A sizeable crowd showed up at the convention center in Austin for the world premiere screening of directors Barry Poltermann and Frank Anderson‘s “The Life of Reilly,” a doc about the final stage performance of flamboyant actor Charles Nelson Reilly‘s show about the story of his life. A program he has performed over 400 times in five years.

The running joke at various stages of the performance — which Reilly recounts his difficult days growing up through his career as an actor, director, and game show guest — is that he is already dead. The performer recounts a dark moment of laughter at a grocery store when a woman recognized him as ‘that actor with three names’ and said she throught he was no longer alive…

“We heard about his live stage performance and the amazing reviews it had received,” recounted Poltermann after the screening. The directing team then recalled how they went to Reilly’s Beverly Hills home for an initial meeting thinking they would be there for a half-hour and ended up visiting with him for much longer.

“We were at his house for six hours and kept having Manhattans,” the filmmaker said. Unfortunately, Reilly was not able to travel to Austin himself because of ill health. When Poltermann told the crowd that doctors wouldn’t let Reilly travel, an audible sigh could be heard from the appreciative audience.

STEVE UHLER did a nice interview with Frank and Barry at the Austin Civic Center that ran today in the chronicle.