Peter Scolari, Newhart And Girls Actor, Has Died At 66

Today brings the sad news that Peter Scolari, the remarkably consistent television and Broadway presence, has passed away at the age of 66. The venerated actor's death was announced by his manager Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, who told CNN that Scolari was previously diagnosed with cancer and had been ill for the last two years. This didn't stop Scolari from making appearances in various productions up until this year, however, as he had most recently starred in the horror/thriller series "Evil" on CBS. Scolari, of course, leaves behind a legacy as a steady, reliable character actor with a sorely underrated sense of comic timing.

Peter Scolari first came to prominence as an almost completely unknown quantity selected to star opposite a young Tom Hanks in the sitcom "Bosom Buddies," which he appeared in from 1980 to the series' cancellation in 1982. The actor subsequently joined the production of another popular and well-known sitcom series, "Newhart," where he acted opposite the legendary comedian Bob Newhart. The talented screen presence scored three Emmy nominations in a row from 1987 to 1989 for portraying Michael Harris, a television show producer who began as a recurring character from 1983 to 1984 before becoming part of the main cast until the conclusion of the series in 1990.

Scolari's incredibly lengthy and successful career took him from the world of television to Broadway (and Off Broadway) productions and back again throughout the course of over 40 years. Starting in 2003, he starred in productions of "Hairspray," "Sly Fox," "Magic/Bird," "Bronx Bombers" (in which he played the iconic baseball player Yogi Berra), and "Wicked" in 2016. He even managed to reteam with Hanks for 2013's "Lucky Guy," bringing the pair full-circle from the original role that helped land both of them on the map to stay. According to Deadline, his last stage performance came in 2018 with "The True," a critically acclaimed Off Broadway play that also starred Edie Falco, Michael McKean, and Scolari's wife Tracy Shayne.

A Prolific Career

It's not every day that successful actors are able to claim multiple wildly different roles that they will forever be associated with, but Peter Scolari did so both at the beginning and later stages of his career. His performance as Tad Horvath, the father of Lena Dunham's character, across over 20 episodes of HBO's "Girls" netted him an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series in 2016.

His numerous other television appearances include stops at "Fosse/Verdon," "Madoff," "The Good Fight," "Murphy Brown," "The West Wing," "ER," "Law & Order: SVU," "Ally McBeal," "The Twilight Zone," "From The Earth To The Moon," and "Honey I Shrunk The Kids: The TV Show." Even superhero fans will likely recognize his face (and voice) from previous appearances on "Batman: The Animated Series" as the voice of John Hamner in one episode and The Shark/Gunther Hardwicke in another, as well as "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" as Ray Palmer/The Atom and Commissioner Loeb in "Gotham."

The outpouring of appreciation and remembrance came swiftly on Twitter among industry figures, including "Evil" co-creator, writer, and showrunner Robert King, comedian Noel Casler, actor Michael McKean, and more.