Veteran Broadway actor and TV show personality Charles Nelson Reilly, who was known to most as the face of long-running game show Match Game, died of complications from pneumonia over the weekend at the UCLA Medical Center.
He was 76 and is survived by his partner of more than 25 years, Patrick Hughes.
From the L.A. Times obit: “Reilly never tried to hide his homosexuality, and frequently cracked double-entendres on television about being gay. He got a job as a night mail boy at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and tried to get hired by NBC, but a producer told him ‘that they don’t allow queers on television,’ [the director of his one-man show Paul] Linke said. ‘Charles’ response was, ‘It didn’t bother me. I knew in my heart his words weren’t true,’ ‘ Linke said. Later, Reilly would count how many game show appearances he would make in a week — once it was 27 — and consider it his revenge.”
Here are a few clips in Reilly’s honor — one features Reilly on an episode of Match Game where he temporarily took over as host from Gene Rayburn. The other is a Match Game reunion. And the third is a trailer for The Life of Reilly, a film version of his one-man show, now playing around the country.