His manager, Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, of Wright Entertainment, confirmed his death on Friday at the age of 66. Peter Scolari was an Emmy-winning actor who co-starred with Tom Hanks in the ABC comedy “Bosom Buddies.” His struggle with cancer had been going on for more than two years at this point.
He was also known for his role as Tad Horvath on HBO’s “Girls,” in which he played the father of Hannah, the main character portrayed by creator Lena Dunham. Scolari was also known for his role as Bob Newhart’s innkeeper on the CBS sitcom “Newhart,” which aired from 1982 to 1990 and starred Bob Newhart as a Vermont innkeeper.
Scolari and Hanks had their breakthrough roles in “Bosom,” which aired for only two seasons from 1980 to 1982 (and in which they remained lifelong friends, according to Deadline).
Both Scolari and Hanks played young professionals in New York who dressed in drag in order to live in an economical women’s hotel, with Henry being the polite, bashful Henry and Hanks playing the noisy, caustic Kip. In addition, their personas pretended to be the brothers of their alter identities Buffy (Hanks) and Hildegard (Hayden) respectively (Scolari).
Scolari’s latest television credits include a recurring part on the Paramount+ series “Evil,” in which he played Bishop Thomas Marx for the first two seasons of the spiritual thriller. His most recent appearance was in the episode “I am for the IRS,” which aired on September 26.
His Emmy nomination for guest actor in a comedy on “Girls” in 2016 after three nominations for his work as Michael Harris, the obnoxious husband of the inn’s maid (Julia Duffy) on “Newhart” from 1987 to 1989, which earned him three nods in the same category.
The Wizard of Oz in “Wicked,” Yogi Berra in the short-lived “Bronx Bombers,” and Wilbur Turnblad opposite Harvey Fierstein in “Hairspray” were some of his Broadway appearances.
Scolari was born in 1955 in the New Rochelle neighbourhood of New York City.
“I was aware that Peter was ill, but his death still comes as a huge shock,” Bob Newhart said in a statement to USA TODAY. “For more than 40 years, we had been friends and coworkers. Newhart would not have been the success it is today without Julia and Peter’s portrayal of a vacuous marriage (Michael and Stephanie). In real life, he was a wonderful person, and it was a pleasure to collaborate with him. He will be deeply missed, and his death at the age of 66 came far too soon.”
After the news emerged, people took to social media to express their condolences.
“There is no better partner,” his “Newhart” co-star Julia Duffy said on Twitter, beside a photo of the two of them together.
No better partner.💔 pic.twitter.com/p5NFP8eLUm
— julia duffy (@mybadauditions) October 22, 2021
Lena Dunham, the creator (and star) of the television series “Girls,” paid tribute to the show on Instagram.
According to Dunham, she is “the shyest extrovert, the most dramatic comedian, and the most humble icon.” “You’d seen enough of life to realise that a television programme was just that: a television show, but you’d also seen enough to understand what it meant to be able to pretend for a living, and you never let us forget that this work was a privilege,” says the director.
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Robert King, co-creator and showrunner of “Evil,” wrote multiple tweets about the actor, describing him as “one of the funniest—sneakily funny—actors we’ve worked with.” “A seemingly insignificant moment was transformed by his ability to twist it in unexpected ways and include bizarre pauses that made it jump. I’ll make an effort to organise my thoughts more. He was really fantastic.”
Peter Scolari, who died today, 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. I will try to collect my thoughts more. He was just wonderful. pic.twitter.com/25z6xgmD3f
— Robert King (@RKing618) October 22, 2021
Sad to see the news that Peter Scolari lost his battle with cancer. There wasn’t a sweeter man on the planet. We performed together in HAIRSPRAY for a time and he was always a total delight. Farewell, dear Peter.https://t.co/1TPjakwLT3
— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) October 22, 2021
Harvey Fierstein added: “Sad to see the news that Peter Scolari lost his battle with cancer. There wasn’t a sweeter man on the planet. We performed together in HAIRSPRAY for a time and he was always a total delight. Farewell, dear Peter.”
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