Known for his deadpan and slightly stammering talking style, George Robert Newhart was born on September 5, 1929. Newhart lived a fairly normal life until 1960 when he became famous due to one of his comedic monologues, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.
The monologue was a success, and besides being a big hit and putting Bob in the limelight, it was also a bestseller and made it to the top on the Billboard pop album chart. His next monologue was also a hit, and his career started to take off.
A Great Career Followed
Besides the success of his monologues, Bob also starred in “The Bob Newhart Show” as Robert Hartley, which he aired in the 1970s. “Newhart” was made in the 1980s, and Bob acted as Dick Loudon, the Vermont innkeeper.
There were also two short-lived sitcoms in the ’90s called “Bob” and “George and Leo.” Many other great roles followed and led to an amazing career. Not only has this led Newhart with a great legacy, but he also won many awards along the way.
Bob’s Early Life and Career
Bob Newhart was born in a middle-class family. His father was a co-owner of a plumbing and heating supply business, while his mother was a housewife. He went to school in Chicago, a Roman Catholic school called St. Catherine Grammar school.
Bob later joined the St. Ignatius College Prep for his high school, where he graduated and joined Loyola University in Chicago. He studied for a bachelor’s degree in business management, which he did not practice much.
Newhart Served in the Army
Later, this successful comedian and actor joined the United States Army, where he served as a personnel manager during the Korean War. He would spend two years in the Army before moving on with the rest of his career.
Bob was discharged from the army in 1954 and joined the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He did not finish studying law because, during his internship, he was asked to behave unethically. It showed his strong moral character.
He Wasn’t the Best at Math
Bob got a job as an accountant in the United States Gypsum, but he did not serve for a long time. He did not have the best skills to be an accountant. Clearly, this line of work wasn’t meant for him, which was funnily shown by his attitude to the work.
In an interview, the brilliant man said that he often used the motto, “that’s close enough,” even when doing critical math calculations. While a funny anecdote, it’s probably not the approach you want from an accountant when it comes to math!
His Talent Started Shining Through
After learning that he was not fit to be an accountant, Bob was employed by Fred A. Niles to be the company’s advertising copywriter. Fred A. is a famous film and television producer in Chicago. Bob had a co-worker there, and they would record telephone calls about ridiculous scenarios and send them to radio stations.
This happened for a while until Bob’s co-worker left Fred A. production for another job in New York. However, Bob did not give up on the recordings. Dan Sorkin, who worked as a DJ for a radio station, saw Bob’s talent and introduced him to the head of talents at Warner Bros. Records.
Starting In the Recording Business
Bob became part of this label in 1959 when it was only a year old. He was consistent with his content, and with time, he was given platforms to perform in nightclubs. His audio releases were loved by many people and opened up new opportunities for him.
One of Bob’s earliest audios was the Straight Man. He slowly grew and started making comedy albums, with The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart being the first comedy album, which was a success. Things were getting better and better for him.
Music Came Before Acting
The album was number one on the Billboard Charts, and it won the Album of the Year in the Grammy Awards of 1961. Bob was also awarded as the Best New Artist, which was a great advantage to his emerging comedy brand.
In one of the interviews with American Masters, Bob said that his best stand-up routine is Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue. Bob’s stammer is intentional, and he uses it as his performance signature. He is also very polite, and much loved in the industry.
How Bob Met His Wife
Bob met Ginny, his wife of 57 years, on a blind date. The date was organized by one of his friends, Buddy Hackett. It was to be the start of an amazing relationship between two people who were meant to be together.
Buddy came to him one day saying how she had seen a girl suitable for Bob. However, the girl was dating, but Buddy thought that the man was not the right person for Ginny. Thankfully Buddy was able to see the connection.
The Best Blind Date Ever
Buddy then organized a blind date between Ginny and Bob. Before their meet-up, Buddy told Bob how he would meet the girl, like her, marry her and get kids with her. It was to be a great premonition, especially as they were yet to meet.
He also told Bob to name one of the kids Buddy. While the rest of what Buddy Hackett has said came true, unfortunately, the pair wouldn’t name any of their four children after him. That’s a shame, as it would have made the story even better!
Bob is Married with Four Kids
Bob and Ginny started dating and later got married in 1963. They had their first child, Robert, in the same year. Things were going well in both Newhart’s personal and professional life, and they’d only get better.
Their second son was born in 1966, and they named him Timothy. In 1970, the couple welcomed their third child, Jennifer. Courtney, the youngest child, was born in December 1977. The couple ended up with four beautiful children.
The Sitcom Success Soon Came
Bob continued growing his brand as a comedian, as he was also taking care of his family. At this time, he concentrated more on “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Newhart,” and others. It was a very busy period for the great man.
He did not let his children be in the spotlight until recently, when they joined their successful father in events. He wanted them to have as normal a life as possible, even with their father being the huge star he is.
His Children Dabbled in the Industry
Bob’s children took different paths in their careers from their dad, but there were some acting roles. That included his youngest child Courtney having a small role in “Newhart” as a Ranger Girl in 1986.
Robert was given credit for acting in Heart and Souls, a 1993 movie, while Timothy worked as a production assistant on “Get A Life,” “Ferris Bueller,” and “Newhart.” Aside from that, his children haven’t worked much in the industry.
Bob Is a Great Grandpa
Bob has become a grandpa and now has at least ten grandkids. Bob’s advice to his grandkids has always been to keep pushing and never give up. It’s the philosophy that helped to make him so successful and have an amazing career.
He’s very encouraging of his grandkids, and the fact that he has so many will no doubt make him a very happy man. You also get the sense from the way he is that he’d be a brilliant grandpa, just as he is a great father.
Bob Newhart’s Main Achievements
Bob Newhart is a very successful, funny man who won many different awards. He got nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards an incredible nine times. That’s no surprise, given all of his many talents.
He was also nominated for the American Comedy Awards and the Awards Circuit Community Awards. He has won many television awards so let’s take a further look at what the amazing comedic actor has won in his life.
The Primetime Emmy Awards
In 1962, Bob was nominated for the Primetime Emmy for the Outstanding Writing Achievements in Comedy. This was after he wrote the Bob Newhart Show in 1961. He shared the nomination with Ronald Kibbee, Milt Rosen, and Charles Sherman, among other nominees.
The famous and successful actor was also nominated for the same award in 1985 but with the Newhart show. The award was for playing Dick Loudon in the show, which he played so brilliantly well. In 1986, Primetime Emmy nominated Bob again for a similar award.
He Won an Award for ER
In 2004, he was nominated for an award for the Outstanding Guest Actor in Drama Series for “ER.” It showed that even in his old age, he could do a phenomenal job. The nomination was for playing Ben Hollander across three episodes of the show.
A further acknowledgment followed in 2009 when Bob was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in the Miniseries, “The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice of 2008”. Bob played ‘Judson’ in the TV movie.
A Late but Great Achievement
His biggest win came in a role that introduced Newhart to a new generation of fans. He was the winner of a Primetime Emmy in 2013 for Outstanding Guest Actor in Comedy Series. It was for this role in the famous sitcom The Big Bang Theory
Bob played Arthur in the series and soon became a beloved part of the show. His guest appearances in the show would earn him further nominations in both 2014 and 2016. He became one of the best side characters.
Success at the Gold Derby Awards
The Gold Derby Awards have also been kind to Bob Newhart for a variety of different roles. They first nominated Bob in 2004 for the Drama Guest Actor award in ER. Desperate Housewives also earned him a nomination for Comedy Guest Actor in 2005.
The hilarious man was also nominated for their Lifetime Achievement award in 2007, 2008, and 2009 but he never won the title. Thankfully that was put right in 2010 when he was nominated again, but this time, we won.
His Role in The Big Bang Theory
Further awards from Gold Derby followed for his work for The Big Bang Theory. While he has had many roles in the last couple of decades, this role in the hit show was a brilliant one. Many new fans who’d never heard of “Newhart” came to love him.
His onscreen chemistry with the character of Sheldon Cooper was especially incredible, which led Newhart to getting a role in the spin-off show, “Young Sheldon.” It’s no surprise he’s received so many awards and nominations from the show.
A Great Career in Film and Television
Aside from his nominated roles, he’s had a brilliant career across many different shows. He has nearly 50 acting credits to his name with shows such as “The Simpsons” on his resume, along with hit comedy films such as “Horrible Bosses.”
In the last few years, we’d still seen plenty of Newhart on our screens. He continues to be a regular guest on chat shows, along with appearing in documentaries. It seems as though retirement never really crossed his mind.
Those Early Grammy Awards
Immediately after his name blew up in the comedy industry, Bob Newhart won the 1961 Grammy in the Best Comedy Performance-Spoken Word category. 1961 seemed to be his year because this comedian also won Best New Artist and Album of the Year.
Those were to be Newhart’s first three and only awards at the Grammy’s. He would, however, get nominations in 1998 for Best Comedy Album and then again in 2007 for Best Spoken World Album.
He Also Won a Golden Globe
Perhaps Bob’s biggest acting award that he received was back in 1962 because he won the Golden Globe awards for the Best TV Star-Male. He won the award together with John Daly, and it showed just how successful the sixties were for him.
Since he won that award in 1962, he’s received six more nominations from the Golden Globes without winning an award. Those nominations were for his acting roles in “The Bob Newhart Show” as well as with “Newhart.”
An Incredible List of Honors
In all, Bob Newhart has received 23 wins for his acting work from various organizations, along with 30 nominations. You can add this to the incredible feat of his three Grammy wins, along with those two nominations.
There can’t be many people who have won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy. What’s even more incredible is that he received his first award in the early ’60s and has still been getting nominations in the last few years.
Bob’s Life as an Actor
The short-lived NBC variety show, “The Bob Newhart Show” of 1961, was created after Bob’s success in stand-up. The show had only one season, but it earned Bob the Primetime Emmy Award and a Peabody Award.
Bob became one of the initial co-hosts of The Entertainers in 1964. He worked alongside Carol Burnett and Caterina Valente. The sitcom comedian appeared on the Dead Martin Show 24 times and eight times on the Sullivan Show.
Some of His Early Work
Bob also appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, on a 1963 episode titled “How to Get Rid of Your Wife.” The award-winning comedian and actor also guest-hosted The Tonight Show countless times. He also hosted Saturday Night Live in 1980 and 1995.
Newhart has also acted in standard TV series like “The Bob Hope Show” and “Captain Nice.” His roles over the years had a wide variety which showcased his acting talents.
He’s Appeared on Some Great Shows
The three episodes of “ER” Newhart guest-starred in led him to the nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award. He also guest-starred on “Desperate Housewives” and acted as Ducky’s mentor on “NCIS.”
Even as the years rolled on, the comedic genius didn’t slow down. He was determined to make the most of his talents, and that’s why we got to see him in some great dramas along with many different comedy shows.
The Famous Newhart TV Show
The “Newhart” show is an American sitcom that was aired for eight years, from October 1982 to May 1990. The series has eight seasons, with 184 episodes, each running for not less than 30 minutes. It was a brilliant piece of television.
The series’ main characters are Bob Newhart, who acts as Dick Loudon, and Mary Fran, acting as Joanna Loudon, Dick’s wife. Dick Loudon is an author, and he and his wife run an inn in a small Vermont town. It was a great premise.
A Hugely Influential Show
The series is known to be one of the most memorable shows in television history and hugely influential. Henry Mancini composed Newhart’s theme song, and in the series, Bob Newhart is an author of DIY and travel books.
The town where they shoot the show is Norwich in New York, and the outside of the house is the Waybury Inn in East Middlebury. It was a show that was beloved him any fans who loved watching Newhart on screen.
A Great Premise and Character
Loudon is a gentleman, and his surrounding is a community of oddballs in an unreasonable world. The rules are also unreasonable. It sets the scene for his character shine, which of course, was brilliantly played by Newhart.
Later in the season, Loudon starts hosting low-rated talk shows and on the town’s TV station. The last episodes of the show focus more on Dick’s television career. All the while, he was getting some hilarious storylines.
The Sitcom’s Surprise Ending
The Christmas of 1987 wasn’t a good one for Bob Newhart. So far, his award-winning sitcom had gone up to season six, where he acted as an author and an owner of an inn in a small town called Vermont.
The show had been a hit that earned him awards and fame. This was also the show that introduced Bob to the great actress Suzanne Pleshette. The problem was that he felt CBS was not doing justice to his new show.
It Was All Decided at Christmas
During the Christmas party, Bob told Ginny, his wife, that he wanted to end the show because he wasn’t happy with how CBS did not support it. Ginny knew that her husband was not satisfied with the new show, and she started giving suggestions on how to end it.
One of the suggestions was what the final show should be like. Ginny advises Bob to act when he is in bed with Suzie and tell her about his dream of owning an inn in Vermont. Bob was positive about his wife’s proposal and thought it was a good idea.
It Was Discussed With His Wife
Suzanne was present at the party when Bob and Ginny discussed the ending of the show. When they told her, she agreed to the proposal. However, it was not time to end the series yet because they had more episodes to air.
After the two last seasons, the time came for the ending, which Bob already had a perfect idea of. The writers’ work was to fill the rest of the parts since they already knew how to end the season. Bob was happy with it, and according to him, it was like a dream.
How the Last Show Unfolded
The last episode of the finale starts with a Japanese businessman buying Dick and Joanna’s Inn in Vermont. The businessman eradicates the inn to make a golf course. Joanna and her husband are reluctant to sell the inn, but the citizens of Vermont grab the money and disappear.
Five years later, their neighbors return to apologize for taking the money and fleeing with it. They promise to stay with Dick and Joanna, and he gets hit in the head by a golf ball as he leaves the house. The show is interrupted by a part where the psychologist wakes up.
The Crowd Loved It
The crowd is surprised by the turn of events, and they clap loudly. Emily, the psychologist’s wife, asks him what is wrong, and Bob, the psychologist, starts narrating the story. He says that he was an innkeeper in Vermont, but nothing made sense in that town. Bob was dreaming.
The viewers of Newhart had been watching a dream life, but they did not know. However, this was not the first show to end this way. “Dallas” and “St. Elsewhere” were also about a dream, but they worked perfectly for this show.
The Hidden Plot Twist
Newhart’s show was fun to watch because of the many plot twists. When asked if he had prepared the cast for such an ending, he said that he told them days before the plot twist. However, the crew didn’t know.
Before shooting, Bob told the cast that there would be a new scene in the show. He also advised them not to worry about anything that happened and that they should continue shooting. The crew then set up the bedroom. When the set was revealed, the audience was surprised.
Some International Fans Missed It
Doing the show with a live audience was an advantage because it made it livelier. Bob also says that he did not expect the finale to have such a significant impact. He was panicking because the ending was extended to 35 minutes, yet the required time was 30 minutes.
He talked to CBS to allow them to have the extra 5 minutes, and they agreed. However, many people did not notice that the show was 5 minutes longer, so it was not played to completion in other countries, and some viewers did not know at the time how the show ended.
Bob Newhart as Dick Loudon
Bob Newhart was the owner of the Newhart show. After a great career, it seems he’s content with his life’s work. He now concentrates on streaming shows and movies with the help of his wife Ginny, whom he has been with for 57 years.
Bob also has grandchildren from his sons and daughters, and he stays at home to spend time with them. Covid affected the live shows he could do, but he still wants to remain active. Even in his 90s, he still has plenty of energy.
Mary Frann as Joanna Loudon, Dick’s wife
Mary Frann was born on February 27, 1943. She was featured in many television commercials as a model. She was Missouri’s Junior Miss, and she won the national title of America’s Junior Miss in 1961. Mary was married to T.J Escott in 1973, and they divorced in 1982.
She was famous for her role in Newhart’s show, where she acted as Joanna Loudon, Dick’s wife. On September 23, 1998, this famous actress died in her sleep at her home. Jonathan Cookman Jr, Mary’s longtime partner, discovered her body. Autopsy results showed that the cause of her death was a heart attack.
Tom Poston as George Utley
Tom was born on October 17, 1921. He started acting in 1950, and his first shows were comics. He also did game shows and was a comedy show host. Although he acted in other TV shows, he was more frequent in the sitcoms.
Tom was famous for the George Utley role, which he played in Bob Newhart’s show. He married Actress Jean Sullivan in 1955, but they separated in 1959. He then married Suzanne Pleshette. Tom died after a short illness in April 2007.
Jennifer Holmes as Leslie Vander Kellen
Jennifer was born on August 23, 1955. She is an American actress and best known for the Leslie role she played in Newhart. She was in the show for 22 episodes when Julia Duffy replaced her at the end of 1983.
Jenifer acted in many TV series, including Knight Rider and Webster, but her career never really took off. The actress married Alexander George Tischenko and now spends her time away from the cameras, as she’d not had an acting role since 2014.
Steven Kampmann as Kirk Devane
Steven was born on May 31, 1947. He is an actor, writer, and film director based in America, and most people knew him from his roles in the Newhart show. Steven has also acted in other TV shows like the Rodney Dangerfield Show and The Richest Cat in the World.
Kampmann is married to Judith Kahan, who is also in the acting business, and they’ve been together since 1981. They have four boys together, and he stopped acting in 2012 to concentrate on being a writer and educator.
William Sanderson as Larry
William was born on January 10, 1944. He came to prominence in 1982, when he was featured in the film Blade Runner as J. F. Sebastian. He became even more famous for his role in the Newhart show, where he played Larry.
William was in the US Army as a volunteer, and after he was discharged, he went to college and then to University. William married his wife, whom he lives with now in Harrisburg, together with their son and two grandchildren. He’s still active in the industry with many great roles to his name.
Julia Duffy as Stephanie Vander Kellen
Julia was born on June 27, 1951. She is an American film, stage, and television actress who began her career as a small role actor. She became famous after acting in the Newhart series, where she starred from 1983 to 1990.
She continued to act even after the season finale of the Newhart show. Dully is married to another actor, Jerry Lacy, and they had two children together. Duffy continues to act in is very busy with many roles over the last few years.
Peter Scolari as Michael Harris
Scolari was born on September 12, 1955. He starred on the show as Michael Harris from 1984-1990 and became an important part of what made it so successful. This was shown by his three Emmy nominations for his role on Newhart.
He married Debra Steagal but divorced and later married actress Cathy Trien. They had two children, but he was to marry again to Tracy Shayne in June 2013. Scolari sadly died of Leukemia in October 2021 after a wonderful career. Newhart tweeted about his friend’s death: “I knew that Peter was sick, but his death comes as a great shock…. He will be sorely missed, his passing at 66 is way too early.”