The Phila. Years 1952-1964
Youtube: Eddie Kelly American Bandstand or just American Bandstand