'Murphy Brown' and 'Cheers' Actor Jay Thomas Dies at 69
By Jackie Willis
Jay Thomas has died after a long battle with cancer, the actor's publicist, Tom Estey, confirmed to ET on Thursday. He was 69.
"Jay Thomas was one of the funniest and kindest men I have had the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years plus," Estey shared. "He will be dearly missed by so many."
Don Buchwald, Thomas' longtime agent and friend, told the New York Daily News, “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 shared that Thomas’ wife, Sally, and his sons, Sam, Max and J.T., were with him when he died.
Thomas had several notable roles on television over the span of his acting career. From 1987 to 1989, he played Rhea Pearlman's TV husband, Eddie LeBec, on Cheers, and went on to portray Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown from 1989 to 1998. He also starred on Love & War from 1992 to 1995. His other TV credits include Law and Order: SVU, Cold Case, Boston Legal and Hung.
More recently, Thomas played Marty Grossman on four episodes of Ray Donovan from 2013 to 2015.
As for films, he had roles in Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dragonfly, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3.
In addition to acting, Thomas also hosted a SiriusXM radio program, The Jay Thomas Show, and made numerous appearances on holiday episodes of Late Night With David Letterman to tell his famous "Lone Ranger" story.
He last appeared with Letterman on The Late Show to tell the tale again in 2014, ahead of the host's retirement.