Emmy-Winning Actor Known for ‘Cheers,’ ‘Murphy Brown’ Dead at 69

Aug 24, 2017  •  Post A Comment

An actor who was a familiar presence on TV through a series of roles in popular shows including “Cheers” and “Murphy Brown” has died. The New York Daily News reports that Jay Thomas died today after a battle with cancer. He was 69.

Thomas won two Primetime Emmys, both for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for “Murphy Brown,” in 1990 and 1991.

Don Buchwald, Thomas’ longtime agent and friend, confirmed the actor’s death, writing: “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully whacky thoughts and behavior.”

Thomas died at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif., with his wife, Sally, and sons Sam, Jake and J.T. at his side.

“Thomas was perhaps best known for playing Jerry Gold on ‘Murphy Brown’ from 1989-1998,” The Daily News notes. “He also played Rhea Perlman’s TV husband Eddie LeBec on ‘Cheers’ from 1987-1989 before his character was run over by a zamboni. Thomas starred on the hit sitcom ‘Love & War’ from 1992-1995.”

More recently he appeared as Marty Grossman on “Ray Donovan.” Among his many other TV appearances, Thomas had a long run on “Mork & Mindy” early in his career, followed by “Married People” in the early ’90s. Later in the ’90s he played Jack Stein on “Ink” and Ares on “Hercules.”

Here’s an appearance by Thomas and his son on “The View” …


  1. Don’t forget his annual appearance on Letterman throwing footballs to knock the meatball off the Christmas tree. And his Long Ranger story is a classic.

    • Thank you! I was reading this story and remembering the Letterman appearances and giving a ride to the Lone Ranger story. My condolences to his family.

  2. I remember him best as one of New York’s funniest morning radio personalities. A unique voice – one of the greats! Shame he’s gone so soon 🙁

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