George Robert "Bob" Newhart (born September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois) 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 copywrighter before switching to show business, 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.
Some highlights of his career include:
- Hell Is for Heroes (1962): as PFC James Driscoll
- Hot Millions (1968): as Willard C. Gnatpole
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970): as Dr. Mason Hume
- Catch-22 (1970): as Major Major Major
- Cold Turkey (1971): as Merwin Wren
- The Rescuers (1977): as the voice of Bernard, a role he would reprise for The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
- In & Out (1997): as Principal Tom Halliwell
- Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003): as Sid Post
- Elf (2003): as Papa Elf
- The Librarian series (2004-08): as Judson
- Horrible Bosses (2011): as Lou Sherman
- The Bob Newhart Show (196162): a variety show that aired on NBC from October 1961 to June 1962 for one season
- The Entertainers (196465): another variety show, which he co-hosted for one season with Carol Burnett and French-Italian singer Caterina Valente
- The Bob Newhart Show (197278): as psychologist Bob Hartley
- Newhart (198290): as innkeeper, author, and TV host Dick Loudon
- B.o.B (199293): as comic book (and greeting card) artist Bob McKay
- Murphy Brown (1994): as Bob Hartley
- George & Leo (199798): as bookstore owner George Stoody
- ER (2003): as sight-impaired architect Ben Hollander
- Desperate Housewives (2005): as Morty Flickman, Sophie's fourth husband and Susan's stepfather
- NCIS (2011): as Doctor Walter Magnus, Ducky's predecessor now dealing with Alzheimer's disease
- The Big Bang Theory (201318): 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
- The Librarians (201418): as Judson (recurring)
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 feature of his one-sided "historical" phone conversation routines. Whatever 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 are phone calls in which the audience can only hear his side of the conversation. In his "King Kong" routine, Newhart plays a security guard during the night that King Kong climbs the Empire State Building. While the audience doesn't hear the boss 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 "people without passes", and I looked under "apes and apes' toes," and... (beat) Apes and apes' toes. (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.