Born in Chicago, Illinois, Reilly began acting in the mid 1960s with guest starring roles on Death Valley Days, Apple’s Way and Gunsmoke. In 1974, he replaced John Colenback as Dr. Dan Stewart on As the World Turns. After a two and a half year run, he left As the World Turns in September 1976 and was replaced by his predecessor John Colenback. He then made two guest appearances on The Bionic Woman in 1977 and 1978, and had roles in the 1978 television movies Lassie: A New Beginning and Secrets of Three Hungry Wives. In addition to television, Reilly also appeared in feature films including The Main Event (1979) and Gorp (1980).
In 1983, Reilly had a recurring role on nighttime soap opera Dallas. The following year, he was cast as WSB agent Sean Donely on General Hospital. He stayed with the series until November 1994 when he opted not to renew his contract because of a pay-out from then-executive producer Wendy Riche. His character was written out of the show in February 1995, when Sean and his on screen wife Tiffany left town. He returned to daytime television as Del Douglas on Sunset Beach for a short-term guest role during the show’s first six episodes, and then later returned on various occasions during 1997-1999.
Reilly played Kelly Taylor’s oft-absentee father, Bill, in several episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. The character left the canvas when Bill Taylor was arrested and sent to jail, following a reconciliation with his daughter.
On January 21, 2005, Reilly took over the role of Alistair Crane on the NBC soap opera Passions. He took over the role from David Bailey after Bailey died in a pool accident in November 2004. In July 2006, Reilly was dropped from the show as a result of budget cuts. He returned to the role in August 2007 as a recurring character and remained with the show until his character was killed off in May 2008.
On August 9, 2013, Reilly reprised the role of Sean Donely on General Hospital for the 50th anniversary year.
|1975||The Great Waldo Pepper||Western Star|
|1983||Deal of the Century||Swain|
|1986||Touch and Go||Jerry Pepper|
|1966||A Man Called Shenandoah||Jamie Brewster, Jr.||1 episode|
|1974-1976||As the World Turns||Dr. Dan Stewart||Contract Cast Player|
|1976||Kojak||Special Prosecutor Whelan||1 episode|
|1977||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Jake||1 episode|
|Barnaby Jones||Steve Crandall||1 episode|
|1978||Hawaii Five-O||Kelly Trahune||1 episode|
|Wonder Woman||Skye||1 episode|
|The Bionic Woman||Sam Sloan||1 episode: “Long Live The King”|
|1979||A Man Called Sloane||David Clarke||1 episode|
|1980||The Incredible Hulk||Steve||1 episode|
|The Love Boat||Bill Simmons||1 episode|
|1981||Quincy, M.E.||Ship’s Security Chief Flannery||2 episodes|
|1982||Madame’s Place||Max St. James||1 episode|
|The Powers of Matthew Star||Dr. Simon Bernard||1 episode|
|1982–1983||Silver Spoons||Bob Danish||2 episodes|
|1983||Remington Steele||Russell Stewart||1 episode|
|Tales of the Gold Monkey||Truman Hastings||1 episode|
|Three’s Company||Dr. Malcolm Kenderson||1 episode|
|1984||Simon & Simon||Brian Harms||1 episode|
|Cover Up||Alex Kendall||1 episode|
|Cagney & Lacey||Jeremy Mitchell||1 episode|
|Dallas||Roy Ralston||6 episodes|
|Paper Dolls||Jake Larner||3 episode|
|Newhart||Professor Cameron||1 episode|
|1984-1995, 2013||General Hospital||Sean Donely||Contract Cast Player|
|1993||Fallen Angels||Martin Lonsdale||1 episode|
|1994–1995||Empty Nest||Adam Blakely||2 episodes|
|1995||Maybe This Time||Flint||1 episode|
|1996||Mr. & Mrs. Smith||Elway Johnson||1 episode|
|Diagnosis: Murder||Preston Michaels||1 episode|
|1997||Pacific Palisades||Preston Bentley||1 episode|
|The Naked Truth||King||1 episode|
|Beverly Hills, 90210||Bill Taylor||Recurring|
|1997-1999||Sunset Beach||Del Douglas||Recurring|
|1998||Mortal Kombat: Conquest||Baron Reyland||3 episodes|
|1999||Melrose Place||Mack McBride||1 episode|
|2000||Son of the Beach||J.P Wynne||1 episode|
|2001||Days of Our Lives||Marquis of La Cienega||1 episode|
|2002||Judging Amy||Bill Hackett||1 episode|
|2003||She Spies||Karl Richmond||1 episode|
|2005–2006||Passions||Alistair Crane (#3)||Contract Cast Member|
|2007–2008||Passions||Alistair Crane (#3)||Recurring Cast Member|
|2008||General Hospital: Night Shift||Sean Donely||Guest Star|
|1989||Body Wars||Subject in pre-show (uncredited)||Disney attraction|
|1986||Soap Opera Digest Awards||Nominated||Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role on a Daytime Serial||General Hospital|
- Haring, Bruce (2021-01-10). “John Reilly Dies: Veteran Actor For ‘General Hospital’ And Other Soaps Was 84”. Deadline. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (2021-01-10). “John Reilly, General Hospital and Passions Vet, Dead at 84”. TVLine. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
- “John Reilly’s Cause of Death Reported as Heart Attack at Night”. US day NEWS. 2021-01-10. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
- Harris, Margot (2020-09-04). “TikTok star Caitlin Reilly is going viral for her videos mimicking personalities that ‘you love to hate‘“. Insider. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
- Alexander, Bryan. “John Reilly, longtime ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Passions’ star, dies at 86”. USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-01-11.