Living The Life of Riley

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Living The Life of Riley : Phrases


Living easily without having to work hard, to have an easy life.


While I'm out working hard all day, you are home living the life of Riley.


Living the life of Riley was popularized by a radio show of the 1940s, which spawned a television program in 1948 that originally starred Jackie Gleason but later starred William Bendix as the lead character.

Chester A. Riley was a sort of layabout, working class Brooklyn riveter who always managed to do everything with the minimum of effort, just getting by. The show was very funny and very popular.

What a revoltin' development this is was the catch phrase sweeping the country in the summer of 1943. This expression of Riley was a big part of this "typical" family man.

Riley managed to change any ant-hill of a problem into a Grade-A disaster! For 8 years, Riley's weekly mishaps included his wife, their two kids, co-worker Gillis, and the friendly undertaker Digby
Digger O'Dell. The funeral director ended each appearance with a Cheerio, I'd better be shoveling off.

Living the life of Riley came into the language to indicate a state of being to wished for but, probably, never to be attained. In fact the phrase pre-dated the radio program.

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