Evil co-creator Robert King says that the late Peter Scolari was a veritable godsend in his recurring role as Bishop Thomas Marx.
Scolari, best known for his work on Bosom Buddies and Newhart, died on Friday at the age of 66, following a battle with cancer. His most recent TV role was on the CBS-turned-Paramount+ horror drama Evil, on which he last appeared Sept. 26.
In a series of tweets, King remembered Scolari as “one of the funniest — sneakily funny — actors we’ve worked with. He always took a nothing scene and found different ways to twist it, and throw in odd pauses that made it jump. I will try to collect my thoughts more. He was just wonderful.
“To watch Peter Scolari’s dailies was a thrill because he always found new ways to go,” the EP continued. “He molded the highs and lows of a scene, but always looking for the comic spin, and he’d massage a phrase with each take until he could hear the laughter in his head. This is a real loss.”
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Speaking further to Scolari’s skill as a funnyman, King added, “It always felt like [he] found new ways to wear the priest wardrobe for comic effect. He knew his role was essentially funny, even though he often played straight man to something absurd said by another character. But he knew the laugh was in the reaction not the action.
In conclusion, King said, “Beyond everything else, Peter Scolari was a mensch, a hard worker, a thoughtful actor, always a pleasure on a set.”
Scolari’s long TV career began with the short-lived ABC sitcom Goodtime Girls, but truly began with ABC’s Bosom Buddies (1980-82), where he co-starred as Henry Desmond (aka “Hildegarde”) opposite Tom Hanks’ Kip Wilson/”Buffy.” Two years after Bosom Buddies ended, Scolari followed that up with his run as TV producer Michael Harris on Newhart, which earned him three consecutive Emmy nods for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Scolari ultimately took home Emmy gold for his guest role on HBO’s Girls, playing Tad Horvath, the father of Lena Dunham’s Hannah. But his considerable résumé also included appearances on Ally McBeal, White Collar, Reba, The West Wing, ER, Blue Bloods and Gotham, among many others.
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