Jack Riley, who is remembered for playing neurotic Elliot Carlin on 1972-78 CBS sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show,” died on Saturday after succumbing to pneumonia and infection following a long illness. He was 80.
Born December 30, 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio, Riley switched his career interest from baseball to acting after obtaining a radio job, writing and performing skits while attending John Carroll University. He toured military bases throughout the world in comedy shows after being drafted in the Army in 1958. On television, Riley had a recurring role in 1966-67 sitcom “Occasional Wife,” and made the guest rounds early in his career in TV series like “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” “The Flying Nun,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and “The Partridge Family.” He also made multiple appearances on variety-themed “The Red Skelton Show” before landing on the Newhart sitcom. Dozens of more guest star roles on the small screen followed, with his next regularly scheduled series role on short-lived “Roxie,” the spin-off from “Kate & Allie,” in 1987, followed by FX comedy “Son of the Beach” from 2002-02.
Riley was also the voice of Stu Pickles on Nickelodeon’s animated “The Rugrats” from 1991-2004. And he was a fixture in five Mel Brooks theatricals, including “High Anxiety,” “History of the World: Part I” and “To Be or Not to Be.”
He is survived by his wife, Ginger Lawrence, and his two children.