As popular as “The Bob Newhart Show” was, it turned out to be just one major stepping stone in the storied career of the comedian after which it was named. After this series wrapped, Newhart went on to headline three more shows. “Newhart,” the eight-season series that ultimately circled back to “The Bob Newhart Show” in its finale, was the most popular, while “Bob” cast Newhart as a comic book artist turned greeting card writer. (The show completely changed its storylines for its second season, but didn’t survive past that.) “George and Leo,” a show about odd-couple in-laws co-starring Judd Hirsch, also bowed out after one season in the late ’90s.

Newhart may have stopped headlining TV shows around the turn of the millennium, but he still appeared often in them as a beloved guest star or recurring actor. He played a children’s television scientist called Professor Proton on “The Big Bang Theory,” a depressed patient in an equally depressing arc on “ER,” and popped up in “Desperate Housewives,” “NCIS,” and “Hot in Cleveland,” among other shows. His film work, meanwhile, includes key roles in comedies “Elf,” “Horrible Bosses,” and “Legally Blonde 2,” plus voice acting for “The Rescuers” film series.

Originally a stand-up comic, Newhart had largely switched to television by the ’70s, but he did release a Nick at Nite special titled “Button-Down Concert” in 1997. Newhart has received three Grammys, an Emmy, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor for his work, and in 2021 he told Forbes he had no plans to stop working. “I fell in love with the sound of laughter 61 years ago,” he explained. “It’s a sound I wanted to keep hearing. It’s one of the great sounds in the world, I’m serious.” Newhart most recently appeared in “Young Sheldon,” reprising his role as Professor Proton.



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