A Portland actor remained in an induced coma in a Massachusetts hospital Saturday, five days after an accident that also killed his wife.

A family friend said Tony Reilly, 60, underwent surgery Friday to save his right leg. His left leg was amputated below the knee, and he suffered several broken ribs, facial fractures and other injuries.

Susan Reilly, 64, died in the accident, which occurred during heavy holiday traffic headed west on the Massachusetts Turnpike at 1:40 p.m. Tuesday near Charlton. The couple were traveling for the holidays from their South Portland home to visit family in New York. They were part of a three-vehicle accident, and then were struck by a tractor-trailer.

They were taken to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, where Susan Reilly was pronounced dead.

The Reillys founded and are the creative force behind the American Irish Repertory Ensemble, the Portland-based theater company better known as AIRE. Both actors also worked with other theater companies.

The news of the accident has devastated the Portland theater community. The Rev. David Butler, a family friend and actor from Gorham, met with relatives of the Reillys at UMass Memorial Hospital on Friday.

Butler relayed information back home to Maine.

“For the time being, so many of us feel utterly impotent, wanting to take Tony’s pain from him, not being able to do anything substantive,” Christine Louise Marshall, artistic director at Mad Horse Theatre, said. “Most of all, we are so very sorry about Susan. We all loved her so, so much, as an artist and a friend, and we are committed to doing all we can to ease Tony’s grief.”

AIRE board member Al Aucella celebrated Thanksgiving with the Reillys at a neighbor’s house. Tony Reilly told a story about his bachelor party before marrying Susan. His friends took him to an adult dance club and started buying him lap dances.

“He let it go on, then finally looked at them and exclaimed, ‘Why on earth would I want this when I have this beautiful woman waiting for me and about to marry me?’ Then I looked at Susan and she had a wide smile and was patting her chest, the area of her heart,” Aucella said.

“It was a sweet moment, and I’m especially glad I got to witness it, and Tony got to tell it in front of Susan and all of us.”

There are no plans for a service or memorial at this time. Those discussions will occur as Tony Reilly’s recovery progresses, Marshall said.

“What we are focusing most at this moment as a community is support – what will he need going forward, how can we get behind him?” she said. “We are more than a theater community. We are a family. We are all at the ready, waiting to do anything that will help.”

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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