Peter Scolari, who appeared on TV series Newhart and Girls, dead at 66

Peter Scolari, a versatile character actor whose television roles included a yuppie producer on Newhart and a closeted dad on Girls and who was on Broadway with longtime friend Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, has died. He was 66.

Scolari died Friday morning in New York after fighting cancer for two years, according to Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, his manager.

He first gained attention as co-star of the then-unknown Hanks in the 1980-82 sitcom Bosom Buddies, in which their characters disguised themselves as women to live in affordable, females-only housing.

The two actors went on to work together in projects including Hanks’s 1996 movie directorial debut That Thing You Do! and in 2013’s Lucky Guy, Nora Ephron’s play about newspaper columnist Mike McAlary.

Scolari also played on Broadway in Wicked, Hairspray and 2014’s Bronx Bombers, in which he played baseball’s Yogi Berra.

Peter Scolari, second from left, poses with Cathy Trien, Tom Hanks and Marissa Jaret Winokur at a Broadway cast party on May 1, 2003, in New York City. (Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

His recent roles included Bishop Thomas Marx on the supernatural series Evil. Series co-creator Robert King remembered him as “just wonderful.”

Scolari was “one of the funniest — sneakily funny — actors we’ve worked with. He always took a nothing scene and found different ways to twist it, and throw in odd pauses that made it jump,” King said on Twitter.

He received three Emmy nominations playing boss to Bob Newhart’s inn owner and local TV host in the 1980s sitcom Newhart.

In 2016, he won an Emmy for the role of Ted Horvath, father to Lena Dunham’s Hannah, in Girls. In the course of the dramedy created by Dunham, Ted comes out as gay and leaves his wife to find fulfilment.

Scolari’s more than four-decade career included guest roles on ERWhite Collar and Blue Bloods.

He is survived by his wife, actor Tracy Shayne, who played opposite him as Berra’s wife in Bronx Bombers, and his children Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.

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