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Reilly, Rick 1958- (Richard Paul Reilly)

Reilly, Rick 1958- (Richard Paul Reilly)

PERSONAL:

Born February 3, 1958, in Denver, CO; son of Jack and Betty Reilly; married Linda Campbell, December 30, 1983; children: Kellen, Jake (sons), Rae (daughter). Ethnicity: "Irish-American." Education: University of Colorado, graduated, 1981. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Snowboarding, skiing, scuba diving, basketball, mountain biking, piano, magic.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Denver, CO. Office—Sports Illustrated, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020-1393. Agent—The Marquee Group, New York, NY.

CAREER:

Writer, columnist, sportswriter, screenwriter, and novelist. Daily Camera, Boulder, CO, writer, 1979-81; Denver Post, Denver, CO, writer, 1981-83; LosAngeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, writer, 1983-85; Sports Illustrated, New York, NY, senior writer, 1985—, author of the weekly column "Life of Reilly."

AWARDS, HONORS:

Page One Award, New York Newspaper Guild, for best magazine story; named National Sportswriter of the Year ten times; First-Place Award, Golf Writer's Association of America, received six times; The Boz: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero was number two among the top-ten books in the nonfiction category of the New York Times Best-Seller List, 1988.

WRITINGS:

(With Brian Bosworth) The Boz: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Wayne Gretzky) Gretzky: An Autobiography, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Marv Albert) I'd Love to but I Have a Game: Twenty-Seven Years without a Life, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Charles Barkley) Sir Charles: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Missing Links (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1996.

Slo-Mo! My Untrue Story (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

The Life of Reilly: The Best of Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly, Total/Sports Illustrated (Kingston, NY), 2001.

Who's Your Caddy?; Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.

Shanks for Nothing (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2006.

Sports Illustrated Hate Mail from Cheerleaders: And Other Adventures from the Life of Reilly, edited by Rob Fleder, Time Inc. Home Entertainment (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author, with Richard Brenne, of episode "The Changing of the Guard" for the program Arli$$. Coauthor of Leatherheads, a screenplay.

ADAPTATIONS:

Sir Charles: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley was adapted to audio cassette; Missing Links was sold to American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC) for adaptation as a situation comedy.

SIDELIGHTS:

Rick Reilly, a senior writer and columnist for Sports Illustrated, has received ten National Sportswriter of the Year designations during his career as sports writer and author. He has cowritten autobiographies with the famous sports figures Brian Bosworth, Wayne Gretzky, and Marv Albert. In addition to his nonfiction sports writing, Reilly is also the author of the novels, Missing Links, Slo-Mo! My Untrue Story, and Shanks for Nothing. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly claimed that Reilly "may well be the funniest sportswriter in America."

Reilly's first book was the 1988 autobiography The Boz: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero, which was included among the top-ten books in the nonfiction category of the New York Times Best-Seller List that year. Reilly cowrote the book with its subject of focus, Brian Bosworth, a former football player at Oklahoma University who signed with the National Football League (NFL) on an eleven-million dollar contract and stirred public interest for always speaking his opinion. In the book, Bosworth relates his views concerning such matters as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the NFL, and his time in Oklahoma. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly asserted that Bosworth displays his "public persona" throughout the autobiography, but the reviewer also mentioned that the athlete at times (even though appearing difficult to believe him) "offers insights into what we are to accept as the real Boz." Charles Salzberg in the New York Times Book Review stated that the athlete "has reaped the scorn of ‘adults,’ the adulation of ‘kids.’" Salzberg added that Bosworth's autobiography "takes the form of a long, sometimes rambling monologue," though he credited the book for its "occasional insight into college and pro sports."

In 1990, Gretzky: An Autobiography was published, the second work focusing on a well-known sports figure to be cowritten by Reilly. The book details the life and career of the famous National Hockey League (NHL) legend, including Gretzky's childhood days playing hockey, his early career as a professional athlete, the influences and motivations that made him a talented athlete, and the trade that took him away from his longtime affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky criticizes his former coach on the Oilers, Glen Sather, and the team's owner, Peter Pocklington, for various reasons, and this criticism partly led to some reviewers reacting negatively to the book. Tom Fennell, reviewing the book for Maclean's, commented that "Gretzky grumbles—and hides behind cliches," adding that "Gretzky's account of his controversial blockbuster trade to the [Los Angeles] Kings is largely a rehash of previously published information. And in describing the deal, he contradicts himself." Fennell further maintained that the book "reads like a dizzying blur of between-period interviews," and said that "Gretzky fails to reveal anything new about his personal life." In a review for Sporting News, Steve Gietschier called Gretzky a "self-effacing book by hockey's humblest star," though adding that despite the "bitterness, Gretzky looks lightheartedly to the future."

Reilly's next effort, I'd Love to but I Have a Game: Twenty-Seven Years without a Life, was cowritten with sports broadcaster Marv Albert. The book details the thirty-year career of Albert, who has worked as an announcer covering basketball, football, and boxing matches for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), as well as announcing the games of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. Albert provides a look at his colorful career, involving meetings with such famous figures in the sports world as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Howard Cosell, and William Perry. Michael Lichtenstein, in a review for the New York Times Book Review, deemed the book an "anecdote-filled memoir" that "tells many a good story." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly maintained that I'd Love To but I Have a Game "contains a humorous and perceptive look at the life of a professional sports broadcaster." Library Journal reviewer Albert Spencer advised: "This book of light reading is recommended for libraries serving sports fans (and comedians)."

Reilly has also authored two novels that focus on sports: Missing Links and Slo-Mo! My Untrue Story. The first of these novels, 1996's Missing Links, portrays a group of working-class individuals who, in the process of golfing at the run-down Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Links public course, discover a nearby golf course located at a nice country club, the Mayflower Club. The friends, envious of the Mayflower's golf course, begin a bet to see who can be the first to tee off for a round at the club. A subplot involves narrator Raymond Lee Hart, as he deals with a rocky relationship with his father—a member of the Mayflower Club. Booklist contributor Bill Ott commented of Missing Links: "For at least sixteen of its eighteen holes, this is the funniest, most unpretentious golf novel since Dan Jenkins' Dead Solid Perfect." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the novel "a rollicking tale" and a "wry tribute to the game." Bill Kent of the New York Times Book Review, though saying that Reilly's novel "becomes annoyingly solemn when family values come into play," maintained that the book is an "enjoyable spoof of country-club class warfare." Kent also commented that in the novel one can "find at least three laughs per page." Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Michael Harris found that "Reilly knows enough not to belabor the moralizing; it's the social satire and pure irreverence that keep this story in the groove."

Reilly's second novel, Slo-Mo! My Untrue Story, is a fictitious autobiography (as told to Reilly) of basketball star Maurice Finsternick, nicknamed "Slo Mo." Slo Mo, standing seven feet, eight inches tall, is a seventeen-year-old who is unaware of the ways of the world, having been raised by a Colorado cult living in a cave. The biographical novel follows the young man's life and career, including the discovery of Slo Mo by a man who would become his agent, Slo Mo's duped entry into the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the talented player's relentlessly naive personality. Wes Lukowsky of Booklist, though commenting that Slo-Mo! "was probably more fun to write than it is to read," added that the novel "attempts to poke fun at everything NBA." Reilly's targets of ridicule include various types of fans, coaches, agents, sports writers, shoe companies, athletes, and recruiters involved with the NBA. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the novel is "a dead-on parody of the inner workings of big-time basketball," and added that the book "will bring tears of laughter once readers make the leap of faith and adjust to Slo Mo's tenacious, angelic personality."

Reilly returns to his sports journalist roots in Who's Your Caddy?; Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf. The book is an account of two years Reilly spent serving as a caddy, or looper, for a diverse selection of golf professionals, celebrities, and other high-profile figures. He recounts his experiences with actor Bob Newhart and mogul Donald Trump; with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra and with high-stakes gambler Dewey Tromko; and with big-name golf professionals such as Jack Nicklaus, David Duval, Tom Lehman, Casey Martin, and John Daly. Reilly's reports serve up concise character profiles of the golfers, in some cases relating surprising acts of kindness and in others, discovering a more human side that does not necessarily mesh with the person's public persona. Reilly readily admits to his own rookie-caddie mistakes, including such gaffes as dumping Jack Nicklaus's clubs on the wet ground; losing David Duval's British Open-winning set of clubs, and inadvertently making concentration-breaking negative comments. "Hilarious misadventures, catty gossip, and downright embarrass- ing facts are only part of the appeal of this deftly written journal," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who also called the book a "truly funny, don't-miss read." Steven Silkunas, writing in the Library Journal, noted that "the book has more to do with humor and personalities than it does about pure golf." Fortune contributor Kate Martin called Who's Your Caddy? "good, wacky fun," while Booklist critic Bill Ott concluded: "Golf fans won't want to miss this one."

With his novel Shanks for Nothing, Reilly revisits the "Chops," the group of freewheeling, ne'er-do-well middle-aged golfers at "Ponky," the Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Course and Deli, who consider the course's reputation as "America's Worst Golf Links" a badge of honor. When news comes that Ponky is slated to be leveled to create a parking lot for the snobbish neighboring club, the Mayflower, Ray "Stick" Hart, nominal leader of the Chops, devises a plan to save their beloved links. The main obstacle is that the Mayflower is headed up by Ray's estranged father, with whom he has endured a lifetime of conflict. When Ray's father unexpectedly dies, he leaves his son a large bequest in his will, but with conditions: Ray will inherit 250,000 dollars if he manages to qualify for a big-name national golf tournament. Adding to the pressure, Ponky's owner leaves town for a nudist colony in Florida, fully intenting to sell the ragtag course to the Mayflower. As Ray schemes to find a way into the British Open, the rest of the Chops plot their own methods of keeping their home ground, and their own skins, intact. "No one (except perhaps Dan Jenkins in his prime) does the comic golf novel better than Reilly," observed Bill Ott, writing in Booklist. The book's "chief delight is Reilly's obsessive way of keeping the jokes coming," remarked a Kirkus Reviews critic, who concluded that the novel is "crude and goofy but ultimately sweet."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 1993, Wes Lukowsky, review of I'd Love to but I Have a Game: Twenty-Seven Years without a Life, p. 498; June 1, 1996, Bill Ott, review of Missing Links, p. 1677; September 1, 1998, review of Missing Links, p. 168; October 1, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of Slo-Mo! My Untrue Story, p. 344; May 1, 2003, Bill Ott, review of Who's Your Caddy? Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf, p. 1565; April 1, 2006, Bill Ott, review of Shanks for Nothing, p. 21; September 1, 2006, Mary Frances Wilkens, audiobook review of Shanks for Nothing, p. 150.

Entertainment Weekly, July 26, 1996, review of Missing Links, p. 50.

Fortune, May 12, 2003, Kate Meyers, "Now That's a Handicap," review of Who's Your Caddy?, p. 176.

Golf Digest, August, 2003, Cliff Schrock, "The Caddy Caper," review of Shanks for Nothing, p. 52; January, 2007, Cliff Schrock, review of Shanks for Nothing, p. 58.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1996, review of Missing Links, p. 630; April 15, 2006, review of Shanks for Nothing, p. 377.

Library Journal, November 15, 1993, Albert Spencer, review of I'd Love to but I Have a Game, p. 83; June 15, 1994, Cliff Glaviano, review of cassette recording of Sir Charles: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley, p. 111; May 1, 2003, Steven Silkunas, review of Who's Your Caddy?, p. 126.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 26, 1996, Michael Harris, review of Missing Links, p. 11.

Maclean's, October 1, 1990, Tom Fennell, review of Gretzky: An Autobiography, p. 58.

New York Times Book Review, October 2, 1988, Charles Salzberg, review of The Boz: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero, p. 27; December 26, 1993, Michael Lichtenstein, review of I'd Love to but I Have a Game, p. 15; August 4, 1996, Bill Kent, review of Missing Links, p. 18; June 15, 1997, review of Missing Links, p. 36.

PR Week, September 4, 2006, "Media: Journalist Q&A—Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated," interview with Rick Reilly, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, July 15, 1988, review of The Boz, p. 50; November 22, 1993, review of I'd Love to but I Have a Game, p. 57; April 4, 1994, review of cassette recording of Sir Charles, p. 33; May 13, 1996, review of Missing Links, p. 57; September 13, 1999, review of Slo-Mo!, p. 63; April 14, 2003, review of Who's Your Caddy?, p. 61.

Sport, September, 1988, James Cholakis, "Fall Line: Gossip and Good Old Days," p. 74.

Sporting News, October 22, 1990, Steve Gietschier, review of Gretzky, p. 53.

Sports Illustrated, December 22, 2003, "Selections from Our Authors," review of Who's Your Caddy?, p. 23.

ONLINE

Nothing but Nets,http://www.nothingbutnets.net/ (April 15, 2007), biography of Richard Paul Reilly.

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