David Edward Kelley proved, as a writer and producer of such television shows as “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Legal,” and “The Practice,” that lawyers could be smart, sexy, interesting — and get high ratings.
Kelley, who will be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in Los Angeles next month, was born in Maine and raised in Belmont, the son of legendary New England Whaler and Boston University hockey coach Jack Kelley.
David played the sport himself at Belmont Hill School and at Princeton, where he was captain and a 1979 graduate. After earning his law degree from BU and beginning a law career, his big break came when a legal thriller he was working on became the 1987 movie “From the Hip,” starring Judd Nelson.
The movie wasn’t a success, but his screenplay caught the attention of Steven Bochco, the producer of “L.A. Law,” who made him a writer and story editor in 1986. Kelley became the show’s executive producer when Bochko left in 1989.
In 1992, Kelley and Bochko created “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Kelley then started his own production company, with such television shows as “Picket Fences” and “Chicago Hope.”
It hasn’t been all roses for Kelley. None of his four movies were hits, and he hasn’t had the same level of success in TV in recent years. However, last fall “The Crazy Ones,” starring Robin Williams, was picked up by CBS for a full season.
He married actress Michelle Pfeiffer in 1993 and they have two children.