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Comic Actor Jay Thomas, Star of ‘Cheers’ and ‘Murphy Brown,’ Dead at 69

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Jay Thomas, the actor best known for his stints on Cheers and Murphy Brown, has passed away at the age of 69, the New York Daily News reports.

He reportedly died after a battle with cancer, though it’s not clear when he passed away.

Having made his TV debut on a 1981 episode of The Love Boat, Thomas enjoyed a stellar run of success on the small screen. The Texas native really hit his stride in the late ’80s with a pair of critically-acclaimed recurring roles.

Fans of Cheers will remember him as hockey player Eddie LeBec (husband of Rhea Perlman’s Carla) between 1987 and 1989. As opinionated and bombastic talk show host Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown, he went toe-to-toe with Candice Bergen as her love interest on the popular comedy from 1989 to 1998. The role netted him a pair of Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

Thomas also had a three-season run as an arrogant sportswriter on the series Love & War, which ended its run in 1995. He was most recently featured on the Showtime drama Ray Donovan.

Thomas also had a late night following of sorts, thanks to his guest spots during the holiday season with David Letterman when he would stop by to tell a story about an unusual run-in he once had with Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore and try to knock a meatball off the top of a Christmas tree.

Thomas is survived by his wife and three sons.

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