Charles Nelson Reilly 1931-2007
A Broadway vet, the Bronx-born Reilly won a Tony in 1962 for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. But it was on TV that Reilly found his niche. In 1968 he had a recurring role in the sitcom The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and found regular gigs on variety, talk and children's shows for four decades. Still, Reilly never strayed far from the stage. In 1997 he was Tony-nominated for directing a revival of The Gin Game. "He'd done so much more than game shows," says close friend Paul Linke. "He was also an incredible teacher."
Openly gay in Hollywood throughout his career, Reilly—who is survived by his longtime partner, set decorator Patrick Hughes—also helped teach tolerance. "He was flamboyant at a time [when] that was so far ahead of the curve," says Linke. "He allowed people to feel better about themselves."
And laugh at the same time. "He was always, always funny," says pal Dom DeLuise. "He made you want to be his friend."