Charles Nelson Reilly Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (27)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in The Bronx, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from pneumonia)
Nicknames CNR
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Charles Nelson Reilly was born to Charles Joseph Reilly and Signe Elvera Nelson. His father was Irish-American and Catholic, his mother was Swedish-American and Lutheran. As a child he amused himself with improvised puppet theater performances.

He had a traumatic experience in 1944, when present for the Hartford circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut. A fire during a performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus killed 167 people and injured 700 people. While Reilly was one of the survivors, he was left with a life-long fear of fires. He never attended public performances of theater and circus again, as an audience member, for fear of another fire.

Reilly wanted to enter show business as a youth, and in particular to become an opera singer. He took lessons at the University of Hartford Hartt School, but eventually realized that his voice skills were inadequate. He turned to theater next, and debuted in film with a bit role in "A Face in the Crowd" (1957). During the late 1950s, Reilly appeared regularly in comic roles in theatrical performances Off Broadway.

In 1960, Reilly first gained critical attention, for a small but noteworthy part in Broadway musical "Bye Bye Birdie". In 1961, Reilly joined the cast of the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". He won his first Tony Award in 1962 for that performance. He kept appearing in Broadway shows for the rest of the decade.

As a notable actor, Reilly started making television appearances in the 1960s. He started as a guest in panel shows and as a player in television advertisements. He eventually gained a key role in the television series "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir", where he appeared from 1968 to 1970. In the 1970s, Reilly was a regular in game shows and children's series, such as "Match Game" and "Uncle Croc's Block".

In 1976, Reilly started teaching acting to others, while shifting his own career from acting to directing. He directed Broadway shows regularly and was nominated for a Tony Award for directing in 1997. He also directed a number television episodes. In the 1990s, he had guest roles in television series such as "X-Files" and "Millennium".

In the 2000s, Reilly was primarily known for the autobiographical play "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly", and for its film adaptation. While touring the United States, he developed respiratory problems which led to his retirement. His illness got worse, and he died due to pneumonia in 2007.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I Ntikoudis

Trade Mark (3)

Often cast by Don Bluth
Manic personality.

Trivia (27)

Partner of Patrice Hues. (1980 - 25 May 2007).
Was Dick Van Dyke's understudy in "Bye-Bye Birdie" on Broadway, where they met.
Appearing in his one man show at the Irish Repertory Theater in New York. (November 2001).
Earned a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role opposite Carol Channing in the original "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964.
Won Broadway's 1962 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for portraying Bud Frump in "How To Succeed In Business without Really Trying". Was also nominated in the same category in 1964 for "Hello, Dolly!". Also earned a 1997 Tony nomination as Best Director (Play) for working with longtime pal Julie Harris in the revival of "The Gin Game". Reilly previously directed Harris in her Tony-winning role as Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst (1976).
Reilly was a long-time teacher of acting at HB Studio, the acting studio created by Herbert Berghof and his wife Uta Hagen.
He was born in The Bronx, New York, but was raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He was the only child of a Swedish mother and an Irish father.
At age 13, he was in the audience during the Ringling Bros. Circus tent fire in Hartford, Connecticut on July 6, 1944, which claimed the lives of 168 people. The mother of his neighbor friend had taken the two boys to the show and the three managed to escape physically unharmed. Charles was saved by an older sister also in attendance, who lowered him from the side of the bleachers because the bottleneck below made it practically impossible to get out any other way. For the rest of his life, he had a fear of sitting in a large audience despite being a theater actor and director.
Alec Baldwin did a hilarious take-off on Reilly on a Saturday Night Live (1975) sketch in which he was being interviewed by an overly-fawning Inside the Actors Studio (1994) host James Lipton played by Will Ferrell.
In addition to his Tony win for "How to Succeed...", Reilly also won a New York Drama Critic's Award for the same role. Moreover, he was nominated again for a Tony for playing Cornelius Hackl in "Hello, Dolly!" opposite Carol Channing in 1964. In 1997 he received a third nomination for directing Julie Harris and Charles Durning in a revival of "The Gin Game".
Was a close friend of multiple Tony-winning actress Julie Harris, and directed her in many plays and one-woman shows (over 10), including "The Belle of Amherst". He met Harris while they were performing in the short-lived musical "Skyscraper" in 1965.
His final work was an autobiographical one-man show, "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly," about his family life growing up in the Bronx. The Life of Reilly (2006) was his last filmed project. He got the first part of the show's title from a patented remark his mother use to say to him when he said something clever. His longtime partner Patrice Hues was set designer for the film.
Reilly's openly gay TV persona was quite ahead of its time. He recalled a network executive telling him, "They don't let queers on television." In rebuttal, he was a game show fixture on such shows as The Match Game (1962) and The Hollywood Squares (Daytime) (1965); was a guest on the The Tonight Show (1962) with Johnny Carson more than 95 times; earned an Emmy nomination for his second-banana work on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1968) and appeared on Saturday morning children's shows such as Lidsville (1971).
Reilly was quite candid about the problems he had during the production of "Hello Dolly!", particularly with director Gower Champion and star Carol Channing. He did, however, have the benefit of playing opposite Eileen Brennan, who was playing the role of Irene Malloy, and later performed with her in a cabaret act.
An only child, his father, Charles Joseph Reilly, suffered a severe nervous breakdown when Charles was young and eventually had to be institutionalized. Charles and his mother, Signe Elvera Nelson, moved the two of them to Hartford, Connecticut, to live with his mother's Swedish relatives.
On stage from age 9 in a school play.
Once worked as a night mail boy at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
A very close friend of Burt Reynolds, Reilly moved to Florida in 1979 to teach at the Burt Reynolds Institute. He also ran an acting school in North Hollwyood and taught at the HB Studio headed by Herbert Berghof and wife Uta Hagen; among his students were Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Lily Tomlin and Christine Lahti.
'Weird Al' Yankovic created and performed a song about 'Charles Nelson Reilly' entitled "C.N.R." in 2009.
Along with Lance Henriksen, Brittany Tiplady and David Fredericks, he is one of only four actors to play the same character (Jose Chung) in both The X-Files (1993) and Millennium (1996).
Not only was he performing his one-man show "Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly", Charles was an acting coach at Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter, Florida, and he had directed many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. (Reilly and Reynolds had been friends for years). [April 2002]
While semi-retired and living in Beverly Hills, Charles occasionally directed opera, taught, and voiced cartoons (most recently "The Dirty Bubble" on SpongeBob SquarePants (1999)). The filmed version of his autobiographical one man play "The Life of Reilly" (The Life of Reilly (2006)) premiered at the South By Southwest film festival in March of 2006 to rave reviews. [May 2006]
He was known to be a very private person.
American satirical punk rock band The Dead Milkmen mention him several times in their song "Serrated Edge" on their 1985 album "Big Lizard in My Backyard.".
His nickname for his mother was Sugar.
He pronounces his mother's name as SIG-nee.

Personal Quotes (2)

When I die, it's going to read, "Game Show Fixture Passes Away". Nothing about the theater, or Tony Awards, or Emmys. But it doesn't bother me.
You can't do anything else once you do game shows. You have no career.

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