Jack Riley (actor)

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Jack Riley
Jack Riley in 2005
John Albert Riley Jr.

(1935-12-30)December 30, 1935
DiedAugust 19, 2016(2016-08-19) (aged 80)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • writer
Years active1953–2013
Ginger Lawrence Riley
(m. 1970)

John Albert Riley Jr. (December 30, 1935 – August 19, 2016) was an American actor, comedian and writer. He was known for playing Elliot Carlin, a chronic psychology client of the main character on The Bob Newhart Show, and for voicing Stu Pickles, one of the parents in the animated Rugrats franchise.

Early life[edit]

Riley was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Agnes C. Riley (née Corrigan) and John Albert Riley.[citation needed] After attending Saint Ignatius High School and John Carroll University, he served in the U.S. Army.[1]

After being discharged, Riley became a popular radio personality in Cleveland, along with his radio partner and "straight man" Jeff Baxter; The Baxter & Riley Show on WERE (1300 AM) featured not only music but comedy sketches and a slew of offbeat characters that Riley and Baxter voiced. Riley gave up the radio show in the mid-1960s and moved to Los Angeles, where his Cleveland friend Tim Conway helped him obtain work writing comedy sketches, which later led to acting opportunities.[2]


First a semi-regular in the cast of the 1960s sitcom Occasional Wife, a short-lived show on NBC in which he played Wally Frick,[3] Riley was perhaps most famous for playing Elliot Carlin, the neurotic, sour, and selfish patient on The Bob Newhart Show 1972–1978.[3] In 1973, he was cast as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family Fun-House,[3] then in 1979, he starred in ABC's holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (a.k.a. The Night Dracula Saved The World) as Warren the Werewolf (Wolf Man) of Budapest.[4] Riley then, in 1980, appeared in a comedy special for HBO called The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter.[5] He was a regular cast member in The Tim Conway Show, a comedy-variety show that aired on CBS from March 1980 through late summer 1981, acting in sketch comedy in each episode.[6] In 1985, he reprised his Bob Newhart Show role of Elliot Carlin on St. Elsewhere,[7] and did so again in a 1987 episode of ALF.

Among his other TV credits are multiple appearances on such shows as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (parodying Lyndon Johnson), M*A*S*H, Barney Miller, Hogan's Heroes, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, One Day at a Time, Gomer Pyle, Diff'rent Strokes, and Night Court.[8] He was also a favorite of Mel Brooks, appearing in several of his films: High Anxiety (1977), History of the World: Part I (1981), To Be or Not to Be (1983), and (cameo only) Spaceballs (1987).[8][3]

Riley often provided voiceovers for television and radio commercials, most notably in spots for Country Crock margarine.[9] He also voiced the character "P.C. Modem, the computer genius" in radio commercials for CompUSA that aired in the 1990s.[9][10] In the 1990s and early 2000s, Riley was known for voicing Stu Pickles (father of the main protagonist Tommy) in the animated series Rugrats. The franchise consisted of the TV series, the spin-off All Grown Up! and the film trilogy.[7]

He continued to make guest appearances during the 1990s in popular sitcoms, showing up in episodes of Seinfeld, Son of the Beach, Friends, Coach, The Drew Carey Show, That '70s Show, and, in a gag appearance, as an unnamed but obvious Mr. Carlin in a 1988 episode of Newhart.[11] He made a cameo appearance on the November 23, 2013, episode of Saturday Night Live, as a subway passenger during the sketch "Matchbox 3".[12] That episode would be his final acting role.

Personal life[edit]

Riley married Ginger Lawrence on January 3, 1970 and they had two children.[13][7]


Riley died on August 19, 2016, at age 80 in Los Angeles, due to pneumonia.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1962 Days of Wine and Roses Waiter Uncredited
1970 Catch-22 Doctor
1971 McCabe & Mrs. Miller Riley Quinn
In Broad Daylight Cab Driver #3 TV movie (uncredited)
The Todd Killings Record Company Executive
1973 The Thief Who Came to Dinner Lab Technician Uncredited
The Long Goodbye Riley
1974 Bank Shot Jackson
California Split Second Bartender
1976 Silent Movie Executive
1977 Bumpers Murphy TV movie
The World's Greatest Lover Projectionist
High Anxiety The Desk Clerk
1978 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! Salesman
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street Citizen TV movie (uncredited)
1979 Mother and Me, M.D. Evan Murray TV movie
Butch and Sundance: The Early Days Messenger
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't The Werewolf TV movie
1980 Marriage Is Alive and Well Owen TV movie
The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter Store clerk TV movie
1981 History of the World: Part I Stoned Soldier #2
1982 The Rules of Marriage Herb Gallup TV movie
All Night Radio Mr. Worthington TV movie
Frances Bob Barnes
1983 When Your Lover Leaves Ralph TV movie
To Be or Not to Be Dobish
1984 Finders Keepers Ormond
Night Patrol Doctor Ziegler
1985 Lots of Luck Marvin TV movie
Brothers-in-Law Freeman TV movie
The History of White People in America Scientist TV movie
1986 The Christmas Toy Dad TV movie (uncredited)
The History of White People in America: Volume II Scientist TV movie
1987 Spaceballs TV Newsman
1988 Rented Lips Herb the Auditor
Portrait of a White Marriage Roy Bloomer
1989 Gleaming the Cube Homeowner
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. Wade Williams
1990 Payback Coroner
1992 The Player Jack Riley
1993 A Dangerous Woman Bandleader
Sesame Street Stays Up Late! Jack TV movie (uncredited)
1995 Theodore Rex Alaric
1997 Boogie Nights Lawyer
Venus Envy Mr. Wood
1998 Chairman of the Board Condom Boss
The Rugrats Movie Stu Pickles
2000 Rugrats in Paris: The Movie Stu Pickles
Rugrats: Acorn Nuts & Diapey Butts Stu Pickles TV movie
2001 Recess: School's Out Golfer #1
The Rugrats: All Growed Up Stu Pickles TV movie
2003 Rugrats Go Wild! Stu Pickles
2005 McBride: The Doctor Is Out... Really Out Alex TV movie
2006 Room 6 James Brewster
2007 Avenging Angel Elder TV movie


Year Title Role Notes


Occasional Wife Wally Frick 7 episodes
1967 Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C. Larry 2 episodes
The Flying Nun Leo Episode: "Ah Love, Could You and I Conspire?"
1968 I Dream of Jeannie Frank Episode: "Abdullah"


Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Himself 5 episodes


Hogan's Heroes Additional Characters 3 episodes
1970 Bracken's World Mr. Jeffrey Episode: "Whatever Happened to Happy Endings?"
Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour Himself Uncredited
Love, American Style Danny
The Partridge Family Corporal Wrzesinski Episode: "See Here, Private Partridge"


The Red Skeleton Hour Additional Characters 4 episodes
1971 The Good Life Cosgrove Episode: "One of Our Rolls Is Missing"


The Mary Tyler Moore Show Barry Barlow / Eldon Colfax 2 episodes
1972 Getting Together Mel Episode: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"
M*A*S*H Capt. Kaplan Episode: "Chief Surgeon Who?"


The Bob Newhart Show Elliot Carlin Main cast
1973 Cannon Programmer Episode: "Catch Me If You Can"
Columbo Director Episode: "Candidate for Crime"
The Girl with Something Extra Arthur Episode: "A Meeting of Minds"
1974 Kung Fu Royal Episode: "The Gunman"
The Snoop Sisters Ollie Robertson Episode: "Fear Is a Free-Throw"
Happy Days Officer O'Reilly Episode: "The Deadly Dares"
Police Woman Joe Episode: "Anatomy of Two Rapes"
The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Braddock Episode: "Can I Save My Children?"
1975 Barnaby Jones Norm Ricks Episode: "Poisoned Pigeon"
Harry O Barney Hamilton / Eddie Stern 2 episodes
1976 Good Heavens Episode: "Mr. Right"
Alice Richard Atkins Episode: "A Call to Arms"


Barney Miller Robert Lovell / Frederick Clooney 2 episodes
1977 The Rockford Files Adrian Lyman Episode: "There's One in Every Port"


Diff'rent Strokes Pete / Mr. Crocker / Charles Sutton / Miles Monroe 4 episodes
1979 Joe & Valerie Ed Episode: "The Wedding Guest"
1980 The Tim Conway Show Episode: "The Night That Dracula Saved The World"
Too Close for Comfort The Hold-Up Man Episode: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolfe?"
Hart to Hart Norman Culp Episode: "'Tis the Season to Be Murdered"
1981 Eight Is Enough Joe Roth Episode: "Bradfordgate"
Ladies' Man Dunlap Episode: "Women Need Not Apply"
Fantasy Island Henley Episode: "Night in the Harem/Druids"
1982 Simon & Simon Dr. Robert P. Medlow Episode: "Ashes to Ashes, and None Too Soon"
Love, Sidney Tom Episode: "Patti, the Torch"
Family Ties Earl Quigley Episode: "Have Gun, Will Unravel"
1983 Romance Theatre Alex 5 episodes
9 to 5 Seymour Episode: "The Oldest Profession"
Condo Hughes Episode: "Members Only"


One Day at a Time Mr. Gonagin 2 episodes
1984 Domestic Life Deep Throat Episode: "The Candidates"
Faerie Tale Theatre Sexton / Deacon Episode: "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers"
The Love Boat Miles Metcalf 3 episodes
Down to Earth Phil Episode: "Gone with the Wind"


Night Court Beepo the Clown / Dr. Flick / Jim Wimberly / Warren Wilson / Emil Dutton 7 episodes
1985 Riptide Tiny Tommy Episode: "Curse of the Mary Aberdeen"
ABC Afterschool Specials Mr. White Episode: "First the Egg"
Silver Spoons Mr. Snodgrass Episode: "All the Principal's Men"
Washingtoon Episode: "Episode #1.1"
St. Elsewhere Elliot Carlin Episode: "Close Encounters"
1986 Gimme a Break! Jack 2 episodes
Blacke's Magic Episode: "It's a Jungle Out There"
1987 What a Country! Agent Warren Yates Episode: "The Road from Morocco"
ALF Elliot Carlin Episode: "Going Out of My Head Over You" (uncredited)
Throb Flashback Johnny / Herb 2 episodes
Roxie Leon Buchanan Main cast
1988 Punky Brewster Snipes Episode: "Brandon's Commercial"
Charles in Charge Professor Kleeman Episode: "Trading Papers"
Mathnet Mr. Dwight Ledbetter Episode: "The Case of the Deceptive Data"
Square One Television Mr. Dwight Ledbetter Episode: "Episode #2.14"
Newhart Patient Episode: "I Married Dick"
1989 Duet Fredrick Episode: "Roll Call"
Hard Time on Planet Earth Episode: "Death Do Us Part"
A Fine Romance Ray Ragalito Episode: "Th-Th-Th-That's All Folks"
1990 My Two Dads Dave Episode: "It's My Art, and I'll Die If I Want To"
Garfield and Friends Tyrone 3 episodes
1991 Babes Jack Episode: "Not Married with Children"
Harry and the Hendersons Leonard Episode: "Working Stiffs"


Rugrats Stu Pickles / Various Characters Main Cast; 145 episodes
1992 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Various Characters
Civil Wars Jack Cort Episode: "Das Boat House"
Evening Shade Jesse Episode: "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
1993 Family Matters Wayne Episode: "The Way the Ball Bounces"
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Mr. Graves Episode: "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"
1994 Married... with Children Wendell Episode: "Business Sucks"
Dave's World Guy Episode: "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
1995 The Boys Are Back Bob Episode: "Searching for Sarah Hansen"
Friends Airline Passenger Episode: "The One Where Rachel Finds Out"
Hudson Street Howie Episode: "The Hit Parade"
New York Daze Episode: "The Jacket"
1996 Coach Oliver Episode: "Just Short of the Goal"
The Drew Carey Show Mr. Jones Episode: "What the Zoning Inspector Saw"
1997 Seinfeld Rider Episode: "The Muffin Tops"
The Secret World of Alex Mack Mr. O'Reilly Episode: "Driving"
Touched by an Angel Leo Episode: "Sandcastles"
George and Leo Episode: "The Cameo Episode"
Baywatch Episode: "Eel Nino"
1998 Mike Hammer, Private Eye Puff Puff the Bunny 2 episodes
Working Chaplain Episode: "Armageddon Outta Here"
1999 Oh, Grow Up Harry Tatham Episode: "Himbo"


Son of the Beach Chappy 10 episodes
2003 Lucky Piney Episode: "Lie, Cheat & Deal"
Burl's Gym Instructor Short


All Grown Up! Stu Pickles / Executive 19 episodes
2004 That '70s Show Old Man Shinsky Episode: "Rip This Joint"
2005 Yes, Dear Mr. Shipley Episode: "High School Reunion"
2007 Papa's Bag Papa Short
2009 Easy to Assemble Jack Episode: "Bitter is Better"
Nora Falls Avery Short


The Garfield Show Anthony Allwork / Ghost Cat 5 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Rugrats Adventure Game Stu Pickles
Rugrats: Search for Reptar
The Rugrats Movie The game tie-in for the movie of the same name.
1999 Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt
Rugrats: Studio Tour
Rugrats: Time Travelers
2001 Rugrats: Castle Capers
2002 Rugrats: Royal Ransom Uncredited
2003 Rugrats Go Wild! The game tie-in for the movie of the same name.

Crew work[edit]

  • The Don Rickles Show (1968, 1 episode) – Writer
  • The Many Sides of Don Rickles (1970) – Writer
  • The Addams Family Fun House (1973) – Writer


  1. ^ "Cleveland native and comedian Jack Riley has died". WEWS News. August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  2. ^ Venable, Nick (August 19, 2016). "Rugrats And Bob Newhart Show Star Jack Riley Is Dead At 80". Cinema Blend. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Agard, Chancellor (August 19, 2016). "Jack Riley, Bob Newhart Show actor, dies at 80". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  4. ^ Adams, Erik (October 30, 2012). "When the TV stars of 1979 saved Halloween with a little kitsch". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  5. ^ "HBO Guide February 1980". HBO. p. 9. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earl (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (8th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 1203. ISBN 978-0345455420.
  7. ^ a b c Bell, Crystal. "Jack Riley, The Voice of Stu Pickles on Rugrats, Is Dead at 80". MTV News. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Pedersen, Erik (August 19, 2016). "Jack Riley Dies: 'Bob Newhart Show' & Mel Brooks Movie Actor Was 80". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Adams, Erik (August 19, 2016). "R.I.P. Jack Riley, Bob Newhart patient and Rugrats dad". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Dean, Paul (October 24, 1993). "The Voice Next Door: A knack for projecting personality over radio waves can be worth a bundle to advertisers. Those who do it best seem like old friends". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  11. ^ Barnes, Mike. "Jack Riley, Who Played the Neurotic Eliot Carlin on 'The Bob Newhart Show,' Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  12. ^ Skladany, Joey. "Where Are They Now – Voices of 'Rugrats'". Zimbio. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Agard, Chancellor (August 19, 2016). "Jack Riley, Voice of Stu Pickles on Rugrats, Dies at 80". People. Retrieved February 7, 2022.

External links[edit]