Jay Thomas, ‘Cheers’ & ‘Murphy Brown’ Actor, Found Dead At 69
Jay Thomas, Cheers and Murphy Brown actor, has died from complications with cancer. He was 69.
JAY THOMAS, CHEERS ACTOR, DEAD AT 69
Thomas’ publicist confirmed the news. “Jay Thomas was one of the funniest and kindest men I have ahd the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years, plus,” he said. Thomas’ friend and agent Dave Buchwald reports that the actor died with his wife Sally and sons Sam, Jake, and J.T. by his side. “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully whacky thoughts and behavior,” Buchwald said. The details of the actor’s death were not revealed, but he had been fighting cancer.
Thomas got his start as a DJ in1979 on Mork & Mindy. From there, he became more of a TV regular. Thomas’ most recent role was as Marty Grossman, the operator of Stalker.com on the Showtime series Ray Donovan. He is perhaps most well know, however, for his work on Cheers and Murphy Brown. He played Eddie LeBec, Rhea Pearlman‘s character’s husband, on Cheers from 1987-1989. He played talk show host Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown in the 1990s, which won him two Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actor.
Thomas got his own shown, which he starred in in 1992, as a sportswriter, called Love & War. His other television appearances include Married People, Law and Order: SVU, Cold Case, Boston Legal, and Hung. He also had some film roles in Santa Clause sequels, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dragonfly, and Labor Pains.
More recently, Thomas hosted a radio show on Sirius XM called The Jay Thomas Show. Thomas was a frequent guest on talk shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman. “I always seem to play the role of a Jewish person,” he said in an interview in 2000. “On Love and War I played Jack Stein, a left-wing Jewish man. On Murphy Brown I was Jerry Gold, a right-wing Jewish man. And I won an Emmy for that part. The trouble is, I’m not Jewish. But everyone I met in L.A. thought I was a Jewish man from Brooklyn. I’m from New Orleans,” he added. “My father was a WASP and my mother was Italian.”