Other Notable Deaths


May 29, 2007

CHARLES NELSON REILLY, 76 Actor, comedian

Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on The Tonight Show and various game shows, died of complications from pneumonia Friday in Los Angeles.

Mr. Reilly began his career in New York City, appearing on Broadway in 1962 as Bud Frump in the original Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The role won Mr. Reilly a Tony Award.

He was nominated for a Tony again for playing Cornelius in Hello, Dolly! In 1997 he received a nomination for directing Julie Harris and Charles Durning in a revival of The Gin Game.

After moving to Hollywood in the 1960s he appeared as the nervous Claymore Gregg on the TV series The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and as a featured guest on The Dean Martin Show.

He gained fame by becoming what he described as a "game show fixture" in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a regular on programs like Match Game and Hollywood Squares.

His larger-than-life persona and affinity for double-entendres also landed him on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson more than 95 times.

Mr. Reilly's openly gay television persona was ahead of its time, and sometimes stood in his way. He recalled a network executive telling him, "They don't let queers on television."

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