Jeffrey OKelly was born in Doire, Ireland; he lives a private and secluded life and travels to favourite haunting grounds on research for his characters. He also has a passionate interest in filmmaking. He has six children, Clara, Fiona, Rebecca, Eugene, Jerome and Sean. He also maintains residences in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. He received his primary schooling in Ireland and attended private school at the Brow of the Hill College in Doire, Ireland. He studied painting and visual arts at Chelsea College of Art from which he graduated in 1959.
The balance of OKellys biographical information follow in his own words:
After leaving Chelsea College of Art, Jeffrey OKelly became founder and European editor of the literary magazine, "The NORTHERN REVIEW". Subsequently, he traveled in Europe, writing and gathering material for his own magazine and for other outlets. From there, he moved into the film world, working as an actor, writer, and later, director. His first films were made at Ardmore Studios, Bray, Ireland, including: "THE DEVILS AGENT", with Peter Van Eycke, "AMBUSH IN LEOPARD STREET", with Jimmy Kenny, and in London with Columbia Pictures, "I LOVE, YOU LOVE".
After the usual round of bit parts and working on commercials, he moved to Spain, where he worked as a screen writer for Phil Yordan Productions on such projects as "THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE" and others. He then returned to Paris, continuing as the European editor for "THE NORTHERN REVIEW" and contributing as a freelance writer for other notable journals of the day, such as "THE PARIS REVIEW", and "THE EUROPEAN LITERARY REVIEW", sponsored by the late George Orwells wife, Sonja. From his base in Paris, he documented interviews with such distinguished laureates as Arthur Adamov, (credited with having invented Theatre of the Absurd), Anthony Burgess, Ted Hughes, Greg Corso, and many others. At this juncture he became firm friends with Ted Hughes and his sister Olwyn, a friendship that endured and was full of happy memories and heady days. O'Kelly stayed often at the Huges' house in Devon. Ted and Olwyn were great mentors and both encouraged his writing, introducing him to the works of obscure poets like George Trakl and other illuminaries
Around this period, OKelly returned to Spain to work with Christina Jacques on "LA TULIP NOIR" with Alain Delon. He then played the part of "Witt" in the award winning moving, "THE THIN RED LINE", adapted from the novel by James Jones, starring Keir Dullea and Jack Warden. The film was nominated for seven Oscars in 1965, at which point OKelly returned to England and worked for ATV and BBC Television, Respectively, on the series "ESPIONAGE", produced by Herbert Brodkin, and the BBC "Wednesday Play" series. In 1969, he won the Aquarius Literary Prize for a peace poem about Ulster and around that time commenced the writing and direction of a film for the AntiVivisection Committee of England, "THE HOMOSAPIEN EXPERIMENT," which illustrated the effects of tranqui1izing agents on wild monkeys and directly relating to the affects on the human being.
OKelly next wrote a full length play for the theatre, called "THE UNKNOWN SYMPHONY", and shortly afterwards formed his own production company, Scorpio Films, to create and produce his own projects and other talent in conjunction with the British film industry. This was a harrowing, although enlightening experience, which was eventually brought to a conclusion through sheer lack of finance due to the economic slump of the British film industry. However, during this time, OKelly managed to write, direct and produce his film "BEFORE ME, YESTERDAY", (a prose/poetry Joycean drama). It was distributed by Contemporary Films, widely praised by the critics, and won various festival special awards including the Cork Film Festival, Milan Festival and a special invitation to Cannes.
Having closed up shop in the U.K., OKelly moved to the Bahamas and later the U.S.A., where he continued with his craft of writing and film consultancy. He created a thriller, "MALAGUENA", for Hartford Productions, Nassau. Later, in Philadelphia, he assisted and consulted on a project about autistic children, made by Peter Simons and produced by the Roberts Foundation of Philadelphia.
Around this time (1970), OKelly decided the raising of risk capital for films and being involved in that unstable business bore a negative prospect. After a hard look at the industry, he came to the conclusion that his capabilities lay more in the positive commercial field of multimedia. With his background in the film media, where he now continues to work as a doctor of films which includes his more recent projects; "THE STORY OF 0", "TUSK" and "SUPERMAN", OKelly decided to combine all his experience and specialise in creating what has become known as the multimedia package, or in simple terms, entertainment for all ages, spread across the spectrum of film, television, music, merchandising, publishing, cable, pay television, video and video disc and into other thinkable and unthinkable areas, including theme parks.
OKelly, without realising it, had been greatly influenced by the childrens stories of his youth, harking back to the old classics of Grimm, Anderson, and the other great masters of fairy tales. He sat down and created his first multi-media package, "DR. SNUGGLES", which quickly brought in many offers from the marketplace. (However, most of the style and figurations tended to lean towards the Disney image) OKelly rejected these offers because, to his mind, Disney had died and without him at the helm, he felt that the reproduction quality of his particular images were without life and indeed dated.
The marketplace required a new type of animation... something with a whole new image. OKelly set out with this idea in mind to find the right marriage of visuals for his work. After several years of searching, he found his chief illustrator, an English man, Nicholas Price. They have been working together for the past 8 years. OKelly merely guides his illustrator through the original prototypes of the characterisations as they take shape on the drawing board. This particular relationship resulted in the worldwide success of Dr. Snuggles", now a bouncing hero for children between the ages of 3 and 12, increasing the teenage viewing market and not without its adult admirers as well.
The resulting conclusion is that, since the first day OKelly sat down to create his childrens characterisations, he has immersed himself in the creative business of multi-media world, and to those ends has structured the working plans for a creative empire.