Fans of the CW drama One Tree Hill are definitely familiar with actress Moira Kelly. She played the role of a single mother, Karen Roe, the mother of Lucas Scott – the step-brother of Nathan Scott who, unlike Nathan, didn’t get to enjoy the affluence of their car dealership business owner father, Dan Scott. After OTH drew her curtains, Kelly went ahead to star in other roles both on the big and small screens. Here is a look at her life and career thus far.
Moira Kelly – Bio
Moira Kelly was born and raised in a huge family of 6 children of which she is the third-born. Her parents Peter and Anne Kelly welcomed her to the world on the 6th day of March 1968 in Queens, New York. Her parents had both immigrated to the United States from Ireland, thus, Kelly has Irish roots. Though born in Queens, Kelly would spend most of her early years in Ronkonkoma on Long Island.
One could rightly say that Moira Kelly got her artistic genes from her father Peter who was skilled at playing the violin and did so at many concerts. Her mother, on the other hand, is science-inclined and works as a nurse.
For her high school education, Moira Kelly chose the Connetquot Senior High School of Bohemia, Long Island. She graduated from the school in 1986 before proceeding to attend Marymount Manhattan College, a private college in New York City with a greater percentage of the populace being ladies (up to 75%).
Raised in a staunch Catholic family, Moira Kelly had originally aspired to be a nun, but destiny had other plans for her. Her first ever try at acting was somewhat serendipitous. It was a small role in her high school’s production of the play Annie. Another girl had been selected to play the role of Miss Hannigan. However, she was unable to make it due to ill health, forcing a change in the cast which came with Moira Kelly as the replacement.
Kelly had to kiss her dreams of becoming a nun goodbye as she fell in love with acting, so much so that she decided to pursue it as a career. Then came 1991 when Kelly began her professional career as a Hollywood actress.
Her nun dreams behind her, Moira Kelly didn’t only choose a different career path but also decided to fall in love and get married – something she was originally willing to forgo. She is married to a certain Stephen Eric Hewitt and has been since the 5th day of August 2000 when they tied the knots. Kelly’s husband who is a Texan native is not in the show business world but runs another kind of business. Together, the couple is blessed with two children, a daughter named Ella who arrived in 2001, and a son named Eamon who joined the family two years later in 2003.
Moira Kelly has boycotted the glitz and glam lifestyle of Hollywood and has instead, chosen to settle with her family in Flower Mound, a small town in Texas.
Movies And TV Shows
Moira Kelly began her career starring simultaneously in films and TV shows. Her debut was in an episode of the TV miniseries, Love, Lies, and Murder, and in the same year 1991, she had a part in the indie film, The Boy Who Cried Bitch. Kelly appeared in a couple of other films and TV shows before she had a part in 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the film included an explicit sex scene and Kelly had to seek permission from her priest before she accepted the role.
That wasn’t the only time that Kelly had to seek permission from her priest before taking a role. For her role in the 1993 film, Daybreak, where she was required to engage in premarital sex, Kelly had to once again consult her priest who gave her a go-ahead as long as her artistic intention was pure and she wasn’t taking the role for the sole purpose of gaining fame.
Moira Kelly acted alongside Robert Downey, Jr. in Chaplin and also played a part in the rom-com, The Cutting Edge, both released in 1992. Kelly scored her first main role on the small screen with the CBS drama, To Have & to Hold. She then scored a regular role in The West Wing, made a couple of guest appearances before her role as Karen Roe in One Tree Hill came in 2003. She played the role until 2009.
Kelly scored her first voice role as Nala in The Lion King (1994). She reprised the role in the two subsequent sequels. During her time on OTH, Moira Kelly was quite dedicated to the show and only began taking other roles in 2006. She appeared in Law & Order and acted in the films; Two Tickets to Paradise (2006) and Remember the Daze (2007).
Other films Kelly had earlier appeared in include; Love Walked In, Dangerous Beauty, The Safety of Objects. Since OTH drew her curtains, Moira Kelly has been more focused on the small screen. She had parts on the shows Heroes, Numb3rs, and Drop Dead Diva. She has also appeared in a handful of TV films, including; A Smile as Big as the Moon (2012), Deadly Sorority (2017), and Girl in the Bunker (2018). Kelly directed a couple of episodes of the show, Resolve.
The biggest achievement in Moira Kelly’s career would be her consistency. Over the years, she has managed to maintain a steady level of activity. John Willis’ Screen World, Vol. 44 listed Kelly in their Promising New Actors of 1992 which contained 11 other names. Though Moira Kelly hasn’t won any major accolades in her career, she has been quite successful at it.