Hugh Reilly

Hugh Reilly (October 30, 1915 – July 17, 1998) was an American actor who performed on the Broadway stage, in films, and on television. He is best remembered for co-starring from 1958 to 1964 as the father, Paul Martin, in the CBS television series, Lassie.[1]

Hugh Reilly
Reilly in 1954.
Hugh Reilly

(1915-10-30)October 30, 1915
DiedJuly 17, 1998(1998-07-17) (aged 82)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
OccupationTheater, film, and TV actor

Early years and career

Born on October 30, 1915, in Newark, New Jersey, Reilly saw service in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and pursued a theater career following the war.

His Broadway credits included Fair Game (1957), Dear Charles (1954), Never Say Never (1951), Second Threshold (1950), and The Curious Savage (1950).[2]

Reilly worked many early television anthology series. His first screen appearance was in the 1949 episode "The Flying Gerardos" of Kraft Television Theatre. He subsequently was cast in Robert Montgomery Presents (1950-1955), The Ford Television Theatre (1951), Broadway Television Theatre (1953), Armstrong Circle Theatre (1953-1957), Appointment with Adventure (twice in 1955), The Alcoa Hour (1956), Crossroads (as host of the 1956 episode "Through the Window"), The United States Steel Hour (1958).

He portrayed David Naughton, the title character's husband, in the American television series Claudia (1952).[3] His film appearances include Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), and Bright Victory (1951).


In 1957, Reilly guest starred as George Cameron in the episode "Dangerous Channel" of Barry Sullivan's short-lived CBS adventure/drama TV series, Harbourmaster.

In 1958, Reilly joined Lassie in the role of Paul Martin, a farmer, husband, and adoptive father of the show's child character Timmy. Reilly debuted in the opening episode of the fifth season, "The Storm" (1958), with June Lockhart and Jon Provost, as his wife, Ruth Martin, and their son, Timmy, respectively.

As the eleventh season approached (1964), it was evident that young teenager Provost was outgrowing his role. Producers decided to rework the show and sent the entire Martin family to Australia where Paul would teach agriculture.[4] Reilly made his last appearance on Lassie in the first episode of the tenth season, "The Wayfarers" (1964). He appeared in a total of 140 episodes.

Final years

Reilly worked on television off and on through the 1970s. He was cast on CBS's The Edge of Night soap opera from 1972-73. He appeared in one episode each on ABC's The F.B.I. in 1967 and on NBC's Father Murphy in 1982. In his last years, he often joined Lassie co-star Jon Provost at fan conventions and autograph signings.


Hugh Reilly died on July 17, 1998, in Burbank, California, of emphysema.[5] He had three sons: Joshua, Ethan and David Reilly.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1949Johnny Stool PigeonCharlie
1950The Sleeping CityDr. FosterUncredited
1951Bright VictoryCapt. Phelan
1963Lassie's Great AdventurePaul Martin
1964Lassie: A Christmas Tail
1967ChukaCaptain Carrol
1982Voyager from the UnknownCaptain Smith


  1. Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2000). Screen World 1999. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 337. ISBN 9781557834102. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  2. "("Hugh Reilly" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  3. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  4. Collins, Ace. Lassie: A Dog's Life. Penguin Books, 1993.
  5. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
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