The Tragic Death Of Newhart Actor Peter Scolari

Acclaimed actor Peter Scolari died on October 22 at 66, two years after being diagnosed with cancer, Deadline reported. Scolari leaves behind his wife, Tracy Shayne, and four children, two of which he had with his first wife, the late actor Cathy Trien. 

While younger audiences may recognize Scolari as Hannah's dad on HBO's "Girls" — for which he won an Emmy — or Bishop Thomas Marx on CBS' "Evil," he is perhaps best known for his roles in the '80s sitcoms "Newhart" and "Bosom Buddies." It was "Bosom Buddies" that set off the careers of Scolari and his co-star Tom Hanks, per Variety. In the show, Scolari and Hanks play two men who dress in drag so they can live in an affordable women's hotel. Although the show only lasted two seasons, it was the beginning of a fruitful relationship between its stars. Scolari made a cameo in Hanks' 1996 film "That Thing You Do!" and the two appeared on Broadway together in 2013 in Nora Ephron's "Lucky Guy."

Scolari opened up about his friendship with Hanks in 2013 on OWN's "Where Are They Now". At Scolari's wedding, Hanks gave a toast to the newlywed couple. Scolari expected his friend to make fun of him but instead was overwhelmed with emotion. "He actually said, 'We should all be a little bit more like him because he never stops trying. He doesn't give up,'" Scolari revealed. "I cannot get my mind around what I've done in my life to deserve this kind of affection."

Of course, Scolari wasn't just adored by Hanks — many others are reeling from this loss.

Peter Scolari is remembered for his comedic prowess

Tributes to Peter Scolari quickly poured in over social media. TV critic Alan Sepinwall called him "[a] welcome acerbic presence in everything he appeared in ..." on Twitter. Sepinwall also noted Scolari's impact on the show "Newhart." "Scolari's arrival on Newhart helped transform that show and give it an identity after a bumpy first season," he tweeted, also noting how the actor and Julia Duffy "were a fantastic comedy team."

Several of Scolari's former colleagues also commended his comedic talent. "Evil" co-creator Robert King called Scolari "one of the funniest — sneakily funny — actors we've worked with." He continued, "He always took a nothing scene and found different ways to twist it ... He was just wonderful." King continued his praise for the late actor in another tweet. "To watch Peter Scolari's dailies was a thrill because he always found new ways to go," he wrote. "He molded the highs and lows of a scene, but always looking for the comic spin ... This is a real loss." Harvey Fierstein tweeted, "There wasn't a sweeter man on the planet."

Scolari was just as passionate about his work as fans were about him. On how he got into the business, he told the Toronto Star in 2008, "I did a scene, got some laughs, walked offstage, and then bam! I had a white-light experience." He added, "This is it, I thought. This is what I want to do with my life. I'm going to be an actor."