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Actor Peter Scolari, of 'Bosom Buddies,' 'Newhart' and 'Girls' fame, dies at 66

·4 min read

Emmy-winning actor Peter Scolari, who co-starred with Tom Hanks in ABC's comedy "Bosom Buddies," died Friday at age 66, according to his manager, Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, at Wright Entertainment. He had battled cancer for two years.

Scolari was also known for his role in the CBS sitcom "Newhart," which starred Bob Newhart as a Vermont innkeeper and aired from 1982-90, and an Emmy-winning guest role on HBO's "Girls," in which he played Tad Horvath, the enabling father of Hannah, the main character portrayed by creator Lena Dunham.

"Bosom" proved the breakout role for both Scolari and Hanks (who remained lifelong friends, according to Deadline), but aired for only two seasons, from 1980-82.

Scolari played nice, shy Henry to Hanks' boisterous, sarcastic Kip, two young professionals in New York who dressed in drag in order to live in an affordable women's hotel. Their characters also posed as the brothers of their alter egos Buffy (Hanks) and Hildegard (Scolari).

Scolari's recent TV credits include a recurring role on Paramount+ series "Evil," where he played Bishop Thomas Marx in the spiritual thriller's first two seasons. His most recent appearance was in the Sept. 26 episode, "I is for IRS."

His 2016 Emmy for guest actor in a comedy on "Girls" followed three nominations for his role as Michael Harris, the officious husband of the inn's maid (Julia Duffy) on "Newhart" from 1987 to 1989.

On Broadway, his roles included the Wizard of Oz in "Wicked," Yogi Berra in the short-lived "Bronx Bombers" and Wilbur Turnblad opposite Harvey Fierstein in "Hairspray,"

Scolari was born in New Rochelle, New York, in 1955.

"I knew that Peter was sick, but his death still comes as a great shock," Bob Newhart told USA TODAY in a statement. "We were friends and colleagues for over 40 years. Julia and Peter, as a vacuous couple (Michael and Stephanie), were an essential part of the success of 'Newhart.' In life, he was a fantastic person, and it was a joy to work together. He will be sorely missed and his passing at 66 is much too early."

Tributes began flooding social media after the news broke.

"No better partner," his "Newhart" co-star Julia Duffy posted on Twitter along with a picture of the pair.

"Girls" creator (and star) Lena Dunham posted a tribute on Instagram.

"The shyest extrovert, the most dramatic comedian, the most humble icon," Dunham wrote. "You had lived enough life to know that a TV show was just a TV show, but also to appreciate just what it meant to be allowed to play pretend for a living and you never let us forget that this job was a privilege."

"Evil" co-creator and showrunner Robert King wrote several tweets about the actor, calling him "one of the funniest—sneakily funny—actors we’ve worked with," he said. "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."

"#RIP dear Peter Scolari," actress Jackie Hoffman wrote on Twitter. "I was lucky enough to work with you and learn from you onstage and screen. A sweet funny cool dude. I hope you get gigs wherever you are."

Actor David Kaufman wrote: "Just stunned this morning RIP, Peter Scolari."

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."

Contributing: Jenna Ryu, Gary Levin and Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Peter Scolari dies: Emmy-winning actor dies, stars pay tribute

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