Jack Riley (actor)

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Jack Riley
Born John A. Riley, Jr.
(1935-12-30) December 30, 1935 (age 80)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Ginger Lawrence-Riley (1975-present)
Children 2 children

John A. "Jack" Riley Jr. (born December 30, 1935) is an American comedic character actor. He is known for playing Elliot Carlin in the The Bob Newhart Show and voicing Stu Pickles in Rugrats and All Grown Up!

Early life[edit]

Riley was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Agnes C. (née Corrigan) and John A. Riley.[1]

After attending Saint Ignatius High School and John Carroll University, he served in the United States Army.

Upon 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 which Riley and Baxter voiced.[citation needed]

The show expanded for a time to local television on WEWS.

Riley gave up the radio show in the mid 1960s and moved to Los Angeles, where his friend Tim Conway helped him receive work writing comedy sketches, which later led to acting opportunities.

On May 18, 1975, he married Ginger Lawrence. They have two children.[citation needed]


Riley was 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, although, and perhaps, his greatest fame came in the character of Elliot Carlin, the neurotic, sour and selfish patient on The Bob Newhart Show.

He soon became one of the busiest guest stars on television in the 1970s and '80s.

Among his other TV credits are multiple appearances on such shows as Barney Miller, Hogan's Heroes, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, One Day at a Time, Gomer Pyle, Diff'rent Strokes and Night Court.

In 1973, he was cast as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family Fun-House, then in 1979, he starred in ABC's holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (aka The Night Dracula Saved The World) as Warren the Werewolf (Wolf Man) of Budapest.

Riley appeared in a little-known HBO comedy special in 1980 called The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter.

He was a regular cast member in The Tim Conway Show, a comedy-variety show that aired on CBS from March 1980 through the late Summer of 1981, acting in sketch comedy in each episode.[2]

Riley was also a favorite of Mel Brooks, appearing in several of his films: High Anxiety, History of the World: Part I, To Be or Not to Be, and (cameo only) Spaceballs.

In 1985, he reprised his Bob Newhart Show role of Elliot Carlin on St. Elsewhere.

Riley has also been a ubiquitous voice in television and radio commercials, most notably in spots for Country Crock margarine. He also voiced the character "P.C. Modem, the computer genius" in radio commercials for CompUSA which aired in the 1990s, and the character Stu Pickles in Rugrats and All Grown Up!.

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 an episode of Newhart.[citation needed]

He made a cameo appearance on the November 23, 2013, episode of Saturday Night Live, as a subway passenger during the skit "Matchbox 3". One camera angle lingered for an extra moment on Riley.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jack Riley biography, filmreference.com; accessed December 17, 2015.
  2. ^ 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 0-345-45542-8. 

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