The world lost a gay icon on Friday when Tony Award winning actor Charles Nelson Reilly died after a long illness. Reilly gained early fame back in 1962, when he won the best actor Tony for his role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Though he loved working on Broadway, Reilly couldn’t resists the West and headed out to Los Angeles, where he made dozens of bawdy appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and yucked it up on The Match Game, where his over-sized glasses and ascots made him a household name.
While America may have loved Reilly’s quirky sense of humor, producers and directors began to question the actor’s talent. He told The Advocate in 2001, “You can’t do anything else once you do game shows. You have no career.”
Perhaps, Reilly must have forgotten his Tony nomination for directing 1997’s production of The Gin Game.
See what Reilly, Betty White and Brett Somers reflecting on their experience The Match Game, after the jump…