Irish Film Institute -The Life Of Reilly

The Life Of Reilly

Director: Barry Poltermann & Frank Anderson

USA 2006| 90 mins

Decades before Queer as Folk or Will and Grace, there was Charles Nelson Reilly. A fixture for decades in comedies, talk-shows, and most notably, American game shows like The Match Game, Reilly was one of the few visible gay men who appeared on television. But Reilly’s impressive career goes far beyond game show innuendos and groovy 70s clothes as The Life of Reilly so wonderfully demonstrates. An adaptation of his acclaimed one-man show, Barry Poltermann and Frank Anderson’s film details Reilly’s often hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking background. It reveals how a gay boy with a lobotomised aunt, an institutionalised father, and a racist mother ended up a Tony-award winner and a generational icon.

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