Peter Scolari, a versatile actor whose television roles included a yuppie producer in “Newhart” and a locked-in father in “Girls” and who was on Broadway with his longtime friend Tom Hanks in “Lucky Guy,” has passed away. He was 66 years old.
Scolari died Friday morning in New York after battling cancer for two years, according to Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, his manager.
He first gained attention as Hanks’ then-unknown co-star on the 1980-82 sitcom “Bosom Buddies”, in which their characters dressed up as women to live in affordable female-only housing.
The two actors then worked together on projects including Hanks’ 1996 debut film, “That Thing You Do!” and the 2013 play “Lucky Guy,” Nora Ephron’s play about newspaper columnist Mike McAlary.
Scolari also appeared on Broadway in “Wicked”. “Hairspray” and “Bronx Bombers” from 2014, in which he played Yogi Berra baseball.
“We were friends and colleagues for over 40 years,” Bob Newhart said in a statement to The Associated Press. He said the couple’s on-screen contributions Scolari and Julia Duffy in “Newhart” were an “essential part” of the series’ success.
“In life she was a fantastic person and it was a joy to work together. He will be sorely missed and his passing at 66 is far too soon, ”said Newhart, who is 92.
Scolari’s recent roles include Bishop Thomas Marx in the supernatural “Evil” series. Series co-creator Robert King recalled him Tuesday as “just wonderful.”
He was “one of the funniest – deviously funny – actors we’ve ever worked with.” He would always take a scene from nothing and find different ways to twist it and make weird pauses that startled her, ”King said on Twitter.
He received three Emmy nominations while playing Stephanie de Duffy’s husband and colleague of Newhart’s Inn owner and local television host on the 1982-90 sitcom.
“No better partner,” Duffy posted on Twitter, along with a heartbroken emoji and a photo of a scene in which she and Scolari are dancing a tango.
In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for the role of Ted Horvath, father of Hannah and Lena Dunham, in “Girls.” In the course of the dramatic comedy created by Dunham, Ted turns out to be gay and leaves his wife to flourish.
In an Instagram post, Dunham said that she “couldn’t have been raised by a better TV“ dad ”. Thank you, Scolari, for every conversation between setups, every hug on-screen and off and every “Oh, God.” We will miss you so much.
Harvey Fierstein, who starred in “Hairspray”, tweeted that “there wasn’t a gentler man on the planet”.
Scolari’s more than four-decade career has included many guest roles in shows such as “ER”, “White Collar” and “Blue Bloods”.
A native of New York whose previous marriages ended in divorce, he is survived by his wife, actress Tracy Shayne, who starred opposite him as Berra’s wife in “Bronx Bombers”. Other survivors include his children Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton and Cali.
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