Born September 5, 1929 – Oak Park, Illinois
An accountant turned ad writer, Bob Newhart would become famous for the dead pan and stammering one ended conversations that made up his debut record The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960). The album would become the first comedy recording ever to hit number one on the Billboard charts, keeping the position for 14 weeks. Later that same year its sequel, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back would also top the charts, the two discs holding down the numbers one and two spots for almost 30 weeks. At the 1961 Grammy Awards, The Button-Down Mind would win Album of the Year, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back would win for Best Comedy Album – Spoken Word, and Newhart would be named Best New Artist.
The success opened the door to film and television (Catch 22, a variety series, frequent guest host appearances on The Tonight Show), and in 1972 he would strike gold again, playing Chicago psychologist Dr. Robert Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. The series, split between home and work life, would become one of the most beloved sitcoms of its time, and four years after that show’s six season run, Bob would return to series television with Newhart. The series, which found Bob and his wife running an Inn in rural Vermont, would find great success of its own running for eight seasons, and perhaps be best remembered for its finale’s spectacularly surprising final scene.
In subsequent years he would have two more TV series (Bob, and George and Leo), have small, but significant roles in films (Elf, Legally Blonde 2, Horrible Bosses), and have recurring roles in television’s Desperate Housewives and The Big Bang Theory, winning and Emmy Award for the latter. Other honours include the Peabody Award, the Mark Twain Award For American Humor, and induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.