Peter Scolari, who rose to stardom on the brilliant-but-canceled “Bosom Buddies” alongside Tom Hanks, died Friday morning at age 66 of cancer, after a two-year illness.
His death was confirmed by his manager Ellen Lubin Sanitsky at Wright Entertainment.
Scolari was a prolific actor, both on television and on Broadway. He won an Emmy in 2016 for his portrayal of Tad Horvath on “Girls,” the father of Hannah (Lena Dunham). From 1987-1989, he was nominated three times for supporting actor Emmys for his role as Michael Harris on “Newhart,” Bob Newhart’s beloved CBS comedy.
Scolari was working until recently, and was frequently featured on the recently concluded second season of “Evil,” as Bishop Thomas Marx.
On stage, Scolari appeard on Broadway many times, including in “Hairspray,” “Sly Fox,” “Wicked,” “Magic/Bird” and with Hanks in “Lucky Guy” in 2013.
“Bosom Buddies” aired for only two seasons on ABC, but it set in motion both Hanks’ and Scolari’s careers. On the show, Henry (Scolari) and Kip (Hanks) — young professional New Yorkers, who work at an advertising agency — adopt drag personas in order to move into an inexpensive women-only residence, the Susan B. Anthony Hotel. They also pose as the brothers of Buffy (Hanks) and Hildegard (Scolari) in order to make their lives slightly easier, and so they can flirt with the women who also live at the hotel.
Hanks’ Kip was sarcastic and funny, and Scolari’s Henry was sweet and nervous — a perfect combination, if not for a long-running show, than for a friendship between the two actors. Before appearing on Broadway with Hanks in “Lucky Guy,” Scolari had a cameo appearance in Hanks’ directorial debut, 1996’s “That Thing You Do!”
Scolari is survived by his wife, Tracy Shayne, and children Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.