Peter Scolari, most recently on Broadway as Yogi Berra in Eric Simonson's 2014 play Bronx Bombers, passed away October 22 following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 66.
Born September 12, 1955, in New Rochelle, New York, the prolific actor rose to fame in the early 1980s opposite Tom Hanks in the series Bosom Buddies, subsequently playing TV producer Michael Harris on the long-running Bob Newhart comedy Newhart. Mr. Scolari received three Emmy nominations for his work on the Vermont-set situation comedy and later won his Emmy for the HBO comedy Girls.
Mr. Scolari reunited with Oscar winner Hanks on stage in the 2013 Broadway premiere of Nora Ephron's Tony-nominated Lucky Guy, playing the role of Michael Daly opposite Hanks' Mike McAlary. His other Broadway credits included Magic/Bird, Sly Fox, Wicked, and Hairspray, as well as Vince Fontaine in the mid-'90s national tour of Grease.
The versatile actor also appeared in the 1996 TV version of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off for the Arts & Entertainment network. In a 1996 interview with Playbill, Mr. Scolari spoke about playing the role of Littlechap in that Anthony Newley-Leslie Bricusse musical, saying, "The character is as dramatic a role as I'll ever play . . .I hope that in my career I get challenged like that again." In that same interview, he also said that acting on stage was his first love "and probably my second as well," adding, "I first learned to act in front of an audience [where] it counts, [without] starting and stopping." (Bricusse, whose work also included Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Jekyll and Hyde, died earlier this week; he was 90.)
Among his numerous Off-Broadway credits: Old Man Joseph and His Family, The Exonerated, In the Wings, White's Lies, It Must Be Him, and Dear Elizabeth. His final major New York stage credit was the New Group's world premiere of Sharr White’s The True, starring Edie Falco.
Mr. Scolari's most recent screen appearances included Evil, Lisey's Story, Bluebloods, Fosse/Verdon, Anthem: Homunculus, The Social Ones, Murphy Brown, All You Can Eat, The Good Fight, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Odd Mom Out, Dean, How You Look at It, Madoff, Gotham, Jerome's Bouquet, White Collar, Letting Go, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Suburban Girl, American Dad!, Big Love, and Listen Up.
Mr. Scolari is survived by his wife, Tracy Shayne, who co-starred with him in the aforementioned Bronx Bombers, and their children, Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.