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Charles Nelson Reilly Biography

Birth Place:
Bronx, New York, United States

Fast Facts

  • Father worked as a graphic artist, designing billboards for Paramount in New York, and was once offered a job by Walt Disney to work for Disney in California
  • Survivor of the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire, when a fire broke out under the big tent during a performance of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, claiming the lives of 168 people and injuring more than 1,000
  • Studied under Uta Hagen for nine years, following her to the HB Studio, where his classmates included Jack Lemmon, Jon Voight, Steve McQueen and Jerry Stiller; later returned to the school to teach
  • Made his Broadway debut in the original 1960 cast of Bye Bye Birdie in a bit part and as a standby for lead Dick Van Dyke
  • Regularly occupied the top right seat on the classic game show Match Game
  • Taught acting at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre for several years, and counted the actor as one of his best friends
  • His one-man show, Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly, premiered in 1999


  • 1970Emmy-Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy: nominated


  • Charles Joseph Reilly -- Father
  • Signe Elvera Reilly -- Mother
  • Patrick Hughes -- Significant Other