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Creator / Bob Newhart

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Hi, Bob!

George Robert Newhart (born September 5, 1929) is an American comedian and actor, best known for his deadpan delivery and Only Sane Man persona.

A native of Chicago who started out as an accountant and advertising copywriter before switching to show business in the late 1950s, Newhart has had a long and distinguished career in comedy, beginning as a stand-up comic and recording several albums before he broke into acting.

Partial filmography:

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    Film roles 

    Television roles 
  • The Bob Newhart Show (1961–62): a variety show that aired on NBC from October 1961 to June 1962 for one season
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1963): as Gerald Swinney (1 episode)
  • The Entertainers (1964–65): another variety show, which he co-hosted for one season with Carol Burnett and French-Italian singer Caterina Valente
  • Captain Nice (1967): as Lloyd Larchmont (1 episode)
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (1968–70): as guest performer (3 episodes)
  • The Bob Newhart Show (1972–78): as psychologist Bob Hartley
  • Newhart (1982–90): as innkeeper, author, and TV host Dick Loudon
  • It's Garry Shandling's Show (1990): as himself (1 episode)
  • Bob (1992–93): as comic book (and greeting card) artist Bob McKay
  • Murphy Brown (1994): as Bob Hartley (1 episode)
  • The Simpsons (1996): as himself (voice, 1 episode)
  • George & Leo (1997–98): as bookstore owner George Stoody
  • ER (2003): as sight-impaired architect Ben Hollander (3 episodes)
  • Desperate Housewives (2005): as Morty Flickman, Sophie's fourth husband and Susan's stepfather (3 episodes)
  • NCIS (2011): as Doctor Walter Magnus, Ducky's predecessor now dealing with Alzheimer's disease (1 episode)
  • The Big Bang Theory (2013–18): as children's science show host Professor Proton, a recurring guest role which introduced a new generation to his brand of dry comedy and earned him his first Emmy Award (6 episodes)
  • The Librarians (2014–18): as Judson (3 episodes)
  • Hot in Cleveland (2015): as Bob Sr. (1 episode)
  • Young Sheldon (2017–20): as Professor Proton (voice, 3 episodes)

Tropes associated with Bob Newhart:

  • As Himself: On The Simpsons, in the episode "Bart the Fink".
  • The Comically Serious: He often takes on this persona.
  • The Danza: In The Bob Newhart Show and Bob.
    • His given first name is George, so his role on George & Leo counts as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In every role.
  • The Eponymous Show: Three of his sitcoms were titled after all or part of his name. He also had a short-lived Variety Show in the early '60s called The Bob Newhart Show.
  • It Will Never Catch On: A common feature of his one-sided "historical" phone conversation routines. Whatever product or idea he's being pitched sounds so ridiculous by phone that he laughs the other person off the line. Examples include baseball and tobacco.
  • Newhart Phonecall: Trope Namer. A good number of Newhart's stand-up comedy routines feature imagined telephone calls in which the audience can only hear his side of the conversation. In his "King Kong" routine, for example, Newhart plays a security guard at the Empire State Building on the night that King Kong climbs the edifice. While the audience doesn't hear his boss talking on the other end of the phone, it's easy to imagine the incredulous reactions from the boss based on what's heard.
    Newhart: Well, I looked under "unauthorized personnel", and "people without passes", and "apes and apes' toes"... (beat) "Apes and apes' toes", yes, sir. (beat) Uh, there's an ape's toe sticking through the window, sir.
  • Only Sane Man: He's often surrounded by wackier performers. His trademark on The Bob Newhart Show was to have him stand there with a blank stare at whatever hijinks his colleagues, patients, or neighbors were enacting.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: His characters often speak with stilted pauses throughout their dialogue, emphasizing just how awkward they feel among the more inane characters.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Newhart attended law school but withdrew when he was asked to behave unethically during a law internship.
  • Straight Man: In most of his roles he plays what would technically be the Straight Man role while the other characters deliver the Punch Line, but he’s so good at it that he manages to get the best laughs anyway. In the telephone routines, as mentioned above, he essentially gets laughs by being the Straight Man to nothing.