Most of us know actor, comedian, radio personality Jay Thomas as a character actor. He’s one of those actors whose name sounds familiar and when you see his picture you say, “Oh yeah! I’ve seen him in stuff.”
Jay first became a familiar face in my childhood when he played Remo DaVinci working at the pizza shop frequented by Mork & Mindy.
On Cheers in the late 80’s he played Eddie LeBec, the hockey playing husband of sarcastic waitress Carla. For three seasons in the 90’s he played lead character Jack Stein on the sit-com Love & War. He appeared in Murphy Brown as her romantic interest and eventual husband. He was in movies including Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Santa Clause 2&3 and more recently he appeared in Bones, NCIS: New Orleans, and Ray Donovan. For about two decades he was also a holiday season regular on Late Night with David Letterman, telling his Lone Ranger story and throwing a football to knock the meatball off of thee top of the studio Christmas tree.
What most people don’t know is that Jay Thomas was a radio personality. He began his show business career forty years ago as a DJ and a stand-up comic. Most don’t know that for the last decade he had an afternoon radio show on SiriusXm Satellite radio. It was generally him talking on current events topic and whatever else came to mind. He would take lots of calls from listeners no matter how idiotic they might have been. Over the last ten years I’ve had a job that involves a lot of driving around and I had satellite radio. He didn’t know it, but for the last ten years Jay was that asshole buddy that we all have that will sit next to you on a bar stool and after a beer or two has both made friends with everyone in the bar and also offended everyone in the bar. Last Thursday Jay passed away due to cancer. His career, from when I saw him on Mork & Mindy as a child to my daily appointment to hear him on the radio until last week, spanned my entire life. Jay made me laugh almost every day for the last ten years and I will miss him. Thank you Jay.
Have a great Monday everyone! ~Phil