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Charles Nelson Riley

Everyone talks about Paul Lynde but no one mentions Charles Nelson Riley. He was funny.

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by Anonymousreply 103Last Wednesday at 4:05 AM

I use to love him on Johnny Carson

What a storyteller

by Anonymousreply 107/24/2020

His biopic will be released next year. Stars Matthew Perry.

by Anonymousreply 207/24/2020

I think some people still talk about Charles Nelson *Reilly*

by Anonymousreply 307/24/2020

Funny weird more than funny ha-ha.

by Anonymousreply 407/24/2020

Matthew Perry's fat enough to play the entire Match Game panel but nowhere near as funny as any of them.

by Anonymousreply 507/24/2020

He won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and co-starred with Carol Channing in the original "Hello, Dolly!" on Broadway. Besides his long stint on "Match Game", he was on "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" tv show, plus he taught at HB Studio in NY and was a noted director, who directed Julie Harris and Uta Hagen! He was an opera lover too -- one of the ushers at the Met once pointed him out to me after Reilly had entered a bit tipsily but being very friendly -- "Oh, there's Charles!" Unlike Paul Lynde, who apparently was banned from Northwestern for being an honoree based on past unpleasantness, Charles Nelson Reilly was fun and happy when he indulged in some cocktails.

by Anonymousreply 607/24/2020

Got to go backstage to meet him after a performance of Life of Reilly. Very kind man. Penny Singleton was in his dressing room that night too.

by Anonymousreply 707/24/2020

R6 All that, but you leave off the Sid and Marty Croft years?

by Anonymousreply 807/24/2020

Not to mention this?

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by Anonymousreply 907/24/2020

R8 Sorry, I was more into Witchiepoo and Jack WIld and that flute everyone was after.

by Anonymousreply 1007/24/2020

Go watch the "I've Got A Secret" (1972) episode with Charles Nelson Reilly, where Gene Rayburn and Richard Dawson and Nanette Fabray try to guess his secret.

by Anonymousreply 1107/24/2020

I tried to watch his One man Show, and it was endless, and shouty and made me sad.

by Anonymousreply 1207/24/2020

He and Billie Hayes should have done a lavender marriage.

by Anonymousreply 1307/24/2020

Riley, r3? You RILEY had to go there??

by Anonymousreply 1407/25/2020

r13 I thought he WAS married to Brett Somers.

by Anonymousreply 1507/25/2020

How comes he never did a Halloween special like homosexual leaning Paul Lynde and Vincent Price?

by Anonymousreply 1607/25/2020

I loved Charles Nelson Riley and Brett Somers on Match Game!

by Anonymousreply 1707/25/2020

He and Burt Reynolds were besties

by Anonymousreply 1807/25/2020

r16 Homosexual leaning Paul Lynde and Vincent Price? What the hell does that mean?

by Anonymousreply 1907/25/2020

R19 Well Scotty Bowers said he had him and his daughter called him bisexual.

by Anonymousreply 2007/25/2020

As a child, Reilly was present at the great circus fire of 1944. 167 people died because appropriate fireproofing materials had been diverted to the war effort so the Ringling Bros. bigtop tent had been weatherproofed with a mixture of wax and gasoline when it went up in flames.

He said once that loud applause and cheering always bothered him because the sounds brought back that day.

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by Anonymousreply 2107/25/2020

He was in my favorite X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space". and I've heard good things about the film of his one man show "The Life of Reilly".

by Anonymousreply 2207/25/2020

That laugh of his was cringe worthy

by Anonymousreply 2307/25/2020

R22 They lied.

by Anonymousreply 2407/25/2020

He was a very funny guy and reportedly a nice one too. He doesn't get talked about as much as Paul Lynde because Paul Lynde had that high profile job on Hollywood Squares and was said to be quite a son of a bitch.

by Anonymousreply 2507/25/2020

I want a Victor Buono biopic. I think he died the same week/year as Paul Lynde.

by Anonymousreply 2607/25/2020

CHARLES NELSON REILLY!!!!!!..........CHARLES NELSON REILLY!!!!!!.......crickets....

by Anonymousreply 2707/25/2020

He and Brennan got cast in Dolly because Champion was looking for some off kilter juvenile leads to give some kind edginess to the show.

by Anonymousreply 2807/25/2020

Know people who were friendly with him. A true comedic talent and good person - but apparently a hardcore alcoholic who could get nasty after a binge. Everyone who knew him has good stories and seemed to admire him despite having horror stories of alcoholic rages.

by Anonymousreply 2907/25/2020

Serrated Blade is about him:

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by Anonymousreply 3007/25/2020

In my waiter days i would semi regularly wait on him. He was nice , often chatty.. i have nothing else.

by Anonymousreply 3107/25/2020

Back in the 1970s when I had first moved to New York and was living in the Village, some friends took me to a very popular vanilla gay bar in Murray Hill. It was all very loud and convivial until two guys entered and sat at the bar ordering drinks and talking together.

Suddenly the noise went to a hush. I asked my friends what was going on. They told me that the two guys were Arthur Laurents and Charles Nelson Reilly. Two A List homosexuals had come into this local neighborhood bar! Of course, neither were out at the time.

I still don't whether the hush that ensued was some kind reverence for a distinguished A List pair of gays or whether everyone was just trying to eavesdrop on their conservation.

Whichever, that's all I've got.

by Anonymousreply 3207/26/2020

^ conversation, not conservation. Whichever.

by Anonymousreply 3307/26/2020

They talk about both of those two old bitches too much, if you ask me.

by Anonymousreply 3407/26/2020

Chuck was A List?

by Anonymousreply 3507/26/2020

Well it was just a local neighborhood gay bar yet everyone knew who he was. A List enough for that time and place I guess.

by Anonymousreply 3607/26/2020

if he was with the author of Gypsy and West Side Story he was certainly A List adjacent that night.

by Anonymousreply 3707/26/2020

R22 That is one of the greatest episodes of television ever!

by Anonymousreply 3807/26/2020

Reilly was a nationally known gay man with a Tony. Definitely A list in a local bar.

by Anonymousreply 3907/26/2020

He might have been a nice guy or drunk as some have described him, but I am sorry, not funny or particularly talented. Visually repugnant and mildly flamboyant, he was really the gay version of an Uncle Tom that Hollywood would allow to receive a bottom tier award.

by Anonymousreply 4007/26/2020

Knew someone who met him once casually. Reported he was very nice. Don't know about the drunk part but his niceness seems to be regularly reported on.

by Anonymousreply 4107/26/2020

You don't know what an Uncle Tom is, R40, if you think Reilly was one.

by Anonymousreply 4207/26/2020

And the Tony is the last thing from a bottom tier award.

by Anonymousreply 4307/26/2020

[quote]Reilly was a nationally known gay man with a Tony. Definitely A list in a local bar.

One single award for being a stage queen does not make you "A" list. You have low standards if you think it dose. Hot guys were not flocking over to hang with Charles Nelson Rieley when he walked into a gay bar even back then.

by Anonymousreply 4407/26/2020

So having hot guys flock over you is what makes you A list?


by Anonymousreply 4507/26/2020

I used to watch reruns of the Ghost & Mrs.muir when i was a little kid in the 70s. CNR was the best part of the show. On The Match Game he was a delight. Always liked him more than cranky sniveling Paul Lynde.

by Anonymousreply 4607/26/2020

A list is a superficial concept R45 so yes, if hot guys are not flocking over to see you chances are you are D list. There is no actual list like that in Hollywood that officially ranks people. It's purely opinion by star fuckers.

I didn't the the A list thing. But if you are going to bring it up and state how important he was, then I am going to shoot it down and show how ridiculous it is to even rank him as such.

by Anonymousreply 4707/26/2020

I never said he was important. I said things went quiet in a local neighborhood gay bar when he came in with Arthur Laurents. I also said I thought maybe people just wanted to listen in their conversation, which I think likely.

But yes, he actually was a big deal in the NYC gay community in the 1970s. Successful closeted gay, nationally known from TV and with the stamp of Tony approval. I don't care if you like him, I didn't all that much myself, but he was a big deal whether you realize it or not. You weren't there.

by Anonymousreply 4807/26/2020

Ignore the troll, r48. He’s one of those miserable people who comes here to upset people and shit all over threads that others are enjoying.

by Anonymousreply 4907/26/2020

Thanks, Billy.

by Anonymousreply 5007/26/2020

I groped the clothed hard-on of CNR's partner Pat Hughes' former partner.

That's all I've got.

by Anonymousreply 5107/26/2020

How pathetic if that was gay life in NYC back then. Sounds as dreary and self loathing as Boys in the Band. Why are old gays so nostalgic about NYC during the 70's? It doesn't sound like it was all that they make it out to be.

by Anonymousreply 5207/26/2020


It must have been horrible for young CNR to have experienced that circus tent fire; he was obviously scared to some extent for life.

It really amazes me sometimes how stupid people were back then; but 1940's also was a time when housewives and others were using gasoline to "dry clean" at home so that tells you something.

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by Anonymousreply 5307/26/2020

Girls, girls, you’re both D-listers, now move on!

by Anonymousreply 5407/26/2020

He was no Witchiepoo.

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by Anonymousreply 5507/26/2020

But I came to appreciate Merlo the Magician after he teamed up with Witchiepoo.

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by Anonymousreply 5607/26/2020

Not to wander off topic, but only now can I appreciate how utterly insane and hallucinatory that show was.

by Anonymousreply 5707/26/2020

Upon further research it must have been ghastly for CNR, and like many survivors of disasters he never forgot what details of that tragic event.

"The Hartford Circus Fire ended up killing over 160 people and injuring hundreds more, most of them women and children. Reilly and his friend were able to leap off the bleachers and escape without harm, but later in life, while filming a one-man autobiographical play, Reilly described in detail the horror of seeing children wandering the scene with burned, mutilated faces. The incident so traumatized Reilly that in spite of his lifelong love of acting and the theater, he himself never sat in an audience again, claiming that being part of a large crowd reminded him of that terrible day in 1944. An actor famous for making people smile, secretly haunted by a childhood tragedy in Hartford, remembered on this day in Connecticut history."

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by Anonymousreply 5807/26/2020

I would like to see Ryan Murphy tackle the Hartford Circus Fire in a limited run series.

by Anonymousreply 5907/26/2020

OT slightly but I've known the Reilly circus fire story for many years and it always reminded me of a Titanic survivor who ended up in Chicago near Wrigley Field. Eventually she had to move because the screaming and yelling from the ball field after a successful play or home run would make her think of the screaming and yelling from the water for nearly an hour after the ship sank and she finally could no longer take it.

by Anonymousreply 6007/26/2020

[quote] Arthur Laurents and Charles Nelson Reilly. Two A List homosexuals had come into this local neighborhood bar! Of course, neither were out at the time.

CNR was never “in.”

And he wasn’t closeted, either. Things like that weren’t discussed then, but like Paul Lynde, everyone knew.

by Anonymousreply 6107/26/2020

R45, you’re arguing with an idiot who insists the proper spelling of does is “dose.”

Don’t bother.

by Anonymousreply 6207/26/2020

Paul Lynde had a team of writers for all of his jokes on Hollywood Squares, Charles totally ad libbed all those years on Match Game

by Anonymousreply 6307/26/2020

Not funny at all. Probably tortured inside.

by Anonymousreply 6407/26/2020

He needed balance with the off-kilter leading lady, r28, not for edge.

by Anonymousreply 6507/26/2020

[quote]I thought he WAS married to Brett Somers.

R15 Brett was hilarious. She was married to Jack Klugman.

by Anonymousreply 6607/26/2020

CNR was one of those gays who didn't need to make a formal announcement; everyone knew.....

Was same with the bitter and twisted Paul Lynde, but CNR was much nicer IMHO, at least he didn't go around throwing his dates off balconies.

by Anonymousreply 6707/26/2020

Several people upthread mentioned CNR's appearance on the X-Files in Jose Chung's From Outer Space. That episode included a rare acting appearance by Alex Trebek as Man in Black #2. Jesse Ventura was Man in Black #1. It was a great episode and CNR was excellent.

by Anonymousreply 6807/26/2020

Alec Baldwin did a hilarious impression of him on SNL.

by Anonymousreply 6907/26/2020

He might have been nicer than Paul but probably the most boring guy at the party.

by Anonymousreply 7007/26/2020

I'd take nice over bitchy queen any day of the week.

Sadly have endured the company on more than a few occasions in life of bitchy drunk nasty queen. At some point if you cannot make your excuses and leave you want to either punch their teeth out, or wrap your hands around throat and keep squeezing until they die......

Friends of Paul Lynde do say if kept away from the sauce he was very nice and more pleasant to be around. From what one has read and is given to understand however PL got more bitter and disillusioned with his life, career, Hollywood, etc.. as he got older, hence more drinking.

by Anonymousreply 7107/26/2020

Both PL and CNR suffered same issues with their careers and television and films; the suits would only consider them for certain roles because everyone knew they were gay. According to his good friend Kaye Ballard this really bothered Paul Lynde as he wanted to do other things besides what he was offered. His few film roles like "The Rabbit Test" were pretty much same ole Paul Lynde shtick.

CNR OTOH while loved Match Game said it cramped his style in terms of getting work in the theater which he loved. With a distance of 3000 miles between New York and LA one couldn't always do both. To CNR's credit however unlike PL he was able to get plenty of work doing what he enjoyed, theater and opera.

by Anonymousreply 7207/26/2020

I had friends in college who worked with him in summer stock in Glorida (it might have been the Mr. Burt Teynold DinnervThestre), they said he was the nicest and most professional man in the business but was easily taken advantage oI’ve always liked him.

by Anonymousreply 7307/26/2020

I think r73 needs an MRI!

by Anonymousreply 7407/26/2020

[quote]He needed balance with the off-kilter leading lady, [R28], not for edge. —Anonymous

Reilly did not play opposite Channing, r65, David Burns did that. Reilly played opposite the original Mary Sunshine Eileen Brennan. The contrast was to be between the traditional older couple, Channing and Burns, with the eccentric younger couple, Reilly and Brennan. That is not what is expected in a traditional musical comedy. In most latter major productions, Jerry Herman had ultimate control over casting and always chose traditional juveniles, not eccentrics.

juveniles in this context does not mean simply young. It is a theatrical term for when there is an older leading couple and a younger supporting couple. The younger characters are called the juveniles. Herman wrote the parts for stereotypical pairs but Champion wanted to surprise the audience by breaking the stereotypes.

by Anonymousreply 7507/26/2020

Reilly apparently was a very good acting coach, a director and maintained long friendships with a lot of people in show business. Lynde--not so much. Both of them survived partly on dinner theater and the straw hat circuit. I think both did voice work which is how they would have managed if they were active now.

by Anonymousreply 7607/26/2020

Channing was *not* a traditional leading lady, r75. The entire original production was painted in broad strokes.

by Anonymousreply 7707/26/2020

Ditto R73. The Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater must have a million stories. Have met lots of gay guys who were there in the mid-80s who met CNR and loved him. And watched the Burt/Loni drama. Heard only good things about CNR.

by Anonymousreply 7807/26/2020

[quote]Mr. Burt Teynold DinnervThestre

Hey buddy, you okay?

by Anonymousreply 7907/27/2020

Simply put the man was a treasure.

Thank you Charles Nelson Reilly, you were loved and are missed.

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by Anonymousreply 8007/27/2020

What did he say about George Maharis' cock?

by Anonymousreply 8107/27/2020

r81 You'll have to ask Merv about that.

by Anonymousreply 8207/27/2020

Does anybody remember him being brought on as a co-host on "Dinah!" for its final year? The other thread about Dick Van Dyke's ill-fated stint on the final season of Carol Burnett reminded me.

One of the absolute worst, most cringeworthy things I've ever seen on TV was CNR and Dinah attempting to perform Steve Martin's "King Tut", a novelty hit that really only worked within the Steve Martin persona. It seemed like they hadn't rehearsed it at all, didn't know the song well enough to perform it, let alone understand it or why it was funny, and it was a disaster from start to finish. Two seasoned pros with probably a century of performing experience between them, and they couldn't salvage what was a terrible idea to begin with. I've looked for clips of it on YouTube to see if it was as bad as I remember, but there are none.

by Anonymousreply 8307/31/2020


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by Anonymousreply 8407/31/2020

"One of the absolute worst, most cringeworthy things I've ever seen on TV was CNR and Dinah attempting to perform Steve Martin's "King Tut", a novelty hit that really only worked within the Steve Martin persona. "

Oh my God. Whose idea was THAT? It seems so insane. But then again maybe not. Dinah Shore did a version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" on her show, too. Or that's what I heard. That must have been surreal.

by Anonymousreply 8507/31/2020

I'm a fan. HIs one-man show, Life of Reilly, is fantastic -ignore the troll. It's autobiographical, and a history of show business at the same time. He was a great storyteller. After his early successes as a stage actor he became a successful director of operas and musicals in regional theaters.

by Anonymousreply 8607/31/2020

Reilly was a genius.

by Anonymousreply 8707/31/2020

CNR said that when an NBC exec told him they “don’t let queers on television” he decided to get on as many TV shows as he could in revenge, which explains some of his more dubious career choices:

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by Anonymousreply 8807/31/2020

R88, that show looks fun. With Dr. Smith from Lost in Space! OMG!

by Anonymousreply 8907/31/2020

[quote]—Oranges Smoranges, who cares?

I believe you mean "Oranges, Boranges, who cares?"

I must defend the classics!

by Anonymousreply 9007/31/2020

Oops, apparently it's "Oranges Poranges, who cares?"

All these years I've been wrong!

by Anonymousreply 9107/31/2020

I had a crush on Dr Smith when I was a gayling.

by Anonymousreply 9208/01/2020

Ewww r92 why? Daddy issues? I mean come on, there were two other hot men on that show and Dr. Smith was not one of them. Unless of course you were turned on by his constant back problems and The Pain!

by Anonymousreply 9308/03/2020

OP, Charles has a message for you

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by Anonymousreply 9408/03/2020

That video R88 is cringe worthy. I want my 2 minutes back.

by Anonymousreply 9508/03/2020

Charles will always hold a special place in my heart for going out of his way to get me house seats for the Broadway revival he directed of "The Gin Game" starring his very good friends Julie Harris and Charles Durning. Afterwards, I got to go backstage. He found out I was going to NY (from LA), and called me to let me know whom to contact about the tickets. I knew him as a customer from a store I worked at in West Hollywood. A very kind man who always gladly spoke with people who approached him.

by Anonymousreply 9608/03/2020

R93 He was poignant

by Anonymousreply 9708/03/2020

I’ve also heard nothing but good things about him. Not a bitter old queen. Kind to people. Not a horn dog trying to sleep with every young star struck gay kid. But could occasionally get nasty when really drunk.

by Anonymousreply 9808/03/2020

R96, what store in WEHO?

by Anonymousreply 9908/03/2020

He had a wonderful one man show late in life called, “I’m not dead yet”. It was wonderful

by Anonymousreply 10008/04/2020

He'll have to change the title now!

by Anonymousreply 10108/04/2020


by Anonymousreply 10208/04/2020

Sucks to be dead

by Anonymousreply 103Last Wednesday at 4:05 AM
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