Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jack Kelly - "Fore!" (or is it "Fur"?)


I noticed a discussion on the Jack Kelly Facebook page about JK's love for golf.

Coincidentally--very coincidentally, I assure you--I'd been planning to post an entry here about the same subject, because I recently obtained a very unusual photo of Jack Kelly playing golf.

When I first saw this 1963 United Press newsphoto, I wondered why JK's golf bag was featured so prominently in the foreground while he was relegated to the background. Was it an "artistic" pic? Was it actually an ad for golf bags?

Then, I read the caption (always a good idea!). It says: "Actor Jack Kelly of the television series Maverick relaxes with a game of golf on 8/14/63 between a busy summer theater rehearsal schedule in Anderson, Indiana. Yes, the golf mitts are real mink."

JK's golf club covers were made of mink! (Yikes, I wonder if he worried about them being stolen. ;->)

And, here's a closer look at the ol' duffer himself:

Yes, Jack Kelly's love of the links is legendary. When I first started reading about him, most of the magazine stories made at least a passing reference to his golf game. This touched my heart, because my late dad was an avid golfer, as well.

But, maybe Jack Kelly loved golf too much at one point. In a 1961 fan magazine article, his wife May Wynn told an interviewer that their marriage was threatened, not by another woman, but by the golf course:

"Our life is different, I realize from the average couple's. Kelly, when he is acting, might work 14 hours a day for days at a time. Then he'll be home for a month...but it was getting to the point where he seemed to have no life besides work and golf...

"...A break came in Kelly's schedule and he was due to be home for about a month. Every morning, he'd wake up, have a quick breakfast, and rush out to the golf course after giving me a hurried imitation of a kiss...

"I started to keep a the end of two weeks, I cornered Kelly...Honestly, he didn't have the vaguest idea what I was talking about when I told him we had a problem...Then, I brought out my [diary] and made him look through it. Out of the two weeks he'd been home he'd spent 10 whole days on the golf course! Day after day read the same--'Golf today, golf today, golf today'..."

Well, JK reformed (slightly), and although his marriage to Ms. Wynn eventually ended, his enthusiasm for golf never waned. In fact, when he left city government for a spell in Huntington Beach, CA, in 1988, his farewell present was a golf bag: "This is one gift I don't have to report."


  1. Hi! I'm in the Facebook group, and love your blog here! You know, I wonder why May Wynn didn't choose to take up golf herself. Maybe she thought it would be something she wouldn't enjoy. But rather than pouting about how much time he spent playing golf (and sorry, she does sound like she's whining), if it were me, I'd trot off to my local pro shop, buy some ladies clubs, and ask the resident instructor to give me lessons, and then I would be able to join my husband on the golf course at least some of the time. Most men are tickled to death if their wives share their hobbies and interests - it can bring a couple closer together. Too bad she wasn't willing to try!

  2. Hi Catmom--great to hear from you!

    Actually, in that 1961 fan magazine article, May Wynn did say that Jack Kelly taught her to play golf and she got hooked on it herself. But, she got frustrated because her game wasn't improving and she finally quit. She was disappointed because 'Kelly' didn't give up golf when she did (although she concedes that 'he is an excellent player' who shoots in the 70s and 80s and wins championships).

    She says in the article they finally worked out a schedule where JK agreed to play golf only three days a week. It's a long article and I wish I could have included more. Funny thing, though, there are no quotes or input from JK in the article, so we don't know his side of the issue. Well, maybe Linda will find 'the rest of the story' for us! :)