Bob Newhart, low-key TV superstar

Bob Newhart

One of the greatest and most understated comedians in television history, Bob Newhart’s highbrow, low-key style has earned him a large following among both critics and viewers.

Bob Newhart was born in Chicago on September 5, 1929. He began performing his unique brand of comedy on television variety shows in 1960, beginning with The Jack Paar Show. Other programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show and The Garry Moore Show provided Newhart with most of his early airtime. Then came the first manifestation of a Bob Newhart show—The Bob Newhart Show, which ran from 1961 to 1962.

Bob Newhart

Newhart’s next TV job as a regular came in 1964 on The Entertainers. Though the show took off and crashed the same year, Newhart continued working on variety shows. In 1972, the second and most famous Bob Newhart Show began its run. The skillfully picked supporting cast worked beautifully in contrast to Bob Newhart’s subdued humor, and the show ran until 1978.

The next Newhart show, Newhart, enjoyed similar success. As New England inn manager Dick Loudon, Newhart left the over-the-top antics to guests, employees and local yokels, while he kept one eyebrow raised in quiet befuddlement. Newhart ran until 1990 and was followed by a short-lived series, Bob. Bob Newhart lives in Southern California and continues to appear on television as a guest most recently in 2013 with a series of appearances on The Big Bang Theory.