I’m heartbroken to just read that talented actor and comic Jay Thomas passed away at 69 after a losing battle with cancer.
Jay was not only a familiar actor on shows and movies like Murphy Brown, (where he won TWO Emmy’s) Mork and Mindy, Cheers, and Mr. Holland’s Opus, he was a skilled radio broadcaster.
During his hey day appearing as “Carla’s boyfriend, Bruins player Eddie LeBec” on Cheers, at the same time, he’d wake up at 3 am to host a popular morning radio show in Los Angeles. He was a tireless worker and true pro. Jay, a DJ that actually made it in the competitive Hollywood movie and television business, he never left his radio roots.
Back in 2001 we worked for the same radio company. He needed to use our studios in Chicago to broadcast his morning show back to New York for a few days.
As a thank you he invited me out to dinner, on HIM. Plus a few days later I got the most amazing thank you gift, that was way more than what we gave him.
At dinner, Jay was so down to earth, kind and open. It was like a dinner with an old radio pal, rather than a known television and movie celebrity that worked with Richard Dreyfus in Opus and won Emmy’s.
We had a lunch once at New York City’s Grand Central Station. He said “come here.” Jay showed me the amazing Whispering Arch under the station. It’s basically a scientific sonic creation that allows you to whisper, and someone ten feet away can hear you!
He lived his bigger than life talent as a regular, nice guy. He knew he was talented, but it never clouded his kindness and authenticity.
Here’s the classic Lone Ranger story Jay told every Christmas on The Late Show with David Letterman.
R.I.P radio pal Jay Thomas. I miss you already