The TV academy is celebrating Bob Newhart's golden anniversary in show biz with a big bash on June 1. Our own Pete Hammond will be moderating the salute to this sly wit. Among those paying tribute to the TV icon will be costars from both "The Bob Newhart Show" (Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace) and "Newhart" (Julia Duffy, Peter Scolari).
As noted in the announcement of the event, Newhart began his career as a stand-up, and his debut disc -- "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" -- "became the first comedy album to go to No. 1 on the charts. Seven more albums followed, each extremely successful multi-platinum projects. In fact, Bob’s cumulative recording career earned him three Grammys."
Newhart was never nominated for his classic 1970s sitcom -- also titled "The Bob Newhart Show" -- but co-star Suzanne Pleshette reaped best actress bids in 1977 and 1978, losing first to Bea Arthur ("Maude") and then Jean Stapleton ("All in the Family").
Although Newhart landed three consecutive Emmy nods for his follow-up show -- imaginatively titled "Newhart" -- he lost in 1985 to Robert Guillaume ("Benson") and then to Michael J. Fox ("Family Ties") in both 1986 and 1987.
More recently, Newhart contended in the guest actor in a drama series race in 2004 for his portrayal of an architect slowly going blind on "ER" but he lost to William Shatner on "The Practice." Last year, Newhart was a supporting actor in a movie or miniseries nominee for "The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice," but Ken Howard prevailed for "Grey Gardens."
Newhart was interviewed in 2001 by the Archive of American Television, an offshoot of the foundation of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is just one of scores of TV giants who have granted in-depth video interviews over the last decade, including Dick Clark, Norman Lear, Mary Tyler Moore, Isabel Sanford, William Shatner, Aaron Spelling, Ted Turner, Barbara Walters and Betty White.
The archive has released the embed codes so that compelling conversations, like this one with Newhart, can be shared with the blogosphere. In part four of this seven-part interview, Newhart discusses both of his long-running sitcoms. See the other parts here.
Photo: Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette at the 2002 Emmy Awards. Credit: NBC