Gene Rayburn: Dumb Dora said... Charles Nelson Reilly is... blank?
Brett Somers: Hi Gene! (something we should all practice). I said (pulls out card)....Dead!
(audience burst out in canned laughter)
It's true. I read today that actor/Match Game panelist, Charles Nelson Reilly passed away Friday at the age of 76. Hearing this news brought back memories of my brother Brian and I, watching Match Game '76 and yelling out double-entendre answers to Gene Rayburn's dubious questions.
It was an innocent time.
I never had a chance to meet Charles, but I did meet Rayburn (Match Game emcee) several times. He used to ride my train to and from Pelham Station in Westchester County. The first time I saw him (about 12 years ago), I was shocked by how old he looked. His face hadn't changed much from his television heyday, but his back was now hunched over and he shuffled when he walked.
The last time I saw him, I told him that Brett Somers (one of the celebrity panelist) frequently rode my train. He complained that Brett never called him, and if he didn't make the effort to call her, he would never hear from her. I offered to tell Brett to call him. "You do that," he said. Gene passed away a few months later. I haven't seen Brett since.
I once had occasional panelist/actress Anita Gillette on my train. She was returning to New York after attending her son's graduation from Yale. I remembered her name after racking my brain for several minutes. She was impressed that I remembered. So was I.
Doesn't it seem that celebrities are dropping like flies lately?
Maybe I'm just getting old.