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Jay Thomas, 69, TV sitcom actor; radio personality known for "Lone Ranger" anecdote
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That Derek
2017-08-24 19:01:49 UTC
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http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jay-thomas-dead-murphy-brown-cheers-actor-was-69-1032385

Jay Thomas, Comic Actor on 'Murphy Brown' and 'Cheers,' Dies at 69

11:44 AM PDT 8/24/2017
by Mike Barnes

He most recently appeared on 'Ray Donovan' and spent many a Christmas season with David Letterman.

Jay Thomas, the comic actor who starred on the sitcoms Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died. He was 69.

Don Buchwald, his agent and friend, reported his death due to cancer to The New York Daily News. No other details were immediately available.

Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen's, on-again, off-again boyfriend) on Murphy Brown from 1989-98 after his stint as Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec, a player with the Boston Bruins, on Cheers from 1987-89.

He most recently appeared on Showtime's Ray Donovan.

Thomas also starred on his own sitcom, starring as an egotistical sportswriter opposite Susan Dey and then Annie Potts on Love and War, a 1992-95 series created by Murphy Brown's Diane English.

For years, Thomas appeared with David Letterman on his late-night talk show during Christmas season and told a great story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV's The Lone Ranger. He and the host also took turns throwing a football, trying to knock a pizza off the top of a Christmas tree.

A native of Kermit, Texas, Thomas first gained fame as a deejay on radio stations in New York and Los Angeles.

Survivors include his wife Sally and sons Sam, Max and J.T.

More to come …

Here's a YouTube link to Jay Thomas telling his notorious "Lone Ranger" story, which became an annual tradition on "The Late Show with David Letterman":


Jason
2017-08-24 20:20:22 UTC
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He also played a supporting role in the 1995 movie "Mr. Holland's Opus", as high school coach Bill Meister.
Bryan Styble
2017-08-24 23:00:31 UTC
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I suppose it may be another sometime-sitcom actor and radio personality with the rather common (stage?) name of Jay Thomas...

But since this notorious one-off broadcast may have indeed been hosted by ANOTHER Jay Thomas, was this late Mr. Thomas the same snarky fellow who hosted that seminal so-called reality broadcast, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" which brought Darva Conger her Warholian quarter-hour during the 15 minutes or so she and--what was his name? Rick Rockwell, maybe? And how much of a multi-millionaire was he? Pretty much the minimal net worth to qualify as one, about $2.1 million?--her met-at-the-altar "husband" were hitched before their barely-touching-one-another honeymoon and near immediate annulment?

BRYAN STYBLE/[on the 2017 TSE Tour in] Paducah
Michael OConnor
2017-08-24 23:13:44 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
I suppose it may be another sometime-sitcom actor and radio personality with the rather common (stage?) name of Jay Thomas...
But since this notorious one-off broadcast may have indeed been hosted by ANOTHER Jay Thomas, was this late Mr. Thomas the same snarky fellow who hosted that seminal so-called reality broadcast, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" which brought Darva Conger her Warholian quarter-hour during the 15 minutes or so she and--what was his name? Rick Rockwell, maybe? And how much of a multi-millionaire was he? Pretty much the minimal net worth to qualify as one, about $2.1 million?--her met-at-the-altar "husband" were hitched before their barely-touching-one-another honeymoon and near immediate annulment?
That was the same Jay Thomas, who by the way got his TV break as the deli owner on "Mork and Mindy".
MJ Emigh
2017-08-24 23:46:21 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
I suppose it may be another sometime-sitcom actor and radio personality with the rather common (stage?) name of Jay Thomas
No, that's the guy. Although I'm not familiar with that particular broadcast, I had heard about it. The guy was in radio for, like, ever. I'm surprised you never ran into him. My radio experience had nowhere near the longevity of yours, and we crossed paths several times. He was really a nice guy which is probably why he played obnoxious characters so well.
Bryan Styble
2017-08-25 01:50:34 UTC
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Michael and MJ:

Thanks to you both for clearing this up--to me it is remarkable that such a one-of-a-kind media event, however profoundly stupid, remained unmentioned in that obit!

Oh, and MJ: thank you for the kind words about my ever-serpentine news-and-talk radio career that bounced me around the Lower 48 during 1982-2013, and yep, I never met Thomas.

Indeed, I don't recall him attending any of the various radio biz conventions I attended from San Francisco and Chicago to Los Angeles and San Diego 1991-2004, although at some of the downright huge ones--which haven't even EXISTED since the mid-90s' slow-but-steady spiraling death of radio began and [sob!] continues accelerating here nearly 2 percent of the way through the new millennium--he could easily have been standing near me during one of panel discussions without my ever realizing it, so packed were those NAB and R&R confabs a couple decades ago.

More recently, for a host of radio industry reasons--all dismaying, if you ask a bona fide radio guy* like me--these radio conventions have been only sparsely attended, and I am quite confident the late Thomas was not in attendance at any of those, else I surely would have at least shaken his hand and chatted him up, if only to learn if he ever privately thought Conga and Rockwell--or whatever that clown's surname was--even had a chance at any sort of communal bliss (that is, other than immediate annulment).

BRYAN STYBLE/[on the TSE 2017 Tour in] Paducah
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* One of any of several workable definition of a "radio guy" is anyone who would gratefully and politely but firmly decline an offer of a $100,000 television gig whilst holding down a $50,000 commercial newstalk hosting time-slot at any major-market heritage radio station (meaning a broadcasting operation dating from the earliest days of the medium and thus highly unlikely to be, say, a talk radio outlet on Friday but then an oldies station by Monday). Not that i was ever faced with that easy lucrative-radio-over-enriching-televisoin decision, mind you! But scoff if you like, the truth is that I would indeed be one of those wise enough to stick with what I can do well rather than take a flyer on any broadcast which didn't play to my strengths and minimize my various broadcast weaknesses. Or put another way, a true radio guy--I'm sure there are loads of counterpart "television guys" (and gals, of course), but I do not ever really recall meeting any, despite working at one also-ran TV station in Motown and then fully three of the major Chicago outlets [WLS-TV, WGN-TV, and WFLD/Fox]. And not only do I not recall ever knowing one of these supposed TV guys, but I don't really much WANT to meet them, for surely they would just regard me as a fool if not an idiot for my seeming nonsensical priorities. More fundamentally and thus much more importantly, they would never understand what we radio guys have known instinctively if not intellectually pretty much from our earliest days with a transistor radio held to our ear: that when compared with the best radio, the best TV hardly even registers! And that's simply because of what that anonymous early-50s kid astutely highlighted in the oft-told anecdote--which due to the continued anonymity of the youngster may indeed be apocryphal, although it sure OUGHT to have happened--where the child explains to his dad why old radio beats the new television every time: "Because on radio, the pictures are WAY better!"
David Carson
2017-08-24 20:43:36 UTC
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Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen's, on-again, off-again boyfriend) on Murphy Brown from 1989-98 after his stint as Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec, a player with the Boston Bruins, on Cheers from 1987-89.
Thomas's character on Cheers was killed offscreen, supposedly -
according to Thomas - because he made a joke on the radio about
deserving combat pay for having to kiss Rhea Perlman

http://www.cbr.com/tv-legends-revealed-why-you-dont-mess-with-carla-on-cheers/
Bermuda999
2017-08-25 10:13:43 UTC
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Jay told that story on Letterman every year but one (2013) from 1998 to 2014 (the linked video in the OP). He also participated each of those years in throwing a football to knock the meatball off of the top of Dave Letterman's post-ironic Christmas tree.
RH Draney
2017-08-25 13:55:23 UTC
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Post by Bermuda999
Jay told that story on Letterman every year but one (2013) from 1998 to 2014 (the linked video in the OP). He also participated each of those years in throwing a football to knock the meatball off of the top of Dave Letterman's post-ironic Christmas tree.
First time he told the story was in August of '97...only later did it
become a Christmas tradition....

Incidentally, the night Jay first knocked the meatball off the tree, he
showed up quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who couldn't seem to make the
football go where it needed to...Testaverde never appeared on
Letterman's show again after that night....r
Bryan Styble
2017-08-25 17:20:24 UTC
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Well, it HAS been decades now since I was the open-mike MC at The Laugh Factory on The Sunset Strip, for I seem to have totally lost whatever comic sensibilities I once possessed. I mean, how else to explain why that oft-told Lone Ranger story of Lewis's went over my head?

Or is it just possible that it isn't as funny an anecdote as the not-NEARLY-as-witty-as-on-his-two-NBC-programs Letterman and the smarmy Lewis seemed to agree it was?

BRYAN STYBLE/[on the TSE 2017 Tour in] Paducah
Diner
2017-08-25 20:53:05 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
Well, it HAS been decades now since I was the open-mike MC at The Laugh Factory on The Sunset Strip, for I seem to have totally lost whatever comic sensibilities I once possessed. I mean, how else to explain why that oft-told Lone Ranger story of Lewis's went over my head?
Or is it just possible that it isn't as funny an anecdote as the not-NEARLY-as-witty-as-on-his-two-NBC-programs Letterman and the smarmy Lewis seemed to agree it was?
BRYAN STYBLE/[on the TSE 2017 Tour in] Paducah
His name was Jay Thomas, not "Lewis."

Different strokes, I guess, but when Jay says "And the Lone Ranger gets out of the Volvo," it never fails to make me laugh. Truly one of my favorite funny stories ever. And he was such a good storyteller that hearing him tell it with slightly different details every December was something I always looked forward to, even though it was the same story every time.

Ah well. As Dennis Miller put it, "One man's Voltaire is another man's Screech."
Bryan Styble
2017-08-27 03:42:43 UTC
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Egad!

Of course I should have typed Thomas as the surname in question, rather than Lewis. It may strike one and all herein as a pitifully lame explanation--for it is NOT an excuse for the inexcusable!--that I had just previously been e-writing to someone at length about Jerry Lewis's demise. Mind you, I did NOT confuse the two; indeed, I would be more likely to confuse Lewis with Martin than I might Lewis with Thomas, but that's how it came about.

My humblest apologies to everyone who read my conflated text.

(And no, I am not expecting anyone herein to correspondingly apologize to me for any of the recurrent--seemingly, and just possibly, indeed--incoherent, unreferenced postings (like those of that "Wir Munchen Liebschoen" jerk or jerkette) that might drive me mad if I attempted to determine their intended respective meanings, rather than just moving onto the next entry without even musing about might be the point so obliquely expressed.)

BRYAN STYBLE/[on the TSE Tour 2017 in] Memphis
Wayne Tracker
2017-08-25 18:25:18 UTC
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Post by Bermuda999
Jay told that story on Letterman every year but one (2013) from 1998 to
2014 (the linked video in the OP). He also participated each of those
years in throwing a football to knock the meatball off of the top of
Dave Letterman's post-ironic Christmas tree.
Jay had a VERY tasty asshole. I will miss licking the dingleberries out
of that tight little sphincter after he had a good dump.
Travoltron
2017-08-29 04:23:47 UTC
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Post by That Derek
Survivors include his wife Sally and sons Sam, Max and J.T.
Here's an article about his long-lost son J.T.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-actor-hit-nashville-songwriter-916271
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