Jay Thomas, Sitcom Actor on ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘Cheers,’ Dies during 69

The two-time Emmy leader many recently seemed on ‘Ray Donovan’ and spent many a Christmas deteriorate with David Letterman.

Jay Thomas, a cooperative comic actor who starred on a sitcoms Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died. He was 69.


Don Buchwald, his longtime representative and friend, reported his death, after a conflict with cancer, to The New York Daily News. His publicist, Tom Estey, would not hold when or where Thomas died when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.

Thomas played a repulsive TV talk-show horde Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen’s on-again, off-again boyfriend) on CBS’ Murphy Brown from 1989-98 — winning a span of Emmys — after his army as Rhea Perlman’s father Eddie LeBec, a French-Canadian goalie with a Boston Bruins, on NBC’s Cheers. On a latter, his impression winds adult appearing in an ice uncover and gets killed by a Zamboni.

Thomas also starred on his possess sitcom, personification an selfish sportswriter conflicting Susan Dey and afterwards Annie Potts on CBS’ Love and War, a 1992-95 array combined by Murphy Brown‘s Diane English.

Thomas mostly played loud, cheap types: He recurred on Showtime’s Ray Donovan as Marty Grossman, a user of a carnal TMZ-like website.

For years, Thomas seemed on David Letterman’s late-night speak uncover during Christmas season and told an entertaining, never-gets-old story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV’s The Lone Ranger. He and Letterman also took turns throwing a football, perplexing to chase a meatball from a tip of a Christmas tree. 

On a large screen, Thomas played a Easter Bunny in a Santa Clause cinema expelled in 2002 and 2006 and seemed in such films as Legal Eagles (1986), Straight Talk (1992), A Smile Like Yours (1997), Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) — as football manager Bill Meister — Dragonfly (2002) and Labor Pains (2009).

A local of Kermit, Texas, who was lifted in New Orleans, Thomas got his start in radio as a high propagandize football announcer for a Rutherford High Rams in Panama City, Fla.

He worked during stations in Panama City; Pensacola, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C., where he warranted nicknames like “The Mouth of a South,” “The Scorpion” and “The Prince of Darkness.”

Thomas changed to New York for a pursuit during a FM hire 99X and afterwards did stand-up comedy during a Improv and acted in off-Broadway plays. He got his start on radio in 1979 as Remo DaVinci, a co-owner of a New York deli, on ABC’s Mork Mindy. He also hosted a radio uncover in Los Angeles and, many recently, had a daily gig with SiriusXM.

Appearing as an annual Christmas guest alongside Letterman “has been fun,” he said in 2014. “I’ve always wanted to be one of those guys on late-night speak shows who everybody wants to see. Like on Carson, when [Don] Rickles would come out. we became that guy. And we adore football, so my dual large dreams were totally realized.”

Thomas initial picked off a meatball in 1998 when then-New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde attempted a attempt though failed.

About that Lone Ranger story: Thomas was a radio horde with large hair in Charlotte in a early ’70s, and he and his writer offering to give Moore — wearing his crime-fighter dress and facade for an coming during a automobile dealership — a float to a airport. Thomas and a writer had only gotten stoned, he said.

On a way, a automobile corroborated into their Volvo during a trade jam and fled. Thomas chased a vehicle, afterwards confronted a other motorist — who denied anything had happened — and told him he was going to call a cops.

The man took one demeanour during Thomas and his writer and said, “Oh really, who do we consider they are going to believe, we dual hippie freaks or me?” At this point, Moore emerged from a backseat and said, “They’ll trust me, citizen.”

Survivors embody his mother Sally and sons Sam, Max and J.T.


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