Monday, May 10, 2010

"Shipwreck" Kelly

John Simms "Shipwreck" Kelly (July 8, 1910 – August 17, 1986) was a professional American football player who played halfback in the National Football League. He played five seasons for the New York Giants (1932) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1933-1937). Kelly became a player-coach and later a player/coach/owner with the Dodgers football club, the successor to the Dayton Triangles, a charter member of the NFL. The Dodgers, through a couple of reorganizations, became the Baltimore Colts, now the Indianapolis Colts.

Kelly's real claim to fame was his 1941 marriage, in New York City, to the "Millionaire Debutante" Brenda Frazier, after whom the long-running comic strip Brenda Star was modeled. The couple bought a new Packard Darrin convertible off the floor of the New York Auto Show, and palled around NYC with the likes of Jock Whitney and Tom Kerrigan. They were married for fifteen years, and had one daughter. in 1956 he married Catherine Hannon. They had 2 children John Kelly and Victoria.

During World War II, Kelly was recruited by the FBI to travel to Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina to track the activities of wealthy German expatriates helping the Nazi cause.

After the war, Kelly pursued a career as an investment banker, Florida real estate investor and became a champion amateur golfer. He died of a stroke at age 76 and is buried in his home town of Simstown, Kentucky.

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