Kelly grew up in Albuquerque and studied theater and creative writing at the University of New Mexico and Arizona State University before winning an international photo competition in New York City for Helen Rogers and the Plaza Three agency in summer of 1982.
Later in 1982 Nelson moved to Los Angeles and was signed by the Wilhelmina West agency. In the summer of 1984 Kelly began studying acting with Hollywood icon Vincent Chase, and had future stars Tia Carrera, Bill Paxton in his class. His first "work" in Hollywood was as a photo double for Richard Chamberlain in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987), starring Chamberlain, Sharon Stone and James Earl Jones. Nelson got his SAG card in 1990 by doing a Gillette commercial directed by Joe Pytka. Kelly was the "Isuzu guy" for their "play of the day" campaign on ESPN for 1991-1992. Kelly worked and studied for 8 years before meeting up with the legendary Sanford Meisner in 1992.
A favorite of Meisner's, he went on to land the leading roles in most all The Meisner Center's original Main Stage productions 1995-1997. He acted in several dozen full run plays and also directed for the Main Stage. As a writer Kelly had two one act plays and dozens of sketch comedies produced there. Highlights: Kelly starred in the original world premiere of "The Job", written and directed by Lynn Mamet, as well as the original world premiere of "Fallen Eagle", (story of Charles Lindbergh) written and directed by Larry Cohen. Kelly was invited to be a Founding Member of the Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts by Sanford Meisner, Jimmy Carville, and artistic director Martin Barter in the spring of 1995. He served as Managing Director of the Theater Company, Head of the Reading Committee, Sargent at Arms, also served on the Sanford Meisner Center Board of Directors.
Kelly's favorite film role was in "The Gardener", starring Malcolm McDowell, Angie Everhart, and Richard Greico and directed by James D.R. Hickox. Kelly appeared in "Sabretooth", along with David Keith, Josh Holloway and John Rhys-Davies; "Girls Gone Psycho", starring Kinsey Packard and Deanna Dozier, and "Dry Run", starring Max Ryan and Steph Duval, directed by Aram Boyrazian. In 2018 Chelsea Steiner cast Kelly in her sex positive sit com "Thank You Come Again", this was followed by another sit com, the David Collins (Queer Eye) Marc Harris production of "To Die For".
Kelly is currently developing "The Floating Church", an epic adventure based on his gg grandfather's life story. More here: https://www.thefloatingchurch.com
Kelly founded Emerald World ET, a merchant services company in 2010. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Samantha Hoey Nelson of Washington D.C., they have three daughters. He also has a nephew Jared Allyn Perry who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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2010 - present
2010 - present