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Overview for Jay Thomas
Jay Thomas

Jay Thomas


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Also Known As: Jon Thomas Terrell Died: August 24, 2017
Born: July 12, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kermit, Texas, USA Profession: Cast ... actor disc jockey sports announcer comic


Feisty, bantamweight character actor who brought a strong credibility to small screen roles as ex-goalie Eddie LeBec on "Cheers" and as the comically combative sports writer Jack Stein, boyfriend of restaurant cook Dana Palladino (Annie Potts) on the hit CBS sitcom "Love & War" (1992-95). Though born in Kermit, TX and raised in New Orleans, Thomas's heavy accent could lead one to believe he grew up in one of New York City's five boroughs. Starting out as a stand-up comedian in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Thomas worked for a number of years as a radio sports announcer and disc jockey. After a three-year stint in broadcasting in North Carolina, he took a job with RKO-FM in New York. In his off-time, Thomas worked the stand-up club circuit and acted in productions off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway, appearing in plays by Wendy Wasserstein and Albert Innaurato at Playwrights Horizons and elsewhere.

Thomas got his big TV break when he was cast as a regular on the popular fantasy sitcom "Mork and Mindy" (ABC, 1978-80), playing brash deli owner Remo DaVinci. For three seasons on "Cheers" (NBC, 1987-89), he enlivened things as Carla's ex-husband, a former hockey goalie turned Ice Capades show penguin. Thomas has turned up regularly on the tube, mostly in small or supporting roles in specials, movies and series. For his performance as caustic talk show host Jerry Gold on "Murphy Brown," he picked up a 1991 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As opinionated sports writer Jack Stein on sitcom "Love & War," he suffered loudly the slings and arrows of an on-again off-again romance first with Susan Dey and then with the sometimes ditzy yet usually sharp Dana Palladino as portrayed by Annie Potts. Thomas' abrasive yet still sympathetic performance gave both couplings a credible New York edge.

On the big screen, Thomas has had middling success. He made his feature film debut as one of the victims of a flesh-eating monster in "C.H.U.D." (1984) and went on to play a crooner in Frank D. Gilroy's "The Gig" (1985). He had one of his best roles to date in 1995's "Mr. Holland's Opus," as the football coach and friend to music teacher Richard Dreyfuss.

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