Jay Thomas, the comic actor who starred on the sitcoms Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died. He was 69. Don Buchwald, his agent and friend, reported his death due to cancer to The New York Daily News. No other details were immediately available. Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen’s, on-again, off-again boyfriend) on Murphy Brown from 1989-98 after his stint as Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec, a player with the Boston Bruins, on Cheers from 1987-89. On the latter, his character winds up appearing in an ice show and being killed by a Zamboni. He also starred on his own sitcom, starring as an egotistical sportswriter opposite Susan Dey and then Annie Potts on Love and War, a 1992-95 series created by Murphy Brown’s Diane English. On the big screen, Thomas played the Easter Bunny in the Santa Claus movies released in 2002 and 2006 and also appeared in such films as A Smile Like Yours (1997), Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995), Dragonfly (2002) and Labor Pains (2009).
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