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Comedian and Big Bang Theory and Elf actor Bob Newhart dies aged 94

Bob Newhart, the deadpan accountant-turned-comedian who became one of the most popular TV stars of his time after striking gold with a classic comedy album, has died at 94.

Jerry Digney, Newhart’s publicist, says the actor died Thursday in Los Angeles after a series of short illnesses.

Newhart, best remembered now as the star of two hit television shows of the 1970s and 1980s that bore his name, launched his career as a standup comic in the late 1950s.

READ MORE: DJ behind ‘one of the greatest records ever’ dies aged 49

Bob Newhart

He gained nationwide fame when his routine was captured on vinyl in 1960 as The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which went on to win a Grammy Award as album of the year.

While other comedians of the time, including Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Alan King, and Mike Nichols and Elaine May, frequently got laughs with their aggressive attacks on modern mores, Newhart was an anomaly.

His outlook was modern, but he rarely raised his voice above a hesitant, almost stammering delivery. His only prop was a telephone, used to pretend to hold a conversation with someone on the other end of the line.

In one memorable skit, he portrayed a Madison Avenue image-maker trying to instruct Abraham Lincoln on how to improve the Gettysburg Address: “Say 87 years ago instead of fourscore and seven,” he advised.

Another favourite was “Merchandising the Wright Brothers,” in which he tried to persuade the aviation pioneers to start an airline, although he acknowledged the distance of their maiden flight could limit them.

Bob Newhart

“Well, see, that’s going to hurt our time to the Coast if we’ve got to land every 105 feet.”

Newhart was initially wary of signing on to a weekly TV series, fearing it would overexpose his material. Nevertheless, he accepted an attractive offer from NBC, and The Bob Newhart Show premiered on October 11, 1961.

READ MORE: ‘Making ends meet’: Star’s surprising side job before fame

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Despite Emmy and Peabody awards, the half-hour variety show was cancelled after one season, a source for jokes by Newhart for decades after.

He waited 10 years before undertaking another Bob Newhart Show in 1972. This one was a situation comedy with Newhart playing a Chicago psychologist living in a penthouse with his schoolteacher wife, Suzanne Pleshette. Their neighbours and his patients, notably Bill Daily as an airline navigator, were a wacky, neurotic bunch who provided an ideal counterpoint to Newhart’s deadpan commentary.

The series, one of the most acclaimed of the 1970s, ran through 1978.

Four years later, the comedian launched another show, simply called Newhart. This time he was a successful New York writer who decides to reopen a long-closed Vermont inn. Again Newhart was the calm, reasonable man surrounded by a group of eccentric locals. Again the show was a huge hit, lasting eight seasons on CBS.

It bowed out in memorable style in 1990 with Newhart – in his old Chicago psychologist character – waking up in bed with Pleshette, cringing as he tells her about the strange dream he had: “I was an innkeeper in this crazy little town in Vermont. … The handyman kept missing the point of things, and then there were these three woodsmen, but only one of them talked!”

The stunt parodied a Dallas episode where a key character was killed off, then revived when the death was revealed to have been in a dream.

Bob Newhart

Two later series were comparative duds: Bob, in 1992-1993, and George & Leo, 1997-1998. Though nominated several times, he never won an Emmy for his sitcom work. “I guess they think I’m not acting. That it’s just Bob being Bob,” he sighed.

Over the years, Newhart also appeared in several movies, usually in comedic roles. Among them: Catch 22, In and Out, Legally Blonde 2 and Elf, as the diminutive dad of adopted full-size son Will Ferrell.

More recent work included Horrible Bosses and the TV series The Librarians, The Big Bang Theory — which won him his only Emmy — and Young Sheldon.

Newhart married Virginia Quinn, known to friends as Ginny, in 1964, and remained with her until her death in 2023. They had four children: Robert, Timothy, Jennifer and Courtney.

READ MORE: The Irwin family share insight into wholesome family trip

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Newhart was a frequent guest of Johnny Carson’s and liked to tease the thrice-divorced Tonight host that at least some comedians enjoyed long-term marriages. He was especially close with fellow comedian and family man Don Rickles, whose raucous insult humour clashed memorably with Newhart’s droll understatement.

“We’re apples and oranges. I’m a Jew, he’s a Catholic. He’s low-key, I’m a yeller,” Rickles told Variety in 2012. A decade later, Judd Apatow would pay tribute to their friendship in the short documentary Bob and Don: A Love Story.

A master of the gently sarcastic remark, Newhart got into comedy after he became bored with his $5-an-hour accounting job in Chicago. To pass the time, he and a friend, Ed Gallagher, began making funny phone calls to each other. Eventually, they decided to record them as comedy routines and sell them to radio stations.

Their efforts failed, but the records came to the attention of Warner Bros., which signed Newhart to a record contract and booked him into a Houston club in February 1960.

“A terrified 30-year-old man walked out on the stage and played his first nightclub,” he recalled in 2003.

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Six of his routines were recorded during his two-week date, and the album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, was released on April Fools’ Day 1960. It sold 750,000 copies and was followed by The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! At one point the albums ranked No. 1 and 2 on the sales charts. The New York Times in 1960 said he was “the first comedian in history to come to prominence through a recording.”

In addition to winning Grammy’s album of the year for his debut, Newhart won as best new artist of 1960, and the sequel The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! won as best comedy spoken word album.

Newhart was booked for several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and at nightclubs, concert halls and college campuses across the country. He hated the clubs, however, because of the heckling drunks they attracted.

“Every time I have to step out of a scene and put one of those birds in his place, it kills the routine,” he said in 1960.

In 2004, he received another Emmy nomination, this time as guest actor in a drama series, for a role in E.R. Another honor came his way in 2007, when the Library of Congress announced it had added The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart to its registry of historically significant sound recordings.

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Bob Newhart

Newhart made the bestseller lists in 2006 with his memoir, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This! He was nominated for another Grammy for best spoken word album (a category that includes audio books) for his reading of the book.

“I’ve always likened what I do to the man who is convinced that he is the last sane man on Earth … the Paul Revere of psychotics running through the town and yelling `This is crazy.′ But no one pays attention to him,” Newhart wrote.

Born George Robert Newhart in Chicago to a German-Irish family, he was called Bob to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named George.

At St. Ignatius High School and Loyola University in Chicago, he amused fellow students with imitations of James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Durante and other stars. After receiving a degree in commerce, Newhart served two years in the Army. Returning to Chicago after his military service, he entered law school at Loyola, but flunked out. He eventually landed a job as an accountant for the state unemployment department. Bored with the work, he spent his free hours acting at a stock company in suburban Oak Park, an experience that led to the phone bits.

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Bob Newhart

“I wasn’t part of some comic cabal,” Newhart wrote in his memoir. “Mike (Nichols) and Elaine (May), Shelley (Berman), Lenny Bruce, Johnny Winters, Mort Sahl — we didn’t all get together and say, ‘Let’s change comedy and slow it down.’ It was just our way of finding humour. The college kids would hear mother-in-law jokes and say, ‘What the hell is a mother-in-law?’ What we did reflected our lives and related to theirs.”

Newhart continued appearing on television occasionally after his fourth sitcom ended and vowed in 2003 that he would work as long as he could.

“It’s been so much, 43 years of my life; (to quit) would be like something was missing,” he said.

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Title: Comedian and Big Bang Theory and Elf actor Bob Newhart dies aged 94
Sourced From: celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/comedian-bob-newhart-deadpan-master-of-sitcoms-and-telephone-monologues-dies-at-94/85d25200-09ca-4b48-8163-cd0b588618f0
Published Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2024 20:07:00 GMT

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‘How do you cope?’ Actor Samuel Johnson recalls Heath Ledger confided in him about struggles with fame

Aussie actor Samuel Johnson has candidly reflected on his friendship with the late Heath Ledger. 

On KIIS FM’s Drive Show with Will & Woody last night, Johnson opened up about how The Dark Knight star’s level of fame and impacted the star. 

“I know you were very good friends with Heath Ledger … what was it like walking down the street with him?” the radio hosts asked.

“It’s pretty intense. I did walk down the street with him. I remember in half a block … it was about three-quarters of a block, there were four girls that fainted,” Johnson replied.

Watch the video above.

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Samuel Johnson at the 2017 Logies

“They literally just dropped when they saw him. I couldn’t believe it. Not one, not two, not three, four, inside a block.

“I’ve never seen I’ve never seen anything like it. It was phenomenal.”

The Molly star revealed he once asked Ledger, “How do you cope?”

“He just looked at me with a world of sadness in his eyes and said, ‘I don’t.'”

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Heath Ledger

Ledger had risen to fame in films including Candy, Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You and his acclaimed role in The Dark Night.

The star was recognised posthumously at the 2009 Oscars for his performance as the Joker, for which he won the best supporting actor category.

Ledger died on January 22, 2008, from an accidental overdose. He was 28.

Johnson also reminisced about the start of his career on the iconic soap Home and Away, sharing the transition from his days as an ordinary teenager to becoming famous. 

READ MORE: Stars pay tribute to legendary comedian Bob Newhart

Samuel Johnson attends the Sunday Herald Sun Snaparazzi Spring racing Party at Riva on October 23, 2009

Johnson revealed how it felt to become acquainted with Australian stars Isla Fisher, Kate Ritchie, and Melissa George. 

READ MORE: Going to parent-teacher night probably saved Vanessa’s life

“It kind of hit me like a truck,” the Secret Life of Us star said.

“I went to school the next day, and all of a sudden all the girls were sitting with a space next to them. They were all patting the chairs, saying, ‘Sit next to me’ all of a sudden. So, overnight my life changed.”

FOLLOW US ON WHATSAPP HERE: Stay across all the latest in celebrity, lifestyle and opinion via our WhatsApp channel. No comments, no algorithm and nobody can see your private details.

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Title: ‘How do you cope?’ Actor Samuel Johnson recalls Heath Ledger confided in him about struggles with fame
Sourced From: celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/samuel-johnson-friendship-with-heath-ledger/3ece5be1-6b5c-4cb8-9344-4167b38c3c78
Published Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:07:00 GMT

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https://mansbrand.com/moon-landing-anniversary-astronaut-rock-star-awards/

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Moon Landing Anniversary / Astronaut Rock Star Awards

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On Saturday, July 20th – the 55th anniversary of the 1st moon landing – multi-platinum selling band O.A.R. will be honoring Astronaut Jack D. Fischer & “Odie,” the 1st private lunar lander on the Moon earlier this year, with an award.

  • O.A.R. will be presenting the Astronaut Rock Star Award to Astronaut Fischer at their Leader Bank Pavilion Boston show.
  • Women-owned + led uniphi space agency will also honor the band with their own award that same day.
  • Astronaut Jack D. Fischer will be presenting awards to the upcoming aerospace generation – STEM/STEAM high school student Yuridia Sanchez & 18-year-old STEMflights aviation scholar Sophia Crowder.
  • He will also be honoring The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, celebrating 40 years – which 1st American in space Alan Shepard helped found.

The Astronaut Rock Star Awards honor the intersection of space exploration, STEM/STEAM education, and the enduring connection between Astronauts and music, taking inspiration from Earth & Space collaborations of artists like Eddie Vedder, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Post Malone, Coldplay, Garth Brooks, Kraftwerk, BLKBOK, Peter Gabriel, and exemplified by the iconic Voyager Golden Record, the Chandra X-Ray “Sonification” Project & beyond.

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The post Moon Landing Anniversary / Astronaut Rock Star Awards first appeared on Music Connection Magazine.

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By: Music Connection
Title: Moon Landing Anniversary / Astronaut Rock Star Awards
Sourced From: www.musicconnection.com/moon-landing-anniversary-astronaut-rock-star-awards/
Published Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2024 19:31:32 +0000

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