Ginnie Newhart, the wife of famed comedian Bob Newhart who came up with the innovative idea to wrap up his Vermont sitcom by combining it with his earlier Chicago show, has passed away. She turned 82.
She died at their Century City home on Sunday after a long illness, publicist Jerry Digney told me The Hollywood Reporter. She and Bob recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Bob Newhart starred as clinical psychologist Bob Hartley on CBS’ for six seasons (1972-78) The Bob Newhart Show opposite Suzanne Pleshette as his wife, then played Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon on CBS’ Nieuwhart for another eight seasons (1982-1990), when his wife was played by Mary Frann.
In one of the most admired series finales in TV history, Nieuwhart ends with a cheeky scene where Dick wakes up in the middle of the night as Bob Hartley – he’s in bed with Pleshette in their Chicago apartment – suggests that his entire second series had been a dream.
The idea for the ending came to Ginnie at a Christmas party that Pleshette happened to attend.
On Twitter, Nieuwhart actress Julia Duffy wrote that Ginnie “gave me the best advice in everything from decorating to childbirth and kids and yes, husbands.” I loved her.”
One of three daughters, Virginia Lillian Quinn, was born in New York on December 9, 1940.
Her father was the prolific actor Bill Quinn, who started out in vaudeville. He went on to portray Mary Richards’ father The Mary Tyler Moore Showthe blind bar patron mr. Van Ranseleer op Archie Bunkers Place and the father of Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). He was married to Mary Catherine Roden for 54 years until his death in 1994.
Ginnie and Bob are set up on a blind date by comedian Buddy Hackett (Ginnie was babysitting Hackett’s kids at the time).
“Buddy came back one day and said in his own inimitable way, ‘I met a young man and his name is Bobby Newhart, and he’s a comedian and he’s Catholic and you’re Catholic and I think you might be together. should get married’.’ she recalled in a 2013 interview.
The first time they met, they played pool at Buddy and his wife’s house.
‘It was just stupid’ she said in 2005. “I was 20, 21, 21, and I think Bob was 32. And every time somebody would sink a ball in the pocket or whatever you’re supposed to do, we’d run around the table with our cue singing ‘Bridge over the river Kwai.’
“We haven’t seen each other in a while. And then I was working as an extra on a Jerry Lewis movie that I couldn’t tell you the name of, but it was at Paramount. And Bob Did It (1962 movie) Hell is for heroes. He came to see me on set and I wasn’t there. … So I went to his set. He wasn’t there. And we kind of lost touch because he traveled a lot.
They eventually got together, and after they dated for a while, he proposed and said, “Would you go to St. Louis in the winter if you had a ring on your finger?” Would your parents let you go? They marry on January 12, 1963.
She often appeared in the background of his shows and with him on the couples’ game show Tattletales. She was a famous player on Super password also.
The Newharts were close friends with Don Rickles and his wife, Barbara, and the couples often vacationed together.
Last year, Bob, 93, revealed to Procession magazine are secret to a long marriage.
“The marriages of comedians, however stormy, seem to last a long time, and I blame it on laughter,” he said. No matter how intense the fight you have, you can find a line, and then you two look at each other and start laughing. It’s over, you know?
In addition to her husband, the survivors include their children, Robert Jr., Timothy, Courtney and Jennifer, and 10 grandchildren. (One of their daughters is nicknamed “Buddy”.)