Cecil Lauriston Kellaway (22 August 1890 - 28 February 1973) was a British/South African  character actor. He was nominated for the  Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for both (1948) and The Luck of the Irish (1967).
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Cecil Kellaway was born on 22 August 1890 in Cape Town,
South Africa. He was the son of English parents, Rebecca Annie (née Brebner) and Edwin John Kellaway, an architect and engineer. Edwin had immigrated to Cape Town to help build the [n 1] Houses of Parliament there, and he was a good friend of Cecil Rhodes, who was young Cecil's eponym and godfather. 
Cecil was interested in acting from an early age.
He was educated at the  Normal College, Cape Town, and in England at Bradford Grammar School. He studied engineering and on his return to South Africa was employed in an engineering firm. However the lure of acting was too strong and he became a full-time actor, making his debut in Potash and Perlmutter.
  
He briefly served in the army in 1914 but was invalided out.
Early plays included  The Prince of Pilsen.
He toured for three years through China, Japan, Siam, Borneo, Malaya, North and South Africa, and Europe, in plays such as
Kellaway arrived in Australia in 1921 under contract to
J. C. Williamson Ltd. He had a notable success as the comic father of four daughters in which he played through most of 1922; he would often return to this role in later years and it kicked off a sixteen year association with Williamsons on the Australian stage, mostly in musical comedies.
A Night Out
For Williamsons he was in
Mary (1922-23) then returned to A Night Out before going on to (1923-24), The Cabaret Girl (1924), Kissing Time (1924), Whirled into Happiness Katja (1925), (1925), The Belle of New York (1925), Primrose A Night Out revival (1926), Frasquita (1927), (1928), Princess Charming  Hold Everything (1929), (1931), Florodora A Warm Corner ( 1931), A Night Out again, Sons o' Guns (1931), Blue Roses (1932), Hold my Hand (1932), and (1933).
The Gipsy Princess
By the early 1930s Kellaway was one of the biggest stars in Australian theatre. He made his film debut in the lead of
(1933), a popular local comedy, directed by The Hayseeds Beaumont Smith. However his main focus was still the stage:  (1934), The Dubarry (1934), Music in the Air (1935), Roberta (1935), High Jinks (1935), Ball at the Savoy (1936) and A Southern Maid (1936).
White Horse Inn
He returned to films with the Australian
Cinesound film (1937), for which he also provided the original story. Directed by It Isn't Done Ken G. Hall it was a popular success. It led to Kellaway being screen-tested by RKO Pictures and put under contract.  
He appeared in
A Southern Maid on stage in 1937.
RKO in Hollywood
RKO initially put Kellaway into small roles:
(1938), Everybody's Doing It (1938), Double Danger (1938), Night Spot (1938), Maid's Night Out (1938), and This Marriage Business (1938).
Law of the Underworld
Kellaway was first given a sizeable role, billed third for
(1938), with Blond Cheat Joan Fontaine. 
However his parts remained small:
(1938), Smashing the Rackets (1938), Tarnished Angel (1938), and Annabel Takes a Tour (1939). Gunga Din 
Return to Australia
Kellaway returned to Australia for a second Cinesound film,
(1939), which featured a young Mr. Chedworth Steps Out Peter Finch. It was shot in October-November 1938. 
Return to Hollywood
Back in Hollywood the scope and quality of his roles kept getting better, with
(1939), for Wuthering Heights William Wyler, as Cathy's father.
He was in
(1939), The Sun Never Sets (1939) at Paramount, Man About Town and  (1939).
He turned down
(1939) to do The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) for Intermezzo David O. Selznick. He later made (1939). We Are Not Alone 
He was in
(1940) at RKO, Mexican Spitfire (1940) and The Invisible Man Returns (1940) at Universal, The House of the Seven Gables (1940), Adventure in Diamonds (1940), Phantom Raiders (1940), Brother Orchid (1940), Pop Always Pays (1940), The Mummy's Hand (1940), and Diamond Frontier (1940) at RKO.
He turned down Mexican Spitfire Out West to do Balalaika (1940) for Wyler.
Kellaway was in
(1940) at Warners, and South of Suez (1940). He received billing in Lady with Red Hair (1940), but is only glimpsed briefly in a party scene, his role having been cut.
(1941) at West Point Widow Paramount and signed a contract with them. He did (1941) at Fox, A Very Young Lady (1941), Burma Convoy (1941), New York Town (1941), and Birth of the Blues (1941) at Universal.
Appointment for Love
At Paramount he was in
(1941), The Night of January 16th (1941), Bahama Passage (1941), and The Lady Has Plans (1941). Fox borrowed him for Take a Letter, Darling (1941), then he went back to Paramount for Small Town Deb (1942), and Are Husbands Necessary? (1942).
Night in New Orleans
Leading man and supporting roles
Kellaway had a strong part in
(1942) as I Married a Witch Veronica Lake's father. He followed it with (1942). Response to this was positive and Paramount announced they would build Kellaway into a star, putting him in a remake of My Heart Belongs to Daddy and starring in Ruggles of Red Gap The Incomparable Alfred. 
He had cameos in
(1943) and Star Spangled Rhythm (1943), and was in Forever and a Day (1943), and The Crystal Ball (1943).
It Ain't Hay
Paramount gave him the starring role in
(1943). He went back to support parts for The Good Fellows (1944). He was going to do Frenchman's Creek on Broadway when he was offered the role of Out of This World Edward VII in (1944) at Mrs. Parkington Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 
Back at Paramount he was in
(1944), And Now Tomorrow (1944), and Practically Yours (1945), the latter also starring Kellaways's one-time Australian co-star Love Letters Ann Richards.
(1945), he was as painter Kitty Thomas Gainsborough.  MGM borrowed him to play the ill-fated husband of Lana Turner's character in (1946), a support role in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and the villain in Easy to Wed (1946).
The Cockeyed Miracle
In early 1946, he was earning $1,500 a week but said he was considering returning to Australia to run a film studio because he was sick of playing small roles.
Back at Paramount he was in
(1946), Monsieur Beaucaire (1947), and Variety Girl (1947).
Kellaway was borrowed by
Warners for (1947) Always Together then he went to  20th Century Fox for (1948), which earned him an The Luck of the Irish Oscar nomination.
Kellaway went to RKO for
(1948). Joan of Arc 
Kellaway was in
(1948), The Decision of Christopher Blake (1948), Portrait of Jennie (1949), Down to the Sea in Ships (1950), back at MGM. The Reformer and the Redhead 
In 1950, it was announced
James Hilton was writing a script as a vehicle for Kellaway, Roof of the World, based on the actor's time in India. It was not made.
He was in
(1950), Harvey (1950), Kim (1951), Katie Did It (1951), Francis Goes to the Races (1951), and Half Angel (1951).
He went back to Paramount for
(1952) and was in Thunder in the East (1952), Just Across the Street (1952), My Wife's Best Friend (1953), Young Bess (1953), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), and Cruisin' Down the River (1953).
In 1954, he became an
American citizen (his nationality had been South African). 
At MGM he was in
(1955) and The Prodigal (1955), playing an Australian in the latter (the father of Interrupted Melody Marjorie Lawrence). He did two with Jeff Chandler, (1955) and Female on the Beach (1956) and was billed second (to The Toy Tiger Ethel Barrymore) in (1957).
He worked regularly on television in shows like
, Lux Video Theatre , The Ford Television Theatre , Schlitz Playhouse , Cavalcade of America , Schlitz Playhouse , Playhouse 90 , Studio One in Hollywood , and Matinee Theatre Crossroads.
Kellaway was in
(1958), The Proud Rebel (1959), and The Shaggy Dog (1960).
The Private Lives of Adam and Eve
He appeared on Broadway in
(1960) which had a short run. Greenwillow 
On American television, he made a guest appearance in 1959 on
as chemist and murderer Darrell Metcalf in "The Case of the Glittering Goldfish", and he received a billing credit in that episode equal to Raymond Burr's.
Kellaway then guest-starred two years later on CBS's
Western series , portraying the character MacKay in the episode "Incident in the Middle of Nowhere". .
He was also in
, Whirlybirds , The Millionaire , The Ann Sothern Show , Destination Space , Harrigan and Son , Hennesey , Johnny Ringo , The Twilight Zone , The New Breed , Adventures in Paradise , Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (TV series) and Follow the Sun .
Kellaway was in
(1961), Francis of Assisi (1961), Tammy Tell Me True (1962), Zotz! (1963), The Cardinal (1964), and Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).
Quick, Let's Get Married
In 1963 he guest starred as a Museum curator Wilbur Canfield in Episode 19 on the first season of the television show
. In 1964 he played Santa Claus in the "Visions of Sugarplums" episode of My Favorite Martian . In 1967, Kellaway played the part of a lonely, megawealthy much older suitor of Ann Marie (played by Bewitched Marlo Thomas) in an episode of . Other TV appearances included That Girl , Valentine's Day , Burke's Law , and The F.B.I. .
The Greatest Show on Earth
Kellaway's last films included
(1966), Spinout (1967) and The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967), which earned him another Oscar nomination.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
He appeared in episodes of
and The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and the TV version of Nanny and the Professor (1967).
His final performances included
(1969), Fitzwilly (1970), Getting Straight (1971) and a pilot for a TV series, The Wacky Zoo of Morgan City Call Holme (1971). 
He was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for
in 1948 and The Luck of the Irish in 1967. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 
Kellaway married Doreen Elizabeth Joubert in Johannesburg on 15 November 1919.
Alec Kellaway became a notable actor in his own right. His other brother Leon became ballet-master for Edouard Borovansky and the Australian Ballet.
His cousins were fellow actors
Edmund Gwenn and Arthur Chesney.
Kellaway died after a long illness at a
West Los Angeles convalescent home on 28 February 1973. He was survived by his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren. His gravesite is at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
Select theatre credits
Potash and Perlmutter - South Africa 
The Prince of Pilsen - South Africa 
The Little Whopper (1921) 
Monseuir Beaucaire (1917) - toured India and Africa 
(Jan-Sept 1922) - Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide A Night Out
Mary (Oct 1922 - April 1923) - Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney
A Night Out (April 1923) - Sydney
The Cabaret Girl (Aug 1923 - March 1924)
Kissing Time (May 1924) - Melbourne
Whirled into Happiness (June-July 1924) - Melbourne
Katja (December 1925) - Sydney
The Belle of New York
Primrose (August 1925) - Sydney
Frasquita (April 1927) - Sydney
Princess Charming (July 1928) - Brisbane
Hold Everything (July 1929)
A Warm Corner (Sept 1931)
Sons o' Guns (1931)
Blue Roses (April-August 1932) - Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Wellington, Auckland
Hold my Hand (October 1932) - Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney
The Gipsy Princess
The Dubarry (July 1934) - Theatre Royal, Adelaide
Music in the Air (July 1934) - Theatre Royal, Adelaide
Roberta (Marc 1935) - Theatre Royal, Sydney
High Jinks (May 1935) - Theatre Royal, Sydney
Ball at the Savoy (July 1935) - Adelaide
A Southern Maid (1937) - with The Merry Widow Gladys Moncrieff
^ Some sources, including the German popflock.com resource page at
de:Cecil Kellaway, claim he was born in 1893; the page acknowledges the confusion and claims a majority of sources refer to 1893 as his birth year. Kellaway's Petition for Naturalization as a United States Citizen (#175514), filed in 1951, cites 1890. References
^ Cecil Lauriston Kellaway (born 1890) filed a Petition (#175514) for Naturalization as a United States citizen in 1951; certificate #7411287 (per ancestry.com)
"Kellaway, Cecil Lauriston (1890-1973)". Kellaway, Cecil (1890-1973). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University . Retrieved 2011.
, 7 March 1973, page 78. Variety
^ a b c
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