Actor Jay Thomas of ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘Cheers’ Dies at 69

Comedian Jay Thomas, who played in roles on “Murphy Brown,” “Cheers,” and “Mork & Mindy” has passed away at the age of 69, after battling cancer.

Actor Jay Thomas

Actor Jay Thomas attends the SiriusXM Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft at Hard Rock Cafe – Times Square on July 17, 2013 in New York City. | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The news was confirmed by Thomas’ agent and longtime friend Don Buchwald, who said, “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully whacky thoughts and behavior,” as reported by TMZ, who reported Thomas’ wife Sally and sons Sam and Max were by his side when he passed.

Fans and fellow celebrities posted condolences and tributes on Twitter:

For his role in “Cheers,” Thomas played Rhea Pearlman’s husband Eddie LeBec from 1987 to 1989. Thomas went on to play Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown from 1989 to 1998. His other TV credits include “Love and War” and “Law and Order: SVU.” He also acted in four episodes of “Ray Donovan” from 2013 to 2015. The actor won two Emmy awards for his role on “Murphy Brown.”

On the big screen, Thomas acted in “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Dragonfly,” “The Santa Clause 2,” and “The Santa Claus 3.”

Thomas also hosted “The Jay Thomas Show” on Sirius XM and made multiple appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman” where he repeatedly recounted his “Lone Ranger” story about a strange encounter with actor Clayton Moore who played “The Lone Ranger.”

In addition, another tradition Thomas had with Letterman was the two would attempt to knock meatballs off the top of a Christmas tree by throwing footballs.

Thomas was born in Kermit, TX but raised in New Orleans. He first rose to prominence in role as a radio disc jockey in New York and Los Angeles.