Monday, May 28, 2007
Charles Nelson Reilly - RIP
Late yesterday, I learned that noted comedian, actor (Broadway's Hello Dolly and television's "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" to name a couple) and -- yes -- director Charles Nelson Reilly died at the age of 76. Despite the picture above, he was anything but boring.
While younger audiences would be forgiven for thinking of him as his latter-day caricature of himself from game shows like "Match Game," I remember him best for his brilliance as a director, including his debut at the helm for The Belle Of Amherst with the incomparable Julie Harris.
I saw the one-woman show about poet Emily Dickinson starring one of theatre's most celebrated actresses when it toured Milwaukee's Pabst Theatre sometime around 1980. My recollection is of being in awe of theatrical royalty, yet I was also struck by the fact that here was this man -- of whom I had always thought was just plain silly -- who was now directing such a fine piece of theatre.
It certainly served as one of my earliest, formative theatre experiences that I still fondly remember to this day. Of course, I realize that it was in part because of Charles Nelson Reilly. For more about his contributions to theatre, check out the obituary from Playbill.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).