Charles Nelson Reilly

Actor / Theater Director

Born: 13 January 1931
Died: 25 May 2007 (complications from pneumonia)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as:

The wackiest panelist on TV's Match Game

Charles Nelson Reilly was a cult figure among television game show fans, who especially savored his regular role on The Match Game. During the show's heyday in the 1970s, Charles Nelson Reilly was beloved for his campy wisecracks, flowery ascots, and barbed exchanges with fellow panelist Brett Somers. Reilly also played the comically wicked HooDoo on the offbeat 1970s Saturday morning series Lidsville. Despite his wacky TV reputation, Reilly fashioned a serious career as a theater actor and director: he won a 1962 Tony Award for his role in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and was nominated as a director for The Gin Game in 1997. He directed Julie Harris in The Belle of Amherst, a one-woman play about Emily Dickinson, in 1977. Reilly also did voice work for animated films including All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) and Rock A Doodle (1991). In the 1990s, Charles Nelson Reilly made a memorable appearance as author Jose Chung on the TV show The X-Files. In the 2000s he toured in a one-man show, Save It For the Stage: The Life of Reilly, which was the basis for a 2006 film, The Life of Reilly.

Extra credit:

Charles Nelson Reilly's co-stars on The Match Game included Richard Dawson and host Gene Rayburn... Internet rumors about a movie titled Charles Nelson Reilly Won't Die! are false -- they're the result of a 2001 April Fool's Day joke.

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More on Charles Nelson Reilly from Fact Monster:

  • Charles Nelson Reilly - Biography of Charles Nelson Reilly, Wacky panelist on TV's Match Game
  • Richard Dawson - Biography of Richard Dawson, The host of Family Feud
  • Gene Rayburn - Biography of Gene Rayburn, Host of TV's Match Game
  • Patty Duke - Biography of Patty Duke, Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker
  • Emily Dickinson - Biography of Emily Dickinson, The poet called "The Belle of Amherst"

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