Peter Scolari dead at 78

Written by Staff Writer by Frank Thorp V, CNN Italian actor Peter Scolari, who appeared in several classics including “Bosom Buddies” and “Newhart,” has died at his home in New York at the age…

Peter Scolari dead at 78

Written by Staff Writer by Frank Thorp V, CNN

Italian actor Peter Scolari, who appeared in several classics including “Bosom Buddies” and “Newhart,” has died at his home in New York at the age of 78, according to his agent, Ron Leshem.

Scolari joined TV’s “Seinfeld” as the hapless English electrician Lenny Kosnick in 1992 and remained there for the rest of the show’s run.

Described by Deadline as a “superlative” and “endearingly memorable” character, the eccentric Kosnick was a “stroppy but droll tutor” to Jerry’s girlfriend and “popularly perceived as one of the most unlikable characters on television.”

He also appeared in the 1998 film “Apocalypse Now.”

In 2010 he was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy for his role in HBO’s series “In Treatment.”

Another of his roles was small as a food delivery man in 2000’s “The Big Lebowski,” which he said in an interview with The Washington Post at the time reminded him of “yesterday. … It’s all dusty and burnt out.”

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1937, he first gained attention as an actor at the famed Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before moving to the United States in 1956, and entering the acting school on the night of The Beatles’ first US concert.

He famously earned a pair of “Newhart” Emmys in 1989 and 1994 for the role of Arthur, the father figure to psychologist neighbor Albert (Bob Newhart) in the series.

Scolari won a Tony for his role in the 2012 production of “Peter Pan” on Broadway.

‘A natural born ensemble actor’

Babs Omero, the acting and New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts alum who played his wife Becky Kosnick in “Bosom Buddies,” was among the many in the industry who praised him on Twitter.

“I’m truly shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of Peter Scolari’s passing. Peter was a beautiful man, great actor, and beautiful husband. He was simply one of the most beloved people in the business,” she wrote.

“At the same time, I think it’s important for all of us who met Peter to reflect on the amazing life we got to live with him and to cherish the precious memories we had together. We will all miss him so very much. God bless Peter and his family. Gone but never forgotten.”

The show’s writer Mike Rupka was also not surprised by the announcement of Scolari’s death, telling CNN in a phone interview that, “This was an actor who was a natural born ensemble actor. He came at the character the way a great actor must. He was the perfect form to a great scene.”

Following “Seinfeld,” Scolari has starred in films including “Disturbia,” “The International” and “The Man with Three Brains.”

During his career he appeared on series including “The Jeffersons,” “The Jeffersons,” “Law & Order,” “20/20,” “The Defenders,” “Eddie Cantor: King of Comedy,” “The New West,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Luck,” “Homeland,” “Homeland,” “Empire,” “Grimm,” “Empire,” “Power,” “Survivor,” “Whiplash,” “For the People,” “The Last Tycoon,” “The Affair,” “The Blacklist,” “Justified,” “All American,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Good Wife,” “Homeland,” “Vinyl,” “The Last Tycoon,” “A Mind In Ruins,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “The CW’s “Reign” and “The Crown.”

“For the People” director Chris Weitz wrote on Twitter that, “So sad to hear that Peter Scolari has passed away. Such a funny, talented and compassionate actor. My heart goes out to Judy Skolnick and his family.”

“L.A. was the place he felt happiest. An actor’s actor,” Weitz said.

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