Do I need to explicitly close the StreamReader in C# when using it to load a file into a string variable?

No, this will not close the StreamReader. You need to close it. Using does this for you (and disposes it so it’s GC’d sooner):

using (StreamReader r = new StreamReader("file.txt"))
  allFileText = r.ReadToEnd();

Or alternatively in .Net 2 you can use the new File. static members, then you don’t need to close anything:

variable = File.ReadAllText("file.txt");

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