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David Kelly, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Grandpa, Dead at 82

Freddie Highmore and David Kelly in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Warner Bros.

Sad news today as Moviefone is reporting that veteran Irish actor David Kelly, who is best known to American movie fans as Charlie's beloved Grandpa Joe in Johnny Depp's 2005 version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," has died following a brief illness.

He was 82 years old.

It's rare that an actor receives his greatest roles and accolades upon reaching old age, but that was the case for Kelley. Appearing in a hundred films and TV shows, not to mention numerous stage productions, Kelly was a respected character actor for decades in Britain and Ireland, with perhaps his best known early role being in the original 1969 version of "The Italian Job."

But Kelly truly gained international fame only late in life, thanks to the 1998 comedy "Waking Ned Devine," where he played an elderly man attempting to claim the lottery winnings of a dead neighbor. The role, which included a famous scene where Kelly raced a motorcycle completely in the nude, earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Screen Actors Guild.

That in turn brought him numerous opportunities from Hollywood, eventually culminating in his turn as Grandpa Joe in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the kindly gent whose moral compass helps guide Charlie through the factory's many temptations. The movie was released in 2005, the same year Kelly earned a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film and Television Academy.

Kelly's final film was the 2007 fantasy "Stardust."

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