Hollywood, California - Best known for his black oversized eyeglasses, making regular appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and various late night TV games shows like Hollywood Squares, Charles Nelson Reilly, 76, was found dead in his home in Los Angeles today. The coroner has yet to establish cause of death, but a severe eye infection was detected by medical examiners and suspected to be a major contributing cause.
"The world of sight gag comedy lost a legend this week," said a Hollywood casting agent.
He was discovered lying on the floor, clutching his signature black oversized eyeglasses in his right hand that rested over his chest, said police.
The public was surprised to hear of Reilly's death, as the months following up to it, he seemed to disappear from sight.
In the months prior to his death, he had to hire a new agent after losing his last one of 50 years to a heart attack nine months ago.
Reilly's new agent had just convinced him to give up his black oversized eyeglasses and switch to contact lenses.
Reilly, reluctant to give up his signature trademark, finally gave in to the persistent new agent's advice on the promise he would attract a younger hipper fan base, if only he would throw out his black oversized eyeglasses and opt for contacts instead.
Reilly, however, made a decision that would haunt him to the end of his days. He insisted on making specially made oversized permanent ocular implants instead of just using regular contact lenses. He had them made to look much like his oversized black eyeglasses complete black encircling rings, believing they would achieve the same comedic effect, insisting he would not go through the surgery otherwise.
Unable to find an eye surgeon in the United States willing to the highly experimental, and mostly cosmetic surgery, Reilly and his new agent went down to Mexico to have them especially made and implanted there.
Unfortunately, the oversized permanent ocular implants did not have the desired comedic effect but rather the opposite.
"His eyes were magnified making him look like one of the Star Wars creatures," said optometrist Dr. Juan Rodriguez. "You know, like that fish-like alien, Admiral Ackbar. Remember he's the one that said, 'It's a trap!' Man, that was the best line in the whole movie. 'It's a trap! I just can't get over that. But I guess that's what Reilly really wanted."
When he got back home, family and friends attempted to convince him to go back to the oversized black glasses, but he listened to his new agent instead who kept telling him he looked great. Besides he had spent all his money on the operation, counting on the money from the jobs he would get with his new look. Only the new jobs and the money never materialized.
Tragically, he had to spend his last days peddling posses in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood boulevard dressed up as Admiral Ackbar form Star Wars for the tourists, trying to save up enough money to reverse his eye operation gone wrong. Ironically, he did end up attracting a younger fan base: Star Wars fans who flocked to him for photos as Admiral Ackbar.
"I guess he realized his mistake at the very end and held on to what loved the most in this world, his black oversized eyeglasses," said a friend.