Bob Newhart

Actor, Comedian
Bob Newhart


Also Known As
George Robert Newhart
Birth Place
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
September 05, 1929


As a stand-up comedian in the 1960s, Bob Newhart explored the absurdities of everyday life with an underplayed delivery and gentle stammer that earned him three Grammys and the first comedy album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. His unique brand of humor translated well to television, where he starred in two of the best-loved sitcoms of all time - the Emmy-nominated "The Bob Newha...

Family & Companions

Virginia Newhart
Married on January 12, 1964.


Received a hononary doctorate from Loyola Marymount college in 1994

Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1993.


As a stand-up comedian in the 1960s, Bob Newhart explored the absurdities of everyday life with an underplayed delivery and gentle stammer that earned him three Grammys and the first comedy album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. His unique brand of humor translated well to television, where he starred in two of the best-loved sitcoms of all time - the Emmy-nominated "The Bob Newhart Show" (CBS, 1972-78) and the even more popular "Newhart" (CBS, 1982-1990), which cast the genteel comedian as the put-upon owner-operator of a Vermont bed and breakfast populated by an odd assortment of characters. After the latter show went off the air, Newhart settled into a series of supporting roles in features like "In and Out" (1997), "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" (2003) and "Elf" (2003) opposite Will Ferrell. He went on to greater acclaim with an Emmy-nominated dramatic turn on "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) in 2004, which earned him a new generation of fans unfamiliar with his previous sitcom success. From there, Newhart reached new heights with his acclaimed turn in "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear" (TNT, 2004) its two sequels and the series "The Librarians" (TNT 2014- ), while continuing to appear as a guest star on high-profile series such as "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2007- ), proving that Newhart remained a potent force in entertainment.

Born George Robert Newhart in Oak Park, IL on Sept. 5, 1929, Newhart's early life was as mundane as the befuddled businessmen he played in his stand-up routines. He graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 1952 with a degree in business management, and served stateside in the Army during the Korean War. After his discharge in 1954, he worked as an accountant for United States Gypsum and later as an advertising copywriter for Fred A. Niles, an independent feature and television producer based in Chicago. While at the agency, Newhart began developing a string of comedy routines with a friend, Ed Gallagher that would later serve as the backbone of his stand-up act: elaborate and improvised telephone conversations based on an absurd notion: a security guard at the Empire State Building attempting to explain the presence of King Kong to his boss, or Abraham Lincoln's press secretary presenting ways for the president to improve his dour image, both of which became more delirious with each mounting detail, including the security guard explaining that Kong was on either the 18th or 19th floor, depending on whether their was a 13th floor. Newhart recorded many of these bits and sent them to a Chicago DJ, Dan Sorkin - later Newhart's announcer on his 1961 television series - who played them during his show. Sorkin also sent this material to George Avakian, famed head of talent development at Warner Bros. Records.

Based on the strength of these recordings, Avakian signed him to a recording contract. Newhart began developing his material into a stand-up act for nightclubs, and the best of these routines (including the Abe Lincoln bit) were featured on his debut comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960). The album was an immediate hit with listeners, who sent the LP to the top of the album charts, ahead of even Elvis Presley and the soundtrack to "The Sound of Music" (1961) - a first in Billboard history for a comedy album. Newhart earned two Grammys for the record, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist, and began making regular appearances with his material on television variety shows like Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" (NBC, 1948-1971).

It was not long before Newhart had his own television program, though he resisted numerous offers to star in a sitcom, citing doubts over his own acting ability. Instead, he opted for a variety program built around his stand-up material. "The Bob Newhart Show" (NBC, 1961-62) earned an Emmy and a Peabody Award, but lasted only a season. Newhart returned to performing in nightclubs and won his third Grammy for his sophomore album, 1961's The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back. He also made regular appearances on TV variety shows, including 24 appearances on "The Dean Martin Show" (NBC, 1965-1974) and numerous guest host duties on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," (NBC, 1962-1992). He also branched into occasional acting roles on television, including a 1963 episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC, 1955-1965), as a henpecked husband trying to kill his wife. He also made the big leap to film with Don Siegel's WWII drama "Hell is for Her s," for which he did a telephone routine. Siegel did not want to shoot the scene, and Newhart found the whole experience so unpleasant that he asked producers to have his character killed off. Newhart also found time to marry Virginia Quinn, to whom he was introduced by fellow comic Buddy Hackett. The pair tied the knot in 1963 and eventually bore four children.

Newhart focused on touring and television appearances for most of the 1960s, and released several successful albums between 1962 and 1973. There were also occasional movie roles, including the caper comedy "Hot Millions" (1968), with Newhart as an officious computer expert helping to stop embezzlers Peter Ustinov and Maggie Smith; Vincent Minnelli's film version of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" (1970), Mike Nichols' adaptation of "Catch-22" (1970), as Maj. Major; and Norman Lear's "Cold Turkey" (1971), as a tobacco industry executive dispatched to break the will of a small town attempting to quit smoking en masse.

In 1972, Newhart starred as Chicago psychologist Robert Hartley in "The Bob Newhart Show." The series placed Newhart in a familiar position as the sole voice of reason in a swirling mass of lunacy at home - which included Suzanne Pleshette, his saucy wife, and Bill Daily, his intrusive airline pilot neighbor - and at work, where he attempted to maintain order among his patients, including Jack Riley's sharp-tongued Mr. Carlin, as well as John Fiedler and Penny Marshall as members of his therapy group. The show was smart, mature, and exceptionally well written. Newhart earned two Golden Globe nominations for his performance, and the series and Pleshette were both tapped for Emmy nods before Newhart brought the show to a close in 1978 after three seasons in the Top 20. "The Bob Newhart Show" maintained a strong audience following in reruns, and was eventually listed as one of the Top 50 shows of all time by TV Guide and one of the 100 Best by Time magazine; even providing the inspiration for a popular drinking game among college students. In 2004, a statue of Newhart as Hartley was even erected by the TV Land network in front of the Chicago building that served as the exterior for Hartley's office in the series, but was later moved to the popular Navy Pier.

Newhart returned to stand-up after "The Bob Newhart Show" came to a close; he also logged time as the lead in the TV movie "Marathon" (1980), as a middle-aged man who runs in the New York City race to impress a younger woman; and Buck Henry's dire political spoof "First Family" (1980), as an inept U.S President. He was somewhat better served as the voice of a jittery mouse tapped to rescue a young girl from kidnappers in the Disney animated feature "The Rescuers" (1977), he would repeat the role for the 1990 sequel "The Rescuers Down Under." He also guest-hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) in 1980 and scored his own primetime specials, "Ladies and Gentlemen Bob Newhart" (part I aired in 1980; part II in 1981), which featured many of his show business friends like Dean Martin and Don Rickles.

Newhart returned to sitcoms in 1982 with "Newhart" (CBS, 1982-1990), which operated on the same principle as his previous show: Newhart as the sober straight man - this time, as Dick Loudon, a writer of do-it-yourself books who becomes owner of a Vermont inn - surrounded by eccentrics, including the brilliant Tom Poston as the inn's dense handyman; Julia Duffy as the maid; Peter Scolari as the producer of Dick's cable access program; and William Sanderson, Tony Papenfuss and John Volstad as Larry, Darryl and Darryl, a trio of mangy locals who became the show's breakout stars. The series, which was nominated for six Emmys and five Golden Globes - including four for Newhart himself - broke the long-standing tradition of failed sophomore series for stars of former hit shows, and featured one of the most jaw-dropping finales ever featured on TV. Much to the shock of viewers, Loudon is struck on the head by an errant golf ball and awakens in bed with Suzanne Pleshette as Emily Hartley, with whom he discusses his strange dream of owning a bed and breakfast in Vermont. The episode - based on an idea by Newhart's real-life wife - was later named by both TV Guide and TV Land as the most unexpected moment in television history.

Newhart attempted two subsequent series, "Bob" (CBS, 1992-93), and "George and Leo" (CBS, 1997), both of which failed to attract audiences, despite the presence of Newhart and excellent supporting players like Judd Hirsch and Jason Bateman on "George and Leo" and Lisa Kudrow and Poston on "Bob." Newhart returned to touring with his stand-up act, and in the late 1990s, found a whole new audience with choice supporting roles in feature films like "In and Out" (1996), as the dour head of a high school which gains public attention after its popular teacher (Kevin Kline) is outed on national TV; "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" (2003), as a doorman who aides Reese Witherspoon's aspiring congressional aide; and "Elf (2003), as the adoptive father to Will Ferrell's manic North Pole elf. He also took a rare dramatic turn as a businessman who attempts suicide in the face of impeding blindness in three episodes of "ER" in 2004. For his touching performance, Newhart was nominated for an Emmy. He also played Morty Flickman, the occasional boyfriend of Teri Hatcher's mother (Lesley Anne Warren) on three 2005 episodes of "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012).

Newhart found himself on the receiving end of numerous awards in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1993, and Billboard placed his debut album at No. 20 on their list of the top records of the last 40 years in 1998. The year 1999 saw his star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2002, he was given the Mark Twain Award for American Humor. Comedy Central placed him at No. 14 on their list of the "100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time." Newhart himself continued to perform stand-up, even finding time to pen his memoir, I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, in 2006. The following year, Newhart contributed to John Landis' documentary, "Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project," about his longtime friend. In 2004, Newhart established the role of Judson, a librarian who hires a lifetime graduate student (Noah Wyle) to look after a secret collection of rare antiquities in "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear" (TNT, 2004). He reprised the role for both "The Librarian 2: Return to King Solomon's Mines" (TNT, 2006) and "The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice" (TNT, 2008), the latter of which earned Newhart an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie in 2009. Newhart also took on a recurring role in the series expanding the world of the TV movies, "The Librarians" (TNT 2014- ). Newhart followed this with a guest starring role as Dr. Walter Magnus on the long-running Navy procedural "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ). Returning to comedy, Newhart appeared ins everal episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2009- ), playing a former TV children's show host "Professor Proton," who was the first scientific hero of Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). The role won Newhart his first-ever Emmy in 2013.



Cast (Feature Film)

Horrible Bosses (2011)
The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008)
The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines (2006)
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)
Elf (2003)
Papa Elf
The Sports Pages (2001)
In & Out (1997)
The Entertainers (1991)
Todd Wilson
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
First Family (1980)
Marathon (1980)
Little Miss Marker (1980)
The Rescuers (1977)
Thursday's Game (1974)
Cold Turkey (1971)
Merwin Wren
Catch-22 (1970)
Major Major
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
Dr. Mason Hume
Hot Millions (1968)
Willard C. Gnatpole
Hell Is for Heroes (1962)
Private Driscoll

Cast (Special)

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)
100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time (2004)
Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story (2002)
Behind the Fame: Mary Tyler Moore/Bob Newhart (2002)
Laugh Out Loud: TV's 15 Greatest Comedians (2002)
Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years (2002)
Intimate Portrait: Suzanne Pleshette (2002)
Bob Newhart: The Last Sane Man (2001)
The Nightclub Years (2001)
The 24th Annual People's Choice Awards (1998)
CBS: The First 50 Years (1998)
1997 Emmy Awards (1997)
Dean Martin: Everybody Loves Somebody (1995)
Montreal International Comedy Festival '94 (1994)
The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame (1994)
People's 20th Birthday (1994)
Legend to Legend Night (1993)
The 9th Annual Television Academy Hall of Fame (1993)
The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (1992)
Holiday Greetings from the Ed Sullivan Show (1992)
Bob Newhart: Off the Record (1992)
The Bob Newhart 20th 19th Anniversary Special (1991)
CBS Tournament of Roses Parade (1991)
Grand Marshal
Just For Laughs: The Montreal International Comedy Festival (1990)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 28th Anniversary Special (1990)
MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon (1990)
CBS Comedy Bloopers (1990)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 27th Anniversary (1989)
The Parenthood Game (1988)
Packy (1987)
The 39th Annual Emmy Awards (1987)
Rickles on the Loose (1986)
The 37th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards (1985)
The Night of 100 Stars II (1985)
Circus of the Stars (1982)
Dean Martin's Comedy Classics (1981)
Circus of the Stars (1981)
Ladies and Gentleman... Bob Newhart Part 2 (1981)
Ladies and Gentleman... Bob Newhart (1980)
Perry Como's Springtime Special (1975)
The Don Rickles Show (1975)
The Rowan and Martin Special (1973)
Don Rickles -- Alive and Kicking (1972)
Ed McMahon and His Friends... Discover Wet at Cypress Gardens (1972)
A Last Laugh at the 60's (1970)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hollywood (1967)

Writer (Special)

Bob Newhart: Off the Record (1992)
Ladies and Gentleman... Bob Newhart Part 2 (1981)

Special Thanks (Special)

Bob Newhart: Off the Record (1992)
Ladies and Gentleman... Bob Newhart Part 2 (1981)

Misc. Crew (Special)

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)
The Bob Newhart 20th 19th Anniversary Special (1991)

Cast (Short)

Excavating the 2000 Year Old Man (2012)

Life Events


First comedy album <i>The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart</i> reached No. 1 on the LP charts


Starred in "The Bob Newhart Show" variety program for NBC; earned Emmy Award nomination


Made feature debut in Don Siegel's "Hell Is for Heroes"


First substantial acting role, as Willard Gnatpole in "Hot Millions"


Cast as Major Major in "Catch-22," the film version of Joseph Heller's novel directed by Mike Nichols


Starred as Dr. Bob Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show" (CBS)


Made TV-movie debut in "Thursday's Game" (ABC), written by James L. Brooks


Voiced Bernard in the animated feature "The Rescuers"


Starred in third series "Newhart" (CBS) as Vermont inn owner Dick Loudon


Reprised role as the voice of Bernard for the sequel "The Rescuers Down Under"


Developed and starred in fourth series "Bob" (CBS) as comic book artist Bob McKay


Co-starred with Judd Hirsch on short-lived CBS sitcom "George & Leo"


Returned to features in "In and Out" as a high school principal


Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (January 6)


Guest-starred on NBC's "ER" as an elderly architect who befriends Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) after he tried to commit suicide because he's going blind; received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series


Appeared in the comedy "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde," starring Reese Witherspoon


Played Papa Elf opposite Will Ferrell in the comedy "Elf"


Played Judson, the head of the Metropolitan Public Library in TNT movie "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear"


Played recurring role on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" as Morty, the on-again/off-again boyfriend of Susan Mayer's (Teri Hatcher) mother


Published first book <i>I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This</i>


Returned to play Judson for "The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines" (TNT)


Reprised role of Judson for third film in trilogy "The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice" (TNT), earned an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Movie


Nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie


Appeared in comedy feature "Horrible Bosses"


Took on the recurring role of Arthur Jeffries on the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory"


Movie Clip

First Family (1980) -- (Movie Clip) The President Is Not A Depraved Half-Wit Opening with Bob Newhart as president Manfred Link delivering a State Of The Union address, though from the oval office, William Sylvester the TV commentator, Roger Bowen the senator, Gilda Radner, whom we’ll learn is the president’s daughter, busted by the Secret Service, in writer-director Buck Henry’s First Family, 1980.
First Family (1980) -- (Movie Clip) Can I Deny Something? A forerunner of the walk-and-talk scenes known from The West Wing and other TV shows, Bob Newhart the president, Madeline Kahn the first lady, Fred Willard the aide Feebleman, Richard Benjamin the press secretary, Gilda Radner the daughter attempting another escape, in writer-director Buck Henry’s First Family, 1980.
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever - (Original Trailer) Barbra Steisand explores her past lives in the musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Hot Millions -- (Movie Clip) I Believe It Was Hitler Paroled con man Pendleton (co-screenwriter Peter Ustinov), posing as "Smith," his first interview with American big-shot Kemper (Karl Malden), bluffing computer expert Gnatpole (Bob Newhart) with newly-acquired technical jargon, in Hot Millions, 1968.
Hot Millions -- (Movie Clip) When's Coffee Break? Co-screenwriter Peter Ustinov, as con-man Pendleton, his scam underway, and Patty (Maggie Smith), who have flats in the same house, are surprised to meet at work, Karl Malden their boss, early in Hot Millions, 1968.
Hell is for Heroes -- (Movie Clip) Opening Credits Bleak and ominous opening credits for Don Siegel's grim WWII story Hell is for Heroes, 1962, from a script by Robert Pirosh and Richard Carr, starring Steve McQueen.
Hell is for Heroes -- (Movie Clip) Combat Emergency Neatly balanced opening scene for Bob Newhart (as "Driscoll") who gets intimidated by Pike (Fess Parker), Larkin (Harry Guardino) and Reese (Steve McQueen) and makes Bobby Darin (as "Corby") look rugged in Hell is for Heroes, 1962.




George David Newhart
Julia Pauline Newhart
Ginny Newhart
Robert William Newhart
Production coordinator. Appeared as his father in a cameo role set in a 1960s nightclub in "Heart and Souls" (1993).
Timothy Newhart
Post production technician.
Jennifer Newhart
Born c. 1972; married June 4, 1994 to Sony Music executive Joseph Bongiovi; gave birth to daughter Taylor on July 14, 1996.
Courtney Newhart
Born c. 1978.


Virginia Newhart
Married on January 12, 1964.



Received a hononary doctorate from Loyola Marymount college in 1994

Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1993.

"Bob is like the Fred Astaire of comedy - he just makes it seem so easy." --co-star Marcia Wallace, quoted in A&E's January 2001 "Biography" of Newhart