Last Updated: July 1, 2024
Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Jan 13, 1931 - May 25, 2007 (76 years old)
South Bronx
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Comedian, Actor, Film director, Voice Actor, Teacher, Theatre Director, Television Director
United States of America
💰 Compare Charles Nelson Reilly's Net Worth

What Was Charles Nelson Reilly's Net Worth?

Charles Nelson Reilly was an American actor, comedian, director, and drama teacher who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death in 2007. Charles Nelson Reilly performed in the original Broadway casts of "Bye Bye Birdie," "Hello, Dolly!," and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," for which he won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also directed Broadway productions of "The Belle of Amherst," "Break a Leg," "The Nerd," and "The Gin Game." A recording of his autobiographical one-man play "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly" was adapted into a 2006 independent film. Charles was known for playing Claymore Gregg on the NBC/ABC sitcom "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" (1968–1970) and Horatio J. HooDoo on the ABC Saturday morning show "Lidsville" (1971–1973) and for appearing on game shows such as "$10,000 Pyramid," "Password Plus," "Super Password," "Match Game," and "The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour."

Reilly had more than 70 acting credits to his name, including the films "The Tiger Makes Out" (1967), "Cannonball Run II" (1984), and "The First of May" (1998) and the television series "Car 54, Where Are You?" (1962–1963), "Arnie" (1971–1972), and "The Drew Carey Show" (1998–1999). He lent his voice to the animated films "All Dogs Go to Heaven" (1989), "Rock-a-Doodle" (1991), and "Babes in Toyland" (1997) and the TV shows "Uncle Croc's Block" (1975–1976), "Space Cats" (1992–1993), "The Pink Panther" (1993), and "All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series" (1996–1999). Charles also directed four episodes of "Evening Shade" in the early '90s. Reilly passed away on May 25, 2007 from pneumonia at the age of 76. Before his death, his latest claim to fame in the internet era was when he achieved notoriety among the internet generation (many of whom had never even heard of "Match Game," let alone any of Reilly's acting work) by being the subject of a death hoax, even going so far as to pose for a humorous photograph with a newspaper proclaiming his "death."

Early Life

Charles Nelson Reilly was born on January 13, 1931, in New York City. His mother, Signe Elvera Nelson, was a Swedish Lutheran, and his father, Charles Joseph Reilly, was Irish-Catholic. During his youth, Charles began creating puppet theater to amuse himself, and his mother would tell him to "save it for the stage." When Reilly was 13 years old, he was attending the Hartford Circus when a fire broke out during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance. More than 160 people were killed, and Charles subsequently became afraid to sit in an audience. He rarely attended theatrical performances because large crowds reminded him of the terrifying incident, and when he did have to attend that type of event, he preferred to sit in the back of the balcony or the back of the house, where it would be easier to reach an exit. After developing a love of opera, Reilly decided that he wanted to pursue a career as an opera singer. He enrolled at the Hartt School of Music to study voice, but he decided against this career path when he realized that he didn't have the natural voice talent for be a successful opera singer. However, he remained passionate about opera throughout his life and frequently appeared on opera-themed radio shows, such as Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. Charles also directed opera productions for the San Diego Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Santa Fe Opera, Portland Opera, and Dallas Opera.



Most of Reilly's early acting career took place on the stage. In the early '50s, he was a regular performer at Missouri's Starlight Theatre, and he appeared in numerous Off Broadway productions. He made his Broadway debut in "Bye Bye Birdie" in 1960, and he went on to star in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1961–1965), "Hello, Dolly!" (1964–1970), "Skyscraper" (1965–1966), "God's Favorite" (1974–1975), and "Charlotte" (1980). In 1957, Charles had an uncredited role in the film "A Face in the Crowd," then he appeared in 1967's "The Tiger Makes Out" and guest-starred on "Car 54, Where Are You?" (1962–1963) and "The Patty Duke Show" (1963). From 1968 to 1970, he starred as Claymore Gregg on the NBC/ABC sitcom "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir," and from 1971 to 1973, he had a recurring role as Randy Robinson on the CBS sitcom "Arnie."  In the '70s, he also starred as Horatio J. HooDoo on the Saturday morning TV show "Lidsville" (1971–1973), voiced the title character on the live-action/animated series "Uncle Croc's Block" (1975–1976), and appeared on game shows such as "$10,000 Pyramid," "Match Game," "Password Plus," and "Super Password." From 1980 to 1982, Reilly voiced Frank Frankenstone on NBC's "The Flintstone Comedy Show," then he appeared in the films "Cannonball Run II" (1984) and "Body Slam" (1987) and provided the voice of Mr. Toad in the TV movie "The Wind in the Willows" (1987) and Killer in the film "All Dogs Go to Heaven" (1989). He reprised the role of Killer in "An All Dogs Christmas Carol" (1998) and "All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series" (1996–1999).

In the '90s, Charles guest-starred on "Designing Women" (1992), "The Larry Sanders Show" (1996), "The X-Files" (1996), "Family Matters" (1996), "Millennium" (1997), and "The Drew Carey Show" (1998–1999) and appeared in the film "The First of May" (1998). He also voiced D.O.R.C. (Disembodied Omnipotent Ruler of Cats) on "Space Cats" (1992–1993) and Jules Parrot on "The Pink Panther" (1993) and did voice work in the films "Rock-a-Doodle" (1991), "A Troll in Central Park" (1994), and "Babes in Toyland" (1997). Next, he appeared in the 2002 short film "Gaydar" and voiced Red Parrot Stan in the 2006 direct-to-video movie "Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers." Charles taught acting at Manhattan's HB Studio, where his students included Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. Reilly spent his later years touring the United States directing opera and theatrical productions and starring in his one-man show, "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly," which was adapted into the 2006 film "The Life of Reilly."

Charles Nelson Reilly

Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Personal Life

Charles revealed that he was gay in his 2000 one-man play "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly." Until his death, he lived in Beverly Hills with his domestic partner, set decorator and dresser Patrick Hughes, who he met backstage at the game show "Battlestars." During most of his successful years on television, Charles seemingly had a full head of hair, but he was actually bald and wore a toupée for his TV appearances in the '70s and '80s. In the late '90s, he stopped wearing the toupée. During the filming of "Match Game '74, Reilly had to travel to New York City to have his toupée adjusted, and for several subsequent episodes, he wore different hats because his toupée was still in NYC.

Illness and Death

While filming "The Life of Reilly" in 2004, Charles suffered from respiratory problems, leading him to retire from performing and directing after he finished shooting the project. He canceled his planned appearance at the 2006 South by Southwest film festival, where the movie premiered, and he had been hospitalized by the time "The Life of Reilly" premiered. On May 25, 2007, Charles passed away at the UCLA Medical Center due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 76. He was cremated, and his ashes were given to his partner, Patrick Hughes.

Awards and Nominations

Reilly earned three Tony nominations, winning for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" in 1962. He was nominated in that category for "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964, and he received a Best Direction of a Play nomination for "The Gin Game" in 1997. For "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly," he earned a Drama Desk Award nomination and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Charles also received three Primetime Emmy nominations: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy for "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" (1970), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for "Millennium" (1998), and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for "The Drew Carey Show" (1999).

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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