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Charles Nelson Reilly

From Academic Kids

Charles Nelson Reilly (born January 13, 1931) is an American actor, director and drama teacher best known for his comedic roles in movies, children's television, and animated cartoons. He has achieved somewhat of a cult status for the good-natured zaniness of his characters. His signature chuckle is easily recognizable to his fans, and has been parodied and imitated.

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Biography

Reilly was born in the Bronx, New York in 1931. In 1944, at the age of 13, Reilly became a survivor of the Hartford Circus Fire in Hartford, Connecticut.

Reilly made his first movie appearance in 1957, playing an uncredited role in the Elia Kazan film A Face in the Crowd. However, most of his work during this period was on the stage, as he appeared in many off-Broadway shows. His big Broadway break came in 1960, with a minor part in the hit Bye Bye Birdie. Reilly would go on to win a coveted Tony Award for his performance in 1962's How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and he was nominated for another Tony two years later, for his work in Hello, Dolly!.

While he kept active in Broadway shows, Reilly would soon become better known for his TV work. In 1965, he made regular appearances as himself on The Steve Lawrence Show, which aired for a single season. From 1968 to 1970, he appreared as Claymore Gregg on the television series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir.

In 1971, he appeared as the evil magician "Hoodoo" in Lidsville, a psychedelically-flavored live-action children's program produced by Sid and Marty Krofft that aired on Saturday mornings on NBC. The show was about a boy who falls into a magician's hat. It is through these roles, as well as his playing the titular role in Uncle Croc's Block, that Reilly's voice and mannerisms were embedded in a generation of young fans.

During the 1970s, Reilly was perhaps best known for his appearances as a celebrity panelist on the television game show Match Game.

In the 1990s Reilly made guest appearances as eccentric writer Jose Chung in the television series The X-Files ("Jose Chung's From Outer Space") and Millennium ("Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense").

Filmography

Television roles

Cult status

Reilly is referenced in the song "I Like Hubcaps," featured on The Brak Album by Brak. Additionally, he is mentioned in the song "Serrated Edge" by the Dead Milkmen. A sample of him playing Hoodoo on Lidsville is used by Marilyn Manson in the song "Dope Hat".

Reilly was parodied by Alec Baldwin in a sketch on Saturday Night Live.

Though he has never publicly acknowledged that he is gay, nor denied it, part of Reilly's popularity stems from his caustic, stereotypically gay public persona. He is somewhat of a gay icon, frequently referenced in gay-themed books, films and television programs.

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