Bob Newhart

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Bob Newhart
Comedian Bob Newhart.jpg
Newhart in 2002
Birth nameGeorge Robert Newhart
Born (1929-09-05) September 5, 1929 (age 94)
Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.
Medium Film, television, stand-up
Alma mater Loyola University Chicago (BBA)
Years active1958–present
Genres Deadpan, satire, observational comedy
Subject(s) American culture, American politics
Virginia Quinn
(m. 1963;died 2023)
Children4 [1]
Military service
Service United States Army
Years of service1952–1954
Rank Staff Sergeant
Unit Armed Forces Radio Service
Awards Good Conduct Medal

George Robert Newhart (born September 5, 1929) is an American comedian and actor. He is known for his deadpan and stammering delivery style. Beginning as a stand-up comedian, he transitioned his career to acting in television. He has received numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a Golden Globe Award. He was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2002.


Newhart came to prominence in 1960 when his record album of comedic monologues, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart , became a bestseller and reached number one on the Billboard pop album chart; it remains the 20th-best-selling comedy album in history. [3] The follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!, was also a success, and the two albums held the Billboard number one and number two spots simultaneously. [4]

Newhart hosted a short lived NBC variety show entitled The Bob Newhart Show (1961) before starring as Chicago psychologist Robert Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 to 1978 and then as Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon on series Newhart from 1982 to 1990. He also had two short-lived sitcoms in the 1990s, Bob and George and Leo . Newhart acted in films such as Catch-22 (1970), Cold Turkey (1971), In & Out (1997), and Elf (2003). He also voiced Bernard in the Disney animated films The Rescuers (1977) and The Rescuers Down Under (1990). Newhart played Professor Proton on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory from 2013 to 2018, for which he received his first Primetime Emmy Award. [5]

Early life and education

Newhart was born on September 5, 1929, at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois. [6] His parents were Julia Pauline (née Burns; 1901–1994), a housewife, and George David Newhart (1899–1987), a part-owner of a plumbing and heating-supply business. His mother was of Irish descent, whilst his father was of mixed German and Irish descent. [4] [7] The family name Newhart is of German origins (Neuhart). [8] One of his grandmothers was from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. [9]

He had three sisters, namely Sr. Joan Michael (1927–2018), BVM , Pauline Newhart Quan (1935–2020) and Virginia Newhart Brittain (born 1937).

Newhart was educated at Roman Catholic schools in the Chicago area, including St. Catherine of Siena Grammar School in Oak Park, and attended St. Ignatius College Prep (high school), graduating in 1947. He then enrolled at Loyola University Chicago from which he graduated in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in business management. Newhart was drafted into the United States Army and served in the United States during the Korean War as a personnel manager until being discharged in 1954. He briefly attended Loyola University Chicago School of Law, but did not complete a degree, in part, he says, because he was asked to behave unethically during an internship. [4]


1958–1971: Comedy albums and stardom

Newhart, Caterina Valente, and Carol Burnett in 1964 Carol Burnett Bob Newhart Caterina Valente Entertainers 1964.JPG
Newhart, Caterina Valente, and Carol Burnett in 1964

After the war, Newhart worked for United States Gypsum as an accountant. He later said that his motto, "That's close enough", and his habit of adjusting petty cash imbalances with his own money showed he did not have the temperament to be an accountant. [4] In 1958, Newhart became an advertising copywriter for Fred A. Niles, a major independent film and television producer in Chicago. [10] There, he and a co-worker entertained each other with long telephone calls about absurd scenarios, which they later recorded and sent to radio stations as audition tapes. When the co-worker ended his participation by taking a job in New York, Newhart continued the recordings alone, developing this type of routine. [11]

Dan Sorkin, a radio station disc jockey who later became the announcer-sidekick on Newhart's NBC series, introduced Newhart to the head of talent at Warner Bros. Records. The label signed him in 1959, only a year after it was formed, based solely on those recordings. Newhart expanded his material into a stand-up routine that he began to perform at nightclubs. [4] Newhart became famous mostly on the strength of his audio releases, in which he played a solo "straight man". Newhart's routine was to portray one end of a conversation (usually a phone call), playing the comedic straight man and implying what the other person was saying. Newhart’s 1960 comedy album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart was the first comedy album to make number one on the Billboard charts and peaked at number two in the UK Albums Chart. [12] [13] It won two Grammy Awards, Album of the Year and Best New Artist.

Newhart told a 2005 interviewer for PBS's American Masters that his favorite stand-up routine is "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue", which appears on this album. In the routine, a slick promoter has to deal with Lincoln's reluctance to agree to efforts to boost his image. Chicago TV director and future comedian Bill Daily, who was Newhart's castmate on The Bob Newhart Show, suggested the routine to him. Newhart became known for an intentional stammer, in service to his unique combination of politeness and disbelief at what he was supposedly hearing. Newhart has used the delivery throughout his career.

A follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back , was released six months later and won Best Comedy Performance – Spoken Word that year. Subsequent comedy albums include Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1961), The Button-Down Mind on TV (1962), Bob Newhart Faces Bob Newhart (1964), The Windmills Are Weakening (1965), This Is It (1967), Best of Bob Newhart (1971), and Very Funny Bob Newhart (1973). Years later, he released Bob Newhart Off the Record (1992), The Button-Down Concert (1997), and Something Like This (2001), an anthology of his 1960s Warner Bros. albums. On December 10, 2015, publicist and comedy album collector Jeff Abraham revealed that a "lost" Newhart track from 1965 about Paul Revere existed on a one-of-a-kind acetate, which he owns. The track made its world premiere on episode 163 of the Comedy on Vinyl podcast. [14]

Newhart's success in stand-up led to his own short-lived NBC variety show in 1961, The Bob Newhart Show . The show lasted only a single season, but it earned Newhart a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and a Peabody Award. The Peabody Board cited him as, "a person whose gentle satire and wry and irreverent wit waft a breath of fresh and bracing air through the stale and stuffy electronic corridors. A merry marauder, who looks less like St. George than a choirboy, Newhart has wounded, if not slain, many of the dragons that stalk our society. In a troubled and apprehensive world, Newhart has proved once again that laughter is the best medicine." In the mid-1960s, Newhart was one of the initial three co-hosts of the variety show The Entertainers (1964), with Carol Burnett and Caterina Valente, [15] appeared on The Dean Martin Show 24 times and on The Ed Sullivan Show eight times. [4] He appeared in a 1963 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour , "How to Get Rid of Your Wife"; and on The Judy Garland Show . Newhart guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 87 times, and hosted Saturday Night Live twice, in 1980 and 1995. In 1964, he appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in London, before Queen Elizabeth II.

1972–1978: The Bob Newhart Show

The cast of The Bob Newhart Show; standing (from left): Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace, Peter Bonerz; seated: Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette Newhart show cast 1977.JPG
The cast of The Bob Newhart Show; standing (from left): Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace, Peter Bonerz; seated: Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette

Newhart starred in two long-running sitcoms. In 1972, soon after he guest-starred on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour , he was approached by his agent and his managers, producer Grant Tinker, and actress Mary Tyler Moore (the husband/wife team who founded MTM Enterprises), to work on a series called The Bob Newhart Show , to be written by David Davis and Lorenzo Music. He was very interested in the starring role of psychologist Bob Hartley, with Suzanne Pleshette playing his wry, loving wife, Emily, and Bill Daily as neighbor and friend Howard Borden.

The Bob Newhart Show faced heavy competition from the beginning, launching at the same time as the popular shows M*A*S*H , Maude , Sanford and Son , and The Waltons . Nevertheless, it was an immediate hit. The show eventually referenced what made Newhart's name in the first place; apart from the first few episodes, it used an opening-credits sequence featuring Newhart answering a telephone in his office. According to co-star Marcia Wallace, the entire cast got along well, and Newhart became close friends with both Wallace and co-star Suzanne Pleshette.

In addition to Wallace as Bob's wisecracking, man-chasing receptionist Carol Kester, the cast included Peter Bonerz as amiable orthodontist Jerry Robinson; Jack Riley as Elliot Carlin, the most misanthropic of Hartley's patients; character actor and voice artist John Fiedler as milquetoast Emil Petersen; and Pat Finley as Bob's sister, Ellen Hartley, a love interest for Howard Borden. Future Newhart regular Tom Poston had a briefly recurring role as Cliff "Peeper" Murdock, veteran stage actor Barnard Hughes appeared as Bob's father for three episodes spread over two seasons, and Martha Scott appeared in several episodes as Bob's mother.

By 1977, the show's ratings were declining and Newhart wanted to end it, but was under contract to do one more season. The show's writers tried to rework the sitcom by adding a pregnancy, but Newhart objected: "I told the creators I didn't want any children, because I didn't want it to be a show about 'How stupid Daddy is, but we love him so much, let's get him out of the trouble he's gotten himself into'." Nevertheless, the staff wrote an episode that they hoped would change Newhart's mind. Newhart read the script and he agreed it was very funny. He then asked, "Who are you going to get to play Bob?" [16] Coincidentally, Newhart's wife gave birth to their daughter Jenny late in the year, which caused him to miss several episodes.

Newhart at the 1987 Emmy Awards Bob Newhart crop.jpg
Newhart at the 1987 Emmy Awards

In the last episode of the fifth season, not only was Bob's wife, Emily, pregnant, but his receptionist, Carol, was, too. In the first show of the sixth season, Bob revealed his dream of the pregnancies and that neither Emily nor Carol was really pregnant. Marcia Wallace spoke of Newhart's amiable nature on set: "He's very low key, and he didn't want to cause trouble. I had a dog by the name of Maggie that I used to bring to the set. And whenever there was a line that Bob didn't like—he didn't want to complain too much—so, he'd go over, get down on his hands and knees, and repeat the line to the dog, which invariably yawned; and he'd say, "See, I told you it's not funny!". Wallace also commented on the show's lack of Emmy recognition: "People think we were nominated for many an Emmy, people presume we won Emmys, all of us, and certainly Bob, and certainly the show. Nope, never!" Newhart discontinued the series in 1978 after six seasons and 142 episodes. Wallace said of its ending, "It was much crying and sobbing. It was so sad. We really did get along. We really had great times together."

Of Newhart's other long-running sitcom, Newhart , Wallace said: "But some of the other great comedic talents who had a brilliant show, when they tried to do it twice, it didn't always work. And that's what... but like Bob, as far as I'm concerned, Bob is like the Fred Astaire of comics. He just makes it look so easy, and he's not as in-your-face as some might be. And so, you just kind of take it for granted, how extraordinarily funny and how he wears well." She was later reunited with Newhart twice, once in a reprise of her role as Carol on Murphy Brown in 1994, and on an episode of Newhart's short-lived sitcom, George & Leo, in 1997.

Although primarily a television star, Newhart has been in a number of popular films, beginning with the 1959 war story Hell Is for Heroes (where he does his one-sided telephone act in a bunker). In 1968, Newhart played an annoying software specialist in the film Hot Millions . His films include 1970's Alan Jay Lerner musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever , the 1971 Norman Lear comedy Cold Turkey , Mike Nichols's war satire Catch 22 , the 1977 Disney animated feature The Rescuers and its 1990 sequel The Rescuers Down Under as the voice of Bernard, and he played the President of the United States in the comedy First Family (1980).

1982–1990: Newhart

By 1982, Newhart was interested in a new sitcom. After he had discussions with Barry Kemp and CBS, the show Newhart was created, in which Newhart played Vermont innkeeper and TV talk show host Dick Loudon. Mary Frann was cast as his wife, Joanna. Jennifer Holmes was originally cast as Leslie Vanderkellen, but left after former daytime soap star Julia Duffy joined the cast as Dick's inn maid and spoiled rich girl, Stephanie Vanderkellen. Peter Scolari (who had been a fan of Newhart's since he was 17) was also cast as Dick's manipulative TV producer, Michael Harris, in six of the eight seasons. Steven Kampmann was cast as Kirk Devane for 2 years, who was a neighbor for a while, at a cafe he owned. Character actor Tom Poston played the role of handyman George Utley, earning three Primetime Emmy Award nominations as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1984, 1986, and 1987. Like The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart was an immediate hit, and again, like the show before it, it was also nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards but failed to win any. During the time Newhart was working on the show, in 1985, his smoking habit finally caught up to him, and he was taken to the emergency room for secondary polycythemia. The doctors ordered him to stop smoking.

In 1987, ratings began to drop. Newhart ended in 1990 after eight seasons and 182 episodes. The last episode ended with a scene in which Newhart wakes up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, who played Emily, his wife from The Bob Newhart Show. He realizes (in a satire of a famous plot element in the television series Dallas a few years earlier) that the entire eight-year Newhart series had been a single nightmare of Dr. Bob Hartley's, which Emily attributes to eating Japanese food before he went to bed. Recalling Mary Frann's buxom figure and proclivity for wearing sweaters, Bob closes the segment and the series by telling Emily, "You really should wear more sweaters" before the typical closing notes of the old Bob Newhart Show theme played over the fadeout. The twist ending was later chosen by TV Guide as the best finale in television history.

1991–2012: Established career

In Norfolk, Virginia, c. 1991 Bob Newhart, 1991.jpg
In Norfolk, Virginia, c.1991

Newhart played a beleaguered school principal in In & Out (1997), acted in the Will Ferrell Christmas comedy film Elf (2003), and made a cameo appearance as a sadistic but appreciative CEO at the end of the comedy Horrible Bosses (2011). In addition to stand-up comedy, Newhart became a dedicated character actor. This led to other series, such as Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre , Captain Nice , two episodes of Insight, and It's Garry Shandling's Show . He reprised his role as Dr. Bob Hartley on Murphy Brown , appeared as himself on The Simpsons , and played a retired forensic pathologist on NCIS . Newhart guest-starred on three episodes of ER , for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, [4] as well as on Desperate Housewives and a role on NCIS as Ducky's mentor and predecessor, who was discovered to have Alzheimer's disease. In 2013, he also appeared on Committed and in an episode of the sixth season of The Big Bang Theory , for which he was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award, and which led to subsequent appearances in its seventh, ninth, and eleventh seasons. [17]

In 1992, Newhart returned to television with a series about a cartoonist called Bob . An ensemble cast included Lisa Kudrow, but the show did not develop a strong audience and was cancelled shortly after the start of its second season, despite good critical reviews. On The Tonight Show following the cancellation, Newhart joked he had now done shows called The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart and Bob so his next show was going to be called The. In 1997, Newhart returned again with George & Leo on CBS with Judd Hirsch and Jason Bateman (Newhart's first name being George); the show was cancelled during its first season. In 1995, Newhart was approached by Showtime to make the first comedy special of his 35-year career, Off the Record, which consisted of him performing material from his first and second albums in front of an audience in Pasadena, California.

In 2003, Newhart guest-starred on three episodes of ER in a rare dramatic role that earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, his first in nearly 20 years. In 2005, he began a recurring role in Desperate Housewives as Morty, the on-again/off-again boyfriend of Sophie (Lesley Ann Warren), Susan Mayer's (Teri Hatcher) mother. In 2009, he received another Primetime Emmy nomination for reprising his role as Judson in The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice . On August 27, 2006, at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Conan O'Brien, Newhart was placed in a supposedly airtight glass prison that contained three hours of air. If the Emmys went over the time of three hours, he would die. This gag was an acknowledgment of the common frustration that award shows usually run on past their allotted time (usually three hours). Newhart "survived" his containment to help O'Brien present the award for Outstanding Comedy Series (which went to The Office ). During an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! , Newhart made a comedic cameo with members of the ABC show Lost lampooning an alternate ending to the series finale. In 2011, he appeared in a small but pivotal role as a doctor in Lifetime's anthology film on breast cancer, Five.

2013–present: The Big Bang Theory

In 2013, he made a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory as the aged Professor Proton (Arthur Jeffries), a former science TV show host turned children's party entertainer, for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. [18] It was Newhart's first Emmy. At that year's Emmy ceremony, Newhart appeared as a presenter with The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons and received a standing ovation. He continued to play the character periodically through the show's 12th and final season and on its spinoff Young Sheldon . On December 19, 2014, Newhart made a surprise appearance on the final episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson , where he was revealed to be the person inside Secretariat, Ferguson's on-set pantomime horse. The show then ended with a scene parodying the Newhart series finale, with Ferguson and Drew Carey reprising their roles from The Drew Carey Show . In June 2015, Newhart appeared on another series finale, that of Hot in Cleveland , playing the father-in-law of Joy Scroggs (Jane Leeves). It marked a reunion with Betty White, who was a cast member during the second season of Bob 23 years earlier. The finale ends with their characters getting married.

Comedic style

Newhart is known for his deadpan delivery and a slight stammer that he incorporated early on into the persona around which he built a successful career. [4] On his TV shows, although he got his share of funny lines, he worked often in the Jack Benny tradition of being the "straight man" while the sometimes rather bizarre cast members surrounding him got the laughs. But Newhart has said, "I was not influenced by Jack Benny", and cites George Gobel and Bob and Ray as his initial writing and performance inspirations. [11]

Several of his routines involve hearing half of a conversation as he speaks to someone on the phone. In a bit called "King Kong", a rookie security guard at the Empire State Building seeks guidance as to how to deal with an ape that is "between 18 and 19 stories high, depending on whether there's a 13th floor or not." He assures his boss he has looked in the guards' manual "under 'ape' and 'ape's toes'." Other famous routines include "The Driving Instructor", "The Mrs. Grace L. Ferguson Airline (and Storm Door Company)", "Introducing Tobacco to Civilization", "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue", "Defusing a Bomb" (in which an uneasy police chief tries to walk a new and nervous patrolman through defusing a live shell discovered on a beach), "The Retirement Party", "Ledge Psychology", "The Krushchev Landing Rehearsal", and "A Friend with a Dog."

In a 2012 podcast interview with Marc Maron, comedian Shelley Berman accused Newhart of plagiarizing his improvisational telephone routine style (although not any actual material of Berman's). [19] But in interviews both years before and after Berman's comments, Newhart has never taken credit for originating the telephone concept, which he has noted was done earlier by Berman and predating Berman  Nichols and May, George Jessel (in his well-known sketch "Hello Mama"), and in the 1913 recording "Cohen on the Telephone". Starting in the 1940s, Arlene Harris also built a long radio and TV career around her one-sided telephone conversations, and the technique was later also used by Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres, and others. [20] [11]



1962 Hell Is for Heroes Pfc. James E. Driscoll
1968 Hot Millions Willard C. Gnatpole
1970 On A Clear Day You Can See Forever Dr. Mason Hume
Catch-22 Maj. Major Major
1971 Cold Turkey Merwin Wren
1977 The Rescuers BernardVoice [21]
1980 Little Miss Marker Regret
First Family President Manfred Link
1988 She's Having a Baby Himself
1990 The Rescuers Down Under BernardVoice [21]
1991The EntertainersTodd Wilson
1997 In & Out Tom Halliwell
1998 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie Leonard the Polar BearVoice [21]
2003 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Sid Post
Elf Papa Elf
2007 Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project HimselfDocumentary
2011 Horrible Bosses Lou ShermanCameo
2012Excavating the 2000 Year Old ManHimselfDocumentary
2013 Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic Himself [22] Documentary
2023 Once Upon a Studio BernardVoice, short film; archival audio [21]


1960–1962 The Ed Sullivan Show Comedian4 episodes
1961–1962 The Bob Newhart Show (variety series)Himself – Host27 episodes
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Gerald SwinneyEpisode: "How to Get Rid of Your Wife"
1963 The Judy Garland Show GuestEpisode 14 Taped November 30, 1963
1964 The Entertainers Himself – Co-Host
1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Charles FentonTelevision film
1967 Captain Nice Lloyd LarchmontEpisode: "Simon Says Get Married"
1967A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to HollywoodGuest [23] Television film
1968–1970 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Guest Performer3 episodes
1971 Decisions! Decisions! John HobsonTelevision film
1972 The Don Rickles Show Brother-in-LawEpisode: "Where There's a Will"
1974 Thursday's Game Marvin EllisonTelevision film
1972–1978 The Bob Newhart Show Dr. Robert "Bob" Hartley142 episodes
1973, 1979 Insight God/Marvin Halprin2 episodes
1980MarathonWalter BurtonTelevision film
1980, 1995 Saturday Night Live Host2 episodes
1982–1990 Newhart Dick Loudon184 episodes
1991 The Bob Newhart Show: The 19th Anniversary Special Dr. Robert "Bob" HartleyTV special
1992–1993 Bob Bob McKay33 episodes
1994 Murphy Brown Dr. Robert "Bob" HartleyEpisode: "Anything But Cured"
1996 The Simpsons HimselfVoice, episode: "Bart the Fink"
1997–1998 George and Leo George Stoody22 episodes
2001 Mad TV Psychotherapist1 episode
2001Untitled Sisqo ProjectBob NewhartNBC sitcom pilot [24]
2001The Sports PagesDoc WaddemsTelevision film
2003 ER Ben Hollander3 episodes
2004 The Librarian: Quest for the Spear JudsonTelevision film
2005 Desperate Housewives Morty Flickman3 episodes
2005 Committed BlinkyEpisode: "The Return of Todd Episode"
2006 The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines JudsonTelevision film
2008 The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice JudsonTelevision film
2011 NCIS Doctor Walter MagnusEpisode: "Recruited"
2011 Five Dr. RothTelevision film
2013–2018 The Big Bang Theory Arthur Jeffries / Professor Proton6 episodes
2014Don Rickles: One Night OnlyHimselfPre-recorded appearance
2014 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Secretariat/HimselfLast Episode
2015 Hot in Cleveland Bob Sr.Episode: "Vegas Baby/I Hate Goodbye"
2014–2017 The Librarians Judson3 episodes
2017–2020 Young Sheldon Arthur Jeffries / Professor Proton3 episodes


Live albums

Compilation albums


On September 20, 2006, Hyperion Books released Newhart's first book I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This. The book is primarily a memoir but also features comic bits. Transcripts of many of Newhart's classic routines are woven into the text. Actor David Hyde Pierce said, "The only difference between Bob Newhart on stage and Bob Newhart offstage is that there is no stage." [25]

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

1961 Best New Artist Bob NewhartWon
Best Album of the Year The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart Won
Best Comedy Performance – Spoken The Button Down Mind Strikes BackWon
1998Best Comedy AlbumButton Down ConcertNominated
2007 Best Spoken Word Album I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!Nominated

Primetime Emmy Awards

1962 Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series The Bob Newhart Show Nominated
1985 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Newhart Nominated
1986 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1987 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2004 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER Nominated
2009 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice Nominated
2013 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series The Big Bang Theory Won
2014 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2016 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

1962Best TV Star – Male The Bob Newhart Show Won
1975 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV The Bob Newhart Show Nominated
1976 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV Nominated
1983 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV Newhart Nominated
1984 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV Nominated
1985 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV Nominated
1986 Best Actor in a Comedy – TV Nominated


Personal life

Family life

Buddy Hackett introduced Newhart to Virginia Lillian "Ginnie" Quinn (born December 9, 1940), the daughter of character actor Bill Quinn. [4] They were married on January 12, 1963. The couple had four children, sons Robert (born 1965) and Timothy (born 1967) and daughters Jennifer (born 1973) and Courtney (born 1979), as well as ten grandchildren. [1] Both Roman Catholic, they raised their children in the same faith. [29] He is a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the related Catholic Motion Picture Guild [30] in Beverly Hills, California. [31] Ginnie Newhart died at age 82 on April 23, 2023. [32] [33]

The Newhart family was close friends with the Rickles family. The couples and their families often vacationed together. [34] Don Rickles and Newhart appeared together on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on January 24, 2005, the Monday following Johnny Carson's death, reminiscing about their many guest appearances on Carson's show. The two also appeared together on the television sitcom Newhart and for previous episodes of The Tonight Show, where Newhart or Rickles were guest hosts. The friendship was memorialized in Bob & Don: A Love Story – a 2023 short documentary film by Judd Apatow featuring interviews with and home movies of both families. [35]


In 1985, Newhart was hospitalized for secondary polycythemia, a condition attributed to his years of heavy smoking. He recovered after several weeks and has since quit smoking. [4]

Interests and investment

In 1995, Newhart was one of several investors in Rotijefco (a blend of his children's names), which bought radio station KKSB (AM 1290 kHz) in Santa Barbara, California. Its format was changed to adult standards and its call sign to KZBN (his initials). [36] In 2005, Rotijefco sold the station to Santa Barbara Broadcasting, which changed its call sign to KZSB and format to news and talk radio. [37] [38]

Newhart was an early home-computer hobbyist, purchasing the Commodore PET after its 1977 introduction. In 2001, he wrote "Later, I moved up to the 64 KB model and thought that was silly because it was more memory than I would ever possibly need." [39]


For over 25 years, Newhart's family lived in a Wallace Neff-designed French Country-style mansion in Bel Air. The 9,169-square-foot, five-bedroom home featured formal gardens, a lagoon-style pool with waterfall, and guest apartment. Newhart sold the property to developers in May 2016 for $14.5 million. [40] [41] [42] The new property owners razed the mansion and sold the empty 1.37-acre lot for $17.65 million in 2017. [43] [44]

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Howard Hesseman was an American actor known for his television roles as burned-out disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati and the lead role of history teacher Charlie Moore on Head of the Class. He appeared regularly on television and in film from the 1970s to 2010s, with his other noteworthy roles including Sam Royer in the last two seasons of One Day at a Time and a supporting role as Captain Pete Lassard in the film Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suzanne Pleshette</span> American actress (1937–2008)

Suzanne Pleshette was an American actress. Pleshette was known for her roles in theatre, film, and television. She received nominations for three Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. For her role as Emily Hartley on the CBS sitcom The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978) she received two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Daily</span> American actor and comedian (1927–2018)

William Edward Daily was an American actor and comedian known for his sitcom work as Major Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie, and Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack Riley (actor)</span> American actor (1935–2016)

John Albert Riley Jr. was an American actor, comedian and writer. He was known for playing Elliot Carlin, a chronic psychology client of the main character on The Bob Newhart Show, and for voicing Stu Pickles, one of the parents in the animated Rugrats franchise.

Mitchell Donald "Mitch" Hurwitz is an American television writer, producer, and actor. He is best known as the creator of the television sitcom Arrested Development as well as the co-creator of The Ellen Show. He is also a contributor to The John Larroquette Show and The Golden Girls.

James Edward Burrows, sometimes known as Jim "Jimmy" Burrows, is an American television director. Burrows has received numerous accolades including 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Directors Guild of America Awards. He was honored with the Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and NBC special Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows in 2016.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Lawrence (TV producer)</span> American television producer, screenwriter, and director

William Van Duzer Lawrence IV is an American television producer, screenwriter, and director. He is the creator of the series Scrubs and co-creator of shows including the live-action Cougar Town, Spin City, Ground Floor, Ted Lasso, and Shrinking, and the animated series Clone High, in which he also voiced the leader of the shadowy figures. He has written for many other shows, including The Nanny and Boy Meets World.

<i>The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart</i> 1960 live comedy album

The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart is a 1960 live album by comedian Bob Newhart. Recorded at the Tidelands Club in Houston, Texas by recording engineer Bill Holford, Newhart's debut album reached #1 on the Billboard Mono Action Albums chart on August 1, 1960, and remained at the top for 14 weeks. In Canada, the album was #1 for 17 of 18 weeks between June 13 and October 10. The album stayed on the chart for two years, selling over 600,000 copies near release and ranking as the 20th best-selling album of all time on the Billboard charts. It won Album of the Year at the 1961 Grammy Awards, where Newhart was named Best New Artist; it was the first comedy album to win Album of the Year and the only time a comedian had won Best New Artist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Billy Van Zandt</span> American playwright and actor

William Van Zandt is an American playwright and actor, and the author of the best-selling TV memoir Get in the Car, Jane.

<i>Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project</i> 2007 American film

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project is a 2007 documentary film about stand-up comedian Don Rickles, which was first screened at the 2007 New York Film Festival and then shown on HBO.

Earl Pomerantz was a Canadian-born screenwriter, who spent almost the entirety of his career working in U.S. television comedy.

Lawrence Rickles was an American screenwriter and film and television producer. He won an Emmy Award in 2008 for his work on Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, a documentary about his father, actor and comedian Don Rickles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brett Goldstein</span> English actor and writer

Brett Goldstein is an English actor, comedian, writer, producer, and podcaster. Known for his role as Roy Kent in the Apple TV+ sports comedy series Ted Lasso, he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for each of the first two seasons. He is also the co-creator of the comedy series Shrinking (2023).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ramy Youssef</span> American entertainer (born 1991)

Ramy Youssef is an American stand-up comedian, actor, screenwriter, and director. He is known for his role as Ramy Hassan on the Hulu comedy series Ramy (2019–2022), for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Peabody Award in 2020. He was also nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.


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Further reading