The Orange County Screenwriters Association
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    David E. Kelley


    This profile was originally part of Plotpoints Podcast

    David E. Kelley’s scripts are the stuff of Emmys. Kelley’s work includes such legendary TV shows as "L.A. Law" where he started as a staff writer for Steven Bochco and quickly became exec producer. "Doogie Hauser" (with Bocco), "Picket Fences," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "Boston Legal" and movies like "Lake Placid" and "Mystery Alaska" were all part of Kelley’s early successes.

    Kelley has many Catholic themes in his work but was actually raised Protestant in Belmont Massachusetts. His father is a hockey hall of famer and at Princeton, Kelley was captain of the Princeton hockey team.

    His early work was listed nicely on Wikipedia:


    Demonstrating early-on a creative and quirky bent, in his junior year at Princeton, Kelley submitted a paper for a political science class about John F. Kennedy's plot to kill Fidel Castro - written as a poem. For his senior thesis, he turned the Bill of Rights into a play. "I made each amendment into a character", he said. "The First Amendment is a loudmouth guy who won't shut up. The Second Amendment guy, all he wanted to talk about was his gun collection. Then the 10th Amendment, the one where they say leave the rest for the states to decide, he was a guy with no self-esteem."[3]

    In 1983, while considering it only a hobby, Kelley began writing a screenplay, a legal thriller, which was optioned in 1986 and later became the Judd Nelson feature film “From the Hip” in 1987.

    End Quote

    It was typical of Kelly to write most of the episodes of his own series, starting in longhand on a yellow tablet and finishing an episode in 3-4 days.

    After years of churning out Emmy material, “Boston Legal,” a spinoff from “The Practice,” was the last real hit Kelly had until 2017's “Goliath” a legal drama starring Billy Bob Thornton. Then came “Big Little Lies” which got him Emmy nods again, and a slew of hits continuing to this day. He obviously just needed time to recharge.

    Kelly has eleven Emmy awards among 30 plus nominations, for Outstanding Drama and writing from 1989 to 2017.

    He’s also has a clutch of other awards including four Peabodys.

    At least thirty actors or actresses have won Emmys playing a Kelly character, something I consider a true accomplishment - to elevate others.

    In 1993 Kelly met and ten months later married actress Michelle Pfiefer.

    They have one adopted daughter and a son together.

    Kelley has 33 writer credits but hundreds of episodes written for various TV shows of his and others creation.

    In 2015 at the age of 59 David E. Kelly was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

    Currently he has a show, "The Undoing," starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant that will be playing on HBO on October 25th, and another four series listed on IMDB as either in production or pre-production.

    Still going strong.

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