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Charles Nelson Reilly


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Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

'Match Game's' Reilly Dies at 76

TV personality also won a Tony

By Valerie J. Nelson

May 29, 2007


Charles Nelson Reilly

From the Los Angeles Times

Charles Nelson Reilly, whose persona as a wacky game show panelist and talk show guest overshadowed his serious work as a director and Tony-winning actor, has died. He was 76.

Reilly, a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, died Friday (May 25) of complications from pneumonia at UCLA Medical Center, said Paul Linke, who directed Reilly's one-man show "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly."

"The average person thinks of him as being on 'The Match Game.' That was a mixed blessing for him," Linke told The Times on Monday. "One of the reasons I was so motivated to get his show out there was because I wanted people to recognize that this was a heavyweight talent."

When a Times reporter visited his home in 2000, Reilly displayed an opera review that referred to him as "Charles Nelson Reilly of 'Hollywood Squares' fame."

"It's like a scarlet letter," Reilly yowled in his high-pitched, nasal voice.

Wearing his trademark ascot and oversized glasses, Reilly made a near-record 97 appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," often making ribald ripostes.

After a "Tonight Show" guest who was talking about Shakespeare dismissed Reilly's attempt to join the conversation, he silenced her by delivering Hamlet's "the play's the thing" monologue straight, with depth and passion, the New York Observer reported in 2001.

He broke through on Broadway in 1961, winning a Tony for playing the insidious nephew Bud Frump in the original production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Reilly also received Tony nominations for his role in "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964 and for directing a revival of "The Gin Game" with Julie Harris in 1997.

Reilly often directed plays that starred Harris, including "The Belle of Amherst," a 1977 one-woman play about Emily Dickinson that remained one of his proudest achievements.

"He's a wonderful actor but never gets enough chance to do it," Harris told The Times in 2000. "He's taught me a lot about theater. It's his insight into the personal idiosyncrasies of human beings. He's attuned to small details

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GSN To Honor Charles Nelson Reilly With Match Game Marathon

Charles Nelson Reilly, the celebrated stage, screen and television star, will be honored by GSN on Saturday, June 2 for his work as one of the most beloved celebrity game show panelists ever to grace the small screen. In honor of Reilly

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