To celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary Bob Newhart, the Decades television network has put together a marathon consisting of 82 select episodes from the series The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart and Bob beginning on Saturday September 7 at 1:00 p.m. EST and continuing until Monday September 9 at 7:00 a.m. EST.
“In the year 2022, The Bob Newhart Show will have been on the air for 50 years, either on its original run or in syndication,” says Bob Newhart himself. “This is longevity I never expected.”
Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Newhart worked as an accountant and advertising copywriter, passing the time recording hilarious phone conversations about absurd scenarios that would eventually serve as the blueprint for his foray into comedy. In 1959, Newhart signed with Warner Bros. Records and released several comedy albums including his debut, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which became the first comedy album to hit #1 on the Billboard charts. It also earned the 1961 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, beating Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Newhart released eight more albums from 1960-1973.
Following a short-lived variety show on NBC that earned Newhart a Peabody Award in 1961, the actor made numerous appearances on legendary television shows, including The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, before landing his own primetime sitcom The Bob Newhart Show in 1972. Newhart’s portrayal of psychologist Dr. Bob Hartley, combined with the brilliant performances of co-stars Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daly, Marcia Wallace, Peter Bonerz, Jack Riley, and the rest of the cast, catapulted the show to instant success. Viewers across America tuned in each week to watch Bob play the “straight man” as he engaged in hilarious encounters with patients, neighbors, colleagues, and his lovingly sarcastic wife. The series ran for six seasons from 1972-1978 and earned two Golden Globe nominations and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
In 1982, Newhart returned to primetime television with another hit sitcom, Newhart, which followed the hijinks of Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon (Newhart) and the eccentric cast of characters that populate the small town. The series was nominated for 25 Primetime Emmy Awards and six Golden Globe Awards. From 1992-1993, Newhart starred in CBS sitcom Bob, portraying a cartoonist who gleefully antagonized his coworkers and friends. The Decades binge offers viewers a rare opportunity to revisit this series.
Newhart went on to appear in numerous iconic television series, including The Simpsons, ER, Desperate Housewives, NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, where he earned his first and only Primetime Emmy Award in 2013. In 2002, Newhart won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and remains one of the most lauded television stars and comedians of all time.
In November, The Paley Center for Media will present Newhart with the Paley Honors Award for his enduring impact on television comedy.
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