Published at: May 28, 2007, 5:56 p.m. CST by quint
Hey guys. Quint here. I must admit, I have an addiction. A bad one. I was first hooked when they began selling it to kids in the '80s. It started off small and harmless, but Nickelodeon acted as a gateway drug.
I started with Double Dare and Nick Arcade and Finders Keepers. That led me to The Price Is Right, Supermarket Sweep, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Password, $25,000 Pyramid and Wheel of Fortune. In my teenage years I broke my addiction, but then a new pusher came into town offering unsurpassed quantities of my drug of choice. Game Show Network.
That's where I met Charles Nelson Reilly.
For the last five years or so, I've been watching the seemingly endless episodes of Match Game, which featured him on most episodes. The game, if you don't know it, had two people competing for cash prizes. They were given a sentence like Mad Libs, where you had to fill in a blank. They guessed a word to put in there and the object was to guess the word that the celebrity panel would pick.
There were 6 people on this panel and Charles Nelson Reilly was almost always one of them, sitting in the top right. He always stood out to me. Not for his huge glasses or his flashy clothes. That was all surface stuff. What really made me notice him was his sense of humor. He loved pushing the envelope and loved testing the limits of 70s daytime TV. His sexual innuendos and barbed play fights with Brett Somers always made me laugh.
I also caught him on Hollywood Squares quite a lot and his attitude was the same. Have fun and throw everything else out the window.
This is how I knew Charles Nelson Reilly, but it's by no means the extent of his life. He's also a Tony award winning actor and he also directed for the stage quite a bit. He was one of the first openly gay men in TV and his persistence paved the way for acceptance.
He was HooDoo on Lidsville, he made an uncredited appearance in Elia Kazan's A FACE IN THE CROWD and he appeared all over television, from Laugh-In to The Larry Sanders Show to The Love Boat to The Drew Carrey Show to The X-Files.
In movies, he added his voice to ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS and appeared in CANNONBALL RUN II.
He died last Friday, at the age of 76, due to complications from pneumonia.
You will be missed, sir. My thoughts are with Mr. Reilly's friends, family and fans.