The Life Of Riley aired from January 1953 until August 1958 on NBC.
This family sitcom began on radio in 1943. More than any other sitcom of the 1950's it resembled All In The Family, as both shows centered around a blue-collor husband and father who frequently found life a bit too perplexing ( or as Riley put it " What a revoltin development this is!).Chester A. Riley ( William Bendix) worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill-timed intervention into minor problems. Riley's long-suffering wife, Peg ( Marjorie Reynolds), and their children, Babs and Junior (Lugene Sanders, Wesley Morgan), somehow saw that it always came out all right in the end. Others seen were Jim and Honeybee Gillis (Tom D'Andrea, Gloria Blondell), the Riley's next door neighbors; their son Egbert( Gregory Marshall); Riley's co-worker Otto Schmidlap (Henry Kulky); Riley's boss Hank Hawkins ( Emory Parnell); and Riley's eccentric friend Waldo Binney(Sterling Holloway) an amateur inventor. In the fall of 1955 the Gillis's were dropped from the series as Tom D'Andrea had signed to appear in a new sitcom, The Soldiers. Calvin and Belle Dudley ( George O'Hanlon, Florence Sundstrom) became the new neighbors. They in turn were dropped during the 1956-1957 season as the Gillis's returned. Babs eventually left to get married to a man named Don Marshall ( Martin Milner) and she had a baby named Chester. Meanwhile Junior went to college in Chicago. Both kids returned occasionally to visit. The show was filmed in Hollywood. Syndicated in 1977, the series was telecast on many cable stations.
Here is Marjorie Reynolds' obituary from the LA Times
Marjorie Reynolds; Co-Starred in 'Life of Riley'
February 13, 1997|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF
Marjorie Reynolds, the actress who endeared herself to audiences as the long-limbed love interest of rivals Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in "Holiday Inn" and as the long-suffering television wife of William Bendix in "The Life of Riley," has died. She was 80.
Reynolds, who danced with Fred Astaire and sang with Bing Crosby in the 1942 Irving Berlin musical, died Feb. 1 in Manhattan Beach, her family said Wednesday.
The "Holiday Inn" classic, which featured Crosby singing "White Christmas," crowned Reynolds' hard-won place in Hollywood. She never topped it.
In the 1940s, she went on to star in the drama "Ministry of Fear" opposite Ray Milland, ham it up in the comedy "Up in Mabel's Room" opposite Dennis O'Keefe, and dance in another musical, "Bring On the Girls," with Eddie Bracken.
But she largely drifted back to B pictures until the Riley series was resurrected in 1953. A 1949 attempt to move the radio serial to television, with Jackie Gleason and Rosemary DeCamp as the Rileys, had failed after a single season.
As Peg Riley, Reynolds quickly became a familiar face in American living rooms. She played the role opposite Bendix's Chester A. Riley, aircraft plant worker, from 1953 to 1958. Smiling benignly, Reynolds made audiences believe that every tangled plot would come out all right despite Bendix's customary exclamation: "What a revoltin' development this is!"
Born Marjorie Goodspeed in Buhl, Idaho, the actress moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was a child. She began acting in her childhood under the stage name Marjorie Moore.
As she grew up, with time out to graduate from Los Angeles High School, she won roles as a leading lady--but in westerns and B action pictures. She made about 35 oaters, getting saved by cowboy stars such as Tex Ritter, Buck Jones and Ken Maynard, and made several short melodramas with Boris Karloff.
Switching from brunet to blond, the actress changed her screen name to reflect her marriage to production manager and screenwriter Jack Reynolds. The marriage later ended in divorce.
After the Riley television series, Reynolds appeared in the films "Juke Box Rhythm" in 1959 and "The Silent Witness" in 1962, but largely abandoned her acting career.
Reynolds, the widow of film editor Jon M. Haffen, is survived by one daughter, Linda Hinshaw, of Playa del Rey.
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