CHARLES NELSON REILLY, American actor was born on this date (d. 2007); An American actor, comedian, director and drama teacher known for his comedic roles in movies, children’s television, animated cartoons and as a panelist on the game show Match Game. Reilly did not publicly proclaim his sexuality until his one-man show Save It for the Stage.
However, much like fellow game-show regular Paul Lynde of the same era, Reilly played up a campy on-screen persona. In many episodes of Match Game, he would lampoon himself by briefly affecting a deep voice and self-consciously describing how “butch” he was. He mentioned in a 2002 interview with Entertainment Tonight that he felt no need to note this and that he never purposefully hid his sexuality from anyone.
Patrick Hughes III, a set decorator and dresser, was Reilly’s domestic partner; the two met backstage while Reilly was appearing on the game show Battlestars. They lived in Beverly Hills. This writer had the privilege of traveling with Reilly, who was this writer’s MFA. mentor, when he toured withThe Belle of Amherst, that he directed with Julie Harris in the role of Emily Dickenson. He was a kind and generous friend.
On May 25, 2007, Reilly died at his home from complications from pneumonia after a year-long illness.