Hugh Reilly

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Hugh Reilly
Hugh Reilly 1954.JPG
Reilly in 1954.
Born Hugh Reilly
(1915-10-30)October 30, 1915
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Died July 17, 1998(1998-07-17) (aged 82)
Burbank, Los Angeles County
Cause of death Emphysema
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Occupation Theater, film, and TV actor
Children Joshua, Ethan, and David Reilly

Hugh Reilly (October 30, 1915 – July 17, 1998) was an American actor who performed on the Broadway stage, in films, and on television. He is best remembered for co-starring from 1958 to 1964 as the father, Paul Martin, in the CBS television series, Lassie.[1]

Early years and career[edit]

Born on October 30, 1915, in Newark, New Jersey, Reilly saw service in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and pursued a theater career following the war.

His Broadway credits include Fair Game (1957), Dear Charles (1954), Never Say Never (1951), Second Threshold (1950), and The Curious Savage (1950).[2]

Reilly worked many early television anthology series. His first screen appearance was in the 1949 episode "The Flying Gerardos" of Kraft Television Theatre. He subsequently was cast in Robert Montgomery Presents (1950-1955), The Ford Television Theatre (1951), Broadway Television Theatre (1953), Armstrong Circle Theatre (1953-1957), Appointment with Adventure (twice in1955), The Alcoa Hour (1956), Crossroads (as host of the 1956 episode "Through the Window"), The United States Steel Hour (1958).

He portrayed David Naughton, the title character's husband, in the American television series Claudia (1952).[3]

His film appearances include Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), and Bright Victory (1951).


Reilly played Paul Martin on the classic TV show Lassie from 1958-1964

In 1957, Reilly guest starred as George Cameron in the episode "Dangerous Channel" of Barry Sullivan's short-lived CBS adventure/drama TV series, Harbourmaster.

In 1958, Reilly joined Lassie in the role of Paul Martin, a farmer, husband, and adoptive father of the show's child character Timmy. Reilly debuted in the opening episode of the fifth season, "The Storm" (1958) with June Lockhart opposite him as his wife, Ruth Martin, and Jon Provost as their son, Timmy.

In 1959, veteran character actor and comedian Andy Clyde was hired to play Cully Wilson, an elderly eccentric farmer and nature lover. When Timmy was scripted into many adventures with Cully, producers felt two adult males on the show would overwhelm the audience and Reilly was consigned to fewer appearances. His character's absence was attributed to workloads in distant fields, Grange meetings, or business trips away from home.

As the eleventh season approached (1964), it was evident that young teenager Provost was outgrowing his role. Producers decided to rework the show and sent the entire Martin family to Australia where Paul would teach agriculture.[4] Reilly made his last appearance on Lassie in the first episode of the tenth season, "The Wayfarers" (1964). He appeared in a total of 140 episodes.

Final years[edit]

Following his stint with Lassie, Reilly was offered the role of The Professor on Gilligan's Island but declined, preferring to spend time with his family and performing in theater. The role instead became enormously important to the career of the actor Russell Johnson.[4] He worked television off and on through the 1970s. He was cast on CBS's The Edge of Night soap opera from 1971 to 1973. He appeared in one episode each on ABC's The F.B.I. in 1967 and on NBC's Father Murphy in 1982.

In his last years, he often joined Lassie co-star Jon Provost at fan conventions and autograph signings.

Personal life[edit]

Reilly fathered three sons, Josh, Ethan, and David.


Reilly died on July 17, 1998, in Burbank, California, of emphysema.[5] He was survived by three sons.[1]


  1. ^ a b Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2000). Screen World 1999. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 337. ISBN 9781557834102. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "("Hugh Reilly" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. 
  4. ^ a b Collins, Ace. Lassie: A Dog's Life. Penguin Books, 1993.
  5. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 

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