Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Very Sissy Man: Charles Nelson Reilly
Charles Nelson Reilly
January 13, 1931 - May 25, 2007
Charles Nelson Reilly, with his unique throaty, chortle and large framed glasses, often sported a scarf fashionably knotted around his neck. Were he and Paul Lynde separated at birth? Both made names for themselves on Broadway in Bye, Bye, Birdie, Reilly as Dick Van Dyke s understudy. (Reilly also won a Tony for his part in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.) From there it was continued popularity on a variety of television shows (including a co-starring stint on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir). Finally, also like Lynde, in the ‘70s and ‘80s he became a popular (and the longest-running) guest on a game show, in this case The Match Game. Unlike Lynde, he wasn’t bitter about it. “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.”
Reilly also directed and taught theater, and performed an autobiographical one-man show. But in the biggest difference between he and Paul Lynde, Reilly was actually enjoying himself, onscreen and off. “The thing that’s funny is that everyone thinks I m dead.” It must have been that personality which made him a guest on the Tonight Show 95 times.
SISSY METER: 9
at 1:07 PM