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Actor Peter Scolari (1955-2021)


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The Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Scolari, who starred with Tom Hanks in TV's "Bosom Buddies" and was a regular in Bob Newhart's 1980s sitcom, died Friday at the age of 66. His manager told Variety that the cause of death was cancer.

He was a cast member of the current drama series "Evil," in which he co-starred as a Catholic bishop. The series began on CBS. but was aired on Paramount Plus for its second season.

“He was mensch and a giving actor, said "Evil" creators Robert and Michelle King in a joint statement. "He took what otherwise was the straight man part and turned it into a comic pleasure.”

Said Newhart: “We were friends and colleagues for over 40 years... He was a fantastic person, and it was a joy to work together. He will be sorely missed and his passing at 66 is much too early.” 

Scolari is survived by his third wife, Tracy Shayne, and four children -- Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.

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On "Bosom Buddies," which ran on ABC from 1980 to 1984, Tom Hanks was Kip Wilson and Scolari played Henry Desmond -- New York City roommates who found themselves in need of a new apartment. They wound up moving into The Susan B. Anthony Hotel, a building that housed only women. They passed muster by posing as women: Kip became Buffy, while Henry took on the identity of Hildegarde. The series also starred Donna Dixon, Wendi Jo Sperber, Telma Hopkins and Holland Taylor. Hanks and Scolari became lifelong friends as a result of their collaborations on the series.

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In "Newhart," which aired on CBS from 1982 to 1990, Scolari played Michael Harris, the producer of a Vermont  TV show hosted by writer and innkeeper Dick Loudon (series star Newhart). For his efforts, Scolari earned three consecutive Emmy nominations as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1987-1989). The series also starred Mary Frann, Tom Poston and Julia Duffy.
 
Bob Newhart & Peter Scolari - Sitcoms Online Photo Galleries
 
When Hanks made his directorial debut with the 1996 musical comedy feature "That Thing You Do!" -- the story of a fictional 1960s band -- he called on Scolari to play the host of "The Hollywood Television Showcase." Hanks did double duty, taking on the role of the band's manager.
 
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From 1997 to 2000, Scolari starred in Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show," a syndicated series based on the popular sci-fi movies that starred Rick Moranis.  Scolari's co-stars in the family production were (from right to left) )Barbara Alyn Woods. Hillary Tuck and Thomas Dekker.
 
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Through the spectacular motion-capture process, Scolari provided the figure of Billy the Lonely Boy in Robert Zemeckis' 2004 computer-animated holiday film "The Polar Express." Hanks contributed to the creation seven different characters, including Hero Boy, the Conductor and Santa Claus. The picture was based on the 1985 children's novel by Chris Van Allsburg. 
 
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In 2013, Hanks and Scolari were reunited in the Broadway play "Lucky Guy," which was written by Nora Ephron (1941-2012). The production starred Hanks as Mike McAlary, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News. Scolari portrayed fellow columnist Michael Daly. Directed by George C. Wolfe, the play -- which had a limited run -- earned six Tony Award nominations and two wins: Best Featured Actor in a Play (Courtney B. Vance) and  Best Lighting Design of a Play  (Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer). 
 
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Scolari appeared in 21 episodes of the HBO comedy/drama series "Girls" (2012-2017) as the father of New Yorker Hannah Helene Horvath (series star and creator Lena Dunham). His character, a  Michigan State University professor, eventually announced he was gay, divorced Hannah's mother (Becky Ann Baker) and moved to New York City himself.
 
Peter Scolari, 'Bosom Buddies' & 'Newhart' Star, Dies at 66
 
For his efforts in "Girls," Scolari received the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award as Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. He was a bit lucky because he replaced Peter MacNicol of "Veep" in the category. MacNicol's nomination was revoked after it was ruled he had not appeared in enough episodes of  the Washington-based comedy, also on HBO.
 
Emmy-winning actor Peter Scolari dies at 66
 
In the supernatural drama series "Evil," Scolari played Bishop Thomas Marx, a skeptic who supervised a trio of investigators (played by Katja Herbers, Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi) tasked with looking into reports of paranormal activity in New York City. The series has been renewed for a third season.

Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks' pal and 'Bosom Buddies' co-star, dead at 66 - 247  News Around The World

 

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RIP, Peter Scolari. A welcome, acerbic presence in everything he appeared in, from Bosom Buddies to Newhart to Girls. He and Tom Hanks were so good together that Bosom Buddies soon abandoned the dumb crossdressing premise; people just wanted to watch those guys be funny together.
 
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39 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

There's something about him that always reminded me of Robert Sean Leonard. Or maybe vice versa. 

I suppose everyone has a doppelganger. As the story goes, Tom Everett Scott almost wasn't cast for "That Thing You Do!" because he looked too much like Tom Hanks.

That Thing You Do': SU alum reflects on his movie debut 20 years later -  syracuse.com

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14 minutes ago, jakeem said:

I suppose everyone has a doppelganger. As the story goes, Tom Everett Scott almost wasn't cast for "That Thing You Do!" because he looked too much like Tom Hanks.

That Thing You Do': SU alum reflects on his movie debut 20 years later -  syracuse.com

I read somewhere it was maybe because Hank's and Scott's acting styles were too similar.  But.....

I didn't much care for BOSOM BUDDIES, but felt Peter deserved as big a career as Hanks.  Sad at his passing, and at way too young an age.  :(

Sepiatone

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I had a big crush on Peter Scolari. There was something beyond his acting that made me think he was someone I would like to know.

~RIP, Mr. Scolari.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you want a treat, watch the broadcast of Scolari and Stehanie Zimbalist in Stop the World, I Want to Get Off (1996).  I wish I could get pictures - they're both adorable.

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