Bill Kelly is an actor who hails from Kentucky and now lives in Florida. He’s had lead or supporting actor roles in over 40 productions. People may notice him from some of the many characters he has portrayed in television shows including the Netflix series “Bloodline” in a recurring role as Clay Grunwald. His other recent roles are in the television shows “The Resident”, “Mr. Mercedes”, and “Ballers”. In addition to his television and film projects, he’s lead a 30+ year career in radio. With his many years of experience, there are many interesting facts and stories to share. Below you’ll learn 10 things you didn’t know about Bill Kelly.
1. Bill was a ‘walk-on’ member of the Eastern Kentucky University Men’s Gymnastics Team
This was in 1981 and took place with no previous training prior to entering college. As a freshman, Bill took a basic gymnastics course offered by the university as a P.E. option. It was there that he began a passion for the sport, particularly the Pommel Horse. Midway through the semester, Bill asked the Coach if there was any possibility he could get more time on ‘the horse’. Coach Caulkin offered him the job of ‘team manager’, a duty usually looked upon as a thankless job. Bill jumped at the chance, as it offered him the opportunity to work out ‘every day, with the team’, as the coach put it. After a rigorous 8 months of training, Bill was made an official member of the team.
2. First role was as a ‘stand-in’ for legendary actor, John Hurt, of “Harry Potter” fame.
In 2008, HBO came to Tallahassee to film scenes for the movie “RECOUNT” starring Kevin Spacey and John Hurt, among others. Although Bill was offered an on-camera role as a TV News Reporter, Bill opted for the other opportunity. Being the ‘stand-in’ for Mr. Hurt. There, Bill was able to look behind the scenes and learn the workings of a real set, in action.
3. Bill once played in the Super Bowl!
As ‘Eberhard Anheuser’ in Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” ad, featured in Super Bowl VI. Bill got the call for a ‘last-minute’ audition to be held in New Orleans. Fearing he wouldn’t make it in time, Bill grabbed his keys and hit the road as soon as he hung up the phone. He made it just in time and was the last to audition. Bill got the good news soon after that he got the part. And, how’s this for a great week? Following the big game, Bill was a “guest star” on the series, “24: Legacy”, with his first of two episodes airing on the next night on FOX.
4. Bill has no formal acting training.
His talents were honed working with the students at Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, along with local producer Fred Rabbath, as a volunteer actor. Bill was the supporting or lead actor in over 35 student and independent films and quite a few ‘competition commercials’ over a 6-year span. In 2010, Bill decided to pursue finding an agent and taking the plunge into the acting world. His first professional acting job was in Season 6 of the hit USA Network show, “Burn Notice”, back in 2012.
5. Motorsports Connection
Bill once worked as ‘Host/MC’ of Valvoline’s promotional stage at the Daytona 500, The Coke Zero 300 and in Charlotte at Evernham Motorsports, “Fan Day”! A huge NASCAR fan, Bill had the honor of interviewing some of racings elite, including Kasey Kahne, and watching the Daytona 500 from the luxury of Will Smith’s $2.5 million, 2-story motor home.
6. Was a projectionist at a Drive-in
One of Bill’s first jobs was as a projectionist at the Buccaneer Drive-In in Kentucky, showing the cult classic, “Phantasm”, on his first night. However, he also had the job of cleaning up the grounds the day after each showing, which was not always an enjoyable task. Included among the many ‘personal’ items, Bill would sometimes find some gems, including a roll of money totaling $118 and gold and silver jewelry. Although he didn’t keep those items, he still has the discarded Panasonic 8-track player he once found. And it still works!
7. Radio Air Personality
Started working as professional radio air personality in 1981 and has worked at only 5 stations in his career. Most of which, 14 years, was spent at just one radio station. Bill received a nomination for the “Country Music Association” award for “Music Director of the Year-Small Market” in 1988. Although, he didn’t win, it truly was an honor just to be one of the three final nominees.
Bill enjoys racing go-karts, playing baseball and building and flying model rockets as hobbies. He also enjoys working in his yard. Bill’s goals for the future are to learn how to weld and lay a new roof!
9. His love for country music and its stars
Bill has met numerous country music stars as they were just starting their careers, including Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and countless others. During his radio career, stand-out memories include meeting Garth Brooks in the lobby of the Opryland Hotel when nobody knew who he was…having dinner with Brooks and Dunn, seeing “Forest Gump” with Kenny Chesney and his band, and once talking the legendary Dolly Parton into calling his mother to say ‘Hi’. An event his mom won’t soon forget.
10. Reality Golf Show
Bill was the ‘voice-over talent’ for the Golf Channel’s “Altered Course” reality golf show. Bill has done thousands of radio commercials over the years and is the voice of numerous on-line training courses.