Friday, 25 August 2017

A Great Comedian Gone

I don't usually circle back to articles I've written in the past unless there's a major update regarding the topic. The man to the left in the Bruins jersey is Jay Thomas playing his beloved character Eddie LeBec on the hit TV show Cheers. Thomas passed away yesterday at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer. The comedian and radio show host had a long string of characters on various TV shows that made him one of the most memorable recurring secondary actors of the era. The world lost a good man in Jay Thomas.

I wrote an article on the character of Eddie LeBec and how he met his untimely demise on the sitcom Cheers back in November. While the back story of why he was written out is actually kind of crazy when you consider that it sounds like, from all accounts in the linked story, that Rhea Perlman wanted him off the show for good after he made a joke about Rhea on his satellite radio show.

All that aside, Jay Thomas won two Emmy awards for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his portrayal of character Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown. He was deli owner Remo DaVinci on Mork & Mindy. Most recently, he played Marty Grossman on Ray Donovan. And perhaps his most remembered moment on TV happened each year since 1998 during the holidays when he would appear on The Late Show with David Letterman.

"I loved Jay," Letterman told CNN in a statement. "His Lone Ranger story was the best I heard in 30 years. Plus, nobody could throw a football like Jay. Maybe Tina Fey, maybe. My heart goes out to his family."

I actually remember a number of these appearances. Here is Jay Thomas telling what has been described as "the greatest talk show story ever."

It's not often that I write about the death of an actor who went through the death of one of his characters, but Jay Thomas' portrayal of Eddie LeBec was one of the best story arcs that involved hockey in any television show to date. The world will miss Thomas' brand of humour and his ability to tell a story like no one else. Thomas is survived by Sally, his wife, and his three sons Sam, Max, and J.T.

Rest in peace, Jay Thomas. Your brought joy and laughter to millions as a prime-time player on a number of sitcoms, and each of your characters is as memorable as you were. My only wish is that the laughter you brought to millions would have cured your cancer so we didn't have to lose a great man like yourself.

Until next time, raise your sticks in memory of Eddie LeBec!

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