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Paula Kelly, star of 'Night Court' and 'Women of Brewster Place,' dead at 77

In addition to her Emmy-nominated roles, Kelly was also an accomplished dancer, choreographer and singer.

Paula Kelly, an actress who played a public defender on the 1980s NBC sitcom "Night Court" and the ABC miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place," died Saturday at the age of 77.

Kelly died at a care facility in California, according to the Washington Post. She had been struggling with her health. Deadline reports she died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,

Kelly earned an Emmy nomination in 1984 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, playing public defender Liz Williams on "Night Court." She appeared only in the show's first season.

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Kelly received another Emmy nomination, playing one of TV's first black lesbian characters in "The Women of Brewster Place," a two-night miniseries in 1989. 

She also had appearances on a number of TV sitcoms and dramas, and had roles in such films as "The Andromeda Strain," "Soylent Green," and "Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored."

In addition to her TV and film credits, Kelly was also an accomplished dancer, choreographer and singer. She appeared in 1969 film adaptation of "Sweet Charity," dancing on a rooftop alongside Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera. The acclaimed choreographer Bob Fosse once called her "the best dancer I’ve ever seen," according to the Washington Post.