Social Icons

Social Connect

Jack Riley

  • Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Birthday: December 30
Date of passing: 
August 19, 2016

Jack Riley was an actor who appeared in dozens of films and television series over the course of a career that spanned more than half a century, but he was perhaps best known for the role of Elliot Carlin on the 1970s comedy The Bob Newhart Show.

Riley attended John Carroll University in the suburbs of his native Cleveland, Ohio, and went on to serve in the U.S. Army. After his discharge from the military, he returned to Cleveland, where he co-hosted the popular Baxter and Riley radio show at station WERE, with on-air partner Jeff Baxter. 

Jack Riley was an actor who appeared in dozens of films and television series over the course of a career that spanned more than half a century, but he was perhaps best known for the role of Elliot Carlin on the 1970s comedy The Bob Newhart Show.

Riley attended John Carroll University in the suburbs of his native Cleveland, Ohio, and went on to serve in the U.S. Army. After his discharge from the military, he returned to Cleveland, where he co-hosted the popular Baxter and Riley radio show at station WERE, with on-air partner Jeff Baxter. 

Later, after relocating to California he reconnected with comedy actor-writer Tim Conway, whom he had befriended at WERE. Conway helped Riley find a job as a TV writer, which led to on-camera work.

He enjoyed his first success with a recurring role on the comedy series Occasional Wife, which aired from 1966-67. He went on to appear in numerous other programs, most notably The Bob Newhart Show, in which he was seen in nearly 50 episodes as Carlin, the selfish, stressed-out patient of Dr. Bob Hartley, the Chicago psychologist played by series star Newhart.

A partial list of Riley's other credits included Gomer Pyle, USMC, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Hogan’s Heroes, Love, American Style, M*A*S*H, Eight Is Enough, One Day at a Time, Diff’rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, Family Ties, Night Court, ALF, Family Matters, Friends, Coach, Seinfeld, That ’70s Show and many more.

Though best known for comedy, Riley appeared in dramas as well, including Cannon, Columbo, Kung Fu, The Snoop Sisters, Barnaby Jones, The Rockford Files, St. Elsewhere and several other series.

His voice-acting credits included many commercials, as well as animated programs — most memorably The Rugrats, in which he voiced the character Stu Pickles. 

In addition to television, he was in several feature films as well, including Catch-22, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, California Split and several productions with writer-director Mel Brooks: Silent Movie, High Anxiety, The History of the World: Part 1, To Be or Not to Be and Spaceballs.

Riley died on August 19, 2016, in Los Angeles. He was 81.

 
Show more