Comic Actor Jay Thomas Dies at 69

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. On the latter, his character winds up appearing in an ice show and being killed by a Zamboni.

He 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, never-gets-old story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV’s The Lone Ranger. He and Letterman also took turns throwing a football, trying to knock a meatball off the top of a Christmas tree.

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