A legend of television comedy and stage has passed away after a brief illness at the age of 85. Best known for his roles on Bob Newhart series, Tom Poston had a truly incredible body of work.
Born in 1921, Poston became an actor in 1947 after studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Art and with Sanford Meisner. His first of many Broadway roles was in a production of Cyrano de Bergerac with Jose Ferrer. He went on to act in shows like King Lear, Come Blow Your Horn and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He was also a staple on many popular game shows like What’s My Line? and To Tell the Truth. Though his stage and game show careers were impressive enough on their own, Poston was best known for his work in television comedy.
Poston began his TV career on live TV shows in the 1950s and became recognizable to the public as a regular player on The Steve Allen Show, alongside performers like Don Knotts and Louie Nye. Poston won an Emmy for the Allen series and was nominated four times for his later work. Through the last 50 years, Poston guested on many, many shows and was a regular on Mork & Mindy, Grace Under Fire, and Committed.
Poston became a staple of shows starring his friend Bob Newhart. He was a regular on Newhart for its entire eight year run as dimwitted handyman George Utley. He appeared several times on the 1970s The Bob Newhart Show, guested on the short-lived Bob and took part in the memorable cameo episode of George & Leo.
The connection went even further when Poston married Newhart’s onscreen wife Suzanne Pleshette in 2001. The two had been romantically involved 40 years earlier when they appeared together in The Golden Fleecing on Broadway. They each went on to marry other people but still remained friends. Years later, they both lost their spouses to catastrophic illnesses, became closer and renewed their romance. Poston once recounted, “We started seeing each other and ended up married and [I’m as] happy as I’ve ever been in my life.”
Of his comrade and costar, Newhart reflected, “He will be sorely missed and was an important part of the Newhart family. Tom was always the ‘go-to guy’ on Newhart, in addition to being a good and longtime friend.” Stay tuned!