Reilly in 1954.
October 30, 1915
Newark, New Jersey, USA
|Died||July 17, 1998
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.
Early years and career
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).
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. 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.
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. 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.
Reilly fathered three sons, Josh, Ethan, and David.
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