Friday, November 5, 2021

Godspeed Peter Scolari

Peter Scolari, who appeared on the classic sitcoms Bosom Buddies and Newhart, died on October 22 2021 at the age of 66. The cause was leukaemia.

Peter Scolari was born on September 12 1955 in New Rochelle, New York. He took an interest in acting in high school, and during his junior year he played the lead in the school's production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. After graduating from school he worked with the Colonnades Theatre Lab in New York City.

Peter Scholar made his film debut in the movie Take Off in 1978. He made his television debut in a guest appearance in the short-lived sitcom Angie in 1979. In 1980 he was a regular on the short-lived sitcom Goodtime Girls. He appeared in the television movie The Further Adventures of Wally Brown. It was in 1980 that he was cast in the role of Henry Desmond in the sitcom Bosom Buddies. He played opposite Tom Hanks, who played his roommate Kip Wilson. The show centred on two men who disguise themselves as women in order to rent an apartment at the Susan B. Anthony Hotel. While the show only lasted 37 episodes, it would develop a cult following over the years.

In 1983 Peter Scolari played one of the leads in the short-lived sitcom Baby Makes Five. It was in 1984 that he joined the cast of Newhart. He played Michael Harris, the producer of lead character Dick Loudan's television show. He remained with the show until the end of its run in 1990. He also guest starred on the television shows Remington Steele, Happy Days, Finder of Lost Loves, Hotel, Family Ties, Fresno, You Are the Jury, The Love Boat, Mike Hammer, The Twilight Zone, CBS Summer Playhouse, Trying Times, and Encyclopedia Brown. He appeared in the movies Imps* (1983), The Rosebud Beach Hotel (1984), and Corporate Affairs (1990).

In the Nineties he starred on the shows Family Album, Dweebs, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. He guest starred on the shows Nurses, Fallen Angels, Burke's Law, Empty Nest, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Touched by an Angel, The Mommies, A Whole New Ballgame, Can't Hurry Love, Dave's World, The Drew Carey Show, and The Nanny, George & Leo. He was a guest voice on such animated shows as Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and Pinky and the Brain. He appeared in the movies Ticks (1993), Camp Nowhere (1994), and That Thing You Do! (1996).

In the Naughts Peter Scolari guest starred on the TV shows Touched by an Angel, Ally McBeal, Reba, The King of Queens, ER, The West Wing, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Listen Up, and Big Love. He appeared in the movies Sorority Boys (2002), Mentor (2006), Cathedral Pines (2006), Suburban Girl (2007), and a Plumm Summer (2007). He was the voice of Billy (the Lonely Boy) in The Polar Express (2004). He appeared on Broadway in Hairspray and Sly Fox.

In the Teens he had recurring roles on Gotham, Girls, Anthem: Homunculus, and Evil. He played the lead role in the mini-series Madoff. He guest starred on the shows White Collar, Odd Man Out, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Good Fight, Murphy Brown, and Blue Bloods. He appeared in the mini-series Fosse/Verdon and Lisey's Story. He was a guest voice on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He appeared in the movies Letting Go (2012), (Dean) (2016), Weight (2018), The Social Ones (2019), and Looks That Kill (2020). He appeared on Broadway in Magic/Bird, Lucky Guy, Bronx Bombers, and Wicked.

Peter Scolari was an excellent actor. As the nervous and overly emotional Michael Harris on Newhart he was part of what that sitcom such a classic. While his best known roles were in sitcoms, Peter Scolari was perfectly capable of more serious roles. On Evil he played Bishop Thomas Marx, the somewhat sceptical, if somewhat humorous, priest who assigned the protagonist David his cases. On Gotham he played the corrupt Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb, who is a secret alliance with mobster Carmine Falcone. Peter Scolari could play a wide variety of roles and play them very well

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