Jack Riley (actor)

Jack Riley

Jack Riley in 2005
Born John Albert Riley, Jr.
(1935-12-30)December 30, 1935
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died August 19, 2016(2016-08-19) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia[1]
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1962–2013
Spouse(s) Ginger Lawrence-Riley (m. 1975–2016)
Children 2

John Albert "Jack" Riley Jr. (December 30, 1935 – August 19, 2016) was an American actor and comedian. He was known for playing Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show, and for voicing Stu Pickles in the Rugrats franchise.

Early life

Riley was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Agnes C. (née Corrigan) and John Albert Riley.[2] After attending Saint Ignatius High School and John Carroll University, he served in the United States Army.[3]

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 friend Tim Conway helped him receive work writing comedy sketches, which later led to acting opportunities.[4]


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,[5] Riley was perhaps most famous for playing Elliot Carlin, the neurotic, sour and selfish patient on The Bob Newhart Show.[5] In 1973, he was cast as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family Fun-House,[5] 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.[6] Riley then appeared in a HBO comedy special in 1980 called The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter.[7] 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.[8] In 1985, he reprised his Bob Newhart Show role of Elliot Carlin on St. Elsewhere.[9]

Among his other TV credits are multiple appearances on such shows as 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.[1] He 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.[1][5]

Riley often provided voiceovers for television and radio commercials, most notably in spots for Country Crock margarine.[10] He also voiced the character "P.C. Modem, the computer genius" in radio commercials for CompUSA which aired in the 1990s.[10][11] 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.[9]

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.[12] He made a cameo appearance on the November 23, 2013, episode of Saturday Night Live, as a subway passenger during the sketch "Matchbox 3".[13]

Personal life

On May 18, 1975, he married Ginger Lawrence.[14] They had two children.[9] Riley died on August 19, 2016, aged 80 in Los Angeles, due to pneumonia.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Pedersen, Erik. "Jack Riley Dies: 'Bob Newhart Show' & Mel Brooks Movie Actor Was 80". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  2. Jack Riley biography, filmreference.com; accessed December 17, 2015.
  3. "Cleveland native and comedian Jack Riley has died". WEWS-TV. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  4. Venable, Nick. "Rugrats And Bob Newhart Show Star Jack Riley Is Dead At 80". Cinema Bland. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Agard, Chancellor. "Jack Riley, Bob Newhart Show actor, dies at 80". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  6. Adams, Erik. "When the TV stars of 1979 saved Halloween with a little kitsch". A.V. Club. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  7. "HBO Guide February 1980 – Page section 009". HBO. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  8. 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.
  9. 1 2 3 Bell, Crystal. "Jack Riley, The Voice Of Stu Pickles On Rugrats, Is Dead At 80". MTV News. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  10. 1 2 Adams, Erik. "R.I.P. Jack Riley, Bob Newhart patient and Rugrats dad". A.V. Club. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  11. Dean, Paul. "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.
  12. Barnes, Mike. "Jack Riley, Who Played the Neurotic Eliot Carlin on 'The Bob Newhart Show,' Dies at 80". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  13. "Where Are They Now – Voices of 'Rugrats'". Zimbio.com. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  14. Agard, Chancellor. "Jack Riley, Voice of Stu Pickles on Rugrats, Dies at 80". People. Retrieved August 20, 2016.

External links

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