LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay Thomas, a radio talk show host and actor with recurring roles on the sitcoms “Murphy Brown” and “Cheers,” has died, his publicist said. Thomas was 69.
He was “one of the funniest and kindest men I have had the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years plus,” publicist Tom Estey said in a statement Thursday. He did not provide further details.
Thomas was fighting cancer, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.
Thomas’ best-known roles were as Eddie LeBec, the former-hockey-player husband of barmaid Carla on “Cheers,” and tabloid-talk-show host Jerry Gold on “Murphy Brown,” for which he won two Emmys.
Diane English, creator of “Murphy Brown,” said in a Twitter post that she was heartbroken to hear of his death and called him “gifted.”
“I would have loved to write another role for him. RIP Jay,” she tweeted.
Thomas, who in recent years hosted a SiriusXM Radio talk show, was a reliably worthy guest. His annual Christmastime appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” became a tradition that included a contest to knock a meatball off a Christmas tree erected onstage.
In this July 9, 1992, file photo, actor Jay Thomas, who stars in CBS television’s “Love and War” poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. A publicist for Thomas says the actor and radio host died. He was 69.
AP Television Writer Frazier Moore in New York contributed to this report.