Newhart Actor Peter Scolari Is Dead At 66

peter scolari in cbs' evil
(Image credit: CBS)

Peter Scolari, known for roles on TV shows ranging from Newhart to Girls to Evil over the long years of his career, has passed away. A familiar face for many on television as well as some film appearances, the actor was 66-years-old at the time of his death.

Peter Scolari died on the morning of Friday, October 22 after an illness that spanned two years, according to manager Ellen Lubin Sanitsky to Variety. He passed away due to a battle with cancer. While Peter Scolari was dealing with his illness for multiple years, he continued working with a variety of roles. 

Some of Peter Scolari's most recent appearances prior to his death were several episodes of Evil, the adaptation of Stephen King's Lisey's Story, and Blue Bloods. He also won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016 for his performance on HBO's Girls' where he played the father of Lena Dunham's character. He is credited with a total of 21 episodes of Girls.  

Girls was the first show for which he won an Emmy, but he earned three nominations earlier in his career for what likely stands as his most famous role. He joined the cast of Bob Newhart's Newhart in 1983 and is credited for 142 episodes of the sitcom before it wrapped in 1990. His three Emmy nominations (in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series) came in three consecutive years, from 1987-1989. 

Peter Scolari is survived by wife Tracy Shayne and his four children, and he made sure to thank Shayne in what was an otherwise succinct speech when he won his Emmy for Girls in 2016. He was actually up against Bob Newhart in that Emmy category in 2016. Take a look at his speech:

Although he was best known for his appearances in hit comedy TV shows, Peter Scolari had roles across the entertainment industry. Evil was an example of how he could perform in drama as well as comedy, as was Law & Order: SVU. His multiple appearances on Fox's Gotham were further proof that he could fit into a genre show. Scolari also appeared in Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do! in 1996, which was actually a reunion for the two even though Scolari didn't have a major role in the film. 

Peter Scolari worked alongside Tom Hanks on the TV show Bosom Buddies, which ran for two seasons on ABC from 1980-1982. Although the comedy show didn't have the longest run, it was evidently enough for Hanks to want to bring Scolari in to appear in That Thing You Do!, which Hanks wrote and directed as well as appeared in. Scolari clearly made an impression on those around him, and showed fortitude in continuing to act even when struggling with cancer for two years.

Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the family, friends, and loved ones of Peter Scolari in this difficult time. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.