Jay’s agent and longtime friend Don Buchwald confirmed the news to the NY Daily News on Thursday, Aug. 24. “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully whacky thoughts and behavior,” Buchwald, wrote in a statement, adding that Jay was surrounded by his beloved wife, Sally, and his sons Sam, Max, and J.T. at the time of his passing.
Jay with Rhea on Cheers.
The star was born in Kermit, TX in July 1948 and raised in New Orleans. Jay got his first big showbiz role in 1979 on the Happy Days spin-off Mork & Mindy. He portrayed supporting character Remo DaVinci on 20 episodes of the popular series from 1979 until 1981. In 1987, Jay landed one of his most memorable TV jobs playing Rhea Perlman’s character’s husband Eddie LeBec on Cheers. He won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on Cheers in 1990 and 1991.
He then portrayed talk show host Jerry Gold — Candice Bergen character’s, on-again, off-again boyfriend — on Murphy Brown from 1989 until 1998. Jay has additionally appeared on TV shows The Love Boat, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Boston Legal and in movies including Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Santa Clause 2, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Labor Pains, and Underdogs. His final role was on the Liev Schreiber-led crime drama Ray Donovan.
Jay and his wife, Sally.
Jay was also known for often appearing on David Letterman’s Late Show with David Letterman during Christmastime and for hosting his own SiriusXM talk radio show, The Jay Thomas Show, which premiered back in 2005. Our thoughts are with Jay’s family and friends during this difficult time.