Tom Reilly

Actor And Entertainer

Thomas Michael Reilly III

 Tom Reilly was born in Ft. Reily, Kansas to Tom and Connie Reilly, on June 18, 1959. At birth, Tom's father was in the Army, but was discharged six months later. The family then moved to Bergenfield, New Jersey where his dad became the owner of a trucking business and his mother worked as a nurse.Tom's two sisters, Judy and Patty, were born after the family moved to New Jersey.

Tom led the Bergenfield High School Bears to a state championship title as a tight end his senior year, in 1977. Tom's high school number was 87. As an all-star football player, Tom was offered several athletic scholarships.  Tom ended up chosing Montclair State College, partly because it was close to home. It also gave him a chance to play varsity ball in his freshman year. He was even offered a chance to play professionally in Canada. He lost all interest in football six months later, for reasons still unclear to him.

"By strange coincidence, I met my manager, Larry Folgo, at about the same time. He was on the Montclair campus to scout for someone to play Tarzan in a new low-budget film." Reilly turned down the offer, then took a seven month break from school to travel around the country visiting family and friends. He trooped into Folgo's New York City offices when he lost his wanderlust to find out just how he could become a successful model and actor. According to his new manager, the first thing he could do was to shed 45 of his 220 pounds.Reilly’s dieting was pure torture the first couple months while he was trying to make ends meet by working in a cookie store in Manhattan.

Satisfied with his young charges progress, Folgo set up a number of appointments for Reilly with West Coast talent agents in December of 1980. He impressed the TV moguls enough to be offered development contracts with ABC and NBC networks. Nothing happened during the next 12 months, though he did manage to complete a screen test for 'The Powers of Matthew Star'.

At that time his acting experience consisted of only two television projects: The first was a tiny part in a telefilm called ‘Paper Dolls’. The second effort was a meatier role in a special CHiPs episode called “Force Seven”.

On June 18, 1982 Tom went in to NBC studios for a screen test, for the role of  Ponch’s new partner Officer Bobby Nelson on CHiPs.

Two months later Reilly recieved a call from the producers of CHiPs congratulating him on his new role as Officer Bobby 'Hot Dog' Nelson.

As the months went by, Reilly learned a lot about the business. He honed his craft and began to win over audiences as Ponchs young and crazy new partner.

However, his career took a devistating turn, on December 21, 1982.

Reilly was caught driving under the influence of a controlled substance, qualudes to be exact. He put up a fight with LAPD by refusing to roll his window down and shouting at the police, 'You don't know who I am, I'm Tom Reilly on CHiPs'. Though Reilly was charged with posession of a controlled substance, he was not fired from CHiPs. The role of Officer Bobby Nelson was significantly cut, and the lead role as Ponch's partner was given to Bruce Penhall, as Officer Bruce Nelson. (Tom and Bruce played brothers on the show.) CHiPs was eventually cancelled by the spring of 1983, leaving Reilly out of work.

Later that year, Tom landed the role of Scott, a young college jock just lookin' for a good time, in the movie Young Warriors, put out by The Cannon Group, Inc.

Not much is known about Tom from that point in his career, on. However, we do know that Tom either starred in or made an apperance in:

Paper Dolls (1982) (TV)

CHiPs -Force Seven (1982) TV Episode .... Rick Nichols

"CHiPs" .... Officer Bobby 'Hot Dog' Nelson (1982-1983)

Young Warriors (1983) .... Scott

Slaughterhouse Rock (1988) .... Richard Gardner

Kiss and Be Killed (1991) .... Phil

"Married... with Children" - Just Shoe It (1992) TV Episode .... Caterer

Animal Instincts (1992) .... Ken

Sworn to Vengeance (1993) (TV)

"Valley of the Dolls" (1994) TV Series .... Peter D'Allesio

Mirror Images II (1994) (V) .... Jake

Animal Instincts 2 (1994) .... Man with Loose Tie

Ice Cream Man (1995) .... Charley

Deep Cover (1996)

Shades of Gray (1997) .... Frank Maxwell


(It was said that Tom appeared in the 2004 movie 'Uptown Girls', but he told me in an interview that he stopped acting in it couldn't have been him.)

Tom also appeared in several other movies under the name Robert L. Newman from 1995 to 1997.

 The Affair (1995) .... Mark

Friend of the Family (1995) .... Tony

(Not sure if he's really in this one... I have it, but I haven't seen him.)

Siren's Kiss (1995) .... Mark

The Last Embrace (1997) .... Tom


 I also recently discovered (I'm slow, I know...) on the IMDB forum for Tom, that he had a job in 2005 with Orco Construction Supply in Salinas, CA. He currently lives (as of Aug. 2005) in the Monterey Peninsula with his wife and two kids.

 (Whoever posted the information on the IMDB forum, please let me know, and I'll give you credit.)


Movie Listings Courtesy of

Information courtesy of E! Television Network and Bruce Penhall

Information also courtesy of and Dena Keathley

Information also courtesy of TV Magazine - September 1982