Peter Scolari death: life and career of Bosom Buddies, Girls, Honey I Shrunk The Kids actor - as he dies at 66

Scolari was a long-time friend of Tom Hanks, who did a toast at his wedding to Tracy Shayne

Peter Scolari, the TV and stage actor who starred alongside Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies, has died at the age of 66.

The actor, who won an Emmy Award for his work on Girls, died on Friday 22 October after a two-year battle with cancer.

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But who was Scolari, what roles did he star in, and how will he be remembered?

Who was Peter Scolari?

Peter Scolari was born in New York on 12 September 1955 to an abusive father and recovering alcoholic mother. He said he grew up in a ‘tumultuous’ household.

He decided he wanted to be an actor after playing the lead role in a high school production of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’.

He married Tracy Shayne - who he had been dating for eight years - in 2013, and his long-time friend Tom Hanks made a toast at their wedding.

Scolari was previously married to Lisa Kretzchmar, and Debra Steagal, with whom he had two children, Nicholas and Joseph.

Later he married actress Cathy Trien, and had two children with her, Keaton, and Cali.

Scolari said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey Network that he struggled with drugs and alcohol until he joined a 12-step recovery programme in his late 40s.

He also opened up about having bipolar disorder.

What TV shows and films was he in?

Scolari is best known for starring alongside Tom Hanks in 1980 TV comedy Bosom Buddies.

The pair played advertising copywriters who are evicted from their apartment in New York.

They dress as women to conceal their identities and find a room in an all-female hotel, but then have to juggle their real and fake identities.

He later became a regular on Bob Newhart’s CBS sitcom Newhart, which aired from 1982 to 1990. He played Michael Harris, a TV presenter who persuades Newhart’s character to host a local show in the Vermont village where the action is set.

Scolari was nominated for three Emmy Awards for the show.

He later appeared in a number of TV shows, including Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, in which he played Wayne Szalinski, the inventor played by Rick Moranis in the 1989 film.

He also had roles in The Love Boat, Ally McBeal, ER, The Family Album, and The West Wing, and had a voice role in Christmas movie The Polar Express, which also featured Tom Hanks.

Later in his career, from 2012 to 2017, Scolari played Tad Horvath, the father of Dunham’s character on HBO comedy Girls, and won an Emmy Award for the role.

What stage productions was he in?

Scolari had a busy on-stage career too, and played in replacement roles in musicals Hairspray and Wicked.

He also starred alongside Hanks in the Broadway production of Nora Ephron play Lucky Guy about a tabloid journalist.

He played five separate roles in Magic/Bird, Eric Simonson’s 2012 play about basketball players Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

He later starred opposite his wife Tracy Shayne in Bronx Bombers, another Simonson play.

Scolari also held roles in plays that were not on Broadway, like Biloxi Blues, Grease and The Music Man, to name a few.

What did Peter Scolari die of?

The actor was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and died on 22 October 2021. His death was confirmed by Wright Management’s Ellen Lubin Sanitsky.

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